It was reported on Tuesday that in 2005 President Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes on reported income of over $150 million. This is an effective tax rate of 25 percent. It was also noted that in order to limit the amount he paid in federal taxes and to reduce his tax rate Donald Trump wrote off more than $100 million in business losses.
I don’t care.
Unless they show criminal behavior, I don’t care.
I wrote prior to Election Day that there was very little to be learned from Donald Trump’s tax records which would be applicable to a voting decision. We now know that Donald Trump made a lot of money in 2005. We know that he took advantage of loopholes in the tax code to pay as little in taxes as he could. We know a little bit more about his financial affairs and business dealings than we did on Monday. But that’s it.
We know a little bit more and nothing which is politically relevant. Especially now that he is President Trump.
If it truly bothered American voters that Donald Trump is rich, that he uses tax loopholes, or that he has a complicated network of businesses he wouldn’t be the President. This information was available prior to November 9th. Many Americans voted for Donald Trump because of this information. He was a very successful businessman who could negotiate a new deal for the United States.
Donald Trump’s success in business said nothing of his ability to run the country prior to November 9th and it means nothing now. That his now-public 2005 tax records show his income and tax rate and how he used the tax code to his benefit means nothing about his ability to be President. Nothing nefarious.
So I don’t care.
If you want to rail against President Trump for not releasing his tax records, or for using Twitter, or for taking frequent occasions to golf, or for his odd handshakes, or for filling his Cabinet with billionaires, just stop. Think about those criticisms for a moment. Perhaps they are valid, but what do these things have to do with his ability to be president?
What is politically relevant? That is the question. Maybe you can read something into the White House’s response to the release of the President’s 2005 tax records. Or argue that the fact the White House did release information on the President’s tax records means he lied about not being able to release such information because of an audit. Or maybe you say interest in the release of these records demonstrate that the American public cares about this information.
Donald Trump lied. The White House decided to get out in front of this release. People were interested in his tax records. And? How is any of this shocking? How does any of this matter?
Criticize President Trump for his political views. Criticize President Trump for his seeming inability to unite the Republican Party. Criticize President Trump for the minuscule movement on his legislative agenda. Criticize President Trump for his budget. Criticize President Trump for his policies. These things matter. They are politically relevant.
Don’t waste time criticizing based on speculation.
If you don’t like Donald Trump, just say so. Don’t pretend these tax records matter.
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