A US newspaper says it has obtained documents showing tycoon Donald Trump declared a loss of more than $900m on his 1995 federal income tax return.
The New York Times says the loss was so large it may have enabled the Republican candidate to avoid paying tax for up to 18 years legally.
His campaign has refused to publish his tax returns and neither confirmed nor denied the scale of his losses.
A few thoughts… first, isn’t the leak itself illegal? I thought that our tax documents were covered by privacy protections. If someone stole my tax records and dumped them on the internet, I’d certainly want law enforcement to find the culprits and prosecute them.
Second, doesn’t it seem like Hillary Clinton knew this ahead of time? Think back to the debate and how she repeatedly hammered on Trump’s tax records and implied things. Is it possible that someone within the government gave her this information some time ago? Yes, yes it does. And it fits perfectly into the Clinton’s sleazy political playbook.
Third, assuming the information is true, it doesn’t appear that Trump did anything illegal. Carrying forward losses on your taxes is something that people all over the country do every year. And any business owner who has suffered a bad year has taken advantage of this intentional facet of our tax policy.
Fourth, of course point number 3 is not the point. It isn’t about whether Trump actually violated the law like Hillary did. It is about stoking the fires of envy. We, the great unwashed public living in our parents’ basements and lamenting our lots in life, are supposed to be envious of Trump for being wealthy and not paying income taxes. It feeds into the “fair share” ideology of the Left that is rooted in envy and hate. So despite the fact that Trump complied with the law and did what every one of us would have done in the same circumstance, we’re supposed to hate him for it. People who think this way are incredibly petty, but they comprise a sizable portion of the base of the Democratic Party.
Fifth, the disclosure does undermine Trump’s proposition that his business acumen is a justification for being president. Or does it? Almost every entrepreneurial businessperson has several losses under their belts. Steve Jobs. Bill Gates. Richard Branson. Thomas Edison. Henry Ford. Warren Buffett. The list goes on. Often times, people who are considered business geniuses rack up dozens of failures before landing on that one magnificent idea that launches them into the pantheon of business leaders. I’m not saying that Trump is a great businessman. What I am saying is that one massive failure is not conclusive evidence of him not being one.