Wednesday September 30, 2020
I still haven't finished reading all of the New York Times' scoop on Donald Trump's tax returns, written by Russ Buettner, Susanne Craig and Mike McIntire, which broke Sunday afternoon, but the key elements are in the first few grafs: as president of the United States in 2017, Trump paid only $750 in federal taxes; the year before, as a candidate, he paid only $750 in federal taxes. And for 10 of the previous 15 years, he paid no federal income tax at all.
Some Dems, of course, with a penchant for turning any victory into defeat, immediately said it didn't matter and that it wouldn't change any minds and then went back to wringing their hands. But there is so much in the article that matters—and some of it may even matter politically. This part:
He reported paying taxes, in turn, on a number of his overseas ventures. In 2017, the president's $750 contribution to the operations of the U.S. government was dwarfed by the $15,598 he or his companies paid in Panama, the $145,400 in India and the $156,824 in the Philippines.
This is on money he made while president—in direct violation of the Foreign Emoluments Clause (Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution), which was designed to prevent federal officeholders from “corrupting foreign influences.” And yes, I know: We've been hearing about that damned Emoluments Clause since Day 1 and it's done jack shit in preventing Trump from such corruption. So no, that's not the part that matters politically. What matters politically is that the president of the United States pays foreign governments taxes but not our government. America First? Not even in the top 10.
Then there's this part, which may not matter politically—it involves math, and you know Americans and math—but it certainly matters in terms of national security:
His revenue from “The Apprentice” and from licensing deals is drying up, and several years ago he sold nearly all the stocks that now might have helped him plug holes in his struggling properties.
The tax audit looms.
And within the next four years, more than $300 million in loans — obligations for which he is personally responsible — will come due.
What does it mean to have a president in hock for half a billion dollars? And whose post-“Apprentice” influxes of cash have been mysterious and probably foreign? Adam Davidson has been writing about this forever. He assumes money laundering.
Back to reading.