Remember last week when you stopped by the coffee shop and bought a cheap, quick cup of your favorite caffeinated beverage? With a national average of about $2.70 for a 16-ounce cup and an 8.4% sales tax rate, you probably paid about 22 cents in taxes. If so, it's likely you paid more in taxes for that cup of coffee than Donald Trump paid in federal income taxes for the past 20 years.
In last week's presidential debate, Trump bragged about this, saying it made him "smart."
Over the weekend, however, information about his 1995 tax returns was leaked to The New York Times, and it turns out Trump lost nearly $1 billion that year. While we'll put aside for a moment how one actually goes about losing 1 billion dollars, the colossal financial loss gave Trump a loophole where he could count the losses against future tax payments. As the Times noted, it certainly was enough to cover the taxes he would have to pay from the income we know he had, from sources like firing people on television or running casinos into the ground.
Trump is famous for living a lavish lifestyle that most working people couldn't even imagine. Lavish enough that there are numerous profiles of his lifestyle by sources such as The Washington Post and the Gentleman's Journal, which notes possessions like Trump's custom gold motorcycle (seriously). So, while Trump is flying in his personal helicopter or personal airplane to one of his multiple mansions, he's likely paying no taxes. While America's families are working hard and paying taxes that go toward our schools, teachers, firefighters, police and things like bridges that not only keep the economy going, but provide the roads, airports and other infrastructure that allow Trump to profit off the businesses he "runs." He benefits from the taxes you pay while working hard and proudly doesn't pay his taxes. Seems like he might owe us some money.
Then, of course, there is the hypocrisy. As Think Progress notes, Trump has consistently tweeted condemnation of people who don't pay their fair share of taxes. Here are a few examples:
HALF of Americans don't pay income tax despite crippling govt debt...http://t.co/gDAUj0Kt— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 23, 2012
Apparently not, on that last one.
Unbelievably, after the partial tax information was released this weekend, Trump's surrogates went on to praise him for being a "genius" for not paying taxes for nearly two decades. Funny, something tells us they wouldn't have the same respect and admiration for regular working people who didn't pay their fair share.
Donald Trump could, of course, clear all of this up by simply releasing the years of tax returns that he hasn't shown us and proving that he has paid his fair share of taxes.
What this shows is that the tax system is rigged to favor people like Trump at the expense of working people. The idea that Trump would change a system that benefits him so strongly, the idea that he would take the side of working people against his own bank account, well that idea is one of the hardest things to believe in during an election cycle where every day seems to bring us something that no one ever believed they'd see in a presidential election.
Want to hear what a real American thinks about Donald Trump? Just watch Marty's story: