“That makes me smart.”
Roughly 84 million people - not including those who streamed it - tuned in to watch the first debate of the general election last Monday. During this most ever watched debate, a moment came when Republican nominee Donald Trump told Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton that not paying taxes made him smart.
Now, less than one week later, the New York Times has revealed a portion of Trump’s 1995 tax returns, showing a $916 million dollar loss on his returns - meaning that Trump could have avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades. Though startling in context, Trump will face little consequence for this revelation and for the sure to be revelations of his tax releases once he returns them. That is because this was all perfectly legal.
Trump’s tax avoidance is not because he is smart, it is because the system is unbalanced. And the 1995 tax returns prove that.
For decades, the industries such as the real estate industry have poured funds into the coffers of politicians through lobbyists and other wealthy special interests - insuring tax breaks and loopholes. So Trump’s failed ventures into real estate, combined with other high dollar business losses in powerful industries, did not destroy his career. Instead, they may have just excused him from paying two decades of federal income tax.
“Average Americans are losing trust in our system when they see a billionaire business mogul using our tax system to only further increase his wealth, and bragging about it during the debate. Now, Trump is seeking the highest power office in the nation, with the intention to continue amassing even more wealth. Trump’s legal exploits demonstrate the critical need to reform our tax code and stop money’s toxic influence over politicians and legislation. Right now millions of Americans are frustrated because they believe the scales are intentionally tipped towards the already wealthy, and stories like this only confirm this belief” - said Chair Morris Pearl.