Monday, September 28, 2020

The Most Taxing Of Explanations

 Good morning.

That's it, that's the whole story.

Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.

He had paid no income taxes at all in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

As the president wages a re-election campaign that polls say he is in danger of losing, his finances are under stress, beset by losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed. Also hanging over him is a decade-long audit battle with the Internal Revenue Service over the legitimacy of a $72.9 million tax refund that he claimed, and received, after declaring huge losses. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.

The tax returns that Mr. Trump has long fought to keep private tell a story fundamentally different from the one he has sold to the American public. His reports to the I.R.S. portray a businessman who takes in hundreds of millions of dollars a year yet racks up chronic losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes. Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

The New York Times has obtained tax-return data extending over more than two decades for Mr. Trump and the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office. It does not include his personal returns for 2018 or 2019. This article offers an overview of The Times’s findings; additional articles will be published in the coming weeks.

The returns are some of the most sought-after, and speculated-about, records in recent memory. In Mr. Trump’s nearly four years in office — and across his endlessly hyped decades in the public eye — journalists, prosecutors, opposition politicians and conspiracists have, with limited success, sought to excavate the enigmas of his finances. By their very nature, the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled. They comprise information that Mr. Trump has disclosed to the I.R.S., not the findings of an independent financial examination. They report that Mr. Trump owns hundreds of millions of dollars in valuable assets, but they do not reveal his true wealth. Nor do they reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.

In response to a letter summarizing The Times’s findings, Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, said that “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” and requested the documents on which they were based. After The Times declined to provide the records, in order to protect its sources, Mr. Garten took direct issue only with the amount of taxes Mr. Trump had paid.

“Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015,” Mr. Garten said in a statement.

With the term “personal taxes,” however, Mr. Garten appears to be conflating income taxes with other federal taxes Mr. Trump has paid — Social Security, Medicare and taxes for his household employees. Mr. Garten also asserted that some of what the president owed was “paid with tax credits,” a misleading characterization of credits, which reduce a business owner’s income-tax bill as a reward for various activities, like historic preservation.

The tax data examined by The Times provides a road map of revelations, from write-offs for the cost of a criminal defense lawyer and a mansion used as a family retreat to a full accounting of the millions of dollars the president received from the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow.

Together with related financial documents and legal filings, the records offer the most detailed look yet inside the president’s business empire. They reveal the hollowness, but also the wizardry, behind the self-made-billionaire image — honed through his star turn on “The Apprentice” — that helped propel him to the White House and that still undergirds the loyalty of many in his base.

Ultimately, Mr. Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life.
Donald Trump has fought tooth and nail to keep the American people from finding out about his tax returns. He has used his office to shield himself from their release for roughly 1400 days. 

Now we finally know why.

Donald Trump is broke and most likely committed massive tax fraud. He's nowhere close to being a billionaire, if anything he owes hundreds of millions. He took money from Putin and his cadre of Russian oligarchs and from money laundering international big banks like Deutsche Bank to stay afloat. He owes them everything, including his presidency, and is beholden to foreign interests like no other elected American official has ever been. 

The bills he has coming due are 100% contingent on him remaining in office, and he's using and abusing the power of his office to protect himself from nine-digit fines and years of prison time. And should God forbid he get a second term, he will be nearly a half-billion in debt as a national leader, making him completely compromised. The evidence is piling up that he used his family as part of his tax schemes, paying his own children massive sums and then writing it all off as campaign expenses.

Most of all, so far in his term, he has paid a grand total of $1500 in federal taxes, and the one major piece of legislation he has signed in his four years has been a massive tax giveaway to professional international corporate tax cheats like himself. He literally signed a bill whose entire purpose was to make people like him richer by making it even more legal to cheat Uncle Sam out of their fair share of taxes. Period.

That's it. That's the story. That has always been the story. He ran for President to enrich himself and he found out once he won that the entire GOP was gladly willing to help him get away with looting the place. You paid more in taxes than Donald Trump because Donald Trump signed a law to make sure he would always be able to pay less in taxes than you.

The best part? The NYT promises more articles are coming in the future.  Even if you believe this won't hurt his reelection chances, it will obliterate any chance of changing the narrative to a Trump comeback.

Dude is most likely toast. He's going to get his Supreme Court pick, but it's going to cost him everything.

Have a nice day, Donald.

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