Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Something to Know - 5 October

Rob Rogers

The campaign noise, the inane distractions, and media polls are enough to want us to chuck the whole thing and try to experiment with the way the Brits run their government - campaigns, legislation process, and change of political leadership.   Barf!  So, now let's get back to the campaign at hand and make a brief mention of the Big Hypocrisy in the room.   Donald Trump is the biggest moocher, who survives as a result of the biggest government welfare program.   He has received a $916,000,000.00 bailout from the government as a result of tax laws created by the lobbyists for the rich real estate developers.   Think about that next time the GeeOpie impugns our social welfare safety net for really needy:

The Opinion Pages | EDITORIAL

Mr. Trump's Government Bailout

For more than a year, Donald Trump has said his genius as a businessman makes him uniquely qualified to fix the country's problems. We can dispense with that fiction now that we know that he claimed a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns. Such a mammoth loss amounts to an epic failure, not runaway success.

It is not clear how Mr. Trump racked up this gigantic loss, worth about $1.4 billion in today's dollars, because he refuses to release his tax returns. It probably had something to do with disastrous business ventures like his bankrupted Atlantic City casinos and the ill-fated acquisition of the Plaza Hotel.

What we do know is that this loss, reported by The Times this weekend, could be used to cancel out taxable income from other sources for up to 18 years, and therefore allow Mr. Trump to get out of paying federal and state taxes. Without more information, we can't know if he paid nothing in income taxes for nearly two decades, but neither he nor his campaign have denied that he did this.

If Mr. Trump wanted to defend his tax practices, he could simply release his returns. But it seems that even for Mr. Trump, paying no taxes would be a political embarrassment. It would show that the government bailed him out of his catastrophically bad business decisions. Legal or not, this is the kind of handout no ordinary citizen could hope to get no matter how dire the circumstance.

During the first presidential debate, Mr. Trump called his tax avoidance "smart." What he's justifying is a tax code that allows the extremely wealthy to shift the burden to everybody else, especially working Americans whose taxes are withheld from their paychecks and who can't shield most of their incomes from taxation.

Congress made this particular tax dodge possible by treating real estate professionals different from other taxpayers. Developers like Mr. Trump are allowed to use their real estate losses to offset income from activities unrelated to real estate. In Mr. Trump's case that would include earnings from "The Apprentice" and money made from selling steaks and neckties. By contrast, under federal law, doctors, lawyers and others with real estate losses can use them to offset only real estate income.

Incredibly, the Trump campaign argues that because he knows how to game the tax system he should be trusted to reform it. There is no evidence that he would improve tax policy, and plenty of evidence that he would confer even more tax advantages on himself.

Mr. Trump has not proposed closing the real estate developers' loophole. Instead, he would make the code more favorable for his interests by proposing to cut the rate for limited liability corporations and partnerships — the entities in which he holds his real estate assets — to just 15 percent from ordinary income rates. Without access to his tax returns, the public cannot tell the full extent of such conflicts of interest. Mr. Trump has, however, proposed closing the carried interest loophole that currently allows hedge fund and private equity executives to pay a very low rate on some of their income. Since he does not manage hedge funds, this wouldn't affect him.

Every new revelation about Mr. Trump's business career shows that he's built his millionaire's lifestyle on debt, tax avoidance and other people's money. From bankrupt casinos to a so-called university, he milked them for all he could and left workers, students and taxpayers holding the bag.


Donald Trump and the National Rifle Association  aid and abet violence.

- An American Story

A half-dead Clinton is always better than the brain-dead Trump

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