Trump’s taxes have once again become an issue.  Unfortunately for the people who care about this issue, the only shocking revelation that has been learned from this latest leak is exactly what the headline says.  Look, I hate to be dismissive of something that my progressive friends are convinced is very important.  But this is a desperate sideshow.

See it from my point of view, if you will.  I already know that Trump is (a) rich (b) shady AF (c) has lots of international business dealings and (d) tried to get out of paying as many taxes as he could.  I know all of these things from, well, Trump himself.  Oh, no, he wants to eliminate taxes that he has to pay.  Well, so what?  That would be about as bad as going to the trouble of getting yourself elected to the head of the local PTA just so you can change the monthly meeting to Thursdays because Mondays are when you get your manicure done.  I mean, it’s unpleasant, but is it a problem?  Not really.

Maybe the issue is that Trump is subject to foreign influences where his business interests are at stake.  I can concede that it’s possible.  Unfortunately, had the election gone the other way, we’d probably be discussing how the foreign interests who donated to the Clinton Global Initiative might be impacting her Administration’s policies. You’d demand proof.

Also, I’d have a beard.  It’s just a cliche that your other you in a parallel dimension has one, isn’t it?  Not a goatee for Evil Thrill.  I imagine he’s just as incompetent as I am at getting his lined up properly.  Wait, am I Good Thrill?

It doesn’t matter.  Look, one of Trump’s few bright spots with me is that he got rich before entering public service.  The politicians who most bother me are those who became rich while they were politicians.  It’s a nice change that Trump managed to become a billionaire without abusing the public trust.  He can be independent of outside influences and their cash and find all new ways to abuse the public trust.

My word on the matter is that Trump isn’t going to release his tax returns, doesn’t have to, and you’re just going to have to keep eating your livers over it.

One reader mentioned to me last night in an offline conversation that Rachel Maddow might have fallen into a trap.  It could be that Trump himself released the 1040 form to make Democrats look like fools when it turned out there was nothing there.

This is far more interesting to me, especially because I had speculated something similar to this during the election when Trump’s 1995 tax forms were leaked.  It seemed like releasing the tax return from what may have been his worst year would have been a smart move on his part since everyone would presumably have seen the worst thing there was to see and it would put a damper on requests for more information.

If Trump did leak his own tax return during the campaign, I can’t say if the ploy worked or not because it wasn’t an issue that affected my vote in the first place.

So, let’s put on our tinfoil beanies.  If Trump leaked his own tax return this time around, what would be the payoff?  I think discrediting Maddow might be a worthy objective.  She’s been attacking the Administration and getting a huge ratings boost for her efforts.

What’s the real story?  Because I think the whole “Trump won’t release his taxes” angle is a flop.  It flopped during the election and it isn’t moving the needle now.  Only people who already hate him care.  I hate to downplay it, but there’s no other direction I can play it.

Somebody leaked these tax forms knowing full well that they were completely harmless to Trump but would be fed upon in a frenzy by Maddow once she got her man-hands on them.  This is much more fun to speculate over.

 

 

33 comments

  1. Not that I’ve ever taken Maddow seriously before, but how can anyone ever bother with her again after this publicity stunt? Ooooh!! We have the tax returns of Trump! Tune in Tonight!

    And what did we learn? He paid a lot of taxes in 2005.

  2. I get that this is too subtle for most Americans, but If they leaked them, and this is the most innocuous year, it is still kinda bad.
    He still claims $150m in losses going back to 1995 (thanks to a loophole that he personally lobbied for) and only pays taxes due to the AMT, which he wants to abolish. Without the AMT, he would have paid only 4% in taxes.
    This is not impeachable, or even something that would sway a vote. I get that. But it’s also not the tax return of a man who is worth $10billion. Which I think is his biggest fear. That people who fell for his ‘successful businessman’ schtick find out that he is not. I am going to need to dig up that article that shows that he would have had more money than he claims to have now, had he only left his inheritance in a mutual fund.
    But I completely agree, Maddow got played, I assume by Trump’s camp, because they sure did have their rebuttal ready quickly (and it has coherent, for once.) Her story should have been – look, someone just leaked this benign tax return, I wonder what the White House is trying to distract us from?
    As to her man hands, they only seem that way in comparison to Trump’s, right?

  3. I think Trump leaked them. That would be the only way for him to put exactly the ones he wants out and the only two pages he wants to show.

    This is a big yawn. I don’t give a fuck.

  4. But it’s also not the tax return of a man who is worth $10billion. Which I think is his biggest fear.

    Yeah, I think that’s the issue. He’s notoriously touch on that subject. The tax return thing is embarrassing for him, but I don’t think it has a purpose in the political sphere. At least, the election should have settled that point.

    As to her man hands, they only seem that way in comparison to Trump’s, right?

    Ah, yes. That being another issue he’s touchy about…

  5. Need more aliens and/or DB Cooper joining a colony of Bigfoots (Bigfeet?). Illuminati is always fun and Trump probably met with Bilderberg at some point.

  6. I get that this is too subtle for most Americans, but If they leaked them, and this is the most innocuous year, it is still kinda bad.

    I don’t understand why this is “bad”.

    He still claims $150m in losses going back to 1995 (thanks to a loophole that he personally lobbied for) and only pays taxes due to the AMT, which he wants to abolish. Without the AMT, he would have paid only 4% in taxes.

    Which is completely legal as it currently stands, and would be stupid if he didn’t use every loophole available to him. See, here’s what I don’t get – How many people in this country willingly pay more taxes than they absolutely have to? The answer? Nobody. Warren Buffet calls for tax reform, and that his assistant pays a higher tax rate, etc, etc. But he still does everything he can to pay as little taxes as possible per the law.

    That’s not “bad”. Hypocritical maybe, but not bad (and he could willingly pay extra money to the IRS if he wanted to, but deep down, he doesn’t). That’s one of the reasons why he’s so rich. The same goes for Trump. My accountant uses every loophole, and law to my advantage to make me pay as little as possible every April 15th, and I’d fire him if he didn’t as that’s his job. And if I had the power to so, I would most certainly lobby for less taxes. That doesn’t make me “bad” either.

    But it’s also not the tax return of a man who is worth $10billion. Which I think is his biggest fear.

    I think you’re on to something there. The guy is a walking ego. Maddow, in that regard, missed an opportunity I think to poke the bear. However, taxes and income fluctuate wildly for the super-rich, so it *could* have been a down year for him – after all it was in the middle of the great recession.

  7. She got trolled in the most epic way possible. As for Trump’s taxes, what counts as income for someone in his bracket? And if he earned it honestly (well, legally) why should anyone care?

  8. It’s bad because it makes him look like a mere millionaire. I don’t mean that I expect him to altruistically pay extra tax.
    This was a great year for him, btw. He sold two properties (probably the last time that happened) and started Apprentice.
    The reason I think he leaked it is because this is probably his highest year.
    Now we just need to work out what this is a smoke screen for…

  9. He seems to really care about his own net worth.
    I mostly care about his liabilities, not his income up to last year. This year, the rules are a bit different.
    But he owes hundreds of millions to foreign banks, like DeucheBank. The US is currently trying to fine them. So if he can go soft on the fine in exchange for a break on his loan, for example. It’s leverage that other Presidents never had issues with.

  10. I don’t quite buy the “he’s so worried about how rich he really is” thing. I’m sure it was a great way for “The Situation” to get a little free press, but I really doubt Trump gives a fuck about how much money he’s worth. Here it is: A LOT!

    I’m also lmao at Rachael Maddow. Do you think she even rehearses these shows or does she phone it in right on the cue cards as it comes? I took one look at the taxes and realized that this is obvious trolling.

    How magnanimous, Mr. Trump! You paid more than your share of taxes? Why that’s so perfect!

  11. It’s a tax return not even the IRS is interested in. You can scrap anything older than seven years old.

  12. If there was ANYTHING on Trump it would be out right now, and Trump made some serious wealthy enemies on his way to the Whitehouse. CNN would be the first to air it, because they are so pissy pants scared of Trump at Warner Bros. they’ve actually held off the Verizon-Warner Bros. merger because trump made an offhand comment during his election campaign that he’d consider that deal “anti-trust and would break them up.” LMAO!

    Seriously, these two companies had signature lines ready as of three months ago and were holding up pens for photo-ops ad. now they won’t even mention each other’s name.

    and that’s CNN’s “parent” company. They need to get something more solid than 4chan as a source for their golden shower stories or I’m just going to write them off as reality TV and not traffic those sites.

  13. No, the “he’s worried about how rich people think he is” thing is very real. That’s the one thing that he doesn’t allow anyone to joke about at things like the Comedy Central Roast and other such things.

    You can mock his hair, divorces, anything. Just not that. I do find that curious.

  14. I think his ban on public conversation about his wealth has more to do with his creative accounting than whether he’s keeping pace with the Vanderbilt heirs.

  15. Thrill is right, Trump sued a guy for what he felt was under-reporting of his wealth in a bio.

  16. He sued Bill Maher too but I still don’t think he hates free speech. The suit might’ve been legit if he makes his money licensing his brand. Id love to read through the complaint and see what the grounds for the complaint were.

  17. I don’t know if Trump actually sued a guy over it, but every year when Forbes comes out with their rankings of the richest people, he invariable comes out with a statement, or declares in an interview that they are way under his real wealth level. He was quite vocal about it during the election when Forbes dug into details to try to figure out his actual net worth.

    http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trump-net-worth-forbes

    “I’m running for president,” Trump told Forbes. “I’m worth much more than you have me down [for]. I don’t look good, to be honest. I mean, I look better if I’m worth $10 billion than if I’m worth $4 billion.

    That sums it up for me.

  18. This is a good article on the phenomena.

    In 2006 Trump unsuccessfully sued a journalist who wrote a book proclaiming the mogul was worth a mere $150 – $250 million. Trump sat for a deposition in late 2007 as part of that case and had to discuss his net worth under oath.

    During the deposition the billionaire famously said that his net worth fluctuates “with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings,” but that he determines the number based on his “general attitude at the time that the question may be asked.” When your fortune ebbs and flows according to your own mood, it’s not hard to push limits or conjure up billions.

  19. That article also talks about the suit mashav mentioned.

    (Request from the pleb to the master of all ridiculous viking stuff – let me edit a post so I don’t need to post three times when I realize I made an incomplete post. It makes me look bad.)

  20. Maybe the issue is that Trump is subject to foreign influences where his business interests are at stake. I can concede that it’s possible. Unfortunately, had the election gone the other way, we’d probably be discussing how the foreign interests who donated to the Clinton Global Initiative might be impacting her Administration’s policies. You’d demand proof.

    Yep. Just to explain things from the lefty point of view – you trust him, we don’t. That’s basically it. It’s our version of “If he was born in America, then why doesn’t he release his long form birth certificate? The fact that he isn’t releasing proof confirms that he was born in Kenya!”

  21. This is an interesting complaint. While the subject of the complaint has to do with how much money trump is worth the meat of the complaint centers around compelling the identities of the three anonymous sources identities. Much of trump’s complaint is that they shouldn’t be protected by privilege.

    He does say the discrepancy of his worth is the basis for relief but the judge threw it out on two tried and true defamation law rules of thumb: 1.) the bar set by defamation law is a high hurdle on public figures and 2.) trump failed to make a claim upon which relief could be granted, i.e. “So they might have said it. How did you lose money from it?”

    It’s a flawed suit right out of the gate which leads me to believe trump just threw some money at a lawyer to see who was talking shit about him.

  22. Well, sure. He wanted the names of the leakers, but only the ones who spilled about this, not any of the other negative stuff written about him. The writer wanted proof of his real net worth. Neither one really got what they wanted in discovery.
    The best part, for me, was Trump’s explanations of how he determines his net worth (his mood on the day,) the fact that he includes the value of his name in his net worth, and that he determines the values of individual real estate holdings by gut feel when he is not outright lying about owning everything with his name on it.

  23. Because the people that knew that kind of information were likely his employees and he felt back stabbed

  24. I think he’ll do something incredibly stupid eventually…because he’s now a politician. I expect that from politicians.

    For the record IMNSHO – All politicians at a national level are dishonest at least to a certain degree.

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