Posted by Curt on 4 October, 2016 at 10:35 am. 20 comments already!


Charles C. W. Cooke:

I’ve read the New York Times’ ”bombshell” story three times now, and I’m still not entirely sure what all the fuss is about — at least not if the case being made against Donald Trump is “he paid no taxes for a while!” rather than “he’s not the entrepreneurial genius he says he is.”

For a start, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the anonymity that the Times afforded its sources. Is this how we are going to proceed from now on? Don’t misunderstand me: I am as bothered as anybody else by Trump’s refusal to release his tax returns — and not only because I think that presidential candidates should do so, but because Trump has reneged on a promise that he would. But if the new rule is that any refusal to do so will be met by leaks . . . well, that’s a dangerous path, especially given that the leak could plausibly have come from anywhere, including the IRS.

As for the details in the leak, I must confess to being wholly unimpressed. As far as I can see, Trump did nothing legally or morally wrong, which means that the best case against him is that his not paying taxes is a political problem for his campaign. Insofar as this case rests upon the billion dollar loss per se, I get it; Trump does like to say that he’s a business genius, and he’s quite obviously not. I can also see that it’s embarrassing given that Trump is on record complaining about Americans who don’t pay taxes. But the central argument I’ve seen — that Trump is rich and yet has often paid a lower tax rate than most voters! — is absolute bunk. For a variety of extremely good reasons — outlined well here and here – Americans are not expected to pay taxes on their losses. And, as Ryan Ellis notes over at Forbes, that rule benefits far more people than just Donald Trump:

We were told that this tricky NOL was some sort of “loophole” that only super-rich bad guys like Donald Trump got to use. We were told that this relieved him of having to pay taxes for 18 years, a laughably arbitrary, made up number that is the tautological output of simple arithmetic and wild assumptions.

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