Square this, America.
A guy proclaims himself a billionaire worth over $10 billion, yet he told his tax preparers and the IRS he didn't make enough money to pay more than $750 in income tax. And in 10 of the previous 15 years, he filed returns indicating he didn't make enough money to pay any income taxes — nada, zero. He had too many losses, he said. Now he's your president, and he wants you to re-elect him in a little over a month so he can continue conning us and stealing our money.
Stealing our money? Yes.
We all pay taxes, and when Donald J. Trump does his tax dodging year after year while costing us a pretty penny to fly him all over the country so he can golf and campaign on our tax dollars instead of seriously governing during a pandemic, he's taking our money and not paying in any of his own — save a paltry $750 in 2016 and again in 2017.
Did we mention that any one of the many weekend trips by this president to hang out with his buddies at Mar-a-Lago costs us on average $3.4 million, according to a January 2019 GAO report?
Folks, did you pay $0 to $750 in taxes last year and nothing at all for 10 of the previous 15 years? We're not talking did you write a check. We're asking if you paid — through the federal taxes automatically withheld from your paychecks by your employer — at least $750. Heck, yes, you did. And then some.
Here's another question: Did you pay $70,000 over several years for your hair styling and write it off as a cost of doing business? If you did, you have earned Donald Trump's favorite nickname: loser. A real "loser" — not the soldiers and veterans that Trump also labeled "suckers."
The truth of Trump's wealth — not in the billions — and his federal taxes became public Sunday when The New York Times wrote about his tax-return data which the newspaper obtained.
The returns spanned more than two decades for Trump and for the hundreds of companies that make up his business organization, including detailed information from his first two years in office.
Trump, of course, has called the report "fake news." He is a one-trick pony after all.
Alan Garten, a lawyer for the Trump Organization, first told The Times that "most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate." Later Garten took direct issue only with the amount of taxes 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," Garten said in a statement.
The Times responded: "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."
The Times said 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.
"Trump has been more successful playing a business mogul than being one in real life," The Times wrote. Trump's reality show, "The Apprentice," along with the licensing and endorsement deals that resulted from his expanding celebrity earned Trump a total of $427.4 million.
In turn, he invested much of that in other businesses, mostly golf courses, that have steadily shown losses. And he has steadily used those losses year after year to avoid paying taxes. He even used "losses" to get a $72.9 million tax refund for federal income taxes he did pay during his early "Apprentice" years, 2005 through 2008. How did he do that? He used a little-noticed provision in a bill signed into law by Barack Obama as part of the Great Recession recovery effort.
In 2018, Trump claimed on his required government financial disclosure form that he had made at least $434.9 million. But his tax records, according to The Times, "deliver a very different portrait of his bottom line: $47.4 million in losses."
The Times wrote that Trump through the years has been "using the proceeds of his celebrity to purchase and prop up risky businesses, then wielding their losses to avoid taxes."
In 2017, at least three foreign countries got more tax dollars from Donald Trump than the good old U.S.A. He or his companies paid $15,598 in taxes to Panama, $145,400 to India and $156,824 to the Philippines.
Now, however, unless we mess up and let him stain the White House for another four years — he'll face a different kind of loss. His tax records show that four years from now, more than $300 million in loans for which he is personally responsible will come due. What's more, that tax audit he's been claiming is real, and it concerns whether he might have to pay back his $72.9 million tax refund.
In the past four years, three of Trump's properties have become candy for him as people, groups and lobbyists seeking to impress him joined Mar-a-Lago, golfed at Bedminster or stayed at his Washington hotel. Still, their tax records show losses. And this is the guy running our country.
In a 2016 debate, Trump interrupted Hillary Clinton when she surmised that he wouldn't release his tax records because he didn't pay any taxes. "That's makes me smart," Trump boasted.
No, it doesn't. It makes him a con man. A grifter. A tax dodger.