Mr. Trump & Income Taxes

This Counselor's 2 Cents

Alvin C. Jones

Paying no federal income taxes... Does it make Donald Trump a genius?  No, clearly not. Does it make him brilliant or smart? Still no. Fact is, Mr. Trump doesn't prepare his own tax returns; his accountants and tax attorneys do. Asked more generally, is it wise to arrange one's affairs so as to minimize one's taxes?  Done lawfully, OF COURSE IT IS!  As in Mr. Trump's case, it would be wasteful and foolish NOT to declare one's losses and claim the permitted income deductions therefor.  Mr. Trump’s tax avoidance (as opposed to tax evasion) goes hand in hand with his production activities in foreign countries with cheap labor.  Conceptually, these are all wisely-made business decisions and all point to the fact that Mr. Trump deserves credit for being extraordinarily business and tax savvy.

If there is any fault attributable to Mr. Trump for these business practices, it’s probably his failure to elevate or show concern for the welfare of the people and country which afforded him the opportunity and resources that made his practices possible. For this failure, he makes no apologies; instead he praises his self-only interest as smart business, as if he became a multi-billionaire in a vacuum, independently of the country’s law enforcement and military defense, banking and other regulatory protections, tax breaks, debt discharge provisions, media recognition and exposure, private patronage, and countless other American-provided benefits.

A prime example might be Mr. Trump's failure to share his abundance with his laborers, but in order to prove that we would need to journey to several sweatshop-harboring countries, which alone probably says all we need to know about his apathy for them. It just seems that over the years, the compassionate patriot Mr. Trump wants voters to believe he is would have recognized a debt to the country and consequently would have done what he could for the country even without a legal mandate. Perhaps he has been charitable, but there is no verifiable evidence of it (settling one’s own debts from or otherwise forwarding other people’s charitable contributions cannot be claimed as one’s own charity).  He has not contributed even to his own private foundation for nearly 20 years and that would be the most savvy place to start.

This all reasonably leads many to believe that Mr. Trump seeks the presidency as a one-man special interest group to promote his own business interests because the politicians he has so faithfully contributed to over the years have failed to come through for him. In my own final analysis, Mr. Trump is undeniably business savvy and not in spite of but precisely because of this, I encourage us all to ask: By what record does he exhibit humanitarianism or philanthropy commensurate with his often bragged about wealth? From the most reliable answer you find, determine how presidential that record reads, and that I suspect will best reveal just how smart Mr. Trump really is ... or is not.