One interesting storyline to come out of the first debate and this week’s news cycles is Donald Trump’s tax returns. The New York Times is reporting that Trump could have “legally avoid[ed] paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years.”
This, coupled with Trump’s line in the debate that he was “smart” to not pay income taxes, has sparked the debate on whether that is true or not. Even Mark Cuban has weighed in on the issue. So, was Trump smart for avoiding or reducing his income tax payments?
The short answer is yes, absolutely. In a capitalist setup, the main goal is making as much money as you can and keeping what you have. Paying taxes would be against his own interests, so as long as he can get away with it without breaking the law, it is fair game as far as I am concerned.
Now, does it raise questions about Trump’s morality and fitness for president? I would also answer yes. This further reinforces the idea that Trump is only aimed at looking out for himself, willing to do anything and everything to get ahead.
Furthermore, his ability to avoid taxes came from huge business losses that he was able to claim. This is relevant to his campaign for presidency because one of the key things he cites as his qualifications are his business records. And increasingly, with Hillary Clinton’s attacks and information like this tax return surfacing, it seems that Trump’s record of success if punctuated with him doing whatever possible, no matter how underhanded, to serve his own interests.
And as Trump claims, if he runs his government like a business, then I would hate to see what that would look like. If he is willing to pull any trick in the book to get himself ahead, then I hate to see what weapons federal agencies could become under his purview.
Now I think that Clinton will also do the same thing, using government agencies to get ahead however she can as well. However, the difference between the two is Clinton is a sniper rifle compared to Trump’s loose cannon – her experience in office will allow her to target her ruthlessness while who knows what Trump will do with his power: maybe he’ll turn it on our enemies, maybe our allies, or maybe the citizens – who knows!
What is sure is that Trump’s business record is certainly relevant to this campaign and as it progresses it is unclear as to whether that record is an asset or a liability. But if it’s a liability, maybe he can just claim the loss on his next tax return!