• Nathan Max

'Billionaire' Trump Gaming Tax System

Photo credit: Twitter. Donald Trump claimed on his Twitter page that this was a photo of him signing his taxes.

Now we know why the president clings so tightly to his tax returns.

He’s gaming the system.

Donald Trump, who claims to be a billionaire, paid just $750 a year in personal federal income tax in 2016 and 2017. And that was an example of Trump reaching deep into his pockets. During a 15-year period starting in 2000, Trump paid no income taxes at all in 10 of those years, according to a report in the New York Times published Sunday.

To put this in perspective, two months ago I stroked a check for $1,534 to the federal government to pay off my 2019 federal income taxes. That’s slightly more than what Trump paid the year he ran for president and the first year he held office combined. My gross income: $32,794.

I suspect a lot of Americans are asking themselves the same question I am right now. How in the world am I paying twice as much in federal income tax than Donald Trump?

Let’s be honest. At this point, is there a single person who is surprised that Trump is not paying his fair share? The man has refused to release his taxes publicly for five years, citing what has to be the longest audit in the history of the Internal Revue Service.

We also finally know what that famous audit is all about. Apparently, Trump received a potentially bogus $72.9 million tax refund after declaring enormous losses. The IRS very well may force him to pay that refund back with substantial interest and penalties that could total an additional $27 million.

All this begs the question that we must keep asking ourselves.

How has one man been so proficient at evading our society’s norms for so long? For nearly three-quarters-of-a-century, the president has behaved as if our rules do not apply to him. And we just continue to roll over for him, time and again.

Hell, we elected him president.

Of course, none of this will have an impact on his base of voters. To them, Donald Trump can do no wrong.

But for the rest of us right-thinking Americans who haven’t been indoctrinated into the Trump cult, the outrage is real. We are supposed to have a progressive tax code in this country, in which individuals with higher incomes pay a higher percentage after they reach a certain threshold.

In 2018, a single childless worker earning an average wage lost 29.6 percent of their salary to taxes, according to the Tax Foundation. Now, I’m no math expert, but I’m fairly certain that $750 wasn’t 29.6 percent of Donald Trump’s gross income in 2016 or 2017. That’s to make no mention of the 10 years since 2000 in which he paid nothing.

The tax system in this country is overly complicated, replete with loopholes and clearly benefits the wealthy. The rich pay a smaller percentage of their income because they are able to offset their gains with losses, like Trump did, and they pay a lower percentage on their investment profits than those who derive their money in salary from a regular job. When you’re wealthy, income from investments are significantly higher than what hard-working, salary-earning Americans are making.

Donald Trump has been intentionally hiding his taxes from us, because he knew what our reaction would be. He knows it’s unfair when a multi-millionaire or billionaire pays half in federal taxes than a guy who earns nearly $33,000. But, in Donald Trump’s world, there’s only one person who matters: Donald Trump.

The rest of us are just losers and suckers.