Why America Needs to See the Trump Income Tax Returns

This is not a fancy post…no pictures, no special images, just my well researched opinion.

I am a 78-year-old proud progressive. I have been of that political persuasion all my life. My parents were progressives, my entire family is progressive and so are my in-laws. I am proud to be in such company and fully intend to stay there. More importantly, though, I am a proud American. I am as much a patriot as my conservative brethren. I am totally committed to preserving and defending the Constitution of the United States.

I have lived under the Presidencies of Roosevelt, Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush l, Clinton, Bush ll and Obama. Six of them were Republicans. During those nearly eight decades we’ve had one depression, several recessions and I can’t count the number of wars.

I’ve seen a President resign and another one get impeached. There have been innumerable scandals and we’ve been to the brink of nuclear war. Not once in all those years did I ever doubt that the President, regardless of party, had America’s best interests at heart. Not once did I doubt his loyalty to country and devotion to duty. Even Richard Nixon did the honorable thing. He resigned rather making us suffer the agony of an impeachment process that would have him removed from office.

I thought I had experienced almost everything until now, until the election of a man who has but one loyalty. A loyalty that is a child of conceit and nurtured by selfishness and hubris. Donald Trump has one loyalty and that is to increasing and protecting his personal fortune.

If Mr. Trump really wanted us to believe his commitment to the United States he would have released his tax returns. Why doesn’t he? For a while he used the excuse that he was being audited, which is no excuse at all because there is no such restriction. Besides, audits end, this one doesn’t seem to have an ending. Then, when elected Sean Spicer said that Trump had no intention of releasing his returns because no one cares about them. There is no polling of which we are aware that substantiates that claim.

When you live in secrecy, as Trump has you invite curiosity, speculation and rumor. He could put an end to all of that by being open and honest and releasing his tax returns. Trump’s euphemism for lying is that he engages in “truthful hyperbole.” Somehow the term strikes me as an oxymoron. He even lies about lying.

Tax experts say Mr. Trump might have owed no income taxes in one or more recent years by using real estate depreciation provisions and carrying forward business operating losses from previous years. Such losses can be carried forward up to 20 years on personal taxes. But…we don’t know because he hasn’t releassed his returns. When you refuse to be open, especiallly in his position, speculation runs rampant. Then he becomes angry because people speculate. As usual he is the cause of his own problems. So what are tax experts speculating about? Here’s just some of it:

  • Charitable donations — who people support and how much they give — can tell a lot about their values. Trump told the AP he does most of his philanthropic giving in his own name rather than through his foundation, but he provided no details. He just expects we should believe him.
  • Trump’s taxes could tell a lot about how much of his former Jet-set lifestyle was written off as business expenses.
  • Trump reported in his 2015 financial disclosures that he has nearly 500 businesses and well over 80 percent are owned by him alone. Tax gurus say that a good many of those companies might be “fronts” or “pass-through” entities a fancy term for “money laundering.” Those details would be part of his personal tax return.

The release of his tax returns would tell us a whole lot about Mr. Trump, who really has lived a secret, shielded life. In his businesses he is the owner so he has no board of directors, no shareholders and no one to answer to but the banks that lend him money. It would be nice to know just who those lenders are. In his business Trump answered to no one. As President he answers to everyone, something he just can’t wrap his head around. His style is dictatorial and the Presidency doesn’t allow for that.

What else might we learn from those returns? Well, we just might learn the following:

  1. What if anything he gives to charitable causes.
  2. That he has given to liberal causes that are contrary to his campaign rhetoric like Planned Parenthood
  3. That he is nowhere near as rich as he’d like everyone to think
  4. That he is not only less wealthy than he claims, he is deeply in debt.
  5. He is deeply in debt to people who are dangerous when you owe them money
  6. He has business interests in Russia
  7. He has a multitude of foreign, secret bank accounts
  8. He has underworld connections in both the U.S. and Russia
  9. He has given money to organizations that may have links to terrorist organizations.

His reluctance to release his income tax returns got Mitt Romney’s attention. It was Romney who suggested that Trump is hiding something.  What is it? Is he indebted to Russian money lenders?

Mr. Trump owes America a whole lot of answers. The longer he refuses to provide them, the more miserable his life will become as reporters, prosecutors and other investigators turn over every grain of sand to determine what’s behind his refusal to be critical of Russia and Vladimir Putin.

Many have said I should give President Trump a chance. Why? He works for me. If he wants my respect and cooperation he will have to earn it. I am every bit as important as he is — even more so because I am the “We the People,” the Constitution talks about and that the Presidency is supposed to serve.

I do not owe him my allegiance, he owes me performance. Unlike parliamentary forms of government, Mr. Trump has that job for four years. In that amount of time he has but one challenge; to make sure that the people of the United States are better off in every way than they were four years earlier. That means if we are to believe his rhetoric we will be safer, healthier, have better jobs, be better educated and — we’ll all be wealthier. His record, so far indicates only the wealthy will be afforded those benefits.

Donald Trump has been in office for just a few months and seems to have created an environment of chaos, uncertainty and fear. Certainly with a 39 percent approval rating, he has not earned America’s trust and you can’t do that when you withhold information and lie to the people who elected you.

And from where I sit, that’s the truth.

Peace

4 thoughts on “Why America Needs to See the Trump Income Tax Returns

  1. Yes, and for all his supposed business acumen, we appear to be getting a ringside seat view of just how bad he truly is at business.

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  2. Another good piece, Bob… I’m convinced that Trump never had the first intention of releasing his tax returns. All we’ve seen is one excuse after another, as he gives us more and more reason to question just where his priorities lie, and what his objectives really are in wanting to run the country. A look at his tax returns would give us some good answers as to what his business dealings are and who he’s really aligned with in this world. I think it should be a law that any person running for president should have to show their returns so we can see what conflicts of interest they might have before they’re elected. I’m betting we’ll never see them!

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