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That Smarts


When Hillary Clinton speculated that Donald Trump may not have paid income tax, Trump said, “That makes me smart.” When it was revealed that Trump had claimed a loss of $931 million on his 1995 state income tax return, which may have allowed him to avoid paying any income tax for up to 18 years, most people were astonished but not outraged because it was acknowledged that there was nothing illegal about this. Some of Trump’s supporters even admired Trump’s action, believing it proved his brilliance and supported his boasts that he possessed qualities to be our president. But how he did it is the real story and reveals Trump’s real character. It is not flattering.

The Daily Beast has published online a long, convoluted account of how Trump, or rather Trump’s accountants, must have gamed the income tax system. Suffice it to say that Trump used sections of the federal income tax code that provided special loopholes (gifts from Congress) that allowed Trump to convert a $931 billion loss caused by his own mismanagement to tax credits and profits exceeding the $931 billion he had lost.

In addition, Trump gained back what he had originally lost by employing illegal immigrants but never paying the $4 an hour they were promised. He also didn’t pay employees and suppliers of his bankrupted enterprises, the banks from whom he had borrowed billions of dollars, and investors who foolishly bought stock in the corporation he created to hold his deeply indebted properties. Everyone involved with his operations lost while he gained at their expense. Shamelessly, Trump acknowledged he never intended to pay back the debts he incurred.

From this history we can see that Trump is a master con artist and swindler who cares only about himself and his possessions. These are certainly not the characteristics we want in our president. When I was a boy my aunt had an expression for someone like Trump: “He’s no damn good.”

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