What do Trump’s tax returns really show?

 

ADDRESSING THE SITUATION: President Trump owes the American people an explanation about his tax returns. Photo Courtesy of Business Insider

By Kate Hedger | Student Life Editor

October 4, 2020

AVERAGE INCOME TAX: Trumps federal income tax bill in 2017 is the same as families who make between 15 and 20 thousand dollars a year. Photo courtesy of Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, IRS data

The New York Times recently broke a major story involving the lack of federal taxes President Donald Trump has paid in the last 18 years. Trump has fought to keep these documents a secret; he is the only president since Watergate to refuse to release his tax returns of current and past years. An anonymous source came forward to The New York Times investigative journalists and has provided the news outlet with 18 years worth of Trump’s tax information. The documents show that Trump only paid 750 dollars in federal income taxes during his first year as president, and he paid no federal income taxes in 11 out of the 18 years the Times investigated.

This lack of federal taxes is due to both loopholes Trump has been able to find (a common tactic used by millionaires who want to maintain their wealth), and his struggling businesses. In 2010, Donald Trump requested a tax refund of 72.9 million dollars. This request is still under investigation of the IRS and has not yet been approved, but it does clearly show the financial struggles Trump is going through.

“As someone who pushes for a strong economy, I think it’s quite hypocritical that he only paid $750 in federal income taxes,” Senior Emily Schad said. “While it is common for super wealthy people to use loopholes to avoid paying crazy amounts for taxes (Amazon didn’t pay federal income taxes for three years) it is still morally wrong for the leader of our country.”

Staple Trump businesses including Trump Golf Courses and Trump Hotels have reported losing large amounts of money. This has resulted in Trump taking out hundreds of millions of dollars of loans that are set to catch up within the next few years. He is in a financially dangerous place, and his desperation for money puts him at risk of being taken advantage of by people with political motives.  

When people think of Trump, they think of his pride in being a genius of a businessman. Even his supporters will use this as a justification as to why they back him and think he would make a suitable president. The reality of all this is that Trump’s success doesn’t stem from his amazing ability to be a businessman, it stems from his amazing ability to be a celebrity.

“It’s pretty crazy that we have a celebrity as a president,” senior Makena Viera said. “The fact that there are Trump towers and Trump golf courses all around the country seems strange considering he is now a political leader.”

The facts in his tax returns show that Trump made the bulk of his money from his television show, “The Apprentice,” and deals that came from that. After the major success of his show, Trump became a brand. Trump was able to make huge amounts of money doing licensing deals and marketing products such as Trump Wine, Trump Water, Trump the Game, and Trump Steak, to name a few. Some people even believe that Trump running for president was just a ploy to get his name out there that went a little too far. 

Whether you love him, hate him, or ignore everything he says, you can’t deny that Trump’s tax returns show questionable information that doesn’t align with some of his messages to the American people. This is information that voters should certainly take into consideration when casting their vote on November third.

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