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New York Times’ Trump Tax Story Buries the Lede

Brett Davis

Posted on September 29, 2020 22:12

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The newspaper found no evidence of any financial illegality, nor anything related to illicit Russian collusion.

There’s a scene in the movie “The Princess Bride” in which Spanish fencing master Inigo Montoya questions Sicilian criminal mastermind Vizzini’s frequent use of the word “inconceivable.” In one of the film’s best known lines, Montoya says, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

The same could be said of the word “bombshell,” which is so often deployed by the political left against President Trump as to be almost meaningless. The latest alleged bombshell comes in the form of a 10,000-word story in The New York Times that purports Trump paid no federal income taxes for 10 out of the past 15 years due to reporting losses greater than what he made, and that he only paid $750 to the federal government “the year he won the presidency” and “in his first year in the White House.”

Glossing over any possible complicity by the newspaper in obtaining illegally-released tax returns, The New York Times’ “War and Peace”-length report contains no direct, evidence-based claim of any legal wrongdoing related to Trump’s taxes.

That fact about Trump’s vast financial empire – with huge amounts of money constantly being moved around in a complex dance with rules and regulations in order to minimize tax liability – is obscured by an act of print legerdemain that puts the focus on the dishonest $750 figure. According to the story, in 2016 and 2017, Trump requested an extension to file his main tax form 1040, but each time he paid what he thought he might owe in taxes – $1 million in 2016 and $4.2 million in 2017. The newspaper reported that “virtually all of that liability was washed away when he eventually filed, and most of the payments were rolled forward to cover potential taxes in future years.”

Translation: The IRS kept the $1 million and the $4.2 million Trump paid those years. The $750 figure being excitedly touted by other mainstream media outlets and Democrats is in addition to what he already paid in taxes; that is, it is not Trump’s total tax payments for the year.

Furthermore, the Times piece contains this tidbit: Trump also paid $24.3 million between 2000 and 2017 due to the alternative minimum tax.

Likewise, the newspaper’s analysis of Trump’s tax documents did not “reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.” No doubt this was a major disappointment to those on the left still hoping sketchy business dealings between Trump and Russia would be the president’s downfall.

The New York Times’ story – clearly meant to hurt the president’s re-election bid – is not an indictment of Trump so much as America’s big, overly-complex mess of a tax code that allows people (especially the rich) creative ways to keep more of their own money, as well as the "Orange Man Bad" reportage that is the new yellow journalism. Expecting real tax reform and unbiased reporting? Now that’s inconceivable.

Brett Davis

Posted on September 29, 2020 22:12

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Source: KOAT 7
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