Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October Surprise Comes Early

So, the Times waited until October 1st to release a partial tax return that they had been sitting on for a while.  A compelling theory is that they waited so that people wouldn't have used their ten free visits to the Times website to read the article.  Frankly, I could now pivot and write about the crappy paywall at the Times, but let's keep our eye on the ball.

Trump - if you hadn't heard - logged a $916,000,000 loss in 1995.  As he ran his Atlantic City
"empire" into the ground, he basically took the loss in one year.  He then was able to spread the loss out over a number of years, effectively absolving him from paying income taxes.

Now, this was entirely legal.  That's the way the tax code works.  Capital losses can be spread over time to avoid paying taxes in future years.

The next question is: Why?  Especially on the scale that Trump did this, the capital loss provision is yet another way that our tax code privileges the wealthy.  Again, Trump didn't break the law.  The problem IS the law.

Trump's primary appeal seems to be that he will burn shit down.  He speaks to people who want to see the whole thing come crashing down.  I suppose that the revelations in his taxes will oddly appeal to many of them, because it's yet another example of how the system is rigged for the wealthy.  If you hate the system, Trump will certainly challenge it.

The second question, that Trump supporters seem incapable of asking, is whether he would destroy the system and replace it with something better.  For a sane person, the second question is critical.  Destroying things is easy; building things is hard.  Trump has shown little vision or ability to build things that are lasting.

Finally, it will be fascinating to see how these revelations play on Trump's notorious thin skin.  First of all, it seems that the tax returns were sent from Trump Tower.  So someone on the inside stuck the shiv in.  My guess is that he will focus on that for a week.  Meanwhile, who loses a billion dollars?  Trump's brand is dominance.  Here is an example of a crushing and humiliating loss.  Trump will have to spin this into a positive - "I'm so smart to work the tax code this way" - because he simply can't help himself.

So, we have currently simmering in the news: Alicia Machado and Trump's fat-shaming; Trump's lack of paying taxes and massive business losses and now we have a report that he pressured Marla Maples into posing for Playboy and appeared in a softcore Playboy video (clothed, thank God).

Trump is the ultimate target-rich environment.  The man is a dumpster fire of a human being.  Yet literally NOTHING he can do will dissuade his supporters - historically 27% of the population - because of who they are.

Read that last link with a stiff drink handy.

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