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Trump’s taxes

by Greg Krehbiel on 17 April 2017

It’s looking more and more like Donald Trump isn’t going to release his taxes. I can’t blame him.

I’m not saying he’s right. He said he would release them, and there is a strong argument to be made for transparency in government. For example, if they ever get to tax reform, it would be good to see Trump’s taxes so we can see whether he’s promoting policies that would benefit him.

Releasing his taxes seems like the right thing to do.

But what do you think the odds are that the opposition media would report fairly on his taxes? I’d give it about 1 chance in a billion.

2017-04-17  »  Greg Krehbiel

Talkback x 11

  1. Scott Wicker
    17 April 2017 @ 5:01 pm

    There is a strong case for not releasing Trump’s returns: Because the tax code is vague and contradictory, you can always find some arcane point in the tax code and argue that he failed to comply. This is especially the case for someone like Trump, whose tax returns are horrendously complex.

  2. RootCzar
    17 April 2017 @ 7:09 pm

    there’s an ongoing concern that he’s earning profits from his various policy enactions… so it seems legitimate to have him actually now honor his prior set of specific promises to release them … and to honor his campaign spatterings about transparency and proper governance. tax forms are objective static documents … there’s only so many angles that can be rendered from them. some might be unfair, some will be needlessly supportive … but as long as he withholds them, he’ll be a promise breaker, a campaign assurance spoiler, and a jerk. Good for him!

  3. Greg Krehbiel Gregk
    17 April 2017 @ 7:23 pm

    You both raise good points. On balance I think he should release them, but he’d have to be smart about it. The opposition media would misrepresent and distort where they don’t outright lie. But … he did promise.

  4. William
    17 April 2017 @ 9:49 pm

    Relative to Trump, there’s always going to be some news organizations that “spin” things to be overly negative (e.g., CNN) and overly positive (e.g., Fox). Yet, in this case, there’s only so much spin that can be done in either direction because we are dealing with objective laws and policies that can be used to evaluate the appopriateness of the returns. Just because some might criticize the contents is not a reason to withhold his tax returns, especially when he’s committed to release them. If they are done appropriately, he can always use the law and policies to defend his returns against spurious crticism. If he withholds them, it appears like another lie and reinforces the negative public narrative that Trump’s created about himself.

  5. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    18 April 2017 @ 7:39 am

    @William, even if tax law is objective and clear — which I doubt — lawful things can be portrayed in a bad way. For example, I imagine there are legal tax strategies that sound like nasty, tricky things.

  6. William
    18 April 2017 @ 9:51 am

    @Greg, so what? If they are accurate and legal, and they are unduly criticized then indeed it’s fake news. He could use that to “honestly” refute those allegations…for once. As well, during the campaign, he claimed he was “smart” by not paying taxes. That certainly wasn’t a good look. So, why care unduly about image now…assuming all of s indeed in order?

  7. Greg Krehbiel Greg Krehbiel
    18 April 2017 @ 9:55 am

    Because it makes one more (or more like a hundred more) flies to swat, and there’s only so much bandwidth.

    If you want to prevent somebody from getting anything done, make them have to respond to 100 stupid allegations.

    In a way it’s like a denial of service attack.

  8. William
    18 April 2017 @ 10:09 am

    Really? Seems as if he’s been a MASTER at creating false allegations and not responding to them when callenged. He just moves on. Exhibit A…the birther lie. Exhibit B…the wiretapping claim. No, Trump hasn’t been concerned with undue attention and swaying flies previously. That said, I f it’s all legal…I could see him EASILY justifying it…as he did when challenged on not paying taxes. Naaaah, seems there’s a great deal of resistance on this one. The question is, why?

  9. smitemouth
    18 April 2017 @ 10:29 am

    Did anybody doubt that President Swamp would break his campaign promise to reveal his tax returns?

  10. William
    18 April 2017 @ 11:15 am

    @sm, I didn’t expect he would released them. It surely would have been a pleasant surprise, if he did.

    This is just another, in a series, of things he vacillates upon and reinforces the negative narrative concerning his credibility. While on that subject, it seems he was critical of Obama playing golf. Yet, when fact-checked, it seems he’s played more than ANY of his recent predecessors within the same time frame. As well, there was an on-going complaint about spending. But, if his spending continues at the current rate, he is positioned to spend more in one year than Obama did in eight years.

    Yet, I am looking forward to seeing just how he drains the Washington swamp over the next few years!

  11. Craig
    20 April 2017 @ 10:07 pm

    If he’d released them a year ago, this would all be behind us. If he didn’t want to release them, he should have just said so. Either way, now it’s is a huge distraction.