During the 2016 presidential campaign, both Republican candidate Donald Trump and Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton dared each other to release their darkest secret. Clinton demanded Trump to release his tax returns while Trump asked Clinton to reveal her medical records. Clinton accused Trump of not paying federal taxes while Trump told all and sundry that Clinton was medically unfit.
To answer Clinton’s attack, Donald Trump said he couldn’t release his tax returns because he was under audit by the IRS for the first time. He later released a letter from his accountants, who confirmed his taxes were indeed under audit. He then trolled Hillary saying he’ll release his taxes, against his lawyers’ wishes, when Clinton releases her 33,000 emails that have been deleted.
On the other hand, Hillary Clinton showed off a medical report from her doctor – Dr. Lisa Bardack – who concluded that “the remainder of her complete physical exam was normal and she is in excellent mental condition.” However, her 9/11 drama where she was basically dragged and thrown into the back seat of a van after developing a seizure has triggered various naughty speculations.
While Trump supporters were trumpeting medically unfit Clinton has dementia, post-concussion syndrome, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumour, brain injury and whatnot, Clinton supporters accused Trump of tax avoidance. In fact, Clinton excitedly told the world she has three theories as to why Trump was afraid to release his tax returns.
First, said Clinton, Trump might not be as rich as he claims to be. Second, Clinton suggested that Trump isn’t as charitable as he says he is. Third, Trump could be ashamed of his business losses so much so that the real estate mogul has paid nothing in federal taxes. To those accusations, Trump simply said – “I’m smart for not paying taxes”.
Today, Trump’s dark secret is revealed. Not only is Trump a successful businessman; he is also a very cunning politician. Journalist David Cay Johnston who obtained Trump’s 2005 tax returns and reported on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show” has finally put to rest the tax issue – Donald Trump earned US$153 million and paid US$36.5 million in taxes.
The IRS Tax Form 1040 shows that Trump and his wife Melania pay a roughly 24.5% effective tax rate – US$5.3 million in regular federal income tax and US$31 million in “Alternative Minimum Tax.” That’s more than 18.7% effective tax rate paid by former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama in 2015. The Obamas paid US$81,472 in total tax.
Back in 1995, Trump reported a loss of more than US$900 million, largely as a result of financial turmoil at his casinos. The hefty loss would benefit Trump as the tax loophole (closed by Congress in 1996) allowed him to deduct previous losses in future years. His critics said the losses were so large they could have allowed Trump to avoid paying taxes for up to 18 years.
Ten years later in 2005, Donald Trump became a global reality TV superstar in “The Apprentice”, earning US$3 million per episode. But he made the biggest haul as a real-life real estate developer in the same year, when he sold two properties – one on Manhattan’s Upper West Side (US$1.76 billion) and one in San Francisco to Hong Kong investors.
Interestingly, 2005 was also the same year Donald Trump married his present wife – Melania Trump. Feng-shui master will tell you that Melania, Trump’s third wife, is the 45th President of the United States’ lucky star. But why was Donald Trump unwilling to release his tax returns despite being urged to do so, when he has nothing to hide in the first place, during his campaign?
Trump has proven himself to be a tricky businessman, and he has now proven to be a cunning politician. He deliberately used his tax returns to bait Clinton to release her medical records. While nobody can force him to disclose his tax returns, it’s a criminal offence to release or publishing federal tax returns without authorization.
That explains why nobody, including the powerful and influential Hillary Clinton, dares to publish Trump’s tax information although it isn’t difficult to get hold of such documents. To do so without proper authorization is punishable by a fine of up to US$5,000 and up to five years in jail. Trump knew he had paid his fair share of taxes but kept it a secret anyway.
One has to remember Trump is a master of diversionary tactics. He knew the liberal Americans hate him. But he gets to choose what he wants to be hated for. His haters were so occupied with his alleged sexual misconduct and tax returns – the red herring – that the public has forgotten he had zero experience in domestic and global politics.
And just when the liberal mainstream media, Hollywood celebrities, Democrats and Republicans, U.S. spy agencies and whatnot were conspiring to bring him down with allegations of treason and working with Russia, President Trump conveniently tweeted that former President Obama and spy agencies had wiretapped his phone and Trump Tower.
Now that his tax returns have been revealed (rumoured to be leaked by Trump himself), it’s like throwing a cat among the pigeons. His supporters are now more convinced than ever that their president is an honest leader who hadn’t evades taxes at all. As President Trump earns another medal of credibility, his critics are left speechless and hanging high and dry with one less issue to play with.
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