Home | About | Donate

The Real Scandal of Trump Paying No Taxes


The Real Scandal of Trump Paying No Taxes

Robert Reich

According to the New York Times, Donald Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns – which could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for 18 years.

The loss stemmed from Trump’s investments in the early 1990s.


It should not be forgotten that Joe Biden, as senator from Delaware, helped usher through a bill that made declaring bankruptcy more difficult for ordinary Americans. This was done at the behest of his son Hunter, who was a consultant for a credit card company, MBNA. Employees from MBNA were major contributors to Joe Biden.


Using the tax code to make money seems to be Trump's business model. This is a direct and intentional transfer of society's costs onto those who pay taxes, that is, the 95% whose taxes are paid by the withholding system. Just as Trump was given billions of dollars worth of "advertising" by the media, We The People have given him billions of dollars of social and physical infrastructure with which to accumulate his wealth. His contribution? Zero.


The Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC) first major accomplishment after their 1985 formation was pushing through what Democrats continue to brag was "bipartisan 1986 tax reform" that Obama hoped to base his second term "tax reforms" on until TPP delays thwarted that effort.

"Bipartisan 1986 tax reform" was the most regressive tax reform in history, increasing taxes for most of the 99% and adding loopholes that decreased taxes for corporations and the 1%. Donald Trump's tax evasion was enabled by "bipartisan 1986 tax reform".

When combined with 1986 reform, decriminalization (media calls it deregulation) of New Deal financial industry regulations that reached its zenith during Bill Clintons POTUS stint in the 90s, corporations and the 1% had the perfect combination that enabled them to buy the US Congress and get even more tax breaks and regressive legislation. They have since moved on to buying governments around the globe, with TPP, TTIP and other regulatory capture disguised as "trade deals" postured to soon finish off the middle classes everywhere.

Trump's tax evasion is small potatoes compared to the evasion enjoyed by Boeing, General Electric, Wall Street Banks and other corporations that own the Democratic Party and GOP.


Outstanding comment, full of good information, thank you.


I know that you know this.........who set up the DLC? Name names please.
Wasn't Bill Clinton the candidate chosen by the DLC to lead the Democratic Party into the future?
"The era of big government is over."


A billionaire not paying any taxes? This is news? Only when it happens to be Trump as a candidate for president. The very people that are desperately trying to make Trump the villain, here, are every bit as guilty of "gaming the system". The hypocrisy of the 1% is staggering as they sling mud back and forth in their quest for power. The real scandal is that nothing will be done about it - as usual.


I guess that what you say would be true if everybody "here" was a plutocrat.
But alas, we're just common folk around "here" who think that Trump is a freaking lunatic.


Doesn't the alternative minimum tax kick in somewhere? How does Trump avoid paying that?


"... foreign Mexico-owned New York Times..."

BS munkey. You sure sound like a Trump propagandist.

NYT is majority owned by Ochs-Sulzberger family, as it has for over a century. Carlos Slim owns a chunk of shares, all limited-voting Class A shares. Ochs-Sulzberger owns over 80% of full-voting Class B shares, and controls the board, where NYT publisher Arthur Ochs Sulzberger Jr is board chair.

Yes the NYT is evading taxes, as do so many US-owned US corporations.


The system: instead of serving the interests of the common wealth - politicians serve the interest of a vested class of wealthy, powerful individuals and corporations. We think we vote for candidates who want our vote in order to represent our best interests when in truth we have a choice of pre-selected candidates who have already been vetted by the wealthy and powerful. We appear to give consent with our vote. Later -when we are betrayed- we realize there is virtually nothing that we can do. They are enthroned in their capital cities distanced from the people who elected them.

This is the American dystopia. At this stage there appears to be little we can do but the effort to be conscious has to be of prime importance. Even though we seem powerless, there is something about knowing the truth that enlightens us and guides us. Unless we see through our myths and face the reality we will never be able to realistically make change. All of us are living in illusions but many of us are taking efforts to enlighten ourselves to a very ugly reality - but that enlightenment is very liberating and empowering. But even that ugly reality isn't real - what is real is that we do have the power to bring about change - but we must rely on ourselves - not a career political class. This is why the Occupy movement was such a great threat to them.


Why didn't you just go to Hillary's website to find out. That is what I did. Below are a couple of key statements.

"...implement a “fair share surcharge” on multi-millionaires and billionaires."

"...fight for measures like the Buffett Rule to ensure the wealthiest Americans do not pay a lower tax rate than hardworking middle-class families."

"...close tax loopholes like inversions that reward companies for shifting profits and jobs overseas."

"...charge an “exit tax” for companies leaving the U.S. to settle up on their untaxed foreign earnings."

"...close tax loopholes that let Wall Street money managers pay lower rates than some middle-class families."


yea, we need more taxes in the US to pay for all of our bases in foreign countries around the world, for more drones and nuclear weapons, Guantanamo's, prison industrial complex. etc, etc. You know - we need to pay for the basics. How many bases does Canada, or for that matter, any other country - have in foreign nations around the world - which its populace must support? We have hundreds. Once we get out of all of that we can talk about taxes. I think they have all they need - it is just not allocated right.

Of course , a simple tax plan would work and be fairer. WE have a monster which only benefits the rich who can afford the loopholes. If you would like to help pay for all of this, you are welcome.


It would be a fairly simple task to reintroduce a progressive income tax system if the American people demanded it or if our congress wasn't completely bought and paid for by the 1%.
You cannot run a country unless taxes are collected.
What those taxes are spent on and how much is collected from each income group is what the people should demand an answer to.


Many of these very rich people get most of their income as capital gains which is taxed at much lower rates than earned income. This really has to be addressed if the rich are ever going to pay their fair share. Taxing capital gains at the same rate as earned income would be a big step forward to making things fairer. Raising the top bracket to 44% would be difficult given Republican opposition but it may be doable. I have heard that around 70% for the top bracket would maximize revenues. That might be a goal to eventually aim for.


If the Trump campaign were as smart a "the Donald" considers himself ("brilliant" seems to be his favorite self-descriptor") then they would make the following proposition on the tax matter:
Trump will release all his tax information after Hillary releases the transcript of her top secret address to the likes of Lloyd Blankfein, Jamie Dimon, and John Stumpf for which she got paid hundreds of thousands of dollars.
End of controversy as the hypocrisy of his accusers is shown for what it is.
Alas! The Trump campaign is either not smart enough to figure this out or is performing down to the expectations that organized money had for its direction of a very inept candidate's campaign,
Reading a Clintonian apologetic from their former secretary of labor (and at that time ardent supporter of NAFTA) is not a very convincing analysis.