It’s well known that presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has a problem with telling the truth. His entire campaign platform consists of outright fabrications and wildly impractical delusions that would send our nation into chaos if ever put into action – but somehow he still manages to evade consequence for his lies. That all might change as the controversy over his refusal to release his tax returns continues to grow – especially since it’s just been revealed that the last time Trump released his tax returns, he didn’t pay a single cent in federal income tax!
Against all logic and reason, Trump has built economic populism into his platform, despite the fact that he’s a billionaire who made his wealth exploiting loopholes, misrepresenting the value of his properties, and openly scamming his customers. He regularly criticizes multinational corporations for evading their taxes and taking advantage of loopholes – “They make a fortune. They pay no tax…It’s ridiculous, okay?” – despite having gleefully done the same thing throughout his career.
That much is obvious when we look at the last tax returns Trump released, which was in 1981 in order to get a casino license in New Jersey. Those documents show that in 1978 and 1979, Trump listed a negative income of -$3.8 million, which allowed him to pay no taxes – even though had he listed his personal wealth at $200 million a few years earlier. He did this by “using tactics available to wealthy investors and developers, such as depreciating the value of real estate.”
It’s clear that far from being evidence of any business acumen, Trump’s tax returns are a glimpse into the way our financial system is sharply tilted favor of those who already possess great amounts of wealth, designed for the megarich to increase their fortunes while passing on the burden to the American people. Trump’s casino empire has filed for bankruptcy multiple times – but he’s escaped each time with more money than he had before, leaving the common people to find new jobs and shoulder the tax burden.
These new revelations also prompt burning questions as to what else might be hidden in his more recent tax returns- which he still refuses to release. Judging from his last return, there’s some information he doesn’t want us to see – which means we absolutely must see it. . Trump is a predatory capitalist who has made his fortune by extorting money out of the common people, and we can’t let him get away with this absurd “populist” charade
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.