Trump Tax Schemes? Audit the Clinton Foundation!
When conservatives were targeting the death tax, wealthy liberals were arguing that it was unfair that successful entrepreneurs could pass on their hard-earned wealth to their children. It was unfair to those whose parents weren’t successful and wealthy. The kids would be spoiled with money they did not earn or deserve while some were leaving their kids nothing but well wishes.
People should not be punished because they work hard, become successful, and want to pass on the fruits of their labor, or even their ancestors’ labor, to their children. Certainly, Donald Trump’s father believed that and to the extent he managed to pass on his success and some cash with it to his son, God bless him. But here comes the New York Times accusing the Trumps of “tax schemes” to avoid paying, wait for it, their “fair share” in taxes and not take advantage of what liberals call “loopholes” in the tax code, loopholes that the likes of the NYT and Trump’s 2016 opponent, Hillary “where the heck is Wisconsin” Clinton.
The subject came up during the 2016 debates with Clinton charging with Trump essentially with tax evasion and Trump responding that successfully reducing his tax burden through legal loopholes “makes me smart.” Indeed, it does and this country has in place a huge tax preparation industry whose purpose is to help us to legally reduce our tax burden. The whole point of neutering the death tax is to bless our children with our success without forcing them to visit the IRS and the undertaker on the same day.
This is the level to which the left has sunk -- attacking the dead father of a successful businessman and successful president of a country whose economy is soaring precisely because he has applied the principles of entrepreneurship to the economy -- principles like cutting taxes, gutting regulations, getting government off our backs and its greedy paws off our wallets.
The White House response was to the point:
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday night: "Fred Trump has been gone for nearly twenty years and it’s sad to witness this misleading attack against the Trump family by the failing New York Times. Many decades ago the IRS reviewed and signed off on these transactions. The New York Times’ and other media outlets‘ credibility with the American people is at an all time low because they are consumed with attacking the president and his family 24/7 instead of reporting the news." She continued, "The New York Times can rarely find anything positive about the President and his tremendous record of success to report. Perhaps another apology from the New York Times, like the one they had to issue after they got the 2016 election so embarrassingly wrong, is in order.”
Both Hillary Clinton and the New York Times are guilty of rank hypocrisy. For example, her campaign umbrage at Trump reporting a carried over nearly $1 billion loss on his 2015 tax return was phony and ignored that this is a common practice legally taken advantage of by many, including herself. Looking on page 17 of her 2015 tax returns, we find the righteously indignant Mrs. Clinton claiming a nearly $700,000 capital gains loss on assets held for more than one year.
The New York Times, as it turns out, also used the net loss provision of the tax code and why not? The purpose of the provision is to let businesses survive in rough times and to keep their employees employed. Without it, small businesses would die in infancy and larger businesses would teeter in tough times. This provision was put into the tax code to stimulate investment and encourage the risk-takers who create jobs. Trump was right when he said he had a fiduciary responsibility to investors and employees to pay as little tax as legally possible. The first objective of business is to stay in business, something which someone who never created a job or meta payroll might not grasp.
What kind of genius loses nearly a billion dollars? A genius like Obama buddy Warren Buffett reported a pre-tax loss of $873 million for tax year 2013. And, as the blog Flopping Aces reports, the New York Times also has used the ability to offset taxes with losses:
…as we noted previously, the NYT itself is also perfectly happy to take advantage of the US tax to minimize the amount of money it pays to the government: in 2014 the company got a tax refund of $3.6 million despite having a $29.9 million pretax profit, an effective negative tax rate for 2014, which it explained was favorably affected by approximately $21.1 million for the reversal of reserves for uncertain tax positions due to the lapse of applicable statutes of limitations.
Still, Hillary was in high dudgeon over someone who actually creates jobs instead of living off the taxpayer, as she has for around three decades, Trump merely taking advantage of this provision in the way lawmakers intended when they put it in the tax code:
"What kind of genius loses a billion dollars in a single year?" Clinton asked a crowd in downtown Toledo, with a hint of amusement in her voice…
"After he made all those bad bets and lost all that money, he didn't lift a finger to protect his employees, or the small businesses and contractors he'd hired, or the people of Atlantic City," Clinton said. "They all got hammered, while he was busy with his accountants figuring out how he could keep living like a billionaire."
This comes from a woman who claimed she and her husband were “dead broke” when they left the White House in 2001 yet somehow amassed a fortune estimated at $200 million without holding a real job or starting a real business. Hillary Clinton did not take a vow of poverty, using her position as Secretary of State to sell access and influence to donors to the Clinton Foundation.
Trump has “stiffed” nobody. He has instead kept most of his businesses in business, paying state and local taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, all while keeping thousands of employees employed, employees who themselves pay taxes.
The slush fund that is the Clinton Foundation remains an unaudited mystery. Let us not forget the $145 million from Russian donors as she approved the sale of 20 percent of our uranium reserves to Vladimir Putin. Corruption has been a Clinton hallmark. The Clintons have made a career of making a fortune on the dime of a public they intentionally deceive and defraud, using their positions of power to enrich themselves at the public’s expense. Before there was “pay for play” at the Clinton Foundation which was perhaps the real reason for the private server and the deletion of 30,000 emails.
You want to see Trump’s tax returns? Let’s audit the Clinton Foundation and Hillary’s State Department first. Trump ran his businesses like a business. Hillary ran the State Department like she ran the Clinton Foundation -- as personal slush fund and vehicle for your personal political ambitions.
Daniel John Sobieski is a freelance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine, and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.