The recent New York Times article showing that Donald Trump may not have paid taxes for almost 20 years, coupled with his response to Hillary Clinton at the last presidential debate that not paying taxes makes him smart, has left many Americans offended and furious at Trump.
The Times leak shows that Trump claimed his businesses operated at a loss of $918 million in 1995, which would have allowed Trump to exploit some complicated tax laws to avoid paying any federal income tax, confirming many Americans’ beliefs that the top tier of the wealthy elite do not contribute their fair share of tax responsibility.
This makes it even more terrible when he berates millions of Americans for avoiding paying taxes. When Obama was running for reelection in 2011, Trump criticized his plan to increase tax on the rich, claiming that half of the population of the United States pays no income tax, which he again misrepresented in a 2012 tweet and once again in a 2015 interview with Sean Hannity.
Trump has called the American people lazy, needy, and self-entitled, while he himself has engaged in tax evasion for almost two decades. However, Trump has exploited faulty tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and billionaires while most people who pay no federal income tax do so because they do not make enough money.
Presidential nominees have engaged in a 40-year ritual of releasing their tax returns and income information for public scrutiny, but Trump believes himself to be above this tradition. He believes he doesn’t need to pay taxes because he is “smart enough” to hire teams of accountants while the other half of America is simply too lazy or entitled. Trump believes he can lose almost a billion dollars in a year and still claim to be a good businessman. Trump thinks he can insult over half the country and still get elected president, but that much has yet to be seen.