Taxing Trump: How Do You Lie to the Face of the American People Like That?
(Video, my title, “The President Tells a Whopper,” courtesy of YouTube.)
Trump’s assertion that the tax bill would hurt him financially is his biggest whopper yet.
While House and Senate Republicans remain in “conference” working out the details of a tax bill (it seems no Democrats will support it), the president of the United States continues to utter misleading statements to the media about taxes and beneficiaries, in hoping to score his first legislative “victory.”
According to the Washington Post Fact Checker, Trump has repeated false claims of the bill being the biggest tax cut in US history (40 times), that the US imposes the highest corporate tax rate (19 times), and that the US is the highest-taxed country in the world (31 times).
All have been proven false or misleading: Treasury Department data predicts that a final bill would rank around number eight (even as they deny that the wealthy would get most of it); US corporate tax rates come with standard deductions, loopholes and benefits; and any internet search would confess that the US doesn’t even make the top 10 of highest-taxed countries.
Trump’s Problem With the Truth
In fulfilling its journalistic mission to hold the powerful accountable, The Washington Post Fact Checker publishes an on-going tally of the president’s false or misleading public statements. As of a month ago (Nov. 14), the Post counted 1,628 false or misleading public utterances from President Trump in his 298 days in office. That’s an average of 5.5 lies per day.
Falsehoods about taxes don’t even lead the pack. Donald Trump’s most repeated false claim, clocking in at 60 separate times, is some variation of the assertion that “Obamacare is dying” or “Obamacare is dead.” (Tell that to the 11.4 million people enrolled in an ACA insurance program, including the 1.5 million folks who signed up this year.)
This is going to cost me a fortune, this thing, believe me. This is not good for me…I think my accountants are going crazy right now.
–President Trump’s remarks on the tax bill, St. Charles, MO, Nov. 29, 2017
How Would the President Fare Under the Tax Bill?
Of course we don’t know exactly how the tax bill would affect Donald Trump or his heirs financially. Trump is the first president in four decades not to release his tax returns for public scrutiny.
We can only estimate his real net worth which, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index, is $2.86 billion. Trump has claimed that he is worth $10 billion. Chalk that up.
We do have Trump’s partial tax return from the year 2005, obtained by The Rachel Maddow Show. Even a partial return is useful in determining whether Trump’s accountants are indeed “going crazy right now.”
Click here for a .pdf copy of Trump’s 2005 partial return: trump2005tax
Here are some of the bill’s provisions, both House and Senate versions, and their effect on Donald Trump:
Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): This is a supplemental income tax imposed on high earners who take a lot of deductions. It ensures that the wealthy pay at least some taxes. The House version repeals the AMT altogether; last-minute horse-trading in the Senate version resulted in the tax kicking in at higher deduction levels.
The 2005 return shows that the AMT increased Trump’s tax bill from $5.3 million to $36.5 million.
Cha-Ching! Trump saves $31 million.
Pass-Through Business Income: The bill passed by the House slashed tax rates on “pass-through” business entities from 39.6 percent to 25 percent; The Senate’s, 23 percent. These are companies that are taxed on the owner’s individual tax return, bypassing the corporate code. According to NPR, The Trump Organization is a collection of about 500 pass-through businesses.
But sticking to the 2005 return, Trump earned more than $109 million from pass-through entities. Both Senate and House tax bills would be very kind to his business model.
Cha-Ching! Trump saves $16 million.
Estate Tax: This tax on inherited property worth over $5.45 million affects only a few thousand American families. Of course any changes to the estate tax would affect Trump heirs, not Trump himself. The House bill would completely eliminate the estate tax; the Senate version would hike the threshold to $11 million. We’ll use the Bloomberg estimate of Trump’s net worth at $2.86 billion.
Cha-Ching! Trump family saves $1.1 billion.
There’s still time. Please go to indivisible.org or call 855-980-2355 and ask to speak to your Senator or Congressman.