I will have a piece denouncing the Savvy This is No Big Deal And Won’t Matter Anyway takes that Paul discusses below later in the week (tl; dr the last election was flipped by the director of the FBI sending a letter about finding some emails that were quickly deemed immaterial to an insanely uninteresting pseudo-scandal; you have no idea what might affect a close election). On the “no big deal” part, I’d like to focus on another part of the story. Let’s first consider the party line emerging from Trump’s boot-polishers:
In addition to Will’s response, let’s consider this:
Mr. Trump has an established track record of stiffing his lenders. But the tax returns reveal that he has failed to pay back far more money than previously known: a total of $287 million since 2010.
The I.R.S. considers forgiven debt to be income, but Mr. Trump was able to avoid taxes on much of that money by reducing his ability to declare future business losses. For the rest, he took advantage of a provision of the Great Recession bailout that allowed income from canceled debt to be completely deferred for five years, then spread out evenly over the next five. He declared the first $28.2 million in 2014.
Yup, everybody does it. I mean what Jill Lunchpail and Joe Sixpack hasn’t at one time or another used various tricks to defer paying taxes on the $300 million in income they’ve “earned” by routinely stiffing creditors? Very relatable!
Here’s the thing — you don’t have to have pundit brain. You can actually make your own independent determination about what’s important rather than trying to project reactions onto imaginary voters. And this IS a big deal. Contrary to the hacky cynicism that’s good for Twitter clout and bad for actual politics, lowering marginal tax rates isn’t the top (and in many cases only) priority of major Republican donors because very rich people don’t pay any taxes.