The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The 2005 Tax Return

The Left had a quasi-comical Dan Rather moment least night when MSNBC's social justice warrior in-residence announced that she had come upon Donald Trump's 2005 tax return. The Wall Street Journal tells the tale:
Opinions differ on whether President Donald Trump is a great businessman, but when it comes to tax avoidance he’s not even in the same league with Warren Buffett. Contrary to political myth, it turns out that Mr. Trump paid more federal taxes in one year than all but a relative handful of Americans will pay in their entire lifetimes.

Last night, just before a heavily promoted MSNBC report on the subject, the White House disclosed that in 2005 Mr. Trump paid $38 million in federal taxes on $153 million in income.

Across social media, Americans of all creeds and colors are joining together to laugh at Rachel Maddow. But they should give the MSNBC host a break. So what if her Tuesday segment revealing Mr. Trump’s 2005 tax return was over-advertised and under-produced? Night-time cable news tends to be a mixture of entertainment and information, and is often criticized for featuring too much of the former. If Ms. Maddow’s show failed as entertainment, it certainly seems like news when the television headquarters of the anti-Trump resistance reports that Mr. Trump has paid a ton of taxes.

And did he ever pay. The Journal reports that because of losses in previous years, Mr. Trump’s adjusted gross income in 2005 was just $48.6 million. MSNBC may have just produced the greatest argument ever against the Alternative Minimum Tax. Does anyone this side of Bernie Sanders—or come to think of it, Rachel Maddow—think that the Internal Revenue Service should confiscate 78% of someone’s adjusted gross income?

We learned last night that Hillary Clinton’s claims about Mr. Trump’s taxes were off target. But another person who should be feeling at least a little embarrassed is the American media’s most beloved billionaire, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett. In the heat of the campaign last year Mr. Buffett [a Hilary Clinton supporter and recently, a darling of some on the Left], a Democratic donor, released his 2015 tax returns and challenged Mr. Trump to do the same.

Mr. Buffett is estimated by Forbes to be worth around $78 billion, or roughly eight times Mr. Trump’s most optimistic assumptions about his own wealth. Yet in October Mr. Buffett revealed that he paid just $1.8 million in federal taxes in 2015, less than 5% of what Mr. Trump had paid a decade earlier, not even adjusted for inflation. Of course this is just one year of tax data on Mr. Trump and as a businessman who’s had his share of failures, he may have paid little or nothing in other years. But $38 million is a big tax bill for anybody, at any time.
The New York Times stayed true to form by headlining this story, "Trump Wrote Off $100 Million in Losses in 2005, Leaked Forms Show." In the story the NYT grudgingly admits that Trump paid $38 million in taxes, but true leftists never think that any amount paid is a "fair share" or that Donald Trump is anything but a monster, so the NYT story in largely negative.

As usual, unhinged positions regarding Trump often are proven wrong—making people like Rachel Maddow look kind of foolish. I suspect that the same will hold true for the unhinged contention that Trump and his people were working with the Russians to tilt the election in their favor. But critical thinking is generally not a strong attribute among far too many of the Left, so claims that Trump never paid income taxes or is a Russian stooge become a prevailing narrative—until the narrative is shown to be as ridiculous as it sounds.