By: GIANNA LUGLIANI
Coming as a surprise to nobody, newly released information about President Trump has disappointed the American public once again. In an official statement published by the New York Times last week, Trump is shown to have paid a meager amount of only $750 in Federal Income taxes in 2016 and 2017, as well as paying nothing at all for many years preceding that. How is it possible for the president, who has a net worth of 2.5 billion dollars, to get away with spending less money on taxes than the average working-class American?
The American tax system favors the wealthy, and seemingly allows them more leniency in paying their dues. This is also taking into account that “the richest 0.1% hire ‘wealth defense industry’ professionals – tax lawyers, accountants, wealth planners – who mine the tax code for loopholes and shift assets to the shadows.” Because of their excessive wealth and accessibility to these means of help, it allows them to get away with things like this. Donald Trump has been unwilling to share his tax records with the public, and it is now clear why. Between the years of 2000 and 2015, in 10 out of those 15 years, Trump paid virtually nothing in taxes. This was possible due to him writing off lavish expenses such as private jets, huge hotel costs, and $70,000 in hair styling all as “business expenses.” He also was involved in sketchy instances of using “charitable tax deductions in a self-interested manner.” Yet somehow, all of this is most likely legal, proving that the tax system is wired differently for the top .1% of America’s wealth owners.
According to the New York Times, Trump should have been paying about $400 million in taxes, comparing him to his “wealthy peers” with similar earnings. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic U.S. representative in New York, called Trump a “walking scam.” In this tweet, she also reported how she paid thousands of dollars in taxes during those same years while she had been a bartender (before becoming a politician). She went on to say how he “contributed less to funding our communities than waitresses & undocumented immigrants.” Bernie Sanders also chimed in with his own tweet, saying, “Trump l-o-v-e-s corporate socialism for himself, rugged capitalism for everyone else.” This hypocritical situation proves Donald Trump’s selfishness when it comes to doing his part for the economy and how he is willing to manipulate the system for his own personal gains.
In last Tuesday’s presidential debate, the president refuted these claims and classified it all as “fake news.” He says that he paid millions of dollars in taxes during those years and that the public will be able to see them “as soon as they’re done.” He made this same promise back in 2016 when he first ran for president and never followed through with it, though, so it seems unlikely that the public will ever get to see them this time around either.