As Kurt Eichenwald and David Fahrenthold compete for the Pulitzer Prize on most damning story about Donald Trump’s byzantine financial dealings, I’ve read them with admiration but with increasing futility. “That makes me smart,” Trump growled during last week’s debate when Hillary Clinton alluded to his not paying taxes. Millions of Americans sympathize – from the woman who pays her babysitter in cash to the grad student over thirty who claims the purchase of pens as a deduction (this is not a confession, by the way). But the WaPo reports these protestations from the swingiest of swing states:
The revelations about the Republican nominee’s taxes gave Clinton a fresh opportunity. In conversations around Toledo, many voters said they were offended by Trump.
“It’s disgusting,” said Steve Crouse, 65, the owner of Toledo’s downtown Glass City Cafe and a separate printing business. “As a businessman, he’s got that right to do that. It’s the way the laws were set up. But it’s not right. I would feel guilty if I didn’t pay anything. It’s flat-out cheating the government. You’re using all the roads, the fire department, the police, so you should pay for that.”
On his way into church, at the suburban parish he shares with Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-Ohio), Fred Glynn, 63, said that Clinton’s support of abortion rights made her impossible to accept. But the tax story, which he had just seen on CNN, added to the reasons he would have to reject Trump.
“How can he not pay income taxes?” he asked. “He talks about helping people, but he doesn’t pay income tax? That’s helping everybody. It’s like the situation in Florida, where he didn’t pay taxes on his golf course. The school suffered from that.”
Never mind the fact that according to the 1996 return Trump reported nearly a billion dollars in losses. The brains, the acumen this man has.
Unlike Mark Halperin, I don’t care whether “this has an effect” on the campaign so much as getting people to understand how imbeciles with enough brain power to count on their toes exploit a tax system allowing real estate developers to qualify for special deductions. But we’re not reforming the tax system in 2017 no matter who’s president.