And here we go again. It is nearly October, it is an election year, Orange Man Bad is running. Can you guess what time it is, boys and girls? That’s right. It is hit piece time.
And, right on cue, the New York Times, a former newspaper, claims to have gotten the inside scoop on President Trump’s tax returns. And they have apparently selectively published some bits.
At this point a normal skeptical human being might have a few questions. No, not that leaking such information is illegal. (Anyone who imagines that the NYT would have any concerns at all with publishing illegally leaked confidential information about the President must think we are living in 2014).
Rather, our hypothetical skeptic might wonder with some justification how seriously to take selectively proffered information released by die hard opponents of a person about a very complex area where none of the readers will ever have access to the entire material and very few, if any, single person could even effectively evaluate the material, even if they had it.
Do you understand entirety of the US tax code?
No, you don’t. No one does. That is why very rich people involved in complex business dealings employ armies of richly compensated accountants, whose sole job is to make sure that the rich person pays no more than he or she actually needs to.
But let us leave all that aside (do go and read science fiction author and former accountant Larry Correia’s take on the matter. He is much more entertaining)
Being a simple man, I will instead call out DR for their news coverage, where they led the with the remarkable claim that Donald Trump paid only 750 dollars in taxes on 2016 and 2017. This is just the kind of information nugget that is easy to convey and understand and is so very ideal if you want to generate outrage, the jet fuel that drives all media, even supposedly sober public media, these days. In fact, for Danish viewers this is too juicy a bit to ignore, since considerations of fairness, especially in terms of tax burdens, are of immense importance to a country of highly taxed people with a welfare state that is never big enough, provided the funding can come from other people, and not yourself.
There is just one problem (well several, but one immediate). The New York Times article which contains the information states:
By the way, the NYT article is only about federal taxes. We don’t know how much or little Trump paid in state and city taxes. Maybe whoever leaked the tax information did not have state and city tax records available. Second, even the NYT article clearly states that Trump paid $1 million in 2016 and $4.2 million in 2017, so while I am no accountant, that does appear to be more than $750.
In fact, Trump’s accountants are using all the legal maneuvers they can to satisfy the IRS, and they are using credit rules established by Congress to their client’s benefit. Imagine that. The upshot of all this is that when all was said and done, Trump owed the IRS $750 and he paid them that.
Every year when my taxes come due, I also get to go look at my tax return, selvangivelse. And usually, there is an amount remaining. Sometimes I have paid too much taxes during the year and sometimes I have an amount ouststanding (restskat), meaning I paid too little. But assuming that one year my restskat is $4.785,30 (today’s equivalent of $750), I would be quite annoyed if someone was to claim that all I paid that year in taxes was $750.
DR’s journalists cannot bring themselves to read the entire NYT article, or if they did, they failed to mobilize the tiniest smidgen of critical thinking, in favor of the immediate sound bite.
Because Republican Orange Man Bad.