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The Expansionist
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
 
Trump's 2005 Tax Returns? Who Cares?
Media and the White House are making much ado about financial nothing, in discussing Donald Trump's tax returns from 2005, 10 years before the year we were concerned with during the Presidential campaign. The bulk figures show that Trump, who made $150 million that year, like all of the obscenely rich, cheated Americans of modest means. Even if the effective tax rate is a bit higher than that on a person who made $50,000 a year, the impact upon the lifestyle of the person of typical income is vastly greater. What matters is this differential impact.
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The purpose of a progressive taxation policy is to REDUCE unfair differential impacts between the rich and the rest of us. Ideally, the obscenely rich should be progressively, and starkly, reduced in wealth, to bring the Nation closer to equal effective treatment of all citizens. In what other area of life is there the kind of differential between individuals? Do the rich live 60 times as long as the typical citizen? No. Are they 60 times as tall, heavy, muscular, smart as people of modest means? No. Only in monetary terms is there the kind of preposterous differential between the rich and the rest. The typical income in the United States is $52,250. Let's do a little calculation, which you can do on Google if you don't have a dedicated calculator or a calculator program at hand. $150 million divided by $52,250 is 2,870.8. So a person like Trump made about 2,871 TIMES as much as the typical citizen. How can anyone regard that as reasonable or fair?
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After he paid his taxes, he still had $112 million. After the ordinary human being in the United States pays their taxes, they have $44,412, from which they must pay all expenses, usually for a family of 3 or 4, including mortgage/rent, food, insurance, one or more cars and their expenses, including liability insurance, college for the kids, retirement, and everything else in life. After basic expenses are deducted, the ordinary citizen is left with somewhere between a PITTANCE and — NOTHING. Nobody needs $112 million A YEAR! Everybody needs more than a pittance, esp. if some unforeseen expense comes up, such as medical costs for injuries from a traffic accident that are not covered by the insurance that people felt they could afford to pay, either because of a deductible or copays or both. And now the Republicans want to make sure that people must pay thru the nose for health insurance. If that ruins their lives, that's TUF. Don't go crying to the Republican leadership, because they have NO sympathy for you or anyone else who is not rich. Your problems are YOUR problems, and they won't let you 'push off onto others' YOUR problems. To their mind, "society" and "social responsibility" are ridiculous delusions.
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This is what passes for fairness in the United States in 2017, and it will be far worse if the Republican let-them-die-if-they-cannot-pay, healthcare bill is enacted. Republicans don't want their proposal called "Trumpcare"? OK. How about the DIYCPA — Die If You Can't Pay Act?
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Implicit in the stance of the Republican Party is that the rich EARN what they get, and the poor get what little they deserve, because they are not worthy of wealth. I wish they would tell that to the yahoos who are their core constituency. "You are poor because you deserve to be poor. And we are going to do everything in our power, which was really YOUR power until you gave it to us, to see that you get exactly what you deserve: nothing." Yes, by all means tell them that.
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The rich do NOT necessarily — indeed, do not generally — EARN the difference in income they enjoy over other citizens. In fact, it is rare that the obscenely rich earned their wealth. In a very few cases, such as Internet megamillionaires, they might have reaped a fortune because they produced a superior product or service. But it's all luck as to whether a product or service catches on and continues to amass or even maintain the fortune that Internet tycoons make. Just think of all the tech companies that have disappeared, and all the devices that failed to catch on. Wikipedia has a list of some of the more spectacular casualties of the dot-com crash. Why did pets.com fail but other major pet-supply companies survive? Why did Myspace fall out of vogue, in favor of Facebook? Myspace went from 1,600 employees in 2009 to 200 in 2011. Wise people know the difference between money really earned and simple good "fortune".
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The public is fickle, and today's biggest tech companies could disappear. Exxon offered a dedicated word-processing machine, Vydec, which dominated the field, and was only partially displaced by Wang Laboratories' word-processor. But when personal computers started to be used in word-processing centers, Exxon shut down Vydec. Wang went bankrupt and was sold on the cheap to a Dutch company. Facebook could prove a flash in the pan. And Google is doing some things very badly (such as Google Photos, a massively inferior replacement for Picasa Online Albums), that may foreshadow serious difficulties in the future.
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It's all a matter of luck.
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The same holds for many of the richest individuals today, who did not earn their money from the outset but inherited their wealth, as Donald Trump inherited his base wealth. Remember his appallingly preposterous statement that he took a small loan of A MILLION DOLLARS from his father? Why didn't the impoverished redneck yahoos who comprise The Donald's base of support catch wise to his scams from that? Oh, that's right: they're poor because they're STUPID, and so, according to the thinking of Trump's ilk, they deserve to be bilked.
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The rich also make contacts with other rich people in positions to steer business their way, contacts that ordinary people do not have. The rich get jobs in which they are given enormous salaries that bear no relation to the difficulty of the work they do, or what the typical worker makes. The rich in the corporate suite pay themselves very well, and provide themselves bonuses, stock options, and other forms of remuneration that ordinary workers do not receive. The system is, as Trump might say, if he were being honest — which, of course, he cannot bring himself ever to be — "rigged" to provide huge advantages to the rich and keep those benefits away from the poor and middle class. What our tax system should be is FAIR, but no one on Earth could say that taxation in this country is fair.
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Worse, in the case of Trump's taxes, the information given is aggregated, with no specifics as to source of income, by which we would be able to determine possible influences upon his behavior by business contacts, including foreign, esp. including Russian, individuals and corporations.
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So, of what value is the info about Trump's 2005 taxes? None. It is a distraction from the fact that Trump has STILL not released comprehensive information about his 2015 taxes, with all that might appear in them about possible sources of corruption of his Administration by his far-flung business empire and esp. operations in, you guessed it, Russia.



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