Tax returns expose whether one ‘supports’ government and law – or freeloads
The wishy-washy Supreme Court failed again to insist Trump tax returns be immediately released. Legal technicalities allow the Delayer-in-chief to assault the presidency a second time by not revealing who he is – and for whom his debt bells toll. That means Trump could get elected twice without real transparency about his entire business career, even spoils from illegal emolument payoffs. Further, the Court deflected an absolute Congressional, investigation right: ready inspection of any suspect’s tax returns.
Invisible tax returns again recall not just Trump’s most specific lie/fake promise but also apparently the longest tax audit in world history. Four years ago Donald Dotard promised to disclose his tax returns the moment an “audit” concluded. What audit lasts forever? Plus, audits inquire or seek evidence; none invalidates submissions. An early, profoundly Trumpian fraud.
More on point, audits have no bearing on the urgent public need for transparency, especially when his amazingly “successful business career” was Trump’s prime pitch #1. Without success, no great wealth, prime reason #2 to elect him. Not knowing his actual financial status — especially to whom he owed billions (since this guy couldn’t buy a NY bank loan) — means every voter is stabbing the dark – and unable to evaluate prime Trump election reason #3: his success and wealth immunize from any debt or pressure to (other) moneyed interests, thus alone freeing him (vs. all other politicians) from special interest elitists he scorned.
No other qualifications for public office counted in Trump’s own terms. Only epic, global, matchless business acumen, the sole proof of which were his fact-free assertions, life style and Trump signs atop buildings. But considering an undeniable career of scandals, for years inflating every asset, even sexual prowess, weren’t tax returns were even more important for him than any garden variety hack touting experience and legislative wins? That Trump pulled off then, and all the time between, withholding basic financials, surpasses all other more transient Trump scandals, even despicable ones that got him impeached.
Boldest lie of all?
Yes, lying about what he wouldn’t in a million years release qualifies as his worst lie (though the competition is fierce). Time and again, in 2016, he scammed: “Obviously if I’m being audited, I’m not going to release a return,” Trump said. “As soon as the audit is done, I love it.” “Obviously.” So, either this is that legendary Audit of Infinite Time, as imperishable as God, mass and energy. Or this is an early tell that voters confronted a congenital, pathological, historic liar. Still wondering?
Second, this lie – and that Trump returns are still guarded like state secrets – proves another epic Trump deception, that the traitorous deep state is out to get him. Is not the IRS an entrenched federal bureaucracy still totally protecting his ass, refusing even to declare the audit ended? Is this a state secret, too? By hook and crook, our entire political, media, agency, electoral and legal system blasted the public trust, keeping dark what all voters have a right to know. Thus, for me, his greatest scandal.
As evidenced daily, Trump lies spawn more grievous lies. From 2016, “One, the voters don’t actually care about this, and two, there is no new l information that would come out of the tax returns.” If nothing was (or is) there, why waste a fortune paying high-priced lawyers to block all visibility? Why is Trump so terrified of the world unearthing how his reputed “business genius” worked its magic? Or didn’t. Or cheated to win.
For if Trump is not a legitimate, tax-abiding citizen, his entire house of cards disintegrates. Not only would his own criminality hardly “immunize” him against graft or corruption. If tax returns reveal unholy indebtedness to underworld types, that obliterates all phony outrage about the Russia “hoax.” Tax returns will tell us even more than we know now, after three years of a shameless fake news presidency.
Patriotism from “a super-patriot”?
And then the patriotic betrayal side. For normal billionaires, tax payments and tax returns reflect financial support for the government without which no one amasses wealth. Without a rock-solid government – and minor virtues like peace, defense, police, trade support, subsidies, low regulations and legal leverage to protest riches – what else guarantees all American treasures? Either this sole foundational entity receives sufficient revenue or it withers and fails, eventually sold to the highest bidder. Our relatively low, court corruption levels (below the White House) are directly correlated to enough good faith taxpayers who know their “contributions” are good investments that secure all citizens over time.
Predatory billionaires have limitless budgets to hunt down every loophole, even invent some, as with Trump deducting payoff to prostitutes. When a free-loader president brags he’s too smart to pay taxes, that sends a democracy-killing torpedo: only saps and suckers pay taxes – and what good is government anyway? For one, government is essential for rich people who buy tax loopholes, preferences, subsidies, mass housing vouchers, and the rest of trillions not paid in but paid TO billionaires and predatory corporations.
Only Republican Mitt Romney expressed in 2016 what’s even truer now, indeed downright incontrovertible: “There is only one logical explanation for Mr. Trump’s refusal to release his returns: there is a bombshell in them. Given Mr. Trump’s equanimity with other flaws in his history, we can only assume it’s a bombshell of unusual size.” Thanks to the Supreme Court, the public remains ignorant of Trump “bombshells” and their “unusual size.” Thanks to Mary Trump and others, 2018 NY Times’ reports described tax shenanigans galore, inheritance rip offs, and illegal fluctuating asset values: high for insurance, rock-bottom when taxable or estate-owned. But that was all second hand.
This sole magic demand resolves all
So why is this one simple question not front and center every day? Why is Trump not pommeled for withholding returns? Why doesn’t every pundit and every journalist keep repeating: “Deliver the returns. Cut the audit BS. End the legal smoke and mirrors.” Further, in the name of transparency, why isn’t the House calling IRS officials to explain the audit status? Why isn’t Congress sending out subpoenas to partners and ex-partners who know first hand how Trump did business – or how he broke the rules (as he did everywhere else)? Not rocket science.
For me, the overriding historic judgment is “all protective systems failed” – namely, Special Prosecutor, House inquiries, legal challenges and Impeachment. We have not and may not before this election see anything close to the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. That’s why withholding tax returns dwarfs all other Trump pollution. This outrage reminds me of a truism from Greg Sergeant, Wash Post a year ago, “What Trump seems to have developed here is a kind of full-saturation, totally unabashed flaunting of impunity as something to be worn as a badge of honor.” Is that what we’ve come to? And how to survive?
Were Trump returns released tomorrow, the enormous bombshells would further shred plunging support, padding Biden’s lead. The phony law and order facade dissolves and something beyond unfitness would surface: a criminal, riding his crimes in power and flaunting impunity. Only such disclosure and subsequent disgrace would prompt early retirement, certainly a devastating November loss.
Four years of sustained democracy-busting corruption should never be allowed to happen again. Because Trump is so wildly overplaying the infamy card, chances for reform to control such disruptions are higher than ever. That’s the half-ass, half-way good news, but only knowledge supports any upward arc of justice.