New Orleans A reported number of 100,000 hit the streets in various cities, not to celebrate Easter, but to continue to demand on the eve of the US tax deadline that President Trump release his tax returns. The President was golfing and preparing for the annual Easter Egg Hunt on the White House lawn, so was nonplused about these latest rallies.
On the other hand, in a rich irony, a steady stream of Republican Congressional representatives are now joining the Democrats in calling for Trump to release his returns as well. Many in Congress are unprepared now to move forward on Trump’s much vaunted campaign promise to achieve significant tax reform until they see Trump’s own returns to make sure that the President and his family are not going to personally benefit from any tax reform proposals. Talk about being hoisted by your own petard!
These are not trivial matters obviously. There is always the risk of a massive giveaway to the rich, because that has been pretty much standard procedure for many tax issues in recent years, and of course whether Trump is just a millionaire or a billionaire, if there’s a giveaway, he would certainly be in line. More tellingly, a number of the proposals being floated out there, including one that would collect an extra billion dollars in revenue would mean eliminating one of the real estate developers favorites which allows them to deduct the price of interest on debt from their taxes, and god knows, Trump the developer loved debt and that deduction. Some of the sticklers in Congress are saying they have to see Trump’s taxes to make sure they are not lining his pockets, which would be hard to explain to voters around the country.
The additional irony in the land of dysfunction that has typified the first 100 days of Trump time is that there still is no tax reform proposal for all the talk and promises. The Ryan plan which would have larded on an export tax at the border, also helping pay for the wall, has come under fire from a host of businesses and the deep-pocketed Koch brothers who have mobilized their troops against any such notion. Trump has also flip flopped back and forth in fits and starts about trying to resuscitate his healthcare mess because of some tax implications they would have achieved by taking away peoples’ insurance.
The bottom line seems to be that there is no tax reform proposal that has jelled sufficiently on the right or left, leaving him once again without a winning coalition or a coalition at all that could win passage. Trump is stuck. Polls are clear that the American people want to see his returns, but it’s not a life or death issue for them. He wants to keep his business on the down low but can’t move without a plan and a dose of transparency. This guy can’t seem to win for losing and tripping over his own tie.