New Orleans The poor New York Times. They have the scoop of the election campaign when a little birdie drops in the mail a copy of much of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns, and because of the speed of the internet and our digital world, it doesn’t really even get in the newspaper itself. At least not the one delivered around the country and the world. They have to release it on Saturday night, so it ends up not in their Sunday paper, but in local papers who subscribe to their news service. Their own editions talk about the story without ever having run it. To me that’s a good example of how the internet and media have made this campaign different than any other, but that’s just me.
All of us have our mouths wide open when we imagine how anyone can declare a loss of almost a billion dollars on their tax returns and still be allowed to sign a payroll check, much less be in business, or for that matter a potential President of the United States. Oh, and of course ask someone to vote for him because he’s such a good businessmen and employer so that he can be in charge of the federal budget which it turns out you and I likely contribute more to than he does.
Reading the analysis of what was revealed the Times quotes “Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist who served as director of the Congressional Budget Office and is now president of the American Action Forum, a conservative pro-growth advocacy group, commenting on Trump’s taxes, said, ‘It’s either a unique combination of bad luck or he’s a terrible businessman or both. I don’t understand how you can lose a billion dollars and stay in business.’”
Here’s the mistake people have been making. Trump’s claims that he is a businessman are another piece of flim-flam. He’s a promoter, a salesman, and a brand, not a businessman. In the same way a model advertises fashion, Trump is an empty suit advertising what people think a businessman is. But, that’s really what real estate developers always are to some degree. They are dream weavers who work the press and the public for subsidies and sales, and, when they get lucky, actually see something built, and then sell out as quickly as they can.
Turns out the tax code is fantastic, if you’re rich and in the real estate game. On some of these losses you have to understand he may have been able to take this 20-year federal tax holiday and didn’t even have his own money or any money at risk. He’s wheeling and dealing, and bankrupting this and that, and still coming out roses. Casinos are coming and going, and he’s still playing the odds, because he’s the “house,” and the house is his.
The tax records conclusively prove that he is a wretched businessman, but a supreme hustler. Politics was a natural place for him to go. There’s no bigger pile anywhere for a gambler to play.
It’s hard to believe though that any of that qualifies him for President in anyone’s mind.