Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Why Should I Care About Trump's Taxes, Anyway?

By now, you all are familiar about the career implosion that Rachel Maddow and MSNBC undertook on March 14--hyping for two and a half hours on their network and on social media that they finally had some of President Trump's tax returns.  And then, once Maddow's program started, we had to endure another 15 minutes of hype before they finally got to the segment where they showed the tax return.  It was a series of ongoing hype, teases, stretching, and "After this commercial break..." television that would have put an episode of WWE Raw to shame.

And the big reveal was that Donald Trump actually paid his taxes.

As I write this piece on the day after the Maddow debacle, upon seeing the ridicule that she and MSNBC have taken for portraying to the country that they had some sort of smoking gun on President Trump, when it turns out they had nothing out of the ordinary...I step back and am left with one question:

Why should I care about Trump's tax returns at all, whatever they might show?

The knee-jerk reaction from practically any journalist or Liberal would be, "because every Presidential candidate since Nixon has released their tax returns!"  Well, this is true...but stop and think--throughout all of the elections that you have voted in during your life, have you ever made a decision about who to vote for based on a piece of information in one of these tax returns?  I know I certainly haven't ever cast a vote on this basis.  Yes, that information has been out there for roughly the last 40 years of Presidential politics...but that information has proven to be largely irrelevant as far as the voting public is concerned.  Tax returns always gave the media and the journalists plenty to pour over on a slow news day...but to we who actually cast ballots, tax returns seem to be little more than irrelevant information that does not, generally, enter into the decision we make at the ballot box.

In other words, the release of tax returns seems to be solely for the benefit of the media and the journalists...not for the benefit of those of us who actually are voting.

So that's why the media care about tax returns...but why should I--your humble columnist and voter--care?  Think about it--if we actually had Trump's tax returns for the last 10 years, 20 years, or however far back the media wants them from....there are only three possible outcomes of what we could find from them.  And none of the three outcomes would convince me to stop backing Donald Trump.  Those three possible outcomes are as follows:

  • Outcome #1:  President Trump has paid all of his taxes in full, with no questions of deductions, tax shelters, etc.  Obviously, in this case, there would be "nothing to see here", and there would be no reason for me to stop supporting him.
  • Outcome #2:  President Trump has paid all of the taxes he legally owes, but has taken advantage of loopholes, tax law, and other legal mechanisms in order to reduce the amount he has paid to it's lowest possible legal amount.  Again, I would find nothing wrong with this (after all, a man would have to be a fool to voluntarily pay one penny more in taxes than the absolute minimum he can legally get away with), and it would probably cause me to respect the President even more.  Of course, in this outcome, Liberals and Journalists could be expected to be beside themselves with righteous indignation, because in their world, there is something about taking advantage of a legal tax shelter or deduction that indicates a lack of character (don't ask me to explain why they consider this to be an indication of a lack of character...I don't understand it, either!)
  • Outcome #3:  Trump has broken tax law and has illegally paid less tax than what he owes.  Of course, this is the worst possible outcome of the three.  But if this were the case (and I suspect this would be the least likely of the three possible outcomes), would I stop supporting President Trump?  No, I don't think that I would turn my back on him.  In an era where the Federal Government most often does more harm than good to American society, I can't find it within myself to criticize someone who doesn't enable this toxic Federal Government by depriving it of it's lifeblood--the income of hard-working Americans.  Tax Evasion, as far as I'm concerned, is essentially a "victimless crime" in 2017...sort of a "Two wrongs actually do make a Right" scenario.  I'm not advocating for Tax Evasion, mind you...but I'm also not going to think any less of someone, in terms of character, who engages in it.  Think of it like jaywalking.
Since the Maddow debacle, Journalists and Liberals have floated the idea that Trump purposely leaked the tax return himself in order to make himself look good.  But if that were the case, wouldn't MSNBC have looked at the return, said to themselves, "Wait, this makes Trump look good", and not have put it on the air?  Or at the very least, confined it to a three-minute segment in which they crowed about how they need more tax returns?  That theory really doesn't make sense.  No, from the actions of both Maddow and MSNBC--the two-plus hours of hype, the entire Maddow show being centered around the return, and the significant amounts of time the return got on the shows of Lawrence O'Donnell and Brian Williams who followed is clear that MSNBC thought they had a smoking gun.  And the response from Social Media and the Twitterverse within minutes of the big reveal proved that the gun they had wasn't smoking whatsoever.

As with so many other issues during the election season and the early days of the Trump Presidency, the Maddow Tax Debacle has shown the massive disconnect between the issues that the Mainstream Media thinks are important (Trump's taxes, Russia, "Grab 'em by the pussy") vs. the issues that regular American People know to be important (Jobs & the Economy, Terrorism, Illegal Immigration, & Urban Crime).  With such a profound disconnect, is it any wonder that the mainstream journalists and Democrats of today keep constantly ending up with egg on their faces?

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