Saturday, April 15, 2017

Taxes (Donald Trump's): It Should Be Educational

For the record I would like to take a look at Donald Trump's tax returns....mainly out of curiosity. By examining the hundreds of backup schedules in the returns we could find out a lot about how he and other very rich people arrange their financial affairs. Structures that aren't cost-effective for the upper middle class make sense for the uber-rich who are trying to avoid massive estate and income tax bills.

But back to the original reason for this post: today demonstrators across the country demanded that the President release his tax returns. (Note: here are the first two pages of his 2005 return, which Rachel Maddow released to great fanfare on March 14th.) I don't think that there's anything illegal to be found---similar to the results of the Russian-collusion investigation---and if the progressives aren't careful their complaints will boomerang, just as how the Russian-collusion investigation could lead to the discovery of National Security violations by Obama officials.

Why do I say that any Trump tax revelations will boomerang? Because it's very likely that his tax advisers have taken aggressive but legal positions and that such strategies are likely to be employed by other very wealthy people, more of whom support Democrats than Republicans.

Do the Democrats really want the public to learn how charitable foundations, dynasty trusts, and family partnerships are used to reduce, defer, and avoid taxes? Do they really want a discussion about carried interest, personal holding companies, and inside vs. outside basis?

Let the President reveal his tax returns (in exchange for concessions on tax policy, of course), then have his advisers explain what they did, then watch how Democratic donors tell their supporters to cool it. It should be educational.

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