The holiest day of the Jewish year, Yom Kippur, was commemorated from Sunday sunset through Monday nightfall. Although my American Spectator article on Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination ran on that holy day, it obviously had been submitted beforehand. There is something so extraordinary about Jewish holy days when they are observed as they are meant to be. When one observes the Shabbat or the holy days in the Orthodox Jewish manner, a side blessing is that one gets to live 25 complete hours without hearing or watching the “news.” Imagine — a full day of no lies, no scandals, no defamation, no blasphemy. If you have never tried it, take it from me — it is worth all the restrictions we have on those days of no implementing electric or electronic devices, so no computer, no texting, no cars, no TV, no doing business, no writing, no telephone, no cutting, no planting. Just a day of prayer, study, rest, and long multi-course dinners and lunches with friends. (Yes, COVID temporarily is disrupting that for a few months.)
So I turned on the TV and the computer after Yom Kippur to see what useless garbage I had missed — and it became clear that, while I had spent the day communing with G-d and searching my deeds in an effort to better myself and my soul in the coming year 5781, the rest of youze guys were being inundated with garbage about Trump’s taxes. So here are a few thoughts:
Does anyone doubt that Al Gore has such deductions? Or Ocasio? Or the editors at the New York Times?
I had published on these pages on September 11 my prediction that we now will get a weekly, even daily, drip-drip-drip of non-stop anti-Trump garbage between now and Election Day. No, I am not a prophet in the manner of Isaiah or Jeremiah, just a disgusted viewer of the American scene. I know our leftist media. They did it four years ago with the excerpts of the Trump trailer talk about women, and they will do it now. They have been saving this stuff up for several years, waiting to dump it all on us as the election nears. One day it is a defamation and hoax that Trump bad-mouthed veterans. Another day, as I predicted, they leaked that he had bad-mouthed Jews. One day that he has some bogus medical condition. Another day that he did not pay taxes. This will not stop until December, because only an ignoramus believes that Election Day will end on November 3. People will be filling out and finding ballots all November, and they will be counting them and recounting them for the next four years. We longingly will miss the halcyon days of hanging chads and Mayor Daley delaying the 1960 presidential numbers from Cook County.
But today’s lie is the taxes. So let’s focus our interest and make some logical deductions:
Anyone who simply pays taxes without finding legal deductions is a fool. The system assumes everyone will find legal deductions. It absolutely is forbidden and criminal to cheat the government at tax time. But the system assumes legal deductions. They are built into the tax rates. If no one played the system for all its deductions, then the tax rates would be lower. But everyone takes deductions — or should.
Is there a limit as to how many deductions you may take? Well, no — and yes. You can deduct all you like, as long as it is legal. And then the system tries to recoup some of that with the “Alternate Minimum Tax.” But you can deduct. It is American. The Rich pay lobbyists to get deductions legislated into the Tax Code. So do the doctors, farmers, veterans, seniors, politicians, unions. The milk lobby milks the system. The hardware lobby applies the screws. They all do it.
Do you think Obama does not deduct? That Pelosi and Feinstein and Maxine Waters do not deduct? All their husbands are in fields that are ripe for deductions, and their tax returns would make for fun reading for the nosey among us who attended elementary school and high school in the 20th century, an era when mathematics was taught.
This is from a CNBC piece titled “These 91 Companies Paid No Federal Taxes in 2018”:
• Nearly 100 companies in the Fortune 500 had an effective federal tax rate of 0% or less in 2018, according to a new report.
• The report looks at the first year since the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 went into effect.
• The list of companies covers a wide range of industries and includes some of the biggest companies in the United States.
Included on the list were these Fortune 500 profitable corporations:
Avis Budget Group
Goodyear Tire & Rubber
Delta Air Lines
Do you know why The Rich never really pay their “fair share” of taxes? Because
And by the way, this is why leftist-progressive-socialist programs always fail. Ocasio-Hyphen and Elizabeth Warren and Bernie the Red all know this. So Bernie is a millionaire who owns three houses — pretty good for a communist spreading your and my wealth. Elizabeth Warren is worth around $9 million. Well, for many of us, she is not really personally worth a dime — but that’s her fiscal net worth. Not bad for a socialist who also wants to spread your wealth and mine. And Ocasio already is learning the tricks of how to get rich by advocating socialism. The Clintons came to Washington with Willie earning the lowest salary of any American governor: $35,000. Along the way to D.C. he met Juanita Broaddrick, Paula Jones, Kathleen Willey, Monica Lewinsky, and some handlers. Today they are worth between $45–120 million. Not bad. Pays for a lot of servers. The Obamas? He came in as a community organizer, a supposed Constitutional Law scholar who never published a single piece of legal scholarship in his life. Now financially worth $40 million. Ouch! — all that White Privilege and Systemic Racism. Sign us up!
The Left proposes crazy-expensive initiatives that will cost trillions in new spending on “Green New Deals” and “Free College Tuition” and “Loan Forgiveness” and “Medicare for All.” Then they tell the media that they will pay for all of it by taxing “The Rich.” On paper, if people were robots and if “The Rich” never had the brains to get to be “The Rich,” it all seems to add up. Instead of taxing a billionaire at 10 percent, tax him or her at 80 percent and you will take in eight times as much money. Right?
Well, no. Wrong.
Warren Buffett always will do better than his secretary. Jeff Bezos and Amazon are not going to get soaked by tax increases. He will evade them as he always does. That’s how he got to be a billionaire in the first place. The owner of Starbucks will not get soaked unless one of his baristas spills a Frappuccino on his lap while explaining systemic racism or critical ethnic studies to him. If the taxes go from 10 percent to 80 percent, the corporations’ assets will go off shore. They will increase certain expenses that they were planning for later so that they can begin depreciating and amortizing during the socialism phase before the Republicans come back and reduce taxes to induce them to repatriate their assets. That is why socialism never works. The Rich get out of Dodge to dodge the taxes. That is how they got to be The Rich. They understand this stuff, and they pay others who understand it even better.
Do the following Google search: “Tax Law Experts.” If you personally actually want one, include your city name in the search. Did H&R Block come up first? No? Do you know what “Tax Law Experts” do for a living? Yup. That’s not the H&R Block crowd. H&R Block-type people fill out the forms for you, and they find some obvious deductions. But the guys you just googled? Those guys specialize in loopholes for The Rich. They cost a bunch more, but they save their high-net-worth clients even more than that — and, perfectly, their services are … deductible.
I have a very close relative whom I love dearly, but we differ on politics. He specializes as a genius tax lawyer for people of “high net worth.” He is a partner at a law firm of such genius tax lawyers. They all are Democrats because the higher the Democrats raise taxes, the more clients that law firm gets from among The Rich to bypass the increases. And because those lawyers know the tax code inside and out, they know every single legal trick in the book. That is why the billionaires on Wall Street back the Democrats. That is why the billionaires in Hollywood and Silicon Valley back the Democrats — because, no matter how high the taxes go, The Rich never pay them. They go to the Tax Experts.
Do you know why we all speak of “Hollywood” as a metaphor for “The Movies”? Because, in the old days, movies were made in Hollywood. Then California became a one-party Democrat state, and taxes shot through the roof. Hollywood and its leftist power brokers all support that new regime. But guess what? They no longer make their movies in Hollywood. Now they make them in other states or countries that have lower or no taxes. Famous actors in Beverly Hills and Malibu have second homes in neighboring Nevada or Arizona, where taxes are nil, and they declare those homes as their primary addresses even as they endorse tax increases in California.
So what’s the surprise about Trump’s taxes? If he were cheating the law, he would be in prison with Michael Cohen and Michael Avenatti. We should expect that Trump pays no taxes. Have you ever heard of “EBITDA”? He has. That stands for “Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization.” Once the Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization kick in, the earnings start to disappear. That’s called “deductions.” If he needs to get a certain type of haircut to look the part before his TV show, that can be deductible. If he needs cars for his business or a private jet, that can be deductible. Does anyone doubt that Al Gore has such deductions? Or Ocasio? Or the editors at the New York Times? Or even the writers of the story that is such a “bombshell”?
It is no “bombshell.” Peace between Israel and two Arab Muslim countries paradoxically is a bombshell. Trump’s higher poll numbers with Blacks and Hispanics is a bombshell. Plummeting viewership of NBA games is a bombshell. NATO coughing up more money to pay their bills is a bombshell. And if Trump were so stupid as to pay the amount of taxes that CNN wants him to pay, that would be a bombshell. Instead, he is financially smart, surrounds himself with financial geniuses, and therefore can afford to be the first American president to give away his salary every payday. And if he has been donating the money to 501(c)(3) charities, that also is a deduction.