The internet, newspapers, and talk radio are awash with debate, comment and opinion concerning Donald Trump’s tax returns. What is all the fuss about? Why such concern? Consider this, it may well be it has little to do with his return and more to do with politics and perception.
We all pay taxes and most people would like to pay less and many people would like to have some people pay more. The tax topic has been a hot button issue in the Democratic primary but the reality of their policies doesn’t nearly match their rhetoric. (More on that later)
Hillary calling out Donald Trump over taxes creates a diversion from the real issues of the Presidential campaign and frankly his tax return is of little substantive value in considering him as a candidate. How many of people so upset over not yet seeing his tax return have the tax knowledge to understand how to prepare such a return? I am absolutely certain Donald Trump does not sit down on April 14th and write up his own return or his form 1040.
The only real question should be did he pay taxes as required by law? He says, he is currently being audited by the IRS, ok that seems realistic considering the complexity of the return a person of wealth may have. There are thousands of pages in the tax code and legal opinions vary as to some regulations so an audit review does not seem unreasonable.
As voters our real question and concern should be did he legally file a return based on legal interpretation of the IRS code. The answer will be judged by the IRS auditors and that could take a considerable amount of time. Unless the law is broken a candidate’s tax return proves little more than the fact they or their tax preparer complied with the tax laws.
Frankly the amount of tax Donald Trump paid or did not pay should be more a problem for the Democratic Party than Donald Trump. It is a matter of record, the Democrats had control of both the House and the Senate in addition to the White House during the first Obama term. Therefore, if Trump followed the law and passes the audit he has followed the tax code the Democrats either endorsed or did not chose to change. Hence there should be no question or concern with his return but there could well be many questions about the Democratic Party actions that set the rules for Trump to follow in preparation of his return.
Some folks are pointing out some other Presidents have disclosed their tax returns and Richard Nixon disclosed his during an audit. It matters little if any candidate for any office discloses their tax returns it is not a requirement for office and for that matter it is not a normal requirement for any employment application. That being said, it is common for any employer to ask for a college transcript and yet our current President had his college transcript sealed to hide the facts from public disclosure. Many of those making a fuss over Trump’s taxes showed little concern for Obama’s transcript.
Hillary asking about Trump’s tax return brings to mind, Hamlet and the words of Queen Gertrude when she said, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” Shakespeare was a wise and complex playwright and perhaps if he were alive today he would pen a play about this tax issue and call it Much Ado About Nothing Part II.