The recent disclosure by the New York Times of President Donald Trumpâ€™s personal tax returns for nearly a 20-year period, up to and including his 2017 return (which Trump would have filed in April, 2018), presents evidence of the extent both of Trumpâ€™s tax avoidance schemes and the precarious situation of his personal finances.
Trump always has stated his disdain for taxes. While it may be true that he has been able to avoid paying taxes because of loopholes that favor the wealthy, especially real estate developers, what really stands out is the bottom line figure of $750 in taxes that he paid in BOTH 2016 and 2017.
Americans who make only the minimum wage pay far more in federal income taxes than Trump paid in 2016 and 2017.
In addition, anyone who has filed a tax return for more than one year knows that it is almost impossible to have the same bottom line figure in two consecutive years (which is especially true for someone like Trump, who has multiple business ventures), unless you go out of your way to manipulate the figures.
Another fact that is evident from the tax returns is that Trump is hardly the mogul billionaire he always has claimed to be. The tax returns demonstrate that Trump is a truly terrible businessman.
Just as Trumpâ€™s casinos and other projects failed miserably in the late 1980s and early 90s, his high-end golf clubs around the world are a cash sinkhole for him today.
Most disturbing however, the tax returns demonstrate the extent to which Trump personally is deeply in debt. Trump has almost half a billion dollars in loans (that he personally guaranteed) coming due within the next four years, but few liquid assets available to cover this huge debt.
Given that we know Trump is the ultimate embodiment of a pay-to-play president, does anyone doubt that Trumpâ€™s desperate need to curry favor either with a bank, an exceedingly-wealthy individual, or a corrupt foreign country in order to refinance his huge debt could compromise his sworn oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States?
Finally, the story in the Times makes it clear that for Trump, his re-election is highly personal. If he loses in November, he almost certainly will be facing heightened scrutiny by the IRS and federal authorities relating to his tax filings. He also will have no ability to leverage the office of President in order to obtain refinancing for his huge debt.
The danger lurking for our country is that we know that Trump will go to any extent to win the election — and that does not bode well for our democracy.