The NYT really doesn’t like Trump, does it?

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show.

The 1995 tax records, never before disclosed, reveal the extraordinary tax benefits that Mr. Trump, the Republican presidential nominee, derived from the financial wreckage he left behind in the early 1990s through mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, his ill-fated foray into the airline business and his ill-timed purchase of the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan.

Losing a billion dollars is now recast as a tax benefit.

Ho hum.

It’s almost Ritchie, isn’t it? We’ll tax your profits but if you make a loss you must still pay tax?

27 thoughts on “The NYT really doesn’t like Trump, does it?”

  1. Stones and glass houses.

    Trump must not defend himself but use this chance to attack thr Clinton Crime Family’s financial antics.

  2. To be fair, it’s a bit sillier than that, as the US system lets real estate developers claim capital losses against their income, almost never taxes capital gains, and permits depreciation against real estate (even when it is almost certain to be appreciating).

    Whether Trump can be blamed for taking full advantage of these features of the US system is a different question…

  3. Tim – random, slightly off topic question here… your last comment of “make a loss you must still pay tax”…

    Has anyone ever looked into the idea of scrapping tax full stop and just charging an annual premium to live in the country (any country)? i.e. really simplify things and just have a “to live here you must pay x per year, other than that – enjoy”?

    I’m happy to admit that I don’t know enough of economics to know if this would work or not but would be a whole lot simpler to administer…

  4. “The NYT really doesn’t like Trump, does it?”

    They hate Trump and his supporters, as does the vast majority of the media and commentariat. Some of the comment sections on a Trump article are quite eye-opening for the amount of hatred and bile poured onto Trump, his wife and children and the largely white middle and working class people who want him as President.

  5. The Inimitable Steve

    The New York Times is owned by uberrich Mexican oligarch Carlos Slim, the oleaginous fat face of crony capitalism and leveraging chambre a louer politicians to wallet-rape the peasantry.

    Shocking that he likes Hillary. Shocking.

  6. Rob beat me to it. The NYT et al in the US and of course the sainted Guardian over here: now officially tax avoiding bastards.

  7. @Luis,

    Funny, everyone liked him till for pres he ran as a R. Strange how that seems to happen to someone every 4 years or so… I just can’t for the life of me work out why :p

  8. The Inimitable Steve

    abacab – Yarp. Weird how a guy who was a well known businessman, celebrity and socialite for decades – always welcome at charity fundraisers, high society balls, and on Oprah’s couch – suddenly became Literally Hitler when he ran for office as a Republican.

  9. Abacab>

    There’s nothing quite like the way lefties are able to insist day is night when admitting it’s day would require them to re-evaluate their prejudices – except the way righties do exactly the same thing, as you’ve just demonstrated.

    The idea Trump was popular before he started running for President is literally absurd. Might as well claim Simon Cowell is popular; he’s not, he’s famous but widely detested. Trump was a laughing-stock until very recently.

  10. abacab,

    Not everyone liked him before his presidential run. I’ve always* viewed him as someone that makes the case for 280th trimester abortions arguable.

    * Since I learned who he is in the late 80’s. For a short period of my lifetime I didn’t have the information to form an opinion.

  11. While $916 million may sound like a lot we have to remember this is the guy that claimed to be worth $2 billion at the time and claims over $10 billion now. Why a nearly $1 billion loss should worry me, assuming taxes were paid on the extra $7 billion made since, is beyond me.

    If Trump continues to not release his tax returns I will continue to believe he is a tax avoider of the type that can normally be only found in Murphy’s dreams. In my case the tax return release would most likely improve my opinion.

  12. @LY,

    I bet there’s nothing really interesting in them – he’s going to let the usual suspects get themselves all lathered up, and right when they’re on the vinegar strokes he’ll release the tax returns and they will have the most epic blue balls in history.

  13. Luis

    Personally I can’t stand Trump and am terrified at the thought of him becoming president. So terrified in fact I could almost be persuaded to vote Hillary. (Almost).

    I also can’t stand the NYT and the Guardian and every other leftist with his double standards.

  14. Bloke in Costa Rica

    I think these people have firmly convinced themselves that if Trump were to win, six months after the Inauguration he’d be sitting atop a throne made of their skulls. No such luck, unfortunately.

  15. “Has anyone ever looked into the idea of scrapping tax full stop and just charging an annual premium to live in the country (any country)?”

    I believe Switzerland has negotiated tax agreements with rich individuals where they pay a large lump sum every year that’s far less than the amount they’d have to pay in their home country. I think they’ve cut back on it now, though, because they decided they had too many billionaire immigrants?

  16. Let me be clear. I don’t think there is anything specifically illegal in the tax returns. What I expect to see is a magnificent example of how to minimize tax liability. I can’t image a system where we tax income and business losses can’t be credited against future profits. IMHO the $900+ million loss is a non-story.

    I’ve already determined I will never vote for the man. I might respect him slightly more as a businessman if he has imaginative solutions. I stand by my statement that most likely the returns would improve my view of the overall man.

  17. @Edward,

    The “Pauschalbesteuerung” is only available in certain cantons is time-limited, and is a consumption-based tax – they take the theoretical rental value of the property in which the rich person lives, and applies a fairly large multiplier to that.

    The end figure is still very large (if you tried to claim you were living in a hut up in the Vallee de Joux they’d tell you to foxtrot oscar), and its primary advantage is that it is simple to administer, and gives certainty in the tax position – no worrying about the value of fine art collections (yes, we have wealth tax in CH), property portfolios in multiple jurisdictions, various income streams and so on. In fact, the end result is not significantly less than normal taxation would give, but it’s simpler all around.

  18. LY, your name is Richard Murphy and I claim my £5. I know that the USA is astonishingly inefficient but if you really believe that Trump’s tax affairs have not been scrutinised by officialdom, then you are stupid. Of course, in the UK, we have had our share of scoundrels, eg Robert Maxwell, but despite tons of investigations he was never brought to book, basically by jumping off a boat just in time. I think it’s time for anti Trumpets to put up or shut up before you all start to sound like Bremoaners. However, if you keep moaning maybe an academic economist such as Murph or Luis Enrique could find you a sinecure.

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