One of the mysteries of the ages has now been resolved. One of the great mysteries along with who killed JFK and is there life on Mars is how wealthy is the orange one. And now we know.
And it appears that he is not as wealthy as he made out to be.
Shocked I was at that news, I tell you I was shocked. It shook me to the core that someone for who honesty is an optional extra had been elected to the highest office in America. And astounded I am that he has a fighting chance of regaining that office.
From the Guardian:
The couple paid $641,931 in federal income taxes in 2015, the year Trump began his campaign for president. They paid $750 in 2016 and 2017, nearly $1m in 2018, $133,445 in 2019 and $0 in 2020, the year Trump unsuccessfully sought re-election.
Such numbers reflect heavy business losses and undermine Trump’s self-perpetuated narrative of commercial wealth and success – a crucial part of his brand during his successful 2016 campaign.
Trump reported bank accounts in Britain, China and Ireland from 2015 to 2017, and from 2018 only reported a bank account in Britain.
During a presidential debate in 2020, Trump said the Chinese account “was closed in 2015, I believe” and insisted: “I closed it before I even ran for president, let alone became president.”
Surprisingly the Supreme Court including Trump’s appointees had previously refused Trump’s application to stop the release. He must have fumed. Again from the Guardian:
The US supreme court will allow a congressional committee to receive copies of Donald Trump’s tax returns, ending a three-year battle by the Democratic-led body to see the documents the former president has famously refused to release since his first White House bid.
The court did not accompany its decision with any public comment, but it rejected Trump’s plea for an order that would have prevented the treasury department from giving six years of tax returns for Trump and some of his businesses to the House ways and means committee.
In the dispute over his tax returns, the treasury department had refused to provide the records during Trump’s presidency. But the Biden administration said federal law is clear that the committee has the right to examine any taxpayer’s return, including the president’s.
Lower courts agreed that the committee has broad authority to obtain tax returns and rejected Trump’s claims that it was overstepping and only wanted the documents so they could be made public.
Trump’s income and tax reporting is way different to that of other Presidents. From RNZ:
In some years, Trump paid a far smaller proportion of his income than other recent presidents. In 2018, he and his wife earned $24.3m (NZ$38.3m) in adjusted gross income. But he paid just under $1m (NZ$1.57m), giving him a tax rate of just 4.1 percent. In America, spouses file together.
In other years, because he reported huge business losses, Trump’s tax burden was actually greater than what he earned on paper. For example, in 2017, he lost money but still paid taxes.
In comparison, Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama’s taxable income peaked in 2009, when they took home $5.5m (NZ$8.7m), and paid about 30 percent in taxes. Most of their income came from the sales of Barack’s two books, Dreams from My Father and Audacity of Hope.
As his book sales dwindled, Obama’s taxable income declined considerably – in 2015, the couple earned just $447,880 (NZ$705,364), almost all from his presidential salary, and paid about 18 percent of their income to the IRS.
George W Bush did not write his presidential biography until after he left office – while he was president, he and his wife Laura Bush averaged an income of about $800,000 (NZ$1.25m) a year. About half came from salaries, and the other half came from interest and investments. They had an average tax rate of 27.8 percent.
Bill Clinton and his wife Hillary Clinton started off in 1992 making just under $300,000 (NZ$472,468) a year, mostly from salaries, and paying 23.6 percent of their income to tax. In 1996, Hilary’s book helped the couple earn over $1m (NZ$1.57m), but their tax rate actually declined to 18.5 percent.
But we live in a strange world where there are no repercussions for blatant lies.