Friday, October 16, 2020
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The Villages

Trump’s taxes inspire idea for change to tax code

To the Editor:

If President Trump, who in 2015 claimed to be worth over $10 billion, could pay no federal income tax for many years, and only $750 per year for 2016 and 2017, typical taxpayers should rightfully feel like “suckers” and “losers.” Those are terms that Trump reportedly used for Americans who died in war, as he apparently couldn’t understand what was in it for them. Does anyone seriously believe that he has a higher regard for Americans who dutifully pay taxes?
So, with Trump as our leader, here’s a proposal:  Change our federal income tax system to allow taxpayers to simply elect to pay $750 a year.  Call it the Trump alternative tax.  Note that, relative to income, almost all taxpayers would still be paying more than Trump himself.
Of course, this is preposterous.  The government would quickly go broke.  But it’s not much more preposterous than Trump calling the New York Times report on his taxes “totally fake,” while refusing to disclose his tax returns, saying they’re under audit.  He could lawfully have disclosed those returns any time. The fact that he hasn’t speaks volumes.
Most Trump supporters are paying taxes at a much higher tax rate than Trump himself.  Should they seriously believe that Trump doesn’t privately regard them as suckers and losers?

David J. Roberts
Associate Professor Emeritus of Accountancy
DePaul University

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