From the Editor: On Trump’s Tax Returns

From the Editor is a biweekly collection of thoughts from Editor-in-Chief Harrison Otto about life, politics, or whatever comes to mind

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Harrison Otto

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April 10, 2017

Recently, The New York Times released a few pages of Donald’s tax returns — and everyone is in an uproar. They reveal he wrote off $916 million of federal income taxes, which was money that Trump never had to pay. Even though the write off was completely legal, Hillary Clinton and critics from all sides are scrutinizing Donald for cheating the system and not paying his fair share.

The question has moved from one of legality to a question of ethics: Should a man who weaseled his way out of paying taxes for multiple years be elected president?

Here’s the take:

First, in my personal opinion, I could care less what Trump does with his money. I don’t believe this necessarily shows a fault in Trump, but rather a fault in the confusing, convoluted tax laws that exist in this country. If people want to criticize for actual tax evasion, let me give them a list of all the big bankers and government cronies that break all kinds of rules behinds closed doors.

So, did Trump do something terribly wrong by using tax loopholes to look out for his best interest? I think it’s fair to say no, unless Hillary has never done anything legal but morally questionable (yes, I might be referring to the emails and Benghazi among other things). But hold on, Trump’s not quite in the clear just yet.

For a while, Trump was pushed by Hillary and other voters to release his tax returns. Though I definitely don’t believe he should be forced to release any private information, it is precedent that nominees do this. The fact that he didn’t release them, and then the New York Times uncovered a $916 million write-off looks bad. It makes it look like Trump was trying to hide something, and that’s what is making people so angry.

Hillary leads this moral crusade, especially since a major part of her platform would be to increases taxes for people in the top 5 percent — people exactly like Donald. She wants everyone to pay their fair share, and is using Trump’s tax returns as a way to justify that he is not fit to be president.

So the verdict?

I think Trump messed up here; he should have been more transparent from the beginning and released his records right away if he was smart. However, I don’t think this will be a deciding factor in whether he is elected or not; the people that hate Trump still hate him, and the people that love him aren’t going to change their minds because of this.

Our president should be honest and upfront, but this tax issue really isn’t a big deal. Voters should be focusing on a candidate’s policy and beliefs rather than the hype they hear on the TV. This wouldn’t be the first time the media has exaggerated a story to make Trump look bad — the New York Times is known for being rather liberal, so it doesn’t surprise me that they’re out publicizing his tax returns to make him look like the bad guy.

So as the election moves to its endgame, Hillary seems to be doing everything she can to convince America that Trump is dangerous. And while I may not agree with Trump, I’m getting tired of seeing the mainstream media pick apart his every move while Hillary is made to be some hero.

In short — I can’t wait until the election is over.