The Trump tax disclosures are important for a variety of reasons, but perhaps most importantly, they summon an opportunity for us to engage in transparency and truth telling of the highest caliber with attention to the sacred trust that has been breached between taxpayers and the agency responsible for sanctioning corporate privilege and greed. We must heal this for us to be well as a Nation with hopes of regaining trust in the institutions of government and the IRS.
The New York Times article that uncovered that Trump paid little or no taxes for many years, takes the lid off what may have contained the last remaining doubts about his qualified status as a hustler and con man who currently occupies the highest seat of government as president of these United States. The horror of this realization that has long been suspected, will still only reach the consciousness of those who carry some semblance of respect for our nation and its people. Predictably, Trump has appeared on camera, not with denials, but with accusations about “fake news” and diversion tactics that have served to sustain his shell game. Again, for those who still retain some sense of reality: “If it quacks like a duck, it is a duck.” If he lies, cheats and defies the requirement to produce his tax returns, even as Biden shares his before the presidential debate of this week, one must conclude that he lies and cheats with an irreverent regard for the standards that define his role as commander-in-chief.
If I owed the IRS money, they would go after me like a master hunting down a runaway slave. Yes indeed, there would be nowhere for me to hide. Telling on Trump just confirmed what many already suspected about his wobbly house of cards, but the real revelation comes from lifting the veil on the kind of “gangsta” complicity that has nursed corporate greed at the bosom of America. If the middle class had not been dissolved by crushing debt and taxes, now might be a great time for a tax revolt. But wait, we still may be able to assemble a ragtag militia of low wage earners living in trailer parks without gas money to get to their jobs at Walmart; young people paying college debt; seniors wrangling reverse mortgage payback; urban dwellers living in the shadow of newly constructed luxury condos; suburban families living the nightmares of homeownership; and poor working slobs who are one paycheck away from foreclosure or homelessness. The pandemic is the perfect backdrop for this horror show that depicts struggling Americans footing the bill for the premiere example of wasteful spending and indulgent self-interest known as the current leader of the free world; meaning that for him everything is free. With all this, he is still just the tip of this volcanic blemish that has inflamed the American psyche with hatred, divisiveness and a flagrant disregard for the rule of law while blaming everyone and taking credit for anything that might resemble a success.
Shining a light on Trump’s taxes reveals how billionaires famously referred to as the 1%, ride the coattails of Americans with the boldness of the French aristocracy before the revolution; making money off of the pandemic as they assess trends and opportunities in the stock market that are flagged by the president who uses his pronouncements to trigger ongoing shifts. Elected officials appear deliberately slow and inept in their responses to billionaires not being taxed sufficiently and broker the claim that: “They will leave our state.” Here is where I pause to take a breath before saying: “Get to steppin’.” New York City doesn’t need the big businesses as much as the small businesses that are the backbone of our communities. We can’t pass the Small Business Survival Act that sits in the City Council, but we can give a nod to Real Estate and Big Business that see us as the feeder system for their continuing profits and no-fault plunder that leaves us with deficits and budget gaps that get filled with more taxation; higher fees, fines and a cost of living paid by the working poor and those living on credit; 401K loans (with penalties) or unemployment and fading stimulus payments. Add to this, the fact that we pay into a tax system that fails to return benefits or services to us in proportion to what we give to the national coffers. Somebody get Robin of Sherwood on the cell.
Our tax dollars have made a billionaire out of an inept contractor who is building a wall at our southern border based on the recommendation of Trump. Our tax dollars are keeping families and children in detention and creating the most unimaginable conditions that produce trauma that will likely take decades to heal, if we are lucky. The sitting president’s actions and those of his I.C.E. men can be classified as war crimes in an undeclared war of hatred, bigotry and greed. Our tax dollars are supporting Trump’s business interests. Our tax dollars are protecting Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue with armed guards. Our tax dollars are feeding a system designed to grant privilege and profit to corporate entities that have formed monopolies and conglomerates regulating markets by price-fixing everything from prescriptions to poultry.
This story does not yet have an ending, but I assure you that as we move closer to the 2020 Fall election, we are assured of having an ending of one type or another. As I have said many times before, “Come together, or fall apart.” My hope is that we find a way to embrace the shared truth that America was founded on principles of freedom, justice and liberty and, to my mind, there is no reason to change our branding now.