APRIL 18, 2017: NATIONAL TAX DAY

IT'S THE SAME QUESTION WE'VE BEEN ASKING FOR A YEAR

Daily Kos
April 18, 2017
It’s Tax Day and as a reminder, Donald Trump has lied repeatedly about releasing his taxes. First up in today’s roundup, Amanda Terkel at The Huffington Post:
President Donald Trump has no plans to release his 2016 tax returns, still inaccurately claiming that he can’t do so because he is being audited by the IRS. [...]
Trump first said he would release his tax returns in 2011, as he was pushing conspiracy theories about President Barack Obama’s birthplace: “Maybe I’m going to do the tax returns when Obama does his birth certificate.”
In January 2016, he revisited the topic, telling NBC News that even though he had “very big returns,” he would “absolutely” release his information to the public once he had everything “all approved and very beautiful.”
Jill Disis at CNN runs down all the promises and statements Trump has made regarding his tax returns:
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on Monday reiterated Trump's stance.
"It's the same thing that was discussed during the campaign trail -- the president is under audit. It's a routine one that continues," Spicer said. "Nothing has changed."
But Trump's public statements about his returns have shifted subtly over the years.
At first, Trump was open about wanting to release his returns. He began citing the ongoing audit as a reason not to release them in early 2016.
The Los Angeles Times calls on Trump to release his tax returns:
Does he have business entanglements overseas that might affect his foreign policy decisions? Does he owe money to Russian lenders? How much does he give to charity? Does the nation’s convoluted tax system mean Trump pays taxes at a lower rate than middle-class Americans? In what years did he pay no taxes at all, and why? What other conflicts of interest exist that we can’t even guess at?
Trump would like us to believe that his election victory means people don’t care about his tax returns. But they do. A poll conducted in January found that nearly three-quarters of Americans want him to release his returns. On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C. and dozens of other U.S. cities demanding that the president release his taxes.
The fact that Mr. Trump refuses to abide by even the minimum level of transparency that Mr. Nixon didn't fear is not some ginned-up controversy like, say, the one he milked for years over former President Barack Obama's birth certificate. It's a serious and substantive matter. It leaves him suspect in the eyes of the vast majority of Americans who say he should release his returns as promised. [...] 
Mr. Trump's next big initiative is expected to be an overhaul of the tax code. This comes after he and Republicans in Congress failed to pass a health care bill that would have meant nearly $1 trillion in tax cuts for wealthy Americans and corporations while depriving millions of low- and moderate-income people of health coverage. The public ought to know if and how Mr. Trump would benefit from his own tax package. [...]
Mr. Nixon was right; people have to know whether or not their president is a crook. And there's another lesson from that disastrous presidency: Often it's what they don't want us to know that should concern us most of all.
Newsday also joins the call for disclosure:
No other president has held such a complicated web of businesses, and no other president in modern history has withheld his tax returns. The international scope of Trump’s holdings creates tremendous potential conflicts of interest. We know, for instance, that the state-owned Bank of China has been a large lender to Trump’s businesses. Does he owe China something in return? In addition, Trump’s companies have loans and mortgages with Deutsche Bank AG, and that the U.S. Justice Department recently closed one investigation into the bank, but we don’t know how Trump’s dealings with the bank will affect other investigations and regulations. We don’t know much about Trump’s personal business ties to Russia. And we can’t evaluate how his deals will influence his foreign policy and other critical decisions. Trump’s tax returns won’t answer every question, but they would disclose key details regarding his investments, partnerships and business arms, whether he has foreign bank accounts and trusts, and whether he pays taxes to foreign governments. And we’d know how his sweeping tax reform ideas would benefit him and his companies. [...]
The nation waits. Congress must demand that Trump release the returns before it passes new tax laws. Tuesday is Tax Day. For all of us, that means telling the government what we earned and how we earned it. For Trump, it should mean telling us.
This editorial makes a great point:
Just because Americans were forced to make their choice only with the information provided to them at the time doesn’t mean the scrutiny ends. The information in those returns could reveal a great deal about the character, business practices and potential conflicts of our president. [...]
Lawmakers in many states, including New Jersey, are now considering efforts to mandate release of the returns over a specified period of years or a presidential contender will not be allowed to appear on that state’s ballot. The constitutionality of such a requirement remains in question, but many experts believe such mandates would prevail.
We encourage those efforts, as do we encourage continued attempts to cast a spotlight on Trump’s absent returns and what they may say about our president. Yes, the election is over and Trump won. But this is an issue that has not — and should not — go away.
And on a final note, here is Dana Milbank’s tank on Trump’s promise to “drain the swamp”:
For everybody else who believed Trump’s populist talk about tackling a rigged system, it’s time to recognize you’ve been had. The president of the United States is a swamp monster.
The billionaire has embraced a level of corporate control of the government that makes previous controversies involving corporate influence — Vice President Dick Cheney’s attempt in 2001 to keep secret the names of industry officials who participated in his energy task force, for example — seem quaint by comparison. [...]
Trump has a simple answer to those who question his attempts to conceal the corporate influence in his administration. As he tweeted Sunday in response to protests about his failure to release his tax returns: “The election is over!” [...] But be careful: You don’t have to have seen “Creature from the Black Lagoon” to know that, in the swamp-monster genre, the beast seldom goes quietly.



That's It For Today!  

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