Graphic Representation: It takes a pillage

First came a New York Times story reporting that a certain Donald J. Trump may have played the tax laws to avoid paying any income taxes for “nearly two decades.”

Not surprising, really, since tax laws are largely written by lobbyists in the pay of very rich people, and the congressional committees responsible for writing are tax laws are headed by former lobbyists who worked for those very same wealthy patrons.

Another revelation from the Times: In 1995, self-proclaimed multi-billionaire Trump declared only a shade more than six grand in taxable income.

Reporting on the meager income, McClatchy Washington Bureau reporter Kevin G. Hall writes:

The bombshell leak of portions of Donald Trump’s 1995 tax returns show that he declared a minuscule wage income that year for a man of his wealth and corporate responsibilities.

The New York Times published a report late Saturday based on three leaked pages of Trump’s 1995 state tax returns that showed a $916 million reported loss. It would have allowed him to perhaps avoid paying any federal income tax for up to 18 years. This overshadowed another revelation on the same returns: That he had reported just $6,108 in wage income. In 1995, the highest wages were taxed at 39.6 percent.

“It does look pretty shocking that he is showing that little salary,” said Daniel N. Shaviro, a tax professor at New York University, blogger and former legislative aide to the Joint Committee on Taxation during the 1986 overhaul of the tax code. “Six thousand dollars of compensation does look pretty shocking.”

Without the 1995 full federal tax return, he warned, it’s impossible to know how Trump was able to declare so little wage income for the 1995 calendar year. Numerous tax specialists consulted by McClatchy declined to comment for the record because of the incomplete nature of the leaked returns, but all said there were multiple ways Trump could have been compensated without having it called wage income, which is subject to payroll taxes and higher tax rates. It’s another way that accountants and tax specialists can help wealthy Americans decrease their tax burden.

As folks used to say back when esnl was in high school nearly six decades ago, “No shit, Sherlock.

A London Daily Mail headline hints at one possibility:

‘He’s a beggar, but he’s worth about $900 million more than me’: Did Donald Trump ALREADY confirm his massive tax write-off in his own book?

  • Trump recounted a story of encountering a beggar in his book, ‘Art of the deal’
  • He thought to himself that the man was worth ‘$900 million more than me’
  • Trump told a similar story to the Washington Post in 1992
  • The New York Times reported Saturday that Trump took a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax return
  • The campaign did not dispute the account, but blasted the paper for reporting it 

The reaction to the Times revelations was predictable, as reported by Reuters:

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump says paying no income tax would make him “smart.” While nearly half of Americans agree with him, more people think it is “selfish,” and “unpatriotic,” according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Tuesday.

Some 67 percent of Americans said it is “selfish” for a presidential candidate to pay no taxes, while 61 percent said it is “unpatriotic,” according to the poll, which allowed respondents to pick more than one adjective to describe paying no taxes.

At the same time, the results showed some respect for a candidate who can figure out how to reduce their tax bill. Some 46 percent of Americans, including 35 percent of Democrats and 62 percent of Republicans, thought a presidential candidate who pays no taxes is “smart.”

And that brings us to today’s Graphic Representations. . .

Our first offering comes from the Chattanooga Times Free Press:

Clay Bennett: The exception


Next up, the Charlotte Observer:

Kevin Siers: Trump the genius


Followed by the Baton Rouge Advocate:

Walt Handelsman: The Trump Method


From a major syndicated cartoonist comes this:

Jeff Danziger: Trump taxes

And from the Washington Post, this:

Tom Toles: A Trump trick or treat


Still, the revelations kept coming. .

We turn to Old Blighty for the next two items.

First, via the Guardian. while The Donald has been blasting Hillary Clinton over allegations of improprieties with her non-profit foundation, the Donald has been having problems of an even more egregious nature with his own similar venture:

The Trump Foundation was served with a cease-and-desist letter on Friday, in which James Sheehan, the head of the attorney general’s charities bureau, wrote that the New York-based organization “must immediately cease soliciting contributions or engaging in any other fundraising activities in New York”.

“Further, the Trump Foundation must notify any third parties engaged in solicitation or fundraising activities in New York on its behalf to immediately case any such activities,” Sheehan added.

The notice stated that the Republican presidential nominee’s eponymous foundation was soliciting donations of more than $25,000 a year without having registered for the proper certification pursuant to article 7-A under New York law. As a result, the Trump Foundation has not undergone the external audits or been subject to the kind of oversight required by the state of charities seeking donations from members of the public.

New York attorney general Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, launched an investigation into the Trump Foundation last month amid several reports that raised questions over its practices. The Washington Post published a series of stories including revelations that Trump had not donated to his foundation since 2008, relying since then entirely on other people’s money in an arrangement deemed as highly unusual for a family charity.

And then there’s this, from the Independent

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has been widely criticised for mischaracterising military veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as not “strong” and unable to “handle” their experiences of combat.

Mr Trump participated in a Q&A with veterans on Monday in Virginia, where he was asked about PTSD, the high rate of veteran suicides and whether the US Veterans Administration (VA) ought to take a more “holistic” and “spiritual” approach to tackling mental health.

The property mogul responded positively to the suggestion, promising a “very, very robust” approach to veterans’ mental health under a Trump administration.

He also said: “People come back from war and combat and they see maybe what the people in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”

That brings us to out final Graphic Representation, from the Indianapolis Star:

Gary Varvel: Donald Trump campaign boat


And in closing. . .

We leave the last word to Vanity Fair editor Graydon Carter:

It can reasonably be argued that the presidency of George W. Bush was an eight-year warm-up act for the final stage of a dumbed-down America: a Trump presidency. You can draw a relatively straight line from the Florida recount of 2000, which took Bush into office, right through to the shambolic Trump campaign. The election of Bush led to the invasion of Iraq, which led to the de-stabilization in the Middle East (Libya, Egypt, Syria), which led to the migrant crisis, which led to European nationalism, Brexit, and, at the tail end of all these disasters, Trump.

He has touched—embraced!—every third rail in American politics. He has offended (and I apologize if I’ve left some group out): African-Americans, Native Americans, Mexicans, Jews, Muslims, war heroes—war heroes!—families of war heroes, the disabled, women, and babies. Babies! Through word or action, Trump has promoted gun violence, bigotry, ignorance, intolerance, lying, and just about everything else that can be wrong with a society. And yet he marches on, playing to a constituency that just doesn’t seem to care. The thing is, this ramshackle campaign, following a ramshackle business career, has exposed his flaws and failures to the world and, more importantly, to the people he will brush up against for the rest of his life. To them he is now officially a joke. I suspect he knows this. And if his thin skin on minor matters is any indication, he will be lashing out with even more vitriol. He is a mad jumble of a man, with a slapdash of a campaign and talking points dredged from the dark corners at the bottom of the Internet. I don’t think he will get to the White House, but just the fact that his carny act has gotten so far along the road will leave the path with a permanent orange stain. Trump, more than even the most craven politicians or entertainers, is a bottomless reservoir of need and desire for attention. He lives off crowd approval. And at a certain point that will dim, as it always does to people like him, and the cameras will turn to some other American novelty. When that attention wanes, he will be left with his press clippings, his dyed hair, his fake tan, and those tiny, tiny fingers.

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