Mimsy Were the Borogoves

Editorials: Where I rant to the wall about politics. And sometimes the wall rants back.

How did Donald Trump qualify for a middle-class tax break?

Jerry Stratton, March 9, 2016

Sanders tax code Downfall

Aaron Epstein, or his headline writer, asks, How did Trump qualify for a middle-class tax break?

The answer is simple: because Donald Trump can afford more and better lawyers than the middle-class.

Or, as the accountant they interviewed for the article, Joe Perry, said,

“A person like Trump has options for reporting income that most people don’t have,” Perry said.

Not necessarily big news, but it came at the same time as USA Today reports that 27 giant profitable companies paid no taxes. It’s a boring article. Most paid no taxes either because they recently lost a lot of money and are crawling out of a financial hole, or because they made much of that profit overseas and left it there. Technically, both of those options are open to individuals—including the middle class—but, as Perry might say, giant profitable companies have options that most people don’t.

The reason that they have those options is because the tax code is so incredibly complex. It rewards people who can afford to hire accountants and lawyers who are experts in the tax code. The solution to that is pretty simple: simplify the tax code. Get rid of the arcane subsidies.

A relative of mine posted the USA Today article to Facebook. Normally she’s pretty left-leaning—she supports Sanders, for example—but this is an issue that divides along beltway lines—that is, inside and outside—not along partisan lines. Everyone who pays taxes would like to simplify them; everyone who creates taxes would love to make them more complicated. I wrote something like this in the comments:

Yes, giant companies can afford to hire tax specialists to take advantage of our incredibly complex tax system. Complex tax laws make the system easier for giant companies to game. That’s why good reformers, such as Carly Fiorina and Ted Cruz, are trying to radically simplify our tax laws. Simpler tax laws aren’t as easy to game, and further, when they are gamed, it is easier to see. It’s easier for the average person to understand a three-page tax law than a 3,000-page tax law.1

That’s not exactly what I wrote. Shortly after I wrote it, she deleted the share, and I didn’t keep a copy of my comment.

Sanders and Trump are two sides of the same coin in this election. People who support them will claim to support policies, but they really just support the person. If the policy changes, they change their support for the policy, not their support for the person. When it turned out that she can either support simplified taxes that keep the playing field fair, or she can support Sanders and a big government that plays favorites and encourages giant profitable companies to remain giant profitable companies, she went with the latter, and deleted the article.

It’s the Democratic Socialist way to work with a few giant companies instead of lots of small companies. A vibrant marketplace is very difficult for a central government to control. It’s much better, in their view, to have a few very big companies that the government can negotiate with to get their way.

It’s bad for workers, who have fewer choices about where to work; and it’s bad for consumers, who have fewer choices about what to buy. It sucks for people who want to start up new, innovative companies. And it really sucks for the people whose live are made better, and even saved, by those lost innovations. But it’s great for giant companies, who have less competition both in hiring and in selling.

In response to Election 2016: Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.

  1. Or a 70,000-page tax law, depending on who you believe.

  1. <- Obama, Trump, and Hitler
  2. Rise of extremism ->