In taking that $915 million loss in 1995, and carrying it forward to shelter future income, Donald Trump did nothing wrong. By both his family and his business, he did everything right.
In a famous 1947 dissent, Judge Learned Hand wrote:
“[T]here is nothing sinister in so arranging one’s affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. … Everybody does so, rich or poor; and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands: taxes are enforced exactions, not voluntary contributions. To demand more in the name of morals is mere cant.”
This writer’s father spent his career as a tax accountant who studied tax codes and utilized every permissible deduction to keep his clients’ tax bills as low as legally possible.
That was his business, as it is the business of every accountant, including those who prepare the returns of the politicians and journalists piling on Trump as some sort of scofflaw tax cheat who has evaded his moral obligations to the state.
One needs a machete to cut through this hypocrisy.
Hillary Clinton benefited from a $700,000 loss on her 2015 income taxes. In the days of poverty in Arkansas, she took a $2 deduction for a contribution to charity of Bill’s old underpants.
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