Trump didn’t pay any taxes because he was a bad businessman

It wasn’t because he was smart. It was because he was an incompetent who hired cunning accountants.

The NY Times was mailed copies of Trump’s tax returns from 1995. His businesses had failed so spectacularly that year that he lost almost a billion dollars, which would have alllowed him to pay no taxes for the next twenty years.

Trump is claims that he “knows the tax code far better than anyone who has run for president,” but even that is a lie. His former accountant reveals that all he knew was how to let others manage his money.

In an interview on Wednesday, Mr. Mitnick said he could not divulge details of Mr. Trump’s finances without Mr. Trump’s consent. But he did talk about Mr. Trump’s approaches to taxes, and he contrasted Fred Trump’s attention to detail with what he described as Mr. Trump’s brash and undisciplined style. He recalled, for example, that when Donald and Ivana Trump came in each year to sign their tax forms, it was almost always Ivana who asked more questions.

But if Mr. Trump lacked a sophisticated understanding of the tax code, and if he rarely showed any interest in the details behind various tax strategies, Mr. Mitnick said he clearly grasped the critical role taxes would play in helping him build wealth. “He knew we could use the tax code to protect him,” Mr. Mitnick said.

This hypocritical sexist turd with no economic competency at all and no experience in politics is the Republican candidate for president? Let’s all just shake our heads in disgust and say “no”.


  1. robro says

    Let’s all just shake our heads in disgust and say “no”.

    Done. Repeatedly. And keep in mind that he was the top pick of 5 current or former Republican Senators, and 9 current or former Republican Governors. That must say something about the state of the Republican party.

  2. dick says

    In the matter of Tchump running for President, I find it utterly incomprehensible that any sane, decent person could possibly consider voting for this ignorant, bigoted bully, even when the alternative choice is Hillary Clinton.

  3. wzrd1 says

    Honestly, I don’t understand the tax code. That’s as well, as my accountant does.
    My account doesn’t provide system administration and network systems security, I don’t consult on the tax code. Things work really well that way.

    But, tRump’s 03:00 attacks on a former Miss Universe show clear signs of sundowning, which he seems to think as a feature. “I’ll be there for the call”, just what I need with control of a thermonuclear arsenal.

    So, @chigau (違う) #1, I am scared too.

  4. unclefrogy says

    if “He” is elected I predict that he will be the first President who will be Impeached and convicted and put out of office. That will leave his Vice President as President and the Republicans party in power again and not an elected leader that they will have to agree with.
    uncle frogy

  5. chigau (違う) says

    I predict that it would be the first time that both the Pres and the Vice were assassinated.
    Where do you go from there?

  6. cubist says

    Fun fact: “Donald Trump is a lying sack of shit” can be sung to the tune of Yellow Submarine. Enjoy!

  7. says

    My favorite quote from the article:

    A flaw in the tax software program he used at the time prevented him from being able to print a nine-figure loss on Mr. Trump’s New York return.

    That’s how incompetent a businessman he is. He pegged the loss odometer on his tax software.

  8. screechymonkey says

    chigau @6:

    I predict that it would be the first time that both the Pres and the Vice were assassinated.
    Where do you go from there?

    According to the Presidential Succession Act, to the Speaker of the House (and then to the President pro tempore of the Senate, and then to the Cabinet, beginning with the Secretary of State). So say hello to President Paul Ryan in your scenario.

    There’s actually a pretty good (in my opinion) argument that the Presidential Succession Act is unconstitutional. It’s also really shitty policy, in that it offers the potential to shift power from one party to another in situations where the House is controlled by a different party than the President’s. But only us constitutional geeks seem to care.

  9. methuseus says

    @ chigau #6:

    I predict that it would be the first time that both the Pres and the Vice were assassinated.
    Where do you go from there?

    If you mean who becomes President, it’s pretty clear that Speaker Paul Ryan becomes President.

    If you mean, how does something so horrible happen and how do we deal with the fallout, nobody knows, but it ain’t gonna be pretty by anyone’s standards.

  10. Sili says

    When does the presidential succession resest?

    Say Ford had died in office (fallen down stairs chewing gum?). Had Nelson Rockefeller then taken over, or would he have gotten passed over in favour of the speaker?

  11. wzrd1 says

    @Sili, we’d have had a President Rockefeller.

    Yeah, Ford did have a few stumbles in his time. Pardoning Nixon, stumbling down the stairs of Air Force One (actually, quite a few presidents have stumbled on those stairs). ;)
    He was also quite a skilled skier.
    Although, history seems to have vindicated him for the Nixon pardon, it saved the nation a very embarrassing trial and conviction.

  12. Infophile says

    @12 wzrd1:

    Or history has shown that the Nixon pardon has led to Presidents trusting they’re above the law and brazenly violating it, trusting that successors will keep with tradition and not punish them.

  13. Sili says

    it saved the nation a very embarrassing trial and conviction.And look where it got you.

  14. wzrd1 says

    @Infophile and Sili, executive privilege already substantially protects US presidents.
    An upside to Nixon accepting the pardon is, per US case law, that freely admitted guilt.
    As to where it got us, well, out of the Vietnam war (Nixon started to get us out, Ford finished getting us out), Nixon’s career ended (it should have been ended when McCarthyism ended).

    Meanwhile, Nixon went down in history as a guilty man and the singular POTUS to have ever had his command of nuclear weapons removed by the Chairman JCS (toward the end of his presidency, he began drinking heavily, resulting in the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ordering his subordinates to direct any nuclear orders sent directly to his desk, rather than through their normal chain of command). That’s effectively on par with Benedict Arnold in terms of infamy.

  15. komarov says

    Re: Robert Westbrook (#8):

    That’s how incompetent a businessman he is. He pegged the loss odometer on his tax software.

    Nonsense, it just shows a lack of vision on the part of the designers and programmers of the software. Never ever underestimate the amount of money the already rich can pulverise and still stay unimaginably rich*. Sure, some non-rich people might lose their jobs and more but meh.

    *Or perhaps better, ‘uncountably’, because there seems to be no point to attaching a number to wealth at this point. Just put ‘yes’ in the net worth column and you’re done.

  16. sqlrob says

    Trump didn’t pay any taxes because he was a bad businessman

    Probably true, but not necessarily. See “Hollywood Accounting”

  17. kestrel says

    PZ Myers @ #20:

    The part where he was a bad businessman is the bit where he lost almost a billion dollars running a casino.

    Christ of the Andes. That is PATHETIC. He is a lot worse than “bad” I think if he can pull that off.

  18. davem says

    The part where he was a bad businessman is the bit where he lost almost a billion dollars running a casino.

    That’s so bad it’s genius of a sort., I’m not at all sure I could do that myself, even if I tried hard..

  19. unclefrogy says

    to really lose that much money you have to be over the top in all the details and extremely optimistic with expectations and have very bad timing in a sense following the crowd but being late to the party. You also need to finance the whole thing so that the whole enterprise absolutely depends on nothing changing from the conditions that existed when you start out.

    uncle frogy

  20. wzrd1 says

    @PZ Myers @ #20, can you do better?
    I’m pretty damned sure that you could.
    Hell, I’m fairly certain that I could and I’m legendary for my lack of raw arithmetic skills. Trends, averages, yes, I can even instinctively at some trends. Using raw math, Trump and I are likely equals.
    That’s why there are accountants.

    The difference is, I’ll not invoke emotion on a lost venture, Trump can and has, usually screwing every co-investor along the way.
    I couldn’t face myself to comb my hair each “morning” if I did such a thing, which as likely as Sol going supernova.

    I’ve done some fscked up things during my military career, but tRump leaves me in the dust.
    The difference is, I did such things under military orders that I was oath and contract bound to do, tRump did it to screw people out of their money to his profit.
    I’m big on making a profit for a change, but not at that level of cost. I’d lose all self-respect.

  21. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Trump isn’t a patriot. A patriot would pay they fair share of taxes. Show us your tax return, to prove you are a patriot.

  22. says

    @PZ – he DIDN’T lose a billion dollars. He claimed that some of his assets were under water in a taxable way, so he could claim a loss. What that looks like is: property values in Atlantic City take a dive so you refinance your casino and write down a loss – you still own your casino and if property bounces back up, you’re in the black more or less instantly. Or you transfer the casino to an offshore consortium you have a majority ownership in, at a “loss” by moving the money from one pocket to another.

    Remember: in Trump-land there is no real money; it’s all option swaps on debt and mortgages against projected future earnings.

    Put differently: if you’re a Ponzi scheme it’s easy to project a $1b loss whenever you want.

  23. says

    Ps – as far as Trump losing money: he’s not even a rounding error in the DoD budget. The DoD can’t even tell where the money goes anymore… Trump’d be YUGE in control of that hot mess!! Just imagine!!

  24. unclefrogy says

    I wonder how well he and his finances could hold up to the level of political motivated scrutiny that the Clinton’s have been subject to the last 20 or so years?
    uncle frogy

  25. JohnnieCanuck says

    Marcus @ 27,

    Do we know at this point if Trump screwed over his investors or partners or creditors when he restructured the casino holding? That would be a different kind of ‘bad businessman’. One he’s been accused of before when he bankrupts companies.

  26. says

    Unfortunately a bunch of Trump’s supporters are likely to hear this and think it means Trump is terrific, because he kept a bunch of money out of the hands of tax and spend Democrats and/or the wasteful government. A lot of them will say such things while going to see if they’ve received their government cheque in the mail, or to use some government service.

  27. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Trump proves that once you amass a certain amount of wealth, you almost always fail upwards.

  28. wzrd1 says

    @timgueguen #31, whist also championing the military that “protects” them from “the terrorists” (or commies, depending upon the era), while griping over a VA budget.

  29. says

    It’s not screwing over partners – financing operations are often shell games of corporations being created to buy assets and transfer debts. Depending on when and how you structure an asset move you can radically change the claimed value.

    For example, let’s say I but a hotel for $100m and the real estate market tanks so I want to get it out of my portfolio: I create a company and take some investment money in while remaining the main shareholder, then sell the hotel to MarcusHotels for $25m – I now have a write-down of $75m but I’m still in control of the hotel because I own MarcusHotels — and my shares there (since I suckered in some investors) are worth more, but since I haven’t sold them I owe no tax, “lost $75m” and can liquidate my shares whenever I need money for more lamborghinis and blow.

    That’s a simplified version and I believe that specific move is no longer allowed, but there are people whose careers it is to come up with dodges like that, and Trump hires the more aggressive ones.

  30. rietpluim says

    @ck, the Irate Lump #32 – Are you familiar with the comics of Tom Puss and Oliver B. Bumble? In one story, Bumble’s money reaches a critical mass (by the addition of one duit) causing all money for miles around to fly towards him.