Why Trump’s Tax Forms Are Irrelevant
The left is continuing it’s clamor for Trump to release his tax returns for various years. Some of them have gone back as far as the 1970’s to try and find some sort of dirt on him. But there are at least three reasons, two practical, one principled, that disclosing his tax records is a bad idea.
The first practical reason is that disclosing them would not benefit him at all. His detractors would complain about everything in them and his supporters would point out every good thing in them.
The second practical reason is that the vast majority of Americans would not understand them; I have seen estimates that Trump’s tax returns run about 1200 pages. He has accountants and lawyers that are experts in taxes doing his returns. I have taken classes at the doctoral level in federal taxation and I have serious doubts that I could follow taxes that are as complex as his must be.
So that leaves the average American in the position of listening to someone else tell them what is in his taxes. Rachel Maddow, assuming she is still on the air, would tell her listeners one thing, Eric Bolling would tell his supporters another. But neither of them would have read all the pages of Trump’s return, either. They would have employed experts to explain it to them, and then they would explain it to us. So any information you get from those returns would be third-hand, at best, and unlikely to sway anybody’s mind about Trump.
The IRS has undoubtedly audited Trump at least once or twice over the past decade. Yet there has been no accusation of chicanery in his returns, nor has there been any IRS enforcement action taken against him, that I am aware of. And, by the way, the tax code is so byzantine that even the IRS gives out erroneous information on a regular basis.
So, absent any smoking gun, or even lukewarm gun, and the lack of the average person to understand the returns, what’s the upside to disclosing his returns? None. Let’s be honest. If Trump tomorrow discovered a cure for cancer, the left would complain that he caused the unemployment of thousands of doctors and researchers.
And then there’s the principled reason. Unless someone can make a credible case that Trump’s tax returns contain information that make him unsuitable to be president, why shouldn’t the returns remain private? Have we reached a point where any aspiration to political office now demands a complete and absolute transparency into all private aspects of a candidate’s life?
And to those who will say that if he had nothing to hide he would release them, I would ask if any of them have drapes on their windows, or doors to their bedrooms. There is a difference between privacy and hiding.
The idea that these tax returns will shed any meaningful light on any meaningful topic is simply silly. The left’s insistence on their disclosure is counter-productive and trivial.