An Afternote to Blog 115: Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

In Blog No. 115 we suggested that, even if Donald Trump persisted in his refusal to disclose his tax returns, he should be pressed to disclose key information from the returns. An excellent column in Friday’s New York Times by James Stewart makes just that point: “Keep the Returns, Trump; Just Give Us a Few Figures.” As Stewart put it:

So just give us this: your adjusted gross income and actual federal taxes paid for the last five years, certified by your accountants. That’s a total of 10 numbers, which would fit on a single page.

Those are numbers any taxpayer can understand. They wouldn’t tell the I.R.S. anything it doesn’t already know.

And while they wouldn’t answer many of the questions that have swirled around your finances, they would lay to rest once and for all the most basic question: How much, if anything, do you pay in federal taxes?

Although Stewart is willing to settle for disclosure of bare figures at this point, he also describes concisely and convincingly the “wealth of relevant information” that would be revealed by the returns themselves. The most basic question is whether Trump eased his tax burden by legal tax avoidance or illegal tax evasion. In addition, the returns would also disclose which tax loopholes Trump took advantage of and focus attention on why such loopholes appear untouched by Trump’s “tax reform” proposal.

We urge followers of to read the Stewart column in its entirety and to draw it to the attention of their friends and neighbors. We hope that it is also read by Stewart’s media colleagues and future debate moderators as well as the Clinton campaign.

8 thoughts on “An Afternote to Blog 115: Donald Trump’s Tax Returns

  • So in a perfect world, Trump would share his tax returns and perhaps show us how little he has paid in taxes…and what loop holes he has exploited. I would love to see it. Likewise, I would love to see Hillary tell us the real reasons she put our national security at risk by using private Blackberry’s, where she was as the Benghazi tragedy unfolded, why she instructed aides to delete thousands of emails, why she doesn’t know what a classified document looks like, and lots of other assorted facts. In a perfect world, we would have two honest, straightforward candidates to choose from, Obviously, neither one wears a white hat. I continue to believe Hillary is the evil we know, Trump the evil we don’t. I understand from your comments that you find Hillary the better candidate. But in all fairness, I find her flaws just as significant as Trumps…but I hear far less about them.

  • Why give Trump a pass on his unpresidented (and unpresidential) refusal to producie his tax returns? Not that it would really matter if he did. Trump has disqualified himself as a presidential candidate again and again. Most recently, by insulting a former beauty queen in late night tweets. How could any intelligent person vote for Trump? And how could anyone vote for Gary Johnson, a blithering idiot?

  • Doug, I’m trying to share your brilliant stuff with everyone I know (esp in my native Ohio), specifically “never Trumps” who can’t bring themselves to vote for Hillary (or whose husbands, sons and fathers can’t). Thanks so much for the ammunition. Keep it coming!

  • So now we should give Donald Trump legal advice and tell him to go against the advice of his own attorneys?

    What is illegal about not disclosing your tax returns or your finances?

    And this advice comes from the New York Times? Come on…..more liberal news media hysteria!

    • Legal advice? An audit is no excuse and every prez candidate in moortn history hss produced his tax returns. But itt really could not help Trump: we already know he is crazy.

    • You’re right, Jake. There is nothing illegal in Trump’s refusal to disclose his recent and current tax returns. But, it’s not legality that’s at issue here. Honesty, integrity and accountability – not to mention fiscal responsibility – these ARE at issue. And Trump fails in every category of character by his continuing refusal to disclose. But, don’t we voters – whose taxes support the operations of our government and its elected and non-elected officials – have every right to know the financial behavior of our presidential candidates before deciding which to vote for? After all, how one 1) earns his/her wealth, and 2) how one dispenses of that wealth define very clearly how one thinks of himself.
      Trump has already made very clear to all who care to listen that he believes life is a zero sum game – that one can only be a winner or a loser – and that we who acquiesce to paying taxes are losers (i.e., not ‘smart’, as he is).
      Regarding the ‘liberal news media hysteria’. Please!! This article voices a position far less demanding of Trump than many conservative voices are doing. But, of course, you’re not listening to these.

    • There is nothing illegal about not releasing your tax return. The problem is perception. The ardent Trump supporters couldn’t care less whether he releases his past tax returns. They will continue to support him, but for the average person who might still be on the fence it is damaging. What is even more damaging is that Trump appears to be unraveling. This is not a man who is used to being challenged,much less disagreed with. He is not handling it well. As “they” say, “Stay tuned.”

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