Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon and the Democrats believe they can deflate Donald Trump’s rise by exposing his tax returns.
The logic here is the American people will be outraged by Trump possibly not paying his “fair share” and they will turn against him, thus allowing Hillary Clinton to win the election.
Wyden is floating a bill to force presidential candidates to make their tax returns public. This would reverse the long-standing law that individual income tax returns—including those of public figures—are private information protected by law from unauthorized disclosure. Trump underscored this fact when he told the corporate media his tax returns are none of their business.
— Richard Lui MSNBC (@RichardLui) May 31, 2016
Wyden’s effort follows a decision by the DNC to troll Trump on the money the government claims he owes the state. In May, Hillary Clinton declared Trump “pays no federal income tax,” even though he has yet to release his tax forms.
Clinton was paying fast and loose with the facts. Trump did pay income taxes.
Moreover, Democrats hope exposing the details of Trump’s tax returns will provide them with ammo that will rile their base and hopefully convince fence sitters to vote Democrat. They’d love to portray Trump as a tax chiseler involved in shady business deals, a charity cheapskate with offshore accounts where he hides his money.
Attacking Tax Reform
In fact, the “transparency” called for by Wyden and the Democrats is an attack on Trump’s call for tax reform.
“It is estimated that your tax plan will cut the taxes owed by the top 0.1 percent by an average of $1.3 million in 2017, and by $275,000 for the top 1 percent. The corporate tax rate will plummet from 35% to 15%. Your tax returns will give us a very good idea of how much you will benefit, Mr. Trump,” writes Frank Clemente, Executive Director, Americans for Tax Fairness and Americans for Tax Fairness Action Fund.
Trump’s tax plan will also provide tax relief for millions of middle-class Americans. It will not only simplify the tax code—now over 72,000 pages in length, requiring more than six billion person hours per year to determine taxpayers’ taxable income—but will also allow Americans who owe less than $25,000 to pay no incomes taxes (the plan would remove nearly 75 million households—over 50%—from the income tax rolls).
“When the income tax was first introduced, just one percent of Americans had to pay it. It was never intended as a tax most Americans would pay. The Trump plan eliminates the income tax for over 73 million households. 42 million households that currently file complex forms to determine they don’t owe any income taxes will now file a one page form saving them time, stress, uncertainty and an average of $110 in preparation costs. Over 31 million households get the same simplification and keep on average nearly $1,000 of their hard-earned money,” the Trump website explains.
This is a horrific scenario for Democrats and Republicans alike. It would force the government to downsize and scale back its bureaucratic operations. It might even prevent it from engaging in war and reduce or eliminate its bribery of foreign states.
Hillary Clinton’s tax plan, on the other hand, would increase the tax burden on Americans. It would seize nearly $500 billion over the next decade and reduce GDP by approximately 1 percent. Taking the reduction of GDP into account, Clinton’s plan will reduce the after-tax income of Americans.
“The plan would lead to 0.8 percent lower wages, a 2.8 percent smaller capital stock, and 311,000 fewer full-time equivalent jobs. The smaller economy results from somewhat higher marginal tax rates on capital and labor income,” notes the Tax Foundation.
Ideally, Donald Trump would call for an outright elimination of federal income taxes and a repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. Short of that, his plan is worth consideration.
Prior to 1913, the federal government operated on user fees and sales of government land and assessments to the states for services rendered. The framers rejected the Hamiltonian view that the feds could take whatever they wanted, and it followed the Jeffersonian first principle that the only moral commercial exchanges are those that are fully voluntary, notes Andrew P. Napolitano.
The Clinton plan and the one proposed by Bernie Sanders would continue the destruction of the middle class and accelerate the impoverishment of most Americans.
“There are only three ways to acquire wealth in a free society,” writes Napolitano. “The inheritance model occurs when someone gives you wealth. The economic model occurs when you trade a skill, a talent, an asset, knowledge, sweat, energy or creativity to a willing buyer. And the mafia model occurs when a guy with a gun says: ‘Give me your money or else.’”