Yesterday evening on MSNBC Rachel Maddow featured Donald Trump’s leaked tax returns from 2005. While news outlets went nuts with this, what is the real significance of this leak? Let’s take a look at this:
- A couple of pages of the 2005 tax returns were sent anonymously to Pulitzer prize-winning journalist David Cay Johnston (whom Trump referred to in a tweet as “a reporter, who nobody ever heard of”). They are not the complete returns.
- The returns show that Trump paid $36.6 million in federal income taxes on $152.7 million in reported income in 2005, or 24 percent, “far below the top 35 percent rate at the time that a billionaire would presumably have been paying. But if they didn’t have to pay the supplemental tax, they would have forked over a mere 4 percent.”
- Some, including Johnston and George W. Bush’s former ethics lawyer Richard Painter consider it possible that Trump may have leaked his own taxes. He’s done this sort of thing before. Maybe “John Barron” did it.
- Junior Trump tweeted: “Thank you Rachel Maddow for proving to your #Trump hating followers how successful @realDonaldTrump is & that he paid $40mm in taxes! #Taxes,” but he’s wrong (and he also has a serious case of Backpfeifengesicht). This portion of Trump 2005 taxes tells us little and Maddow’s crime is just over-hyping a story.
First off, a $153 million profit doesn’t seem much compared to how much Trump claims he’s worth. Plus, had it not been for the Alternative Minimum Tax, Trump would have been paying less in tax than a family at near poverty level. But, yes, Junior, it does show that daddy paid taxes in 2005.
But that’s about it. These leaked returns do little but distract from Trump’s many other controversies (health care, immigration, conflicts of interest, Russia, alleged wire tapping…am I missing anything?). If Trump expects to gain any kind of public trust at all he needs to disclose his 2016 tax returns in full like every other presidential candidate. What has he to hide?