Sunday, May 15, 2016
Sanctimony: Would Donald Trump show Americans his tax filing?
Keywords or Terms: Tax Filing; Baulked, Peeker-boo; Ben Franklin, Father of US Postal Service; American Political Parties; Public Office; Secrecy; ABC NEWS George Stephanopoulos; Republican Nominee; bankruptcies filings; Insistent Outrage; Credit Worthiness; january 20, 2017
This is Billionaire Donald Trump, inventor of the hullabaloo about 2012 Presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, not showing his tax filing records to America, as soon as they showed interest. The same suspiciously egotistic, sexists and xenophobic aspirant, who once begrudged another former Republican presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney, to live up to the transparency and probably, the responsibility a seeker of the highest office in the land, is expected to live up, or show a candor for the same. When the question arose in his case in 2016, he baulked, baulked so badly that many wondered, are we having a sanctimonious candidate just as the probable, boss of bosses from Manhattan New York, this time around? The same citizen in 2012 who so much wanted candidate Barack Obama to show his birth certificate, responding to question about releasing his tax filing with: “[Trump’s] tax returns is none of your business!”
This is a goldmine for anyone who understands political history and appreciates how political aspirants attempt to play a Peeker-boo anytime things are appearing too uncomfortable, or how best to remain opaque if time allows, unless the public continues to show a demanding determinative interest or insistent outrage regarding suspected secrecy on the part of the aspirant, and chose to grind the issue out until they get answers to their questions. Unless this scenario is the case, unless many American voters consider any secrecy on the part of an aspirant as justifiable and logical to waive their right to know, it is within the prerogative of these voters to get answers to their questions regarding any candidates’ tax filing. Candidly, considering that Mr. Trump has projected an image of a mega rich businessman, who will go the length not to pay much in taxes; and given the choice, many other aspirants like him would rather not show the public their tax filings, it behooves the voting public to continue to ask, even if the political spirants for public office appear to be baulking and refusing to release their tax filings at first. Remember the old entitlement society, the most privileged among us, are often mystified why anyone should be asking about their records of tax filing? Hard to tell what First American Librarian Ben Franklin meant in his 1789 letter: “Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Mr. Trump pays his actual share and ratio of tax due from a Billionaire, no one can tell, until Mr. Trump fesses up, until he shows his tax filing; else, we will continue to see the sanctimony in all his past actions about other political candidates.
Americans are familiar with the seven questions journalists seek answers to with any interviewee: who? What? Where? When? Why? How? And How much? Every American at this time is curious to know, who is paying what and who is not paying much or who is dodging the tax man; and, why he or she is failing to rise up to the responsibility of paying adequate ratio or fair tax for his or her income bracket? Mr. Trump must have asked himself at certain times in his business career, if he is paying too much taxes or if he is actually paying his fair share? After all he is probably paying his legion of tax accountants to explore all possible loop holes in the tax laws to help him save a lot; or deny paying anything in tax, if possible? If Mr. Trump was a business man without an interest or ambition in the highest office in the land, maybe it is none of the public’s interest to know his tax filing papers. However, as a presumptive nominee of a major American Political Party, and probably the future President of the United States, there are many seminal issues about his tax filings that deserve in-depth examination and elucidation; and for this reason, it is rather expedient that he shares his tax filing information with those he is aspiring to rule over.
How else can a future US President ask the ordinary American to pay his share of taxation, if he is skittish about the citizens finding out if he had been paying his fair share in taxes? How can the average ‘joe six pack’ know that he has not been taken as a fool, as he works off his butt to pay his taxes and his possible future President, has been avoiding paying taxes or shying away from paying the true ratio of his earnings, comparatively? There are Americans who will easily default on Mr. Trump’s right as a citizen not to make his tax filings information public; however, there are millions as well, who will like to know if their future President has been an honest and transparent citizen. If Mr. Trump has been paying his taxes and or fair share of taxation, sharing information about his taxes must be effortless; if otherwise, then there is a problem: naysayers have the right to know if their future President is trustworthy and fair?
It is not strange or news that some Americans have taken a sabbatical from paying Uncle Sam, yearly taxes. No one at this time is alleging the presumptive Republican Nominee has some of his wealth hidden overseas; and, if Americans take Mr. Trump at his words or on the surface, he does not have an offshore account, where he is attempting to evade paying taxes. However, if Americans are curious to find out the “what’ and “how” of candidates who have been found as operating offshore accounts or hiding money in foreign countries to evade paying Uncle Sam, it is not unexpected or unusual for the American voter to be curious about whether Mr. Trump has been paying taxes and what tax brackets he falls? If presumptive Republican nominee wants average American to believe that if they vote him or anyone into office, they will necessarily seek to better their welfare and improve their lives, there is no reason to question their right to know; the right to know if they are dealing with a candidate that is having an overreaching or under reaching mission? This is part of the equation of wanting to be the President of the greatest democracy on earth. This is part of the unwritten requirements that decorum now demands and this is why information regarding any aspirant seeking the highest office in the land, is of public interest.
It is funny at this time that the “what” and “why” had gotten lost in the long twist of Mr. Trump’s response to ABC NEWS George Stephanopoulos’ question on Good Morning America the other day. The presumptive nominee had become animated and self-focused rather than purpose -focused. He must have contemplated the purpose for which the question regarding his prior years’ tax filings were being asked by the news anchor; and his response that that information is no one’s business, is probably an underestimation. The reality is, when you are asking Americans for their votes, your prior or current tax filing information, is part of the criteria they may choose to evaluate your authenticity as a candidate. If the presumptive nominee had attempted to explore the “why” of the question, maybe his response to the question would have been wisely different. Conveniently, he anticipated he had an audience that could be hood winked, with a stroke of one sentence designed to shut-voters’ inquisitively down. Now, Mr. Trump is not the first millionaire presumptive Republican nominee to have had problem with questions regarding their tax filings. Mr. Romney had similar problem in 2012 and ultimately obliged; and this is most likely going to be the case for the 2016 presumptive Republican nominee.
The “what” question is one that American voters must have thought is universal for most tax filers that are secretive about information regarding their tax filing. What exactly is the problem with this question; what exactly is in those tax filing that appears Mr. Trump or Mr. Romney are secretive about: What is their source and amount of wealth? Will someone in either tax bracket qualify as appreciative or understanding of the plight of the average American voter? Since this time around, Mr. Trump is the one seeking the White House oval office, it is not presumptive to ask Mr. Trump, what are his source of income; especially, where there are records of at least three bankruptcy filings? Although long known that Mr. Trump has filed for Chapter 7 and or 11, the reasons for those filings are not public information and no one except close associates, lawyers and accountants who have information regarding what led Mr. Trump to file for bankruptcy. Was he attempting not to pay his creditors or was he in a tight spot and needed some time to make good on some loans and or credits? What are those sources of loans? Is it possible that an old creditor may use his absolved debt at bankruptcy to blackmail a US President? American voters, Republicans and Democrats, deserve to know, who are, or if Mr. Trump’s creditors were in a bind; or, if they suffered a disproportional and or disparaging loss from his bankruptcy filing(s); and may in turn use their misfortunes against a US President while in office.
Use of money and management of credits have become part of assessing one’s level of dependency. One’s credit score has emerged as means of defining who we are as persons or trading partners in a national and or global market. How much debt you are carrying and how many bankruptcy filings you have had are known to define business relationship(s) with other people and enterprises. “How” much you owe as a person and CEO or leader of a business decides if people or businesses are going to go into accord with you, or offer you additional credit lines. If a potential creditor determines you are a huge risk, it is unlikely he is going to do business with you or the business you head. If the person or business finds out you have a tradition of filing for bankruptcy, he starts to believe you are a greater risk than anyone who has not been in that same plight. While one credit score does not completely tell the whole story; however, because businesses and people have now considered your credit reliability as a measure of your dependency; one’s ability to maintain and expand credit worthiness depends on one’s credit score and how many bankruptcies one has been engaged. Like it or not, filing for bankruptcy is a break of trust; no American and or business would like anyone, unable to live up to his words, occupying the White House oval office, because of the associated risks and overall welfare of the nation we all love.
Next, if Mr. Trump considers tax evasion as an alternative or cushion chair which all rich Americans take advantage of, as he retorted on that Good Morning America question from ABC NEWS George Stephanopoulos, no one must henceforth consider the rich as honest businessmen and women because their first choice in harnessing their wealth is to pay the littlest or evade taxes. Intention(s) not to pay one’s tax or refusal to share information regarding whether one paid enough taxes or not, are actions susceptible to multiple interpretations; however, whichever one any independent voter defaults, determines if a candidate is the ideal candidate to support or vote for into an office. Interestingly, since Mr. Trump had proposed as a policy the likelihood of not paying the face value of American national debt, his past affinity for filing bankruptcies are indicators of where he stands on the issue of reliability in settling debts and is a measurable indicator of his recalcitrance as a loan defaulter and probably, an indicator of why no voter must consider him an honest and dependable leader.
At a personal level, filing multiple bankruptcies have long had a negative image problem, deserved or not. The most devastating impact on one as a private person or business owner is that he or she is either called to pay higher interest rates or denied further credits. Mr. Trump may consider his past personal and business bankruptcy filings as personal or restrictively business decisions; however, this is hardly how those who have played by the rule of the game or the market take it. Like a bank manager, repeated bankruptcies are measure of one’s poor credit-worthiness character. How would anyone of us, like this on their epitaph; “A chronic debtor who sought to rule America after filing multiple bankruptcies!” Would that be a commendable legacy; or, what would passerby say? Most importantly, what would other nations say: “America now has in the White House, a stripper as a first lady and dead beat as a President?”
Voters in 2016 general elections have the power and prerogative to determine what is more important to them at the personal level; and to the nation, as a whole. They have the power to determine the image they want the nation to carry after Friday January 20, 2017 inauguration. Whether personal character and past choices matter in determining, future decision and determinations? This question matters, no matter what any presidential aspirant wants America to believe.