Thinking you've been had:
MSNBC host Rachel Maddow spent hours touting a massive scoop: She — or more accurately, veteran investigative reporter David Cay Johnston — had gotten her hands on President Trump's 2005 federal tax return.That's the opinion of Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post. And he's right. It's not close. More Cillizza:
That return, the political universe speculated, might hold the key to unlocking the single biggest mystery surrounding Trump: His financial affairs. After all, this is a president who broke with decades of tradition by refusing to release his tax returns — any of them — during the 2016 campaign, insisting that he was under audit.
The return wasn't the key. Not even close.
Trump has repeatedly said that he did everything he could to pay as little tax as possible — a position, he insisted, that not only made him smart but also one that lots and lots of voters seemed to agree with. “I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible,” Trump told ABC in May 2016.Almost no one pays the top rate, of course. Everyone takes as many deductions as possible. Anyone with Trump's wherewithal has a battalion of accountants at the ready. So by hyping an available document, Maddow actually calls in an airstrike on her own position.
And because of Trump's refusal to release his tax returns, there has long been speculation that he may not have paid any taxes from the mid-1990s — when we know he reported more than $900 million in losses on his tax returns — until the mid-2000s. (For much more on that, check this out.)
The 2005 tax return shows that the latter supposition is simply not true. Trump paid $38 million in taxes, not $0. And the return also suggests that Trump, as he said, did what he could to lower his tax burden. He paid an effective tax rate of 25 percent, far below the top tax bracket — 35 percent — for individuals at that time.
In short: We didn't learn anything we don't already know about Trump. Yes, he is very wealthy. Yes, he — like virtually all very wealthy people — looks for holes in the tax code to lower his overall taxable income. (Sidebar: As a non-wealthy person, I do the same thing.)
Our pal Gino cuts to the chase, in his own inimitable style:
Part of [Trump's] success throughout this righteous crusade has been his ability to troll the press/opposition (same thing).I've not spent a lot of time watching Maddow's show, for the same reason I don't hit myself in the head with a ball peen hammer, so my sample size is limited. Based on what I have seen, she is a textbook example of a person who is intelligent in form but not in fact. If you don't have a story, you ought not run with a story. She did, anyway, and she ends up looking like an upmarket Geraldo Rivera. Perhaps there is another Trump tax return with more aroma, but his returns from 2005 indicate nothing untoward at all. And the term Gino uses, unhinged, seems more apt by the day.
He's good at it.
The more unhinged and dishonest the journalism community appears, the better it is for Trump.
Obama was a good troll, too. He enjoyed setting off the whack jobs of the Right. It was easy to do, and provided him the brush to paint all of his opposition in the same vein.
Trump has taken it to a higher level.
Alex Jones (who nobody takes seriously to but the Left), has been replaced in this role by respected, mainstream reporters/journalists/shills (same thing)... and once again, they shat their shorts.