MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow recently showed the world the first two pages of Donald Trump’s 2005 tax return. This revealed an income of $153 million and taxes paid of $36 million, working out, with minor adjustments, to a 25 percent effective rate. For several days after, all right-wing commentators, and most of Fox News, were crowing the Trump rate was far in excess of Barack Obama’s latest rate of 19 percent and Bill Clinton’s 15 percent rate. Thus their “Hero” was doing his share, or more, to effectively keep our ship of state afloat.
None of those right-wing commentators, or the “experts” on Fox, bothered to comment that the percentage of taxes paid from gross income increases as one’s income increases. The max rate in 2005 was 35 percent; Trump paid a rate substantially below the maximum, even with a huge taxable income amount. The reason he had to pay a reasonable amount was because of the alternative minimum tax. During the campaign he advocated doing away with the alternative minimum tax requirement. By comparison, the incomes of Obama and the Clintons, although substantial, were far below Trump’s income in 2005.
After Maddow discussed the Trump tax subject, Donald Trump Jr. started thumping his chest and bragging how his father was paying his share and more in taxes. Maddow then pounced with the perfect rejoinder that Trump then has no excuse not to release all his tax returns and should most certainly do so. That release of returns is what Americans want and expect from presidential candidates, and certainly from an elected candidate. Recent past candidates have all done so. It is, therefore, past the time that Trump comply with this unwritten law.
Lee Pitzer, O’Fallon