Here Are Some Petty, Embarrassing Grievances About Trump's Taxes


Eric Reads The News is a daily humor column which skewers politics, pop culture, celebrity, shade, and schadenfreude.

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On Sunday evening the New York Times released a damning report summarizing years of investigation and reporting on Donald Trump’s financial situation, which is, apparently, a whole mess. (I’m paraphrasing.) Sunday’s bombshell article was only the first in a series of articles detailing the president’s financial woes and workarounds. The Times was like, “You better pull out the bifocals, baby, this is a miniseries. We’re on some Thornbirds tip today!” While I do love to have my messy drama portioned out like an extended release tablet and I do love rehashing old crimes and I do love reading financial information that I barely understand and nodding my head gravely like I definitely understand it, I do have a couple of complaints. And as one of the few tax-paying Americans, it is my right to voice those complaints! In the coming weeks and months there will be no shortage of lawyers and tax experts who will provide useful context for the Times’s reporting. But who will speak for the people who just can’t get over how embarrassing this all is? Fortunately, on my tax return, under occupation it reads “Schadenfreude Scientist/Shady Gossip” and I’m reporting for duty.

Herewith, some of the pettiest observations about the Trump tax imbroglio:

The audacity!

      There are many breathtaking revelations in the article, including the foreboding fact that Trump owes $300 million in loans that are coming due in the next two to three years (why is reality plotted like a season of Passions?) Perhaps the most damning is the assertion that while Trump has some businesses that turn a profit, when it comes to his full portfolio, he is king of shit mountain. Many of his business take on hundreds of millions of dollars in losses every year, which are strategically deployed to get him out having to owe taxes, sometimes for decades. It’s such a comprehensive grift that it really had me out here thinking about using my three and a half nickels of personal wealth to buy a failing banana stand and run it into the ground. What happens after that? Well, I sure don’t know and that’s why I’m a Schadenfreude Scientist and not Mafia President.

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      The audacity, though, is the thing that I am most annoyed about. Trump really had the Tia and Temerity to roll into his tax accountant’s office every April like “Well, Smitty, it seems we’ve had another year of staggering losses, if you can believe it. There are definitely some businesses that are doing well but I also accidentally lost one billion dollars. Plum misplaced it. Yes, I looked in my sofa cushions. Am I embarrassed? Yeah, a little. But mostly I’m listening and learning.”

      The number 750!

      Smitty the accountant then had the absolute gall to take income taxes that showed hundreds of millions of dollars swirling around and being chopped up like a well-done steak going down the garbage disposal, and write the number 750 on the owed line. Yes, Donald Trump paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017. Smitty! Have some damn self-respect. We have only had this information for about 18 hours but I am certain that I have never hated a number more. It’s not even 1,000. It’s literally a middle finger of a figure.

      And now that the number is out in the public consciousness, everybody is tweeting out things that cost more than Trump paid in taxes like they’re auditioning for The Price Is Right. It’s really too much. $750 is less than the sales tax on a used 2013 Nissan Rogue and I only know that because I looked it up to make this uninspiring joke. Self! Have some damn respect!

      The other stuff!

      $750 isn’t even the worst part of it. This article is so wide-ranging and comprehensive you could find a new shocking scheme in it every day for the rest of the year. I mean, the Ivanka part alone is worth at least a week of screaming into the void. The Trump corporation appears to have hired one Ivanka Trump, an executive in the corporation, as a consultant for the organization as well to the tune of $747, 622. Child, let me start hiring my fingers as typing consultants and my brain as a nonsense manager and collect these tax credit coins. It’s a wonder that Donald Trump found the time to do the job of president with all the work he’s putting into looting. Wait a minute…

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      The existence of this in the first place!

      The October surprise is a book report. I am glad that this article exists but also I resent that it had to be written and that I have to spend two hours reading and digesting it when really I want to start my week catching up on celebrity gossip and googling “easy weeknight meals for busy moms” like I do every week.

      The blindspots!

      Oh! Another petty grievance: this truly cursed Miss Universe pageant in Moscow. Trump and NBC co-produced the event and, according to the report, shared $4.7 million in profits from the pageant in Moscow, whereas they’d shared losses of $2 million and nearly $4 million the year prior and the year after respectively. You’re telling me that no one at NBC was like “Hmm, a little strange that this Miss Universe: Devil’s Bargain suddenly started printing money out of a dying brand like it was a Friends reunion special.”

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      The denial!

      When asked about the report, Trump called it fake news. Boy, if this feckless loser doesn’t come up with a new catchphrase. Like, what part is fake? Did you or did you not pay a hair stylist $70,000 to do the fondant sculpture that is your hair? Did you or did you not write off nearly $100,000 worth of hair and makeup for Ivanka? Did you or did you not pay much more in taxes to foreign governments than you paid to the American government? Are you just not really into the American experiment? Is it true that you are the real villain in Hamilton?

      The cynics!

      The “this won’t change anyone’s mind” crowd is eating too well for my liking. Yes, his base has no grasp on reality and this may not sway all of them, but what are you doing using your one precious life to preemptively undercut an unequivocally damning report? If it doesn’t matter, why are you tweeting about it at all, babe? Let’s talk about time management, let’s do that.

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      The illustrations!

      The little gold icons that the Times uses to illustrate the story are really cute and that makes me irrationally mad.

      The W-9s!

      People who send W-9s that aren’t fillable are the true villains here. This isn’t related to Trump’s taxes, per se, but it is related to taxes and a federal court ruled it admissible. Yes, I realize that you need me to fill out this W-9 in order to pay me, Gareth, but unfortunately you have sent me a jpeg of a photocopy and told me to “print it out, sign it, scan it, and send it back” like I got a damn FedEx Office franchise in my living room. Gareth, beloved, I do not. The level of technology these folks assume I have access to it really beyond. Gareth, who do you think I am? Tony Stark? If I was Tony Stark, I’d for damn sure not be filling out my own W-9s and I’d probably spend most of my time working with Vision to fix my taxes so that I only owed $749. That’s business, baby!

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