New Jersey’s Republican Governor Chris Christie and former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani have praised Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s ability to avoid paying taxes.
“There’s no one who has shown more genius in their way to maneuver about the tax code as he rightfully used the laws to do that,” Christie told Fox News.
“This was actually a very, very good story for him.”
Giuliani added he believes Trump’s use of the tax code is nothing short of “absolute genius.”
According to The New York Times, Trump used a tax deduction after he lost $916 million due to the mismanagement of three Atlantic City casinos, a crash and burn airline business, and a loss incurred after buying the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan. The business failures permitted him to skip out on taxes for 18 years.
Trump is also accused of avoiding taxes by moving thousands of dollars into his charitable foundation. According to The Washington Post, the Trump Foundation appears to have violated laws against “self-dealing,” which prohibit nonprofit leaders from using charity money to help themselves.
“Mr. Trump knows the tax code far better than anyone who has ever run for President and he is the only one that knows how to fix it,” his campaign said in a statement after the Times ran its story.
It is hardly surprising the rich and powerful are adept at manipulating the tax code to their benefit. “Only little people pay taxes,” quipped the “Queen of Mean,” the real estate billionaire Leona Helmsely. Warren Buffett, the billionaire CEO and largest shareholder of Berkshire Hathaway, once said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
The uber rich have a number of tax avoidance schemes at their disposal. Tax havens, shell companies, equity swaps, trust freezing, capital gains loopholes, deferred compensation plans, and other creative methods of sidestepping the government are routinely used.
Christie and Giuliani consider the ability to escape taxation a form of genius. Meanwhile, they have said nothing about the fact that the government will confiscate money from the “little people” to make up the difference.
In September Christie and Democratic leaders in New Jersey agreed to increase the tax burden on citizens. The deal will more than double the current 14.5 cents-a-gallon tax, the second-lowest fuel surcharge in the country after Alaska, reports The Wall Street Journal.
Republicans like to claim they favor lower taxes, but this is largely rhetoric to entice voters burdened with ever increasing taxation.
During the heyday of Republican control of Congress, the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990 was passed. Laurence M. Vance notes the legislation added a 31 percent tax bracket to two existing brackets of 15 and 28 percent and also increased the alternative minimum tax, limited itemized deductions, phased out the personal exemption, instituted an unemployment insurance surtax, increased taxes on tobacco and alcohol, and instituted a luxury tax on expensive automobiles, boats, airplanes, jewelry, and furs. Payroll taxes were also increased.
“Even under the Bush regime, with Republicans fully in charge, Americans were heavily taxed. And regardless of what the Republican presidential candidates say about tax reform, don’t expect anything to really change. Republicans, after all, just like Democrats, think the U.S. government is entitled to a portion of every American’s income,” writes Vance.
Every American, that is, except the super rich like Trump and Helmsley.