Trump’s tax travesty

Millions of Americans pay thousands or sometimes millions of dollars in taxes every year. Many do this without hesitation and see it as a patriotic duty. One would think that the President of the United States would be at the forefront of this patriotism, but a few weeks ago, we learned that this is sadly not the case.

On Sept. 27, The New York Times reported that President Trump paid $750 in taxes in 2016 and 2017. They also reported that records show no payment of federal income taxes in 11 of the 18 years that The New York Times researched.

Just for some background, the average family in North Carolina paid around $8,739 in taxes in 2018, according to CNBC. This is almost 12 times the amount that the President paid in 2016 and 2017.

It was my understanding that Donald Trump was a billionaire, so when I heard this news, I was thoroughly confused.

After looking into the specifics, I learned that the President appears to owe a massive amount of loans totaling $421 million, most of which is due in the next four years. Many of his businesses have also reported losing large amounts of money. These losses have helped the President lower his taxes.

Although Trump has declared financial losses, he still lives a lavish lifestyle. He has continued to take tax deductions on residences, aircraft and hairstyling for television.

Trump is the only sitting U.S. president in decades not to release his tax records, and now we see why.

Although this issue was brought to light right before the first debate, this topic was not discussed in much detail as both Biden and Trump frequently swerved off-topic.

When Chris Wallace asked how much Trump paid in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017, Trump stated that he paid millions of dollars, deflecting the question and talking instead about Vice President Biden’s tax policies. Trump also claimed that his tax returns are not yet finished and insinuated that this is the reason we have not seen them.

These revelations are hard to hear, but they are not surprising. I find it incredible how the President claims to care about America and want the best for our country while failing to perform the most basic civic duty required by all Americans.

The new information that we have received in the past weeks regarding Trump’s finances are very telling of the kind of person we have running our country. The selfish tendencies shown in his tax records demonstrate that he is not only a bad businessman, but he knows how to work the American tax system to his advantage. If he values his money over his country, how can we trust him to run our nation?

I fear that if he is elected again, we will see these selfish tendencies reflected in policy issues that affect the less fortunate. Based on his past behavior, it is likely that when given the decision, he will choose what is best for himself and other billionaires over what is best for the majority of Americans.

It is my hope that Trump begins to tell the truth regarding his tax history. Questions have been piling up since he refused to release his tax returns. It is only right that the President of the United States at least be held to the same standard as the rest of the American people. He continues to set a bad example for our country, and I worry about how his behavior will evolve if he is elected for a second term.