Scanning the headlines and leads in my newsfeed this morning offered a great illustration of how manic and polarized our nation has become: the CEO of Neiman-Marcus shows off his new mansion on the same day he lays off employees; Wall Street opened high despite indications that economic growth is slow; our president claims to be a billionaire but paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017.
I understand the fears of people who don’t want the government to drift too far to the left. I understand that people don’t like paying taxes. I don’t doubt that the president’s accountant can explain why his federal tax burden is significantly less than the average Mississippian’s. However, you can’t claim to the IRS that you’re losing money every year, and represent to investors that you’re financially sound with appreciating assets. That’s fraud.
Other information contained in the president’s tax return seem laughable. Seventy thousand dollars in annual expenses for hair care? Claiming over $100,000 in deductions for hair and make-up expenses for his daughter’s televised appearances? I realize that we live in an age where CEOs make, on average, almost 300 times the average annual salary for a worker, but those “health and personal care” deductions rub me the wrong way.
Trump has often described himself as “smart” for being able to avoid paying taxes. However, people who want to lead should hold themselves to a higher standard than “smart.” So here’s my question for the blog: among those who are as repulsed as I am by the president’s behavior, what will cause them to hold their noses and vote for him anyway?