« Humans never migrated out of Africa | Main | Five Days That Shaped a Presidency »

October 03, 2016


Real estate has traditionally been the wild west of finance in America (land booms/busts which see).

Gambling with other people's money (OPM) is a feature, not a bug, in the real estate business.

Am I the first to comment? NO, not more than I wanted to know. I assumed that his tax dodge was legal, but did not know the ins and outs.

I thnk--hope!--it hurt him when he smirked and crowed that paying no taxes made him smart. The implication is that those of us who pay our membership dues are schmucks. That is the ultimate tear down of a nation--the idea that only suckers pay for the services government provides. I think it is a pretty common notion with the rightwing billionaire class.

I've been having a depressing conversation with my neighbor about Trump versus Hllary. He's a nice man, enjoys a good debate, is not a complete ignoramus and is aware of many of Trump's failings. But he has allowed himself to be so saturated with righwing hatemongering toward Hillary that he regards her as the lesser of evils. Part of his allegiance to Trump come sfrom his since of having been labeled with all Republicans as a racist and his understandable hurt feelings over that.

It is obvious that hard core racists support Trup. heck Storm Front and groups like that have been doing GOTV for him! But I do think the racist thing has been over played. Yes, appeals to racism have been fundamental to Republican discourse for decades: Wllie Horton, lawnorder, teh Southern Strategy and so on, but to demonize all or most Republicans as racist is not only inaccurate, but it is playing right into righwing divide and conquer politics. I'm sure taht peopel like Rove just love it when the politca conversation degneerates into an argument about the extent to whch teh Repubican party appeals to racism.

I keep bring up issue with my nieghbor, and not surprisingly issue by issue (except abortion) he is a liberal althogh he doesn not want to say so. I pointed this out to him and he kind of got mad, but it is true not only of him but of many Republicans.

I think that one of the big divides in thei country is between people who think in a practical way about issues and people who respond to emotional appeals, especaily negative emotianl appeals.

"the idea that only suckers pay for the services government provides. I think it is a pretty common notion with the rightwing billionaire class."

It's also a common feature of "nobility" that they get generous tax exceptions, when compared to us peons.

That is, until the people wearing unfashionable clothes (sans-culottes back then, cargo shorts wearers now) give the nobility some exceptionally-short haircuts.

From some of the reactions that I'm reading, the tax stuff is hurting Trump some. But what is hurting more is the idea that, in the mid-1990s (when the economy was booming), he managed to lose almost a billion dollars in one year. Some business genius.

Yes, Trump had written a book about it ("The Art of the Come-back"?). But a lot of his fans either hadn't heard, or at least hadn't had it put out there where they couldn't ignore it. The loss of his business-genius luster seems to be having an effect. Even on those who are OK with him successfully dodging taxes in ways not available to most of us poor schmucks who work for a living.

Well someone needs to pay for the nobility to take care of us

There's another way to try to get the discussion of taxes off the front page: say something else that's newsworthy.

“When people come back from war and combat and they see maybe what a lot of the folks in this room have seen many times over, and you’re strong and you can handle it, but a lot of people can’t handle it.”

Nothing like insulting a lot of veterans to get everyone related to the military on your side.


Well someone needs to pay for the nobility to take care of us

If that's the case, who needs them?

Nothing like insulting a lot of veterans to get everyone related to the military on your side.

it's truly shocking that he has any support at all. and yet he has plenty of support - not just from anti-Clinton zealots, either.


In addition, if you materially participate in a real estate business - as it seems Trump must have - you can deduct your real estate losses (real or paper) against your other income and as noted in the Times story carry that forward for 15 years.

my understanding is that this does not apply only to real estate, but to any business losses. A lot of detail is

oops. Detail is here.

If there is special treatment for real estate I missed it.

Preview is your friend.

I suspect this tax return is why he gold plates everything. He probably claims that the Trump "brand" requires that he live an opulent lifestyle, and spends as much as possible on gold played stuff to claim those costs as business expenses. Otherwise he might accidentally earn off his loss from 1995 and have to pay taxes again.


he has plenty of support because American politics is gravitating toward two increasingly irreconcilable and more ideologically cohesive poles. you gotta' support your team, regardless of the shortcomings of your quarterback.

i get that, but Trump isn't really ideologically cohesive; he's such a transparent and eager liar that it seems impossible to think that he means anything he says.

about the only thing he's consistent on is his authoritarian persona and his shameless self-promotion.

people are just stupid.

well, if you get that, then the fact that he is a transparently narcissistic, authoritarian self-promoting egomaniac with a short attention span is essentially irrelevant.

politics is a team sport.

what i'm saying is i find it hard to believe people think he's actually a Republican - given that he never tells the truth about anything (and he once called himself a Democrat) he's probably lying about that, too.

strike one: insofar as he would sign any bill Ryan and McConnell would put before him, and appoint conservatives to administrative and judicial positions, yes, he is a republican.

strike 2: as I am sure you have noticed, republicans lie.

I'm acquainted with some people who support him. They are aware of many o fhis shortcomings, but have bought into rightwing hateongering so much taht they rationalize that he is the lesser of evils. They are also suffering from the misconception taht the Republican party is the party of fiscal conservatism that represents all that is respectable and responsible in American life and voting for a Republican will protect them from ISIS and those balck people who think their lives should matter and people who don;t stand for the pledge. ANd they seem to think taht their taxes will go up if a Democrat is elected and down if a Republican is. They are completely unaware of the legislative history of Republicans in Congress. I think that they like Trmp's meanness. Which I don not think should be a surprise. The Republican party has presented itself for decades as the party taht will smite the Other on behalf of real Americans. Trump has teh sae basic message, only without any nuance. It is depressing to think of how many Americans LIKE a bullying thug.

This, posted through a portentous ad on his Twitter feed a couple of hours ago, seems an odd and potentially worrying development:


Is he trying to ensure that his supporters never hear anything from anywhere else? Is the contact number at the bottom soliciting dirt on Hillary, which can then be disseminated to his followers? Or what is this? I find it mysterious, but feel I may have missed some important element....

GftNC: That looks creepy for sure. On the other hand, his supporters aren't going to be changing their minds at this point. I'm thinking that here on out, he's just trying to do a GOTV for his most ardent supporters [I call them crazyfolk, but maybe that violates ObWi posting rules].

Who the Hell is going to support him who hasn't already pledged allegiance? No logic in the world will change his supporters' minds. Maybe there are still people who, for one reason or another, have been disengaged, who can still be persuaded.

Sapient, your logic seems pretty good to me, but I wonder whether Trump is so delusional about himself that he thinks he can still persuade HRC's supporters, or at least the waverers, to come over to him. And my fear is that maybe he can. His team (that Kellyanne woman seems much more competent than anyone else he has/has had) may have some dastardly plot in mind of which this is the opening salvo, and despite your valiant efforts (not being sarcastic - I'm filled with admiration for your staunchness) it's clear that many Americans, including some on this site, can be persuaded to think HRC guilty of any appalling crime.

And my fear is that maybe he can.

Don't get me wrong. I'm quaking with fear until 11/9. But, honestly, there's only so much that logic, hard work, and letting Donald Trump speak for himself - only so much that can be done, although I'll keep on canvassing. And it appears that we're ahead. Fingers crossed, and work continues.

By the way, I had concert tickets for tomorrow night, but am staying home to watch the Kaine / Pence debate. Some people think he's a milquetoast. Not so. He's an incredibly dignified life-long fighter. I love him. I know he got good press when he was first announced, and at the convention. Not much publicity since then. Can't wait to see him tomorrow.

I'd like to watch the VP debate too, as I often have in the past, although timing is an issue since I'll be leaving London for the North Country the day after, and won't be back where I record it for weeks.

You're right again, of course, there really is a limit to what can practically be done. But relying on Trump to wreck his chances by just being himself should have worked months ago, I'm still finding it incredible that he's got the numbers he has. I respect everyone on this site (that I can immediately think of, anyway) but I still find it amazing that anybody could dream of abstaining, when a Trump victory is the alternative. However, I suppose we've rehearsed those arguments ad nauseam already, and so to bed.

I will say it again: a government of the people, by the people, and for the people can't ever be any better than The People.

We, The People, might console ourselves with the thought that "OK, it can't be any better than We are, but it can be worse". That thought merely demonstrates how dumb We actually are.

Yes, We (the People of the USA, in aggregate) are clearly stupid enough to elect He, Trump as Our president. Or maybe not. That's what this election will decide.


There's another way to try to get the discussion of taxes off the front page: say something else that's newsworthy...

Like this ?

“While we remain very concerned about the political motives behind A. G. Schneiderman’s investigation, the Trump Foundation nevertheless intends to cooperate fully with the investigation,” Hope Hicks, Mr. Trump’s spokeswoman, said in a statement on Monday. “Because this is an ongoing legal matter, the Trump Foundation will not comment further at this time...."

Aha, so this is what he has in mind! To nobble the spin on the next debate. Will it work?

Maybe there are still people who, for one reason or another, have been disengaged, who can still be persuaded.

Regardless of what direction they're currently going in, the poll numbers remain relatively volatile. Some number of people have been changing their minds at various points throughout the campaign season and appear to be continuing to do so. To me, this is possibly more perplexing than people who support Trump. While I think ardent Trump supporters are terribly wrong, I can approach some level of understanding of what makes them support him and what kinds (plural) of people they are. (See Wonkie's earlier comment, for example.)

I really don't get people who haven't made their minds up at this point. What the hell else do they need to know (or believe) that they don't already know (or believe)? (This doesn't include resolute abstainers or 3rd-party voters. They've made up their minds, just not to vote for Trump or Clinton.)

there are people who just don't follow politics and haven't been chewing on this stuff for the last year. they're just now starting to pay attention. so if they were asked, they gave pollsters basically uninformed answers.

So it's like how I fill out my bracket during the NCAA tournament after only watching a couple of conference championship games the week before.

The Daily Beast's David Cay Johnson has some educated guesses about what's going on behind the scenes with the Trump taxes.

Trump’s gambit is [not?] easy to explain in plain English, but for tax wonks the short version is this: Trump combined tax benefits under Section 1231 of the Internal Revenue Code with the exception provisions in Section 108.


Normally, any part of a loan that is forgiven becomes taxable income, as millions of people who could not repay home mortgages or student loan debt have learned in recent years.

That’s where Section 108 comes in. Three years after Trump bested his bankers, Congress amended that section to let real-estate professionals avoid income taxes on debts that were canceled.

...really interesting reading, though I have to take the argument and assumptions on faith. Anyone here have enough tax knowledge to comment more critically?

Bend over:


Nous got there first.

Spread em suckers:


Trump might have an adjoining mail drop in the Caribbean with Mitt Romney and Vlad Putin.

Cavity searches all around.

Another theory is that Trump benefited from the loophole SCOTUS endorsed in the Gitlitz case. That may be what David Cay Johnston is getting at without saying so, although it would kind of put a damper on his POV if what Trump did was endorsed by the Court (even if the court got it wrong in a horrible opinion by Thomas, to be redundant). At least the Gitlitz theory seems to be complete. Johnston does generally know what he's talking about.

Now stories coming out about Trump's accountant being behind the maneuvers to avoid paying taxes. Knock me over with a feather. Did anyone think Trump did his own taxes?

"Hey, Donnie, I figured out a way that you can avoid paying taxes, but you'll have to f*ck over a bunch of other people."

"Sounds perfect. Do it."

There's no way Trump came up with any kind of sophisticated tax planning out of his own brain. It's all lawyers and accountants that do this full time who come up with the tax shelters and sell them to clients, although we may have reached the point where free standing tax shelters (at least in the US) are a thing of the past, at least among the Big 4 accounting firms and major US law firms.

That's not to say there's not a lot of tax planning and avoidance opportunities out there (e.g., via transfer pricing, cost sharing arrangements, interest deductions, etc.) but the days of doing a deal that solely and completely tax driven are, ISTM, pretty much over advisors that value their reputations.

Donald Trump: America's Ocher Tapeworm

The longer version of Nous' comment, at least I think, is that at least some of the people who call Trump a good businessman have a definition that rests solely on how effective one is at enriching one's self. Others, I would imagine, simply don't understand Trump's "business model" (for lack of a better term).

It's one thing to become filthy rich while creating significant value for lots and lots of people - and likely making other people rich, or at least better off - in the process. To me, that's being a good businessman. You don't need to extract wealth from others, because you create wealth by creating value. There's a mutually beneficial exchange, whether from customers purchasing whatever it is you've created or investors providing capital in exchange for some return. And it's all done in good faith on everyone's part.

Trump is a schemer, a barely legal rip-off artist and conman. He's also a publicity hound who knows how to exploit modern media and celebrity culture, something he leverages to con people in his business dealings.

Donald Trump, the business community's answer to the Kardashian family.

"Donald Trump, the business community's answer to the Kardashian family."

...except without the chastity and gravitas.

..except without the chastity and gravitas.

so when will the Trump sex tape hit the internets?

And of course, had nothing to do with filing his own taxes, like a normal rich person.

Here is a TPM post with the Gitlitz case theory on Trump's taxes.



Excellent short post about Trump and "moral hazard."

A moral hazard occurs when a person is shielded from the consequences of a risk in such a way that it makes it easier for them to decide to subject other people to that risk. It looks like that may have been the case for Trump.

The comments to this entry are closed.