In 1931, Alphonse Capone or Al Capone one of the greatest mobsters in American criminal history was arrested for tax evasion, a man responsible for hundreds of murders, robberies, extortion and bootlegging but never caught for it.
In the movie “The Untouchables” Eliot Ness played by Kevin Cosner, a treasury officer primarily responsible for Capone’s downfall, sarcastically comments ‘catch a murderer for not paying his taxes’ but the 9 or 12 counts of tax evasion held and Capone was imprisoned for 11 years which saw Capone’s crime empire crumble.
Tax evasion is a serious felony and does not go well with hard working blue collars Americans who are very prudent about paying their taxes.
So imagine how voters would react if told that a person vying for the office of the US President is a likely tax evader.
Donald Trump, the Republican candidate in the U.S elections has not paid his taxes for quite some time citing business losses to the tune of 916 million.
It now seems that the Hillary Clinton or the Democratic camp has picked up a damaging report of the New York times implicating Trump’s shady dealing with the IRS.
Clinton has pursued trump doggedly on the tax issue and this latest report may well be her trump card.
The reports are the first publicly reported detailed tax documents about trump’s financial empire.
Trump, has avoided revealing his tax figures claiming that he was smart not to pay taxes as the government would have squandered it away anyway.
With the elections just 40 days the NYT report could be Trump’s undoing. Trump’s refusal to follow recent precedent and release his tax returns at the center of the presidential campaign will go against him after a week in which the Republican nominee has struggled to bounce back from a debate in which most analysts and scientifically conducted polls scored Clinton as the winner.
Lashing back at Clinton his campaign vehemently pushed back on the Clinton campaign’s effort to turn the report into an “October surprise” moment, saying Trump has a “fiduciary responsibility” as a businessman to pay no more tax than legally required.
The Trump camp has also charged that the report proved that the New York Times and the “establishment media” are merely an arm of the Clinton campaign.
Clinton is taking the tax issue very seriously as she believes that it a “bombshell report,” the Clinton campaign said the Times’ article “reveals the colossal nature of Donald Trump’s past business failures and just how long he may have avoided paying any federal income taxes whatsoever.”
Trump “apparently got to avoid paying taxes for nearly two decades—while tens of millions of working families paid theirs.”
This will touch a nerve with American voters who will feel that rich people can get away with anything they want.
Trump had declared a loss of 915 million dollars and tax experts believe that he used the pretext of this loss not pay taxes for the next two decades.
It is ironic that the man who has cheated and evaded the system now professes that as President he will set things right.
“I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and is the only one who can fix it. “ Trump boasted.
His claim to fame is that he has created hundreds of jobs and paid millions of dollars in property and real estate charges.
Trump’s argument has always been that his tax returns in recent years are under audit and that he has been advised by his lawyers that it would be unwise to release them while that process is going on.
However, there is no legal reason why someone under audit cannot make their tax records public while they are running for office. Candidates for president have released their tax returns for decades.
In the last presidential campaign in 2012, for example, Republican Mitt Romney’s resistance to releasing his tax returns was exploited by President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign.
Romney’s eventual decision to release tax returns also hurt him when it emerged that because most of his income as a former venture capitalist came from carried income and capital gains, he paid an effective tax rate of only around 14%. Although he was compliant with the law, it was easy for the Obama campaign to portray him as out of touch with the struggles of everyday Americans who have to pay higher tax rates on lower levels of income.
It would not be hard for the Clinton campaign — under pressure from Trump’s appeal in Rust Belt swing states left behind by globalization and a transforming economy — to make a similar argument.
Trump suffers from the illusion that as a businessman he is very successful and as President, he can be less. What he does not realize that Americans do not want someone as president who has cheated on his taxes.
Trump, has broken every rule of politics, he has degraded women, ostracized Muslims, ridiculed Blacks, Hispanics, and others. What he does not seem to accept that these people are the ones who could make the crucial difference in the campaign .
It goes without saying that Trump lost the first debate and is struggling as to how he will fare in the second. It is being speculated that he will raise the issue of Bill Clinton’s sex scandals and portray her as some who does not have family values as she did not dump bill and instead go after Monica Lewinsky.
It has been a rough week for Trump and with his tax woes in the limelight things will get worse.
Clinton says that Trump is a sexist and misogynist who likes to ridicule women as was the case of the former beauty queen, Venezuelan-born former beauty queen Alicia Machado, who was mentioned in the debate as a woman who had been the victim of unflattering rhetoric by Trump.
The feud plays into Clinton campaign charges that Trump harbors prejudice against women and Hispanics — two crucial demographics that could help decide November’s election.
Will voters care?
The extent to which Trump’s tax controversies will damage him could also take the time to play out.
But there is evidence that a majority of voters believe it is important that candidates for president release their tax records.
There is one more aspect to Trump’s financial dealings that he is well reputed to have borrowed heavily from banks and people to invest in his business and the money he s cited as a loss was never his in the first place.
First of all, a tax cheater and evader and secondly misusing the money of others will not go down well with voters.
It seems that Trump’s fate is about to be sealed by Hillary Clinton in the second debate and he will fall so far behind in the polls that he will not be able to recover.
For Trump’s hardcore supports, many will see that he did well by not trusting the federal government of whom many are suspicious and they will support him so long as he did not break the law.
But Trump’s appeal in Rust Belt swing states has been aimed directly at voters who feel they have been left behind by the uneven economic recovery — and who see Wall Street figures with vast means as able to use legal maneuvers to escape the kind of tax burden that ordinary middle-class voters must bear.
Trump may think that he is gifted with the “Gift of the Gab” and he can still sway voters with his rhetoric.
He has not respected a code of ethics, fair play for he probably believes that everything besides being fair in love and war also applies to politics.
Clinton believes as do many voters that as far as the debates are concerned Donald Trump does not have a chance.
The questions arise that a man who fails to disclose his taxes is not trustworthy at all least of all to become President and being rich as he is Trump will not go down with the working class, blue collar workers, the poor all who have worked hard and honestly.
Will Clinton be driving the last nail in Trump’s coffin or will he manage to wriggle out of his tax and bounce back?
The Donald has 40 days to prove to the world that he is the right choice to become president.
He must do his homework right, reach out to the masses, undo the wrongs he has done to women, Hispanic blacks and Muslims.
The ground reality is such that all does not bode well for the Trump camp. If he brings up Bill Clinton’s infidelities it will bounce back on him for not only himself but his entire coterie of staff, friends, members of the republican party all have had a sleazy part which the Clinton camp will point out.
Come November 8th, It only remains to be seen if Americans will elect a tax evader, cheater, womanizer as President of the United States.