NYT Publishes 10,000 Word Summary Of 20 Years Of Trump Tax Returns; President Calls It “Totally Fake News“Tyler DurdenSun, 09/27/2020 — 18:41
With the news and outrage cycle in need of a fresh Trump reset now that the first presidential debate is just two days away, on Sunday afternoon — almost exactly two years after the NYT first published a report alleging how Trump “engaged in suspect tax schemes as he reaped riches from his father”, the NYT publishedwhat to many anti-Trumpers is the holy grail of Trump bomshells: a 10,000+ word recap of more than two decades of Trump tax documents which reveal that the president paid no income taxes for 10 of the 15 years before he was elected president, with his income tax payments in 2016 and 2017 amounting to just $750. The reason, as was already largely known, Trump had generated nearly $1 billion in Losses in the 1990s and onward (which he could apply as NOLs against future income) and which offset any money that he made.
The NYT also claims the documents show Trump losing millions of dollars from his golf courses, “vast write-offs, an audit battle and hundreds of millions in debt coming due” and that Trump earned $73 million abroad.
Combined, Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years. He later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010.
“The Apprentice,” along with the licensing and endorsement deals that flowed from his expanding celebrity, brought Mr. Trump a total of $427.4 million, The Times’s analysis of the records found. He invested much of that in a collection of businesses, mostly golf courses, that in the years since have steadily devoured cash — much as the money he secretly received from his father financed a spree of quixotic overspending that led to his collapse in the early 1990s.
The NYT report focuses closely on the specifics of the $73 million refund:
A large refund has been crucial to his tax avoidance.
Mr. Trump did face large tax bills after the initial success of “The Apprentice” television show, but he erased most of these tax payments through a refund. Combined, Mr. Trump initially paid almost $95 million in federal income taxes over the 18 years. He later managed to recoup most of that money, with interest, by applying for and receiving a $72.9 million tax refund, starting in 2010. The refund reduced his total federal income tax bill between 2000 and 2017 to an annual average of $1.4 million. By comparison, the average American in the top .001 percent of earners paid about $25 million in federal income taxes each year over the same span.
The $72.9 million refund has since become the subject of a long-running battle with the I.R.S.
When applying for the refund, he cited a giant financial loss that may be related to the failure of his Atlantic City casinos. Publicly, he also claimed that he had fully surrendered his stake in the casinos. But the real story may be different from the one he told. Federal law holds that investors can claim a total loss on an investment, as Mr. Trump did, only if they receive nothing in return. Mr. Trump did appear to receive something in return: 5 percent of the new casino company that formed when he renounced his stake. In 2011, the I.R.S. began an audit reviewing the legitimacy of the refund. Almost a decade later, the case remains unresolved, for unknown reasons, and could ultimately end up in federal court, where it could become a matter of public record.
One argument made by the NYT is that by the time Mr. Trump announced his candidacy in 2015, “his revenue streams from “The Apprentice” and licensing were drying up”, his “proceeds from fame continued to tumble, falling below $10 million in 2017 and to $2.9 million in 2018″ and Trump “was in need of financial reinvigoration.” This is where the idea to run for president came form.
The question then is, since there appears to be no discovery of legal malfeasance, did Trump’s businesses benefit from the presidency which the NYT responds affirmatively “in some respects” pointing to the flood of new members in Mar a Lago “starting in 2015 allowed him to pocket millions more dollars a year from the business.”
And without a blockbuster “gotcha” that would indicate Trump violated law, the NYT simply concludes by noting that “in the end the financial picture for Mr. Trump is fraught” and that “as he approaches one of the most consequential elections in American history — down in most polls, under I.R.S. audit and heavily in debt — his businesses may not be well equipped to navigate what lies ahead.”
While notable, and hardly unique to just the president — this is hardly the damning climax so many in the anti-Trump field were expecting. Oh yes, and then there is the audit, the same audit Trump has said prevents him from publishing his tax filings:
Hanging over his head is the audit. Should the I.R.S. reverse the huge refund he received 10 years ago, Mr. Trump could be on the hook for more than $100 million.
Since the question of where all this information came from will likely be scrutinized, the NYT noted that “all of the information The Times obtained was provided by sources with legal access to it” adding that “while most of the tax data has not previously been made public, The Times was able to verify portions of it by comparing it with publicly available information and confidential records previously obtained by The Times.”
The article also admits “the filings will leave many questions unanswered, many questioners unfulfilled,” and also kills off the idea that President Trump’s finances were somehow linked to Russia. The piece reads: “Nor do [the tax returns] reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.”
For those pressed for time, here is a recap of the key revelations in the NYT article, which the NYT recapped in a separate article:
Mr. Trump paid no federal income taxes in 11 of 18 years that The Times examined. In 2017, after he became president, his tax bill was only $750.
He has reduced his tax bill with questionable measures, including a $72.9 million tax refund that is the subject of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service.
Many of his signature businesses, including his golf courses, report losing large amounts of money — losses that have helped him to lower his taxes.
The financial pressure on him is increasing as hundreds of millions of dollars in loans he personally guaranteed are soon coming due.
Even while declaring losses, he has managed to enjoy a lavish lifestyle by taking tax deductions on what most people would consider personal expenses, including residences, aircraft and $70,000 in hairstyling for television.
Ivanka Trump, while working as an employee of the Trump Organization, appears to have received “consulting fees” that also helped reduce the family’s tax bill.
As president, he has received more money from foreign sources and U.S. interest groups than previously known. The records do not reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia.
While the media will be going through all of these revelations with a fine-toothed comb, it’s also notable what the report fails to show: unless the NYT has saved the kicker for a subsequent article, “there appears to be no wrongdoing, no Russia ties, and nothing of substance beyond what most corporations do”, as the National Pulse’s Raheem Kassam writes.
Also of note, the New York Times failed to include the details of the returns in its reporting, admitting in its own article: “The Times declined to provide the records, in order to protect its sources.”
When asked during a Sunday news conference about the NYT revelations, Trump called the central claim the NYT makes – that he only paid $750.00 in federal income taxes – “fake news.”
In a statement to The Times, Trump Organization lawyer Alan Garten said “most, if not all, of the facts appear to be inaccurate” and reportedly took issue with the amount of taxes Trump has paid: “Over the past decade, President Trump has paid tens of millions of dollars in personal taxes to the federal government, including paying millions in personal taxes since announcing his candidacy in 2015.”
Reaganomics, Clintonomics, Obamanomics, and Trumponomics. Abenomics is an economic philosophy named after Prime Minister Abe. It is a multipronged strategy that involves increasing Japan’s money supply, enhancing government spending, and reforming the world’s third-largest economy to make it more competitive.He launched Abenomics once he started his second term in December 2012, announcing that his government would “implement bold monetary policy, flexible fiscal policy and a growth strategy that encourages private investment, and with these three pillars, achieve results.” In other words, Abe promised to reverse the country’s stagnation and supercharge Japan. But what did he achieve after eight years as head of state?
The Fruits of Abenomics
In the aftermath of the Lost Decade, Tokyo never fully recovered from this abysmal period. Abe enjoyed electoral success because he championed economic policies that would lead to prosperity and growth. However, Abe’s government fell short of the $5.6 trillion growth target laid out by the prime minister.
The Nikkei 225 stock market index has done incredibly well under Abe, as it has more than doubled since 2012. This was achieved because a critical component of Abenomics was the Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) large-scale monetary easing putsch that involved subzero interest rates, enormous asset purchases, and yield curve control. This triggered massive asset inflation and a weakened yen, which boosted its exports and allowed Japanese firms to expand their footprints in foreign markets.
But what about common folk? Wage growth has stagnated for the last thirty years. Unlike its Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) partners, average real wages have flatlined since 1991, and it continued under Abe, despite his cabinet mandating higher salaries. Although deflation is often associated with the Japanese economy, consumer and producer prices have gone up since 2014. When you factor in an unwelcomed sales tax hike and a depreciated yen, the cost of living became a tad too high.
The most significant burden for the Japanese population will inevitably be government debt.Tokyo generated international headlines when it reported a 1 quadrillion yen public debt. There is no argument that the national debt and the budget deficit will explode following the covid-19 pandemic. Before the virus outbreak, the prime minister did introduce a plan to organize its financial mess. But once the coronavirus gripped the Japanese economy, the government abandoned fiscal responsibility and instead implemented a series of exorbitant stimulus and relief packages. Right now, spending is about survival. In the future, the astronomical debt levels will hinder expansionary fiscal efforts, which would impact the state-dependent economy.
In the end, somebody is going to have to pay the bill. Seniors over sixty-five account for a third of the population, young people are not having children, and the current system is bloated. These are indicators that a lot of change is needed, but it is unclear if the Diet has an appetite to modify public policy.
Abenomics Is Here to Stay
Abe said that he would officially resign when the Liberal Democrat Party chooses his successor. No matter who is selected to lead Abe until the next election, Abenomics is here to stay, even if the opposition forms a government. Tokyo would have no other choice but to embark upon a perpetual campaign of printing and spending money in the postcoronavirus economy, particularly if a second wave strikes. The next leader might tinker around with altered approaches, but it will be more of the same.
Japan is in a recession, debt to gross domestic product is more than 200 percent, and the many purchasing managers’ index (PMI) readings suggest business activity is still contracting. Japan would need Abenomics right now, even if this neo-Keynesian approach to central planning failed during the boom phase of the business cycle. Japan will never kick its easy money addiction, but that is par for the course of the rest of the planet that has adopted ultraloose fiscal and monetary policy.
Trump Administration, CDC Sued By Landlords Over ‘Unconstitutional’ Moratorium On EvictionsTyler DurdenSun, 09/27/2020 — 17:55
A national moratorium on evictions is being challenged in at least two lawsuits filed in federal court on the grounds that denying landlords the right to evict tenants for nonpayment is unconstitutional.
The National Apartment Association — a trade group representing the apartment rental housing industry, joined a lawsuit filed in a Georgia federal district court against the Trump administration and the Centers for Disease Control. The original suit was brought by a group of landlords and the New Civil Liberties Alliance — a nonprofit group which seeks to protect constitutional freedoms and civil rights “from violations by the Administrative State,” according to MarketWatch.
“Agencies have no inherent power to make law, and nothing in the relevant statutes or regulations gives CDC the power or authority to issue an eviction-moratorium order,” said the New Civil Liberties Alliance in a summary of the court filing which claims that the CDC’s moratorium “violates the U.S. Constitution because the CDC has not identified any act of Congress that confers upon it the power to halt evictions or preempt state landlord-tenant law.”
The group claims the CDC moratorium basically “commandeers” state officials — including law enforcement officers and judges, to enforce federal law.
A second lawsuitwas filed by a group of Tennessee property owners, who similarly argue that the CDC’s moratorium violates the constitution — and that the agency has prevented landlords from exercising due process over their property rights.
“Plaintiffs readily acknowledge the nobility of the CDC’s and, by extension, the executive branch’s, desire to help those profoundly affected by the current health crisis,” states the suit. “However, that help must conform to the law and must not infringe unlawfully upon the rights of others.”
Rental-housing industry officials have warned that the CDC’s order could have devastating effects on landlords, particularly smaller “mom-and-pop” landlords who own only a handful of properties.
“The CDC eviction moratorium will surely cause more economic harm than it prevents,” said David Howard, executive director of the National Rental Home Council, another industry trade group. “It puts renters in a position of having to pay back rent that they likely won’t have, while causing immediate hardship for property owners who have no means of carrying the costs of ownership.”
Now that the moratorium is in effect, Howard said, many property owners have come to the conclusion that they may not be able to afford to stay in business. (The National Rental Home Council is not party to either of the lawsuits against the CDC.) -MarketWatch
Another group questioning the legality of the moratorium — the National Multifamily Housing Council — has not joined either of the lawsuits, but has instead pursued rental assistance for struggling tenants.
“It is far better to focus on ensuring renters can pay the rent than to try and come up with policies like eviction moratoriums that do not address the root cause and put housing providers at financial risk,” said Paula Cino, the group’s VP of construction, development and land use policy.
Affordable housing experts agree with Cino.
“Rather than suing for the right to evict during a pandemic, landlords should be working with renters to ensure Congress provides at least $100 billion in emergency rental assistance to help renters avoid a financial cliff when the moratorium expires and to help landlords continue to operate their rental homes,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition.
Said experts also say that the two lawsuits against the CDC are unlikely to be successful — as landlords who have previously challenged state moratoria on evictions using similar arguments.
“Every single case filed previously was dismissed for lack of merit, and we think the same thing should happen with these new cases,” said Eric Dunn, director of litigation at the National Housing Law Project.
And while the CDC has issued its moratorium, evictions are still making their way through state and local courts nationwide. The CDC’s order doesn’t automatically protect tenants from being kicked out of their homes for failure to pay the rent amid the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, renters must proactively sign a document stipulating that they cannot pay and provide that document to their landlord. Legal experts have also suggested that loopholes in the order could allow for evictions to occur.
As of Monday, roughly 3,500 eviction cases had been filed by private-equity firms and other corporate landlords, according to information collected by the Private Equity Stakeholder Project, an initiative that seeks to monitor these firms. In the last week alone, more than 1,860 cases had been filed. -MarketWatch
“Corporate landlords are moving quickly to file evictions before renters can make use of the protections,” said Yentel. “As the CDC order makes clear, eviction poses significant harm to individuals, their communities, and our broader public health as we collectively work to contain the coronavirus pandemic and prevent unnecessary deaths.”