Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Taxing Situation

     Rachel Maddow, a key player in the collapse of MSNBC's prime time line up, tweeted shortly before eight PM she had a copy of Donald Trump's tax returns and was set to reveal it on air. The eventual reveal—eventual meaning after a twenty minute conspiratorial rant speculating over what financial shenanigans Trump might employ to minimize hi tax bill—was underwhelming.
     The tax return was two pages from Trump's 1040 from 2005. It revealed Trump earned $150 million dollars and paid the legally required $38 million in taxes. The only thing we learned from the twelve year old 1040 was Trump earned a lot of money and paid his fair share of taxes on it. Not exactly hard-hitting journalism there.
      Even liberal commentators are playing the reveal down. There are more important issues, such as the Republican healthcare plan which is universally disliked. This translates to an admission Maddow had nothing at best and boosted Trump's credibility at worst. A $33 million tax bill when the narrative has been Trump utilizing shady accounting to pay none casts doubt on much of the unfounded criticism Trump receives. Trump' supporters are comparing Maddow's stunt to Geraldo Rivera's live opening of Al Capone's vault to find nothing some thirty years ago. The comparison is a stretch, but the point is valid. Maddow's dramatic build up was much ado about nothing.

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