The New York Times reported this weekend that Donald Trump lost nearly a billion dollars in 1995. He then used those losses to offset his subsequent earnings. The result is that he may not have paid any federal taxes for almost twenty years.
The Trump camp’s excuses since these revelations were that he didn’t do anything illegal and that his tax evasion was evidence of his financial brilliance. Both of those claims, however, are suspect. Without his returns over several years it is impossible to verify. If he is so certain that his tax returns will show what a genius he is, then why is he so afraid to release them?
With that in mind, Trump gave another stump speech today in Pueblo, Colorado. That provided him another opportunity to explain how a genius like him could lose a billion dollars in one year. His rambling justification was barely coherent, but more importantly, patently false. He said that:
“The news media is now obsessed with an alleged tax violation from the 1990s, at the end of one of the most brutal economic downturns in our country’s history. The conditions facing real estate developers in that early-90s period were almost as bad as the Great Depression of 1929 and far worse than the Great Recession of 2008 — not even close.”
Not even close? Here are the facts. The Great Recession of 2008 was the result of corrupt real estate deals and sub-prime mortgages. The GDP declined 5.1 percent, unemployment peaked at 10 percent, and it lasted for a year and a half. There were over 3.1 million foreclosure filings. By comparison, during the recession in the early 90s the GDP declined only 1.4 percent, unemployment peaked at 7.8 percent, and it endured for a relatively modest eight months. Foreclosure filings during that recession were in the range of about one million.
Trump either doesn’t know what he’s talking about or he’s lying through his teeth (or both). But the kicker is that the recession Trump is blaming for his misfortune ended in 1991. Trump’s tax filing with the billion dollar loss was for 1995. So it had nothing to do with the recession that was over four years prior.
What this tells us is that it was his notoriously deficient business skills that caused his financial downfall. While other businesses were in the midst of a healthy recovery, Trump’s businesses were collapsing. His bankrupt casinos in Atlantic City were already accounted for in 1991 and 1992. By 1995, the year he filed the billion dollar loss, he had already restructured his debt. Plus he had two more bankruptcies yet to occur (2004 and 2009).
How Fox News Deceives and Controls Their Flock:
Fox Nation vs. Reality: The Fox News Cult of Ignorance.
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If that’s what Trump regards as brilliant financial management, then God help us all if he should become president. He is not only one of his generation’s worst businessmen, he obviously doesn’t mind lying about his shortcomings in order to further his own selfish interests. It would be nice if the media would put these facts into proper context so voters are informed when they go to the polls. Trump’s supporters, of course, will believe whatever nonsense he shovels. But the rest of us deserve better from the press we patronize.