The New York Times has revealed that for at least a significant chunk of President Donald Trump’s pre-White House career, he was essentially a fraud who lost more than $1 billion while riding on the coattails of his wealthy father. In fact, the report found that Trump appears to have lost more money at some points in this period than nearly anyone else in the country.
These facts have dealt a serious blow to his image as a self-made, extraordinarily successful businessman.
And because of the massive losses, the Times reported, Trump was able to avoid paying any income tax for eight of the ten years between 1985 and 1994. In light of this revelation, many pointed out that one of Trump’s old tweets looks particularly humiliating for him:
We now have reason to believe that, for much of his supposedly lucrative career, Trump himself was one of these people. (He also has become one of those politicians driving up the government debt, but who’s counting?)
But there’s also a larger point here. Trump’s tweet was posted in 2012, the same year candidate for president Mitt Romney famously railed against 47 percent of Americans to a private group of supporters. It was a common meme at this time.
“There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what,” Romney said in a clip, referring to then-President Barack Obama. “All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it. That that’s an entitlement. And the government should give it to them. And they will vote for this president no matter what. … These are people who pay no income tax. Forty-seven percent of Americans pay no income tax.”
The comments hurt him, because they showed Romney’s contempt for much of the country that often doesn’t earn enough money to pay income tax (though they pay other taxes). Romney certainly wasn’t picturing Trump — whose endorsement he had accepted — when he was talking about people who “believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.”
But the fact that someone can like Trump can get away with paying not income taxes because he’s a terrible and profligate businessman, while Romney can denounce working people who just don’t make enough meet the minimum income tax threshold, reveals how distorted the GOP’s view of the country is. They see working and low-income people as pure drains on society, while the real miscreants like Trump make out like bandits. And when they get real power, like control of the White House and Congress, they do whatever they can to make life for the people who are already wealthy even better.