Wall Street Journal Sooo Bored By Donald Trump's Itty-Bitty Massive Tax Fraud.
Last week, the New York Times published a huge investigative story detailing exactly how much fraud was involved in the transfer of Fred Trump's huge fortune to his kids, especially to Donald Trump, the humble self-made maybe-billionaire who received gifts, "loans" (same thing), and bailouts from his dad totaling more than $400 million. Not only did the story conclusively put the lie to Trump's fantasy that he started out with a "small" million-dollar "loan," it also detailed multiple ways the Trump family had committed tax fraud -- going well past the usual ways the IRS lets the very rich escape gift and estate taxes. We're still a bit whomperjawed that managed to just be a one-day story, particularly since New York authorities have launched an investigation into whether they can claw back those unpaid taxes (the statute of limitations on criminal charges passed a long time ago).
Thank goodness we have the financial whizzes at the Wall Street Journal to wealthsplain to us that the Times needn't have gone to all that trouble, because darling, nobody really pays taxes if they're rich. Stop acting like that was even news, silly. Next you'll be complaining about the GOP tax plan giving away corporate jets, you envious little people.
The pooh-poohing of a few minor felonies comes courtesy of WSJ business columnist Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., who has recently advised Elon Musk to give up the silly dream of clean energy, because like "fetch," it's never gonna happen, and explained that burdensome regulations and a housing shortage -- not wild greed and crazy speculation -- caused the 2008 financial meltdown. His argument is really quite sopshisitcated: Only the proles would think there's anything scandalous about a rich family avoiding the inheritance tax, because nobody likes the tax.
Mr. Trump and his sire are nothing new under the sun. Nobody in their right mind from the compulsive accumulator class pays the punitive federal estate tax. From an early age, such people make sure their lifetime achievements are not sucked up and splattered away in 15 seconds of federal spending. Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Mark Zuckerberg, all apparently in the pink of health, have been working for years to shield their assets from the taxman. Sam Walton, the saintly founder of Walmart , in his autobiography advised: "The best way to reduce paying estate taxes is to give your assets away before they appreciate."
Jenkins is wryly amused by the very idea that anyone could even be surprised, much less shocked, by one of the more outrageous scams Fred Trump pulled, the creation of a front company, "All County Supply," owned by the Trump kids, which bought all manner of stuff for Fred Trump's apartments at low prices, added a huge markup, then sold them to Fred Trump at the higher price, allowing him to transfer vast amounts of money to his children, illegally avoiding both inheritance and gift taxes. Jenkins glides right past the fraud, suggesting that only nitpicking journalists would even consider it a crime:
The Times now finds illegal many Trump Senior dodges that in the 1990s passed IRS muster or escaped IRS notice and have been effectively rendered legal (at least for criminal purposes) by the statute of limitations. Notable is a stratagem known to the corrupt as well as those fleeing corruption since the dawn of time: over-invoicing. Father Trump created for his children a company to manage his properties and then allowed it to overbill him (and his tenants) for a variety of services and improvements.
The Times may consider crimes "crimes," but heavens, it's not like someone crossed the border illegally, thus committing a misdemeanor for which their children should be taken away forever, if possible. Now THAT'S a crime.
Gee, New York Times, if you want to do some journalistic digging that would actually be interesting, says Jenkins -- we imagine him in a silk dressing gown, wearing slippers made of the hide of some endangered animal -- why don't you expend some effort "finding out what's in the secret appendix of the Justice Department inspector general's report on the strange doings of James Comey in the 2016 race?" Lord knows no one cares about a little tax fraud, pish tosh. Everyone in our set does it, and if the president did too, who can respond with anything but admiration for such cleverness?
And aren't journalists the real hypocrites, sweetie sweetie sweetie?
[Let's] note an important underpinning of many such newspaper investigations. Journalists are as unlikely as the next person to adhere rigidly to the law in their driving habits, their use of pharmaceuticals, their failure to procure a valid fishing license.
But as a class they do insist on rigid adherence to the law on the part of their subjects for the purpose of writing gotcha exposés. And Mr. Trump is a potential gold mine in this regard twice over, being the most intriguing person on the planet right now and trailing a 40-year history of high-wire personal and business laxity.
Let he who has not jaywalked, borrowed a Tylenol with codeine, or defrauded the government for hundreds of millions cast the first stone. And isn't Donald Trump just a scamp? Besides, no one who supports Trump will care, because
The people whose class envy and resentment extends to a desire to despoil the rich at death are not Trump voters but the New York Times's own upper-middle-class readership.
That's probably true -- Trump voters' class resentments are more tuned to the possibility that a black person, anywhere, may have gotten a low-cost cell phone, therefore we must let people without insurance die.
We're not quite so sure the analogy to fishing without a license is entirely apt, though. Liz Cheney, after all, had to give up on a Senate bid when Wyoming voters got pissed at her for getting a "resident" fishing license she hadn't qualified for.
Still, we look forward to the Trump family's lawyers handing a clipping of that WSJ column to New York city and state tax officials, to explain it's all no big deal. Now let's all go to church for a sermon about the dangers of situational ethics.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.