Brown: Trump voters don’t care if he pays taxes

SHARE Brown: Trump voters don’t care if he pays taxes
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A man full of promises arrived in a golden carriage in the Land of More, writes Phil Kadner. File Photo.
/ AFP PHOTO / MANDEL NGANMANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

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I can’t imagine anything I could learn about Hillary Clinton at this point in the presidential campaign that would dissuade me from voting for her.

Having already taken her many shortcomings into account, my mind is made up.

Why then would I expect the revelation that Donald Trump claimed a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns — possibly freeing him from paying federal income taxes for 18 years — to change the mind of his supporters?

I don’t, just as I didn’t really believe Trump’s less than presidential debate performance last week would cost him votes.

In the category of what’s good for the goose is good for the gander, it’s not realistic to expect that the people on the other side of the fence are suddenly going to come to their senses at this stage in the election.

OPINION

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No Clinton debate gaffe, no personal peccadilloes, not even some embarrassing new disclosure about her missing emails is going to convince me Trump would make a better president.

I’ve stopped kidding myself the dynamic is different when the shoe is on the other foot.

The buzz over the weekend was that the New York Times’ exclusive report on Trump’s taxes was an election game changer.

It certainly was a great story that has the potential, taken in conjunction with other recent campaign developments from the debate to Trump’s latest bizarre outbursts, to help move some undecided voters in Clinton’s direction.

The idea that anyone is still undecided at this point is as mind blowing to me as that Trump won the Republican nomination. But the pollsters say they exist.

A more likely result is that the tax story will just re-enforce already entrenched views that Trump is either a total sham or the business genius who will wrest the controls of government from the political elite.

The American people are smart enough to know Trump’s refusal to release his income tax returns means there is something in them that would not be helpful to his campaign.

It’s certainly not as if the man is bashful. Or modest.

There have been clear indications before this that Trump, like many real estate developers, is able to pay little or no income tax.

Either voters care about that, or they don’t.

It sure matters to me.

One of the biggest problems facing this country is that the richest people are able to take advantage of provisions in the tax code that allow them to legally avoid income taxes, leaving the rest of us to shoulder a disproportionate burden.

The next President ought to change the laws that allow people such as Trump to enjoy a fabulously wealthy lifestyle while avoiding their share of income taxes.

Many Americans, though, believe that if you can beat the tax man, more power to you, as long as you do it legally. Others aren’t even as concerned about the legal part. These were always the people more likely to support Trump.

It bears noting that it has yet to be definitely proven Trump paid no federal income taxes. The New York Times only showed that Trump’s $916 million in reported losses could have been used to cancel out an equivalent amount of income.

Given Trump’s pronouncement that avoiding income taxes “makes me smart,” it’s logical to believe he took full advantage of his write-off.

I’ve always taken the (admittedly extreme) view that men and women running for — or holding — public office should be required to release their income tax returns annually. And I’m talking about the complete return with attachments, not just the front pages as some of our Illinois public officials prefer to do.

Tax returns are a powerful truth serum for political candidates.

In the election of 2016, truth is a casualty.

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