Trump falls within Mitt Romney’s 47%
Dana Milbank calls him “The Welfare King.”
The earned-income tax credit, which subsidizes low-income workers and has helped millions out of poverty, is the main reason for the 47 percent (though they still have state, payroll and other taxes). But the corporate welfare Trump receives is nothing to be proud of — not least because Trump has claimed to represent the American worker and has condemned corporate executives who “make a fortune” but “pay no tax.”
Investors such as Trump can write off depreciation of investment properties even if those properties actually increase in value, and because most real estate development is financed with debt, they can deduct the interest. Instead of selling buildings, they can incorporate them and make “like kind” exchanges that defer capital gains taxes indefinitely. Trump, depending on how he structures his taxes, may also be avoiding taxes by amortizing his name as an intangible asset. And, because his brand is his main asset and his business interests are far flung, he could argue that virtually all of his expenses are business related, and therefore deductible.
“I’d be shocked if he isn’t pretty much writing off his whole life,” says Bob McIntyre, head of Citizens for Tax Justice. “When you can write off your income and write off your consumption, you’re in a Leona Helmsley situation.” The late Helmsley, who also had a real estate fortune, is remembered for observing that “only the little people pay taxes.”