Donald Trump's Old Tax Returns Confirm He's Shitty As Hell at Running a Business

Illustration for article titled Donald Trump's Old Tax Returns Confirm He's Shitty As Hell at Running a Business
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Donald Trump loves to proclaim that he is the very best at everything—deals, Presidenting, big hand motions, napping. And according to about a decade’s worth of his old tax returns, he’s also the very best at losing money! Big claps for Trump, the best shitty businessman of them all.


Indeed, though the Treasury Department seems uninterested in releasing Donald Trump’s tax returns to Congress, lest their content reveal some unpleasantness or pesky treason, the New York Times got their hands on information pertaining to some of Trump’s old federal returns from the 1980s and 1990s (not the returns themselves, FYI) and the news is bad. Apparently, from 1985 to 1994, Trump reported a total of $1.17 billion in business losses, a number so extreme the Times determined that “year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.”

Per the Times:

Mr. Trump built a business licensing his name, became a television celebrity and ran for the White House by branding himself a self-made billionaire. “There is no one my age who has accomplished more,” he told Newsweek in 1987, adding that the ultimate scoreboard was “the unfortunate, obvious one: money.” Yet over the years, the actual extent of his wealth has been the subject of much doubt and debate...

...In contrast to his father’s stable and profitable empire of rental apartments in Brooklyn and Queens, Mr. Trump’s primary sources of income changed year after year, from big stock earnings, to a single year of more than $67.1 million in salary, to a mysterious $52.9 million windfall in interest income. But always, those gains were overwhelmed by losses on his casinos and other projects.

Trump even managed to distinguish himself among his peers:

His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 — more than $250 million each year — were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the I.R.S. information for those years.


On the bright side (for Trump) his terrible managerial skills did help him skirt paying income tax for eight out of 10 of those years, which a White House official essentially claimed was a strategic effort in a statement to the Times.  


“The president got massive depreciation and tax shelter because of large-scale construction and subsidized developments,” the official said. “That is why the president has always scoffed at the tax system and said you need to change the tax laws. You can make a large income and not have to pay large amount of taxes.” (Trump attorney Charles Harder claimed to the Times that their information was “demonstrably false” and “highly inaccurate.”)

Still, anyone who’s paid even an iota of attention to the dismal fate of Atlantic City already knew Trump lacked business prowess, though it’s still pretty incredible that Trump is so bad at running businesses he managed to lose about 1000 times the amount Bernie Sanders made selling books. Do read the entire report for a detailed analysis on the extent of Trump’s early failures, and remember: when Wharton sends its people, they’re not sending their best.




Though, I do kind of laugh at the idea that this hurts him, and that some media companies were blasting this as some kind of “breaking news!” gotcha bullshit.

Him being a shitty businessman isn’t going to hurt him because...the cruelty is the point. The cruelty of what he proposed and what he has done and continues to do is why they support him, especially this late into the game. The sooner people swallow this horrifying truth, the better off we’ll be sweeping him out.

If they tell you they nominally like him because he was a “good businessman,” they are lying. They like the babies in cages; they liked him threatening protestors at his rally with violence; they like him trying to take healthcare away from “those people” (even though it’d take away their healthcare, too); they like him racheting up a wartime prosture with our adversaries (except Russia, of course)...the cruelty is the point.

His election wasn’t ever about making them money or making their lives better; it wasn’t about any kind of positive or progressive emotion. His election was about punishing the people who elected and then re-elected Barack Obama, and who then dared to elect the first female president in his stead. Period.