Donald Trump
Credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Instead of just demanding that Donald Trump release his taxes, Hillary supporters should focus on the one year of tax info we do have. A 1981 report from New Jersey gambling regulators, disclosed that in the late 1970s he reported negative income and paid no taxes, according to the Washington Post.


So instead of hinting that maybe there’s bad stuff in Trump’s tax returns, why don’t Democrats focus on what is known?

Unsolicited ad copy:

The last time the world saw Donald Trump’s taxes, what we saw was shocking. The billionaire paid no federal taxes at all. That’s right – he made millions and millions of dollars – and paid no taxes.   No wonder he doesn’t want to release the rest of his tax returns. No wonder he wants to dramatically cut taxes for the wealthiest people. In Donald Trump’s world, rich people just aren’t supposed to pay their fair share of taxes.

Trump may complain that it’s unfair to use taxes from the late seventies. The obvious response is we’d all be happy to look at the recent returns instead.  But the burden would shift to him to show that he did pay taxes.

He might also say, sure I avoided taxes. As a businessman, that’s what we do! That’s why I know how to fix the system!  But he hasn’t actually made a single proposal on how to fix the system, including the system of massive tax breaks for real estate developers that helped him prosper. Instead he’s just proposed more ways for people like him to pay less in taxes.

Among the many pieces of damage Donald Trump will have done if he elected is breaking the norm that candidates need to release their recent taxes. He hasn’t, and probably wont. Fortunately, Democrats can make him pay.

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Steven Waldman is chair of the Rebuild Local News Coalition, cofounder of Report for America, and a contributing editor at the Washington Monthly.