We still haven’t seen Donald Trump’s tax returns, but on Tuesday, the New York Times published a detailed report examining information about his taxes between the years of 1985 and 1994.
The Times didn’t obtain his actual tax returns, but it did receive information about his taxes from a source who had legal access to the returns. And the paper was able to corroborate the validity of the returns by comparing it to publicly available records and information it had previously obtained.
Here are some…interesting findings from the report:
$1.17 billion in losses
The big take away of the piece is astounding: Over the ten years, Trump had more $1.17 billion in business losses. Keep in mind that a lot of this is during the late 80s, at time of strong economic growth. Not a time when rich white men typically lose money. Also, this was when Trump as running casinos, a business that is rigged in favor of the proprietor, which he bankrupted. More than anything, this report should put to rest the myth that Donald Trump is a smart business man.
Much of that was concentrated in 1990 and 1991
In just two years, Trump lost a staggering $250 million annually.
No income taxes for eight out of ten years
Because his businesses were arranged as partnerships, the losses were reported on his personal tax returns rather than through corporate filings. With such massive losses, Trump was able to avoid paying personal income tax for eight out of the ten years the Times reviewed.
No, that is not common
Trump defenders will say he had some tough times and some good times, and that this is just the life of a high-profile businessman. Not so. According to the Times, Trump “appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer.” Again, this was during the economic boom of the 80s.
Trump’s father, by contrast, made money
One person who appears to have done much better than Donald Trump? His father, Fred Trump, the man who really made the Trump family wealthy and bequeathed the fortune to his children. Keep in mind, Donald was a millionaire before he was out of diapers.
“We now have tax info on Fred Trump & Donald Trump for a number of years,” said reporter Susanne Craig, one of the reporters in the story. “The upshot: Fred always made a lot of money. Donald always lost a lot of money.”
“It’s been good financially.”
One of the most amazing parts of the story is a graph that shows Trump’s accumulated losses as they rack up on his returns. Next to some of the bars, the chart includes quotes from Trump talking about his finances.
In 1990, the Times reported that Trump said, “It’s been good financially” a year in which he had lost $400 million.
Put simply, Lord Dampnut has always been an outrageous liar.
Trump made money in the stock market by lying
As his businesses were tanking in the late 1980s, Trump had to find other ways to rake in cash. One method, the Times found, was to buy stock in a company, claim he was going to take over that company, watch the stock rise, and then sell his shares. He would profit, and never buy the company after all. Eventually, the Times reported, this scam stopped working when investors gave up on taking his boasts seriously.
This is also a pretty strong reason, among many, that Americans should not look to the stock market as an indicator of how well the overall economy is doing.
Focus groups of Trump voters in 2016 thought the fact he was a ‘hugely successful’ businessman would make him an ideal president. The fact he was a loser in business will hurt him. And that is why he’s been doing everything he can to keep his taxes secret.