William Haupt III
The author is a Center Square contributor
“It takes a magician, not an accountant, to figure out the U.S. income tax code.”
– Albert Einstein
Internal Revenue Service data on thousands of wealthy Americans over the past decade provides insight into the finances of wealthy Americans like Michael Bloomberg, Rupert Murdoch, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, George Soros, Mark Zuckerberg and others. It shows their income and taxes, their investments and stock trades, and the number of times they have been audited and the results.
Analyzing this data supports the cornerstone of our tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the rich pay the most. Records also show that the wealthy can perfectly, legally pay taxes that are only a small portion of the millions of dollars their fortunes grow each year. Annual wealth accrued by the wealthy is not taxable income. Only when sold are those assets considered income.
When Donald Trump was running for president in 2016, he declined to release his tax returns since he was being audited, which is not uncommon for people in his income bracket. But Democratic operatives for Hillary Clinton claimed he was hiding information that would disqualify him for office.
“It is obvious Donald Trump has done a lot of things he needs to hide from voters.”
– Hillary Clinton
The U.S. Constitution sets forth a very limited list of qualifications for those running for president: A candidate must be a natural-born citizen over the age of 35 who has lived in the United States for at least 14 years. The Supreme Court has ruled against states adding any additional requirements.
Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said, “I can’t find out why this is a big issue to the liberals.”
Rudy Giuliani retorted, “The way media is treating this shows why nobody would want to release their tax returns. His political opponents will go through them and make issues out of non-issues.”
During Mr. Trump’s entire tenure as president, Democrats, liberal media and progressive naysayers invented and theorized reasons why Mr. Trump refused to reveal his tax returns. And these same groups did not mention that Mr. Trump gave back most of his salary to the government. During the pandemic, he gave his entire paycheck to the FDA to help develop the COVID-19 vaccine.
Desperately trying to fill in the blanks to parlay their witch hunt, when the Democrats petitioned the Supreme Court to obtain Donald Trump’s taxes, the justices reluctantly agreed. Without legal precedent to do so, this is the first time in history a president was forced to reveal his tax returns by any court.
“Whenever you put a man on the Supreme Court, he ceases to be your friend.”
– Harry S. Truman
Democrats unleashed a nuclear political weapon on the president that they spent four years trying to impeach on conspiracy theories invented by Adam Schiff. To add insult to injury, they revealed Mr. Trump’s tax returns to liberal media so all of America could see them. Politicians, political scholars, journalists and even many in the liberal media are outraged by the Democrats’ unethical militancy.
Political attorney and scholar Rogan O’Handley remarked Democrats opened up a can of worms and they will regret it. “The left just set a precedent they’re going to severely regret. Now we can see everybody’s tax returns. Let’s start with McConnell, Pelosi, Schiff, Schumer and Biden Corp.”
Mark Levin said, “Trump’s tax returns only verify how proudly successful Donald Trump has been.”
U.S. Rep. Troy Nehls, R-Texas, opined, “I’m not interested in seeing the tax returns of President Donald Trump, a guy who left office poorer than when he entered it. I am, however, interested in seeing the tax returns of all the elected officials who became millionaires while they were in office.”
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said: “The Pelosi gang’s abuse of power to obtain and release the tax returns of former President Trump should result in the removal of all responsible Democrats from the Ways and Means Committee.”
Fox News host Geraldo Rivera agreed: “Trump’s federal tax returns were unfairly released out of spite just to harass him. They illegally invaded his privacy!”
Sirius XM talk radio host Andrew Wilkow retorted: “There is no statute that requires a presidential candidate to release tax returns. Republicans must now employ this political weapon in Congress. They have no choice since Democrats found another way to silence those that stand in their way.”
The 4th Amendment grants every citizen a reasonable expectation of privacy, free from invasion of their private space, whether it is physical or electronic, or from a person or from the government.
“The greatest danger to liberty lurks in the insidious encroachment by men of zeal.”
– Louis D. Brandeis
Donald Trump is the wealthiest man to ever run for president. Revealing his income tax returns to anyone would have been a tremendous security risk for Mr. Trump and his entire family. For the sake of protecting him and his family, he had a legal right to keep his tax returns private from everyone.
By using the Supreme Court to get a copy of Donald Trump’s tax returns, the Democrats showed their disdain for Trump and his family’s security. This is a stain on our democracy, and it is now embedded in the Supreme Court rulings. Now Democrats feel they have “unlimited power to target and make public the tax returns” of private citizens and political enemies any time they wish.
In 2018, the nation’s most liberal state, California, passed a bill requiring presidential candidates to release their tax returns before they could be put on the ballot, a blatant dig at Donald Trump. The Supreme Court struck it down as unconstitutional. Even former, far left Gov. Jerry Brown agreed.
Wolfgang Goethe wrote, “We are our own devils.” According to Pew research, most Americans feel the Democrats have spent far too much time investigating the Jan. 6 protest and not enough time running the nation. They also feel that former U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming, is obsessed with trying to blame Mr. Trump for the Jan. 6 protest, instead of chastening those who infiltrated a protest and turned it into a cacophony of chaos.
After Elon Musk blew the whistle on the Democratic Party, federal agencies, and the Bidens for being in bed with Twitter executives last election, more Americans than ever have concerns about federal overreach. If government and its agencies can convince Big Tech to censor conservatives and refuse to print news about a presidential candidate’s son’s illegal activities, that’s scary! Political activists, conservative candidates and even private citizens, fear that President Joe Biden and the Democrats will use federal agencies, such as former President Barack Obama did with the IRS, to silence everyone they desire.
The 4th Amendment protects your income tax returns from public scrutiny. And it protects us from selective audits requested by politicians who fear those who disagree with them. When any political party shows no respect for the Constitution and nobody stops them, that’s when we must vigilantly protect ourselves from the government.
“Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.”
- Ronald Reagan
This commentary was provided to the News-Press by The Center Square, a nonprofit dedicated to journalism.