What We're Reading

Daily Reads: Trump’s Taxes Show His Tax Plan Benefits Him the Most; Edward Snowden’s Advice for Donald Trump

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

The Biggest Revelation From Trump's Taxes

David Cay Johnston discusses Donald Trump's 2005 taxes with Rachel Maddow. (MSNBC)

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A glimpse at Trump’s taxes –> Investigative journalist David Cay Johnston, who has built a career writing about taxes and the tax code (and who has contributed to our site), received the first two pages of Donald Trump’s 2005 tax returns in his mailbox. He published it on his website, DCreport.org, and shared his findings on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC program. “The document offers a rare glimpse at how a super wealthy couple can manipulate and manage our complex tax laws to reduce their obligations far below rates paid by typical salaried professionals or even blue-collar wage earners,” he writes.

Russ Choma writes for Mother Jones that the biggest revelation from the returns is that Trump’s “proposed tax plan would benefit no one more than him.” Most of Trump’s taxes that year were paid through the alternative minimum tax — which Trump, during the campaign, pledged to eliminate. The tax is “designed to make sure that all taxpayers pay a certain amount even if they manage to reduce their tax liability,” Choma writes. “In his proposed tax policy, Trump would create just four tax brackets and do away with the AMT.”

The revelation prompted denunciations from the White House, including the assertion that it is illegal to publish the president’s taxes — it’s not. Overnight, Johnston said his wife and children received threats from Trump’s supporters.

Europe closely watches Dutch vote –> Many are calling today’s election in the Netherlands the first of “three crucial Eurozone elections this year.” Geert Wilders, the far-right anti-Islam leader of the Freedom Party, has been slipping in the polls over the past few days, but win or lose, his popularity is indicative of the mainstreaming of white nationalism in Europe. The Guardian reports that “after casting his ballot, Wilders told reporters: ‘Whatever the outcome of the election today, the genie will not go back into the bottle.'” Politico is live blogging the returns today.

Mattis gets it –> In written testimony for his confirmation hearings, Defense Secretary James Mattis acknowledged that climate change would affect how he does his job. “Climate change is impacting stability in areas of the world where our troops are operating today,” Mattis said in written answers seen by ProPublica’s Andy Revkin. “It is appropriate for the Combatant Commands to incorporate drivers of instability that impact the security environment in their areas into their planning.” Among the factors to consider are how a melting Arctic and droughts in conflict-prone areas will affect international relations and war.

Fixing what isn’t broken –> In addition to concluding that the Republican health care plan would kick 24 million off their insurance, the CBO report contained another key factoid: Contrary to Republican rhetoric, Obamacare isn’t failing. “The assessment that markets will stabilize under current law is critical,” writes Matthew Yglesias at Vox. “President Trump’s central argument for repeal and replace is that the Affordable Care Act is ‘imploding,’ so some kind of radical change is necessary.”

Special election –> An upcoming election in Georgia’s 6th District to replace Tom Price, who became Donald Trump’s Health and Human Services secretary, is being seen as a test case for Democrats to gauge their appeal to red-state voters. “The suburban Georgia district voted for Romney by 24 points four years ago, but President Trump only carried it by just over 1 point last November,” Jessica Taylor reports for NPR. Eighteen candidates are running in a April 18 primary, and the top two, regardless of party, will advance to the general election.

More Goldman Sachs –> Donald Trump is nominating Goldman Sachs banker Jim Donovan as deputy treasury secretary. Donovan will work for Steve Mnuchin, who also worked for Goldman Sachs. They’ll work closely with Gary Cohn, who was COO of Goldman Sachs. “The nomination will also come as something of a relief to Wall Street and corporate executives who worry about the economic nationalism of some of Trump’s other advisers,” writes Politico’s Ben White, presumably with a straight face. (Nationalist-in-chief Steve Bannon, by the way, also worked at Goldman Sachs.)

Snowden’s advice for Trump –> In an interview with The Intercept yesterday, Edward Snowden explained that anyone with an appropriate clearance can search the government’s enormous database of collected surveillance. That includes the president. So if Obama did wiretap his phones, President Trump could make the information public immediately. “If Donald Trump or anyone else wants us to take this seriously, they have to show evidence,” Snowden said.

Cue the violins –> Former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory says the backlash against House Bill 2, the anti-transgender bathroom bill he pushed, is making some employers “reluctant to hire me, because, ‘oh my gosh, he’s a bigot’ — which is the last thing I am.”

Daily Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Theresa Riley.

 


 

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