This Meme Nails the Problem With Anyone Who Says It's 'Smart' Trump Didn't Pay Taxes

October 2nd 2016

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump declared a staggering $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, which may have helped him avoid paying federal taxes for almost two decades afterward, no matter what his income, The New York Times reported on Saturday.

That raises a big question for him and undercuts his past statements about "freeloaders": Is he the biggest freeloader of all?

It's not known what taxes Trump has paid since 1995 because the candidate continues to refuse to release his returns, though the real estate mogul intimated in the first presidential debate that he had hasn't paid them. Trump famously responded to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton: "That makes me smart."

Some Trump supporters seem to agree with him.

Not everyone agrees.

One meme is highlighting the biggest problem for Trump arising from the revelations in the Times tax story.

The meme asks the simple question:

If you think that Trump is smart for dodging the Internal Revenue Service, does this undermine one of his main characterizations of other groups as being "freeloaders" — his criticism of undocumented workers, those on government assistance, or NATO?

Fox News host Sean Hannity asked Trump earlier this year if people receiving food stamps, welfare, or other forms of government assistance would have to "work for it." Trump responded:

"The problem we have right now — we have a society that sits back and says we don't have to do anything. Eventually, the 50 percent cannot carry — and it's unfair to them — but cannot carry the other 50 percent."

It's commonplace for Republicans to suggest that assistance programs discourage work. The response is standard for conservatives and has been echoed by many Republican candidates, and it's not surprising to hear it from Trump, either.

But what does it mean when a presidential candidate points fingers at others for not paying their fair share into the system while also gaming the system himself?

Most Americans try to minimize their taxes come April 15 of every year. But not paying them entirely drew anger from many who watched the debate.

News of Trump's taxes appears to put him at odds with other statements he's made about NATO.

Trump has attacked NATO and other American allies for not being team players and paying their bills. He even suggested that the United States should not automatically defend its NATO allies unless those countries paid their bills to the alliance.

Fox News asked Trump about his views on NATO in July, and he responded:

"The fact is we are protecting so many countries that are not paying for the protection. When a country isn’t paying us, and these are countries in some cases — in most cases — that have the ability to pay, and they are not paying because nobody is asking. ...

"We’re protecting all of these countries. They have an agreement to reimburse us and pay us, and they are not doing it, and if they are not going to do that, we have to seriously rethink at least those countries. It’s very unfair."

The news also undercuts Trump's narrative of being a business "genius."

What good businessman loses $916 million in a single tax year? That's the amount of Trump's reported loss in 1995, the Times reported.

Worst of all for Trump, the news makes him look like an insider while the rest of us look like chumps.

All of us pay taxes and recognize the obligations that we bear to each other to keep our schools, military, and other tax-funded systems going.

But Trump says that not paying into the system is "smart." He games the system while most individual American taxpayers are on the hook for an average of $8,548.49 while leading decidedly non-Trumpian lifestyles.

A large amount of Trump's support is based on his assertion that he's "not a politician." But the news about Trump's 1995 taxes suggests that he's as much of an insider as any politician, and that could be damning.

We'll find out on Nov. 8.

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