The New York Times earned a whopping $428.5 million in revenue in just the third quarter of 2019. While its revenue increased when compared to the same quarter in 2018, it’s tax bill declined to just $6.1 million (down from $10.1 million in the same quarter the year prior).
How on earth did this rich corporation manage such a significant reduction in its tax burden after such a flush year? It employed the same tax gimmick that Times reporters would later pillory President Trump for using on his taxes; it only paid taxes on its profit realized after deducting operating costs.
To ordinary wage earners, it might seem like cheating: Only paying income taxes on income. But that’s just the same dirty game the Times has now claimed to have caught the Bad Orange Man playing.
The Times clucked righteously that the president failed to pay taxes on his losses. The Times failed to identify any other business in the history of income tax that has ever paid income taxes on losses. But since the Times hates him, it wants him to follow a different tax rule than every other company in the world.
Over the weekend, the Times finally opened the Schrodinger’s box of Trump tax returns. While the box remained closed, it allowed all sorts of idle speculation (masquerading as journalism).
“Might it shed light on the president’s connections to Russian money, interests, indebtedness?” Forbes speculated in April 2019. “Democrats say they are concerned the White House could pressure IRS agents to go easy on Trump’s returns, and that they need his tax documents to understand how seriously the agency is vetting them,” Politico reported in July 2019.
We need to know, “whether Trump has violated federal law by illegally evading taxes or has shown a disregard for his obligation to pay his fair share by engaging in flagrant tax dodging” and “Trump’s tax returns would likely reveal just how deeply involved he is in Russia and with oligarchs close to President Vladimir Putin,” hyperventilated USA Today last year. NeverTrump columnist George Will piled on as far back as 2016, speculating that Trump would not release his tax returns because they may show “he is deeply involved in dealing with Russia oligarchs.”
Trump’s unrevealed tax returns could have contained any of a number of juicy gotcha scandals. The mystery somehow justified the most irresponsible and slanderous speculation.
But now the box is open (if you believe the Times) and inside we find a mirror pointing back at the journalists and get-Trump activists who have once again utterly misjudged Trump supporters.
Trump is hardly the first president to lose money on his side hustles. Our first president, George Washington took the salary for the office of presidency because he needed the money to offset farming losses. Jefferson was forced to borrow from one of his own slaves to cover vacation expenses.
The press has already ridden the “Trump-is-a-bad-businessman” theme to the point of killing the horse it continues to flog. Nobody buys Trump vodka or Trump steaks. Nobody flies Trump airlines. He’s failed at many ventures. Memo received.
We have for years been told that Trump’s prescription for creating a small fortune is to begin with a large fortune and invest it foolishly. But, as the Times conceded, the returns do not “reveal any previously unreported connections to Russia,” or any evidence of illegal behavior. The revelations say more about the predisposition of the get-Trump movement that naïvely underestimates the basis for his support.
The “bombshell” that Trump might have aggrandized his wealth beyond fact is hardly surprising or interesting.
On the other hand, somebody appears to have broken the rules in order to get these returns to the Times.
“All of the information the Times obtained was provided by sources with legal access to it,” the story notes. While the sources might have had legal access, Trump has always been careful to condition access to his tax records with confidentiality restrictions. Likely, the Trump team knows exactly where to look for the leakers. If they came from inside the IRS, the offending agent may be guilty of a felony.
What the Times doesn’t realize, from inside its echochamber, is that it has now inoculated Trump from this issue henceforward. And it has done so at the expense of the newspaper’s sagging credibility. This is not a story. It’s not news. It’s just another reminder that the New York Times is a political operation posing as a journalistic enterprise.
Desperately, the Times grasped at innuendos of “conflicts of interest.” While Trump licensed operations all over the world, the Times hinted at what it considered conflicts of interests involving Turkey, the Philippines, and Uruguay.
In one instance, a Russian oligarch paid Trump’s son $3.5 million for no apparent reason while Trump was in office. Then investors tied to the Chinese Communist Party partnered with his son to facilitate acquisition of “dual use” military technology and relocation of production of those products from Michigan to China. Oops! Those last two instances relate to the New York Times’ favored-candidate, Vice President Joe Biden.
But the Times is not interested in Biden’s transgressions, except perhaps insofar as they wish to provide cover for them as they gin up outrage over Trump’s value-for-value business transactions which the Times vaguely characterize as conflicts of interest. Hilariously, the Times cites the fact that Trump properties rent to Goldman Sachs (Biden donor), Microsoft (huge Biden donor), and investment management company Neuberger Berman (Biden donor). So what?
Where are Hunter Biden’s tax returns? Hunter, who appears to have few marketable skills beyond procuring sex-trafficked hookers with other people’s credit cards, found gainful employment as the family bagman. This kept father Joe Biden’s tax returns clean as a whistle while the son collected “fees” from parties seeking advantage and influence through his father’s positions. But rather than investigating this blatantly corrupt “golden triangle,” the Times joined the fight to impeach Trump for the crime of simply asking about the Bidens’ corruption.
Trump supporters weathered four years of smears and innuendo from political journalism—often initiated with the Times. These attacks, which utilize blatant double standards, simply burnish Trump’s credentials as an outsider who disrupts the cozy relationship between legacy media and the oligarchs who oppose Trump’s America-first reforms.
Observers watch, mouths agape, as the New York Times shamelessly ignores the kind of foreign influence over the Bidens that it falsely attributed to Trump for all these years. Whatever. It’s pathetic.