The Trump tax fraud controversy

Sujay Nanjannavar, Contributing Writer

President Donald Trump has for a long time claimed that his success in life had come, not from the wealth of his multi-millionaire father, but had come from his own resilience and “a small loan of a million dollars.” This image of Trump being an extremely successful and skilled businessman propelled him forward in the 2016 Presidential Election, but a New York Times investigation reveals that Trump’s claims may have been completely fabricated.

The investigation found many flaws in the supposed path to wealth Donald Trump took. Most notably, it found that, in an attempt to avoid a 55 percent tax rate on gifts and inheritance, Fred Trump lied about the multiple transfers of wealth to avoid $500 million in taxes.

While many wealthy Americans avoid paying their full income tax through the exploitation of legal loopholes, the Trumps were found by New York Times to have used more than just legal evasion methods and were constantly conducting business in a very deceptive and obscure manner, preventing the taxing of these transfers of Fred Trump’s fortune.

According to The Times, 295 distinct streams of revenue to Donald Trump from his father were created over five decades, beginning in Donald’s infancy. Many have seen this interesting partnership between father and son not solely as a pursuit for increased wealth but as an attempt to create the clear allure of Donald Trump, Master Dealmaker and Self-Made Billionaire.

It is clear that tax evasion is not a very presidential thing to do, but this string of events occurred over two decades ago, a period of time in which much can change in an individual. While this shines a very negative light on Trump for now, many have questioned the true weight of this event.

Junior Aditya Prathap believes that in the grand scheme of things, this won’t play a large role in deterring support from Trump’s loyal fan base because they tend to focus more on concrete policy, such as tax cuts or deregulation, as opposed to his character flaws.

Those who support President Trump have focused on the strength of his policies, whereas those who don’t have attacked his character,” Prathap said. “The emergence of these tax fraud allegations serves as another damper on President Trump’s character and portrays him as a dishonest man not worthy of the label ‘self-made’, but, eventually, the allegations will fade away and become meaningless as the media turns to other sources of controversy that attack President Donald Trump, not the businessman Donald Trump.”

On the other hand, many have voiced their opinions that it is simply unacceptable that the President avoided paying his taxes. In an April poll by analytics company Gallup, more than 6 of every 10 Americans said that upper-income people pay too little in taxes.

Sophomore Ojas Dumbre shares a similar belief with many of these Americans as she stresses that she hopes more Americans recognize how deeply flawed this situation is.

“It is one thing to be against the way of our laws and to act out against them,” Dumbre said. “It is quite another to go against the law solely for self-serving purposes at the detriment of others, and Trump is modeling the latter.”

The difficulty remains with how this kind of dilemma must be dealt with, or if at all.

Social Studies teacher Dorothy Robak strongly believes that this issue should not be ignored and that crimes like these should have more legal ramifications.

“Nobody is above the law,” Robak said. “White collar criminals are some of the most dangerous in the country.”