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Is there any support for Mitt Romney’s Trump tax return suspicions?

Is there any support for Mitt Romney’s Trump tax return suspicions?

Estimating Trump’s wealth.

On Wednesday Mitt Romney said some interesting things about Donald Trump and his tax returns, and they got picked up by a lot of news outlets and pundits, including Legal Insurrection. This is the way his remarks were generally reported:

He also called on the entire GOP field to release their tax returns.

“I think there’s something there,” Romney said of Trump’s returns, “Either he’s not anywhere near as wealthy as he says he is, or he hasn’t been paying the kind of taxes we would expect him to pay,” Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto on “Your World.”

Trump supporters felt that this was a low blow, and unsubstantiated as well. Also, coming from Romney—the guy many judge as having been insufficiently hard on Obama in 2012—it seemed uncharacteristic.

As usual, though, it’s always instructive to look at the transcript, and then to do a little digging into the background. In the full transcript Romney went into more detail than that. He went on to say:

…[P]erhaps [Trump] hasn’t been giving money to the vets or to the disabled like he’s been telling us he’s been doing…The reasons that I think there’s a bombshell in there is because every time he’s asked about his taxes he dodges and delays and says, well, we’re working on it. Hey, we’re not talking about the taxes that are coming due this year…We’re talking about taxes already filed, back taxes, my back taxes when I ran in 2012, my back taxes I put out in January of 2012.

The GOP debate was the next day, and Trump was asked about it. His answer was that he couldn’t do it because he is being audited:

However, there appears to be no prohibition on releasing tax returns during an audit, according to an IRS statement. What’s more—as Romney had suggested—there would be nothing holding Trump back from releasing taxes from previous years that are not being audited.

When Romney requested that Trump release his tax returns, Romney made said that he has no hard evidence against Trump, but is suspicious because of Trump’s dragging his feet. But—whether Romney has seen it or not (and I have no idea whether he has or hasn’t)—there actually is some evidence from the past, at least of a similar pattern, originating in a defamation lawsuit that Trump filed in 2009.

Please take a look at this NR article by Ian Tuttle entitled “The Litigious—and Bullying—Donald Trump.” It describes the following Trump exchange which took place during a lawsuit Trump lodged against Tim O’Brien, the author of a 2005 biography that claimed Trump’s worth was far less than Trump claimed:

In 2004, O’Brien had co-authored a piece for the Times detailing Trump’s financial woes — he had recently filed for the third of what would be four Chapter 11 bankruptcies — and quoted anonymous sources who reported that Trump’s wealth was not nearly what he claimed; in fact, it was in the hundreds of millions, they said…Trump, meanwhile, notoriously unreliable in his own estimates, offered figures ranging from $1.7 billion to $9.5 billion. In [his biography] TrumpNation, O’Brien cited those numbers, alongside “three people with direct knowledge of Donald’s finances” who estimated his wealth was “somewhere between $150 million and $250 million.” Trump denied it, in his usual colorful fashion: “You can go ahead and speak to guys who have four-hundred-pound wives at home who are jealous of me, but the guys who really know me know I’m a great builder.”

Trump filed a lawsuit asking for $5 billion damages. It’s worth reading the whole Tuttle article, but here are some excerpts [emphasis mine]:

Those who think Trump is a “winner” ought to take a close look at Donald Trump v. Timothy L. O’Brien. Because Trump didn’t just lose the case. He was humiliated…

“The case dragged on for as long as it did because he wouldn’t comply with discovery requests,” says O’Brien. “He wouldn’t turn over the tax returns, then the tax returns came in almost so completely redacted as to be useless.”…

And, of course, Trump himself was deposed, leading to the following exchange, a crystallization of the Trump ethos:

Q: Now, Mr. Trump, have you always been completely truthful in your public statements about your net worth of properties?

A: I try.

Q: Have you ever not been truthful?

A: My net worth fluctuates, and it goes up and down with markets and with attitudes and with feelings, even my own feelings, but I try.

Q: Let me just understand that a little bit. Let’s talk about net worth for a second. You said that the net worth goes up and down based upon your own feelings?

A: Yes, even my own feelings, as to where the world is, where the world is going, and that can change rapidly from day to day. Then you have a September 11th, and you don’t feel so good about yourself and you don’t feel so good about the world and you don’t feel so good about New York City. Then you have a year later, and the city is as hot as a pistol. Even months after that it was a different feeling. So yeah, even my own feelings affect my value to myself.

Q: When you publicly state what you’re worth, what do you base that number on?

A: I would say it’s my general attitude at the time that the question may be asked. And as I say, it varies.

The key to estimating the worth of an individual like Trump is understanding that his main asset appears to be his “brand”—in his case the name “Trump” (the following was written last July):

Donald Trump’s net worth is $2.9 billion — far less than the $10 billion the real estate mogul and GOP presidential hopeful claims he’s worth, according to a new Bloomberg analysis.

Trump, who has made his personal wealth part of his pitch to voters, released a 92-page rundown of his net worth last week. He calculated his fortune at $8.7 billion, including $3.3 billion for the value of his name, in the federal disclosure form.

Bloomberg tallied up Trump’s real estate holdings, including his share of several skyscrapers, golf courses and resorts, based on the current income generated by those properties, which is its standard approach for valuing such assets.

Bloomberg estimated Trump’s golf and resort properties at a combined $570 million, while Trump pegged the properties’ value at $2 billion “without disclosing his methodology.”

This background seems relevant to the current presidential campaign. It is relevant to the issue of Trump’s honesty and reliability. In addition, if Trump is asking Americans to elect him based to a large extent on his tremendously successful record in business, I think we all need the information in order to understand just what that record involves.

[Neo-neocon is a writer with degrees in law and family therapy, who blogs at neo-neocon.]

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Comments

Trump’s net worth is based on his “general attitude at the time,” just as his version of truth on anything depends on his attitude or mood or agenda at the time.

It’s funny that Trump’s “I try” response on the matter of truthfulness came at the very same time that many people including Trump fans were skewering Hillary (and rightly so) for giving the same answer.

    dystopia in reply to Radegunda. | February 28, 2016 at 8:14 am

    I don’t think little Mitt Romney, who bowed before Harry Reid on taxes, will be able to take Trump out on tax returns. Only someone as impotent as the Mighty Mouse Mitt was so vulnerable.

    If Trump is the Republican nominee — and that is a big if — do you plan to support Trump or just not vote?

      Do you not wonder at all as to whether your little tin god, who’s been bragging to you that one of the reasons he’s uniquely qualified to be the President of the United Stated is that he’s worth “over 10 billion dollars”, has been lying to you?

        dystopia in reply to Amy in FL. | February 28, 2016 at 3:17 pm

        Why are you a Hillary Clinton enabler? Do you want to see SOCIALISM entrenched in a weakened United States? A borderless Nation infected with perpetual malaise. All visitors welcome.

        General election votes are cast from a menu. No substitutions allowed. If enough conservatives sit on the sidelines in the General election, Florida and the Nation will go to Clinton.

        .. and you Amy had better like SOCIALISM. It is the next stop on that Democrat train.

From my Twitter vantage point, the Tax Meme is a dead skunk scenario.

Not only does it not have traction with folks, it gives Trump supporters a hammer to prove the hypocrisy of the Establishment greybeards.

    Ragspierre in reply to VotingFemale. | February 27, 2016 at 6:53 pm

    So on Twitter, people don’t care about T-rump lying through his teeth?

    What an odd place that “Twitter” must be…

      People overlook what distracts from what they believe is the best choice for president, regardless of which candidate it is.

      Ran across this piece on the subject. A lawyer has chimed in.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2016/02/26/donald-trump-claims-he-cant-release-his-tax-returns-while-being-audited-and-this-tax-attorney-agrees/

      As for Twitter, it is what you see there. I am a power user of TweetDeck and it is tuned well for the job.

        Ragspierre in reply to VotingFemale. | February 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

        Huh.

        The IRS says differently…

        http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2016-02-26/irs-audit-or-no-trump-could-release-tax-info

        So do other “experts”…

        http://wober.net/threads/tax-experts-say-no-legal-barrier-to-trump-releasing-tax-records.47328/

        Now, if there’s fraud in past tax returns…then, yah…

          I’ll leave it to the lawyers to argue on both sides.

          Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 27, 2016 at 9:09 pm

          One thing…well, among many…that is inarguable…

          T-rump said he would release his tax information. Months ago.

          Or am I mistaken…???

          I don’t know, Rags. What I suspect is something I can speak to.

          I suspect Trump sees value in using the 1st tier media tax return ‘demanders’ as a tool for dominating the media for what it will yield.

          If there were a smoking gun, the IRA would have nailed him already. It looks to me like a red herring and it’s how the big shot media types (who love publishing on twitter) seem to be treating it real time. I see a lot.

          gulfbreeze in reply to Ragspierre. | February 28, 2016 at 12:34 am

          “Huh.

          The IRS says differently…”

          The attorney in the article VotingFemale linked to was giving valid legal advice about not disclosing. In the articles you’re linking to, the IRS and some attorneys reference the legality of tax return disclosure (while some attorneys in the articles also recognize why Trump’s attorneys would advise him not disclose).

          So the attorneys on both sides of the issue are making statements about two completely different things.

          It’s the difference between an attorney advising his client who the police want to take to to keep his mouth shut, and the police saying, “Well, there’s no law that says you can’t talk to us.” Both the attorney and the police would be correct. Just like Trump and the IRS are both correct.

          janitor in reply to Ragspierre. | February 28, 2016 at 1:26 am

          This is moron, Rags.

          It’s also “legal” for a defendant involved in any kind of investigation, civil or criminal, to “disclose” his entire case publicly. And I’m quite sure that the prosecutor or plaintiff’s attorney would heartily approve.

        In all fairness, this seems to be a case of who is “preventing” Trump from releasing the tax returns (at least in his mind.)

        The article you cited doesn’t say that there is a legal prohibition on him releasing the tax returns, but rather he should not release them on the advice of a tax attorney / accountant.

        The tax attorney makes the point that in a police investigation, you should not talk to the police and then make public statements because that can get you into trouble. The sentiment is understandable as you might say one thing to the police and another thing in your public statement.

        Tax returns are not uttered statements. They are documents. The documents shouldn’t change if given to the IRS or the people. I think the thinking is a bit faulty there, but I do understand what the tax attorney is saying.

        However, in the interview with Hugh Hewitt in 2015, Trump said he would release his tax returns.

        Combining the two statements, when Trump made the statement to Hewitt, he said in the debate that he had been audited for 4 or 5 years, then 12 years or some other number. The point is, what changed from when Hewitt interviewed Trump who claims he was being audited then but promised to release the returns, and now when he claims he won’t release the returns because he is being audited.

        I think this is another example of Trump saying whatever he wants to try and get out of trouble at the moment.

        If Trump had simply said in the debate “I don’t want to,” or “I am being advised not to release the tax returns while I am being audited, I don’t think he would have taken as much flack.

        As it is, “I can’t release” the tax returns is not the same thing as “I won’t release the tax returns.”

        Trump got caught (again) and when he gets caught, he tries to bluster his way out of the issue. His followers live that. I, on the other hand, think it shows a lack of character.

          I didn’t read the article. I offered it for curiosity consumption. That’s how much of a non-event I view it.

          gulfbreeze in reply to gitarcarver. | February 28, 2016 at 1:18 am

          “Tax returns are not uttered statements. They are documents. The documents shouldn’t change if given to the IRS or the people. I think the thinking is a bit faulty there, but I do understand what the tax attorney is saying.”

          The initial tax filings don’t change. What can change is the ultimate determination of tax liability after the audit. And ironically, that tax liability may go up or even down. So why disclose a tax filing that is not determinative yet? Furthermore, why risk politicizing a tax audit where one’s position may end up being completely vindicated?

          Tax audits are not about clear claims by the IRS. Sometimes they’re completed with absolutely nothing challenged. Other times alternate positions (often specious, suspicious, murky and esoteric) are taken by the IRS in contrast to what may be the murky and esoteric positions taken by the tax filer. Such is the nature of complex tax law. The outcomes are the result of negotiations, and if those fail, then tax courts. If one has never been subject to complex IRS audits, they may not appreciate the significance of being able to go through the process in the complete confidentiality that the IRS audit procedure provides.

          “…The point is, what changed from when Hewitt interviewed Trump who claims he was being audited then but promised to release the returns, and now when he claims he won’t release the returns because he is being audited.”

          I missed the Hewitt interview, but did Trump ever promise then that he would release the returns before the audit was completed?

        ‘by the way they are treating it’ meaning they were on it for two days. Yesterday it dribbled to a crawl and today, nana, nothing. Unless something new pops up it’s a three day lifetime meme. These people are sharks on the prowl and they moved on.

    tigercpa in reply to VotingFemale. | February 28, 2016 at 8:22 am

    There’s no legal prohibition to releasing them, but likely basing this on the advice of his CPA / tax attorney. It’s simply the correct posture to take while being audited. No different than a criminal proceeding.

    There is only downside risk, if the IRS comes back and disallows a deduction, imputes additional income, otherwise makes him refile, the media nuts will crucify him with headline such as: “Trump Lied to the IRS”; “Trump Evaded Income Taxes” and of course, the SJW-centric headline, “Trump Didn’t Pay his Fair Share”

    From my Twitter vantage point…

    What percentage of American adults get their new from “Twitter”?

      What percentage of the news is not flashed on twitter by journalists before it pops anywhere else? In my observation, about 90+ percent.

      These journos compete with each other to see who’s first in breaking news tweets and discuss it between themselves for all to see.

      That is to say, what pops on twitter is the same news the masses get via Big Media TV, websites, radio and print media.

      We just see it first and see emerging memes and top dog speculation and commentary.

      As a result, often I will tweet/retweet with commentary, breaking news before most news outlets tweet it & before most publish articles about it.

      I’m presently watching a free for all over Trump’s RT of a quote attributed to Mussolini.

      It’s a knock down drag out tweet storm between the big shots, medium shots & the voters on twitter.

      Dear, this is like trying to explain radio to someone who knows nothing about it.

      Twitter is a tool.

      Take the subject of this blog post… it was three days late in being posted. By the time it was posted the meme was already in it’s half-life. This post would have been a lot more interesting had it been published on Wednesday.

      This just popped on twitter 12 minutes ago…

      Mark Ruffalo
      @MarkRuffalo

      BREAKING: Rep. This is Yuuuge! Tulsi Gabbard resigns DNC vice chairmanship to endorse Bernie! #FeelTheBern

      m.dailykos.com/stories/1492688

      11:38am · 28 Feb 2016 · Twitter for iPhone

      199 Retweets 449 Likes

      ……….

      Almost no one reads Daily Kos… literally.

      But it is spreading through twitter like wildfire at the moment and will be reported and discussed by Big Media today.

      This Popped on Twitter Less that 13 minutes ago.

      Ted Cruz
      @tedcruz

      Unfortunate to see Fox News corporate brass make bias explicit: they support Trump, Rubio, Kasich…. #DealMakers

      RT EricaGrieder @EricaGrieder

      So…Fox News sees the establishment & Trump as allies against the “real enemy”, presumably Ben Carson or Ted Cruz?

      https://twitter.com/rupertmurdoch/status/704028770697523201
      1:37pm · 28 Feb 2016 · Twitter for iPhone

      43 Retweets 39 Likes

        This tweet, plus the treatment Ted Cruz got this morning from Chris Wallace, set him off:


        Rupert Murdoch Verified account
        ‏@rupertmurdoch

        Both “establishment” Republicans and Trump need to cool it and close ranks to fight real enemy. Trump, Rubio, Kasich could all win general.

        Retweets 166 Likes 156

        12:41 PM – 28 Feb 2016

        (I watch news being both reported and created in real time. Saw the Cruz tweet 22 seconds after it was published on twitter)

What about the returns of marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. From what I heard, both will be very interesting. Yet somehow no one seems to be paying any attention to them.

    Ragspierre in reply to HandyGandy. | February 27, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    Really? What have you “heard”, and from what source?

    Because, you see, you have earned a reputation here as a liar and moron.

    So, put up.

      Mr. Izz in reply to Ragspierre. | February 27, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      Really? And what have you “heard” about Trump? And from what source? It’s all speculation and nonsense as of right now. Just because Romney comes out and says he should release information doesn’t mean squat.

      You see, your ignorance is part of the blindness and corruption plaguing the political process. Calling people liars and morons is a sure fire way to just prove my point.

      Ragspierre in reply to Ragspierre. | February 27, 2016 at 7:31 pm

      What have I said that’s “all speculation and nonsense as of right now”…???

    Radegunda in reply to HandyGandy. | February 27, 2016 at 11:20 pm

    What’s very interesting is that neither of them is facing multiple class-action lawsuits for defrauding people who put their trust in their “brand” to get “seminars” at a vainly named “University.”

    Also, neither of them lost a libel lawsuit against an investigative journalist who cited sources indicating that they were greatly exaggerating their wealth.

    Are either Cruz or Rubio running on any wild claims which could easily be proved or disproved via release of their tax returns>

Mittens is the new uniparty spokesman. He got the result he wanted in 2012. He got Obama re-elected and more FREE FEDERAL MONEY and he didn’t have to leave the comfort of the country club to actually have to “govern”. You know that would be icky. The RINO wing of the democratic socialist party will do and say ANYTHING to protect it’s POWER! Cuz we know what the hildabeast would do if elected. And she has to pay back all the BILLIONS she and sick Willy got in their slush fund. Now I know Trump is TALKING a good game, but I’ll take him over Rubio, mittens and the uniparty.

    Radegunda in reply to Fiftycaltx. | February 27, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Trump IS the uniparty candidate par excellence — the one who’s gone back and forth, but mostly supporting Dems, unless he’s supporting “RINOs” against conservative challengers.

    Trump is the candidate who represents no principles, no governing philosophy — just the naked quest for self-aggrandizement and power.

    It requires a stubbornly willful blindness to see Trump as the antidote to the so-called “uniparty.”

Hail Mary pass by Romney at the Establishment five with three seconds on the clock as the crowd pushes for the exits.

These scummy rinos are would rather see a freak like Hillary Clinton elected than an outsider.

What a corrupt bunch of backstabbers – to their country.

What was all that b.s. about Romney being a ‘nice guy?’ He’s as scummy as Harry Reid or Lindsay Graham.

Look for Romney to enter the race to elect Clinton.

    The so-called “outsider” has been playing an insider game for decades — hobnobbing with Bill and Hlll, paying them to attend his third wedding to a “young and beautiful piece of a$$,” giving money to the Clinton Foundation, to Schumer and Harry Reid, to McConnell to fend of a Tea Party challenger, getting politicians to write of his tax bill, trying to get little people kicked out of their houses, etc.

    The problem with Trump is that he’s a fraud and a nasty egomaniac who has no principles except self-worship. He’s also ignorant and shallow on matters of policy.

    inspectorudy in reply to TheFineReport.com. | February 28, 2016 at 12:13 am

    The only thing that is outsider about Trump is that he has never held elected office. In every other way he is a total insider. He has oiled the palms of so many pols that he should be called BP Trump! He has bribed and made deals with the worst scum on earth. He is the living example of a slimeball. For any of you to think that he has answers to our nations problems have not done much reading on his solutions in the past. At best he is a moderate Demorat. At worst he is a liberal leftist.

I am not a Trump supporter.

“The key to estimating the worth of an individual like Trump is understanding that his main asset appears to be his ‘brand’—in his case the name ‘Trump'”

I understand most of Trump’s current development projects (I’ve read most are global) are now in partnerships where a developer puts up the funding, and the Trump organization brands the building, assists with design, marketing, and sales (from which Trump additionally earns commissions). How Trump values those contracts, I haven’t a clue, and neither does anyone else, much less Bloomberg.

And guess what? Trump’s tax returns won’t show you either.

Forbes (which values the world’s wealthiest people in real time, and has been doing those estimates far longer than Bloomberg) values Trump’s net worth at $4.5 billion:

http://www.forbes.com/profile/donald-trump/

“#72 Donald Trump
Real Time Net Worth As of 2/27/16
$4.5 Billion”

So Bloomberg estimates $2.9, Forbes estimates it’s 55% higher.

See a problem here? Surprise! They’re “estimates”!

“‘Bloomberg tallied up Trump’s real estate holdings, including his share of several skyscrapers, golf courses and resorts, based on the current income generated by those properties, which is its standard approach for valuing such assets.’

“‘Bloomberg estimated Trump’s golf and resort properties at a combined $570 million, while Trump pegged the properties’ value at $2 billion ‘without disclosing his methodology.'”

As this quote shows, Bloomberg chooses the “income method” of RE valuation. There at 2 other standard methods, the “sales comparison” and “replacement cost” method. All 3 methods are performed when MAI (Member Appraisal Institute) appraisers value commercial RE.

As such, one could use the replacement cost method and easily estimate a vastly different value than the income approach. AND both estimates would be correct! Again, see a problem here?

“This background seems relevant to the current presidential campaign. It is relevant to the issue of Trump’s honesty and reliability. In addition, if Trump is asking Americans to elect him based to a large extent on his tremendously successful record in business, I think we all need the information in order to understand just what that record involves.”

In short, even if Trump releases every page of his income tax returns from the last 20 years, no one will glean any determinative vale of Trump’s wealth….no one.

Why?

Because “net taxable income” does not measure “net worth”, rather it measures realized gains/losses in the period being measured. And a 5 second look at a balance sheet can show you that.

Think about it this way. Take one’s stock portfolio. One could show taxable income for the year’s trades at +$10M, yet the value of that portfolio could have dropped from $100M to $50M.

Or they could show a net tax loss of -$10M, and have their portfolio double to $200M.

Why? Because taxable income/loss measures REALIZED gains/losses. And net worth changes measure UNREALIZED gains/losses.

So Trump could earn net income of $1/yr. Or he could even show a net loss, and it wouldn’t show anything about his net worth. He could have a net loss and his RE properties could have doubled in value using the sales comparison method (which would be an unrealized gain).

So you and the media are welcome to blather on about how “this background seems relevant to the current presidential campaign” for as long as you want, and it will provide nothing factual. Because you are looking for info from evidence which does not and can not shed any light on the question of net worth valuation. Futhermore, the different methods of RE valuation are not determinative, rather all are estimates of value which can differ vastly.

    I am not a Trump supporter.

    You keep stating that, as though your statement requires that we take all of your comments as those from an absolutely neutral observer.

    Yet the only politician you swoop in to defend appears to be Trump.

    Trumpkins might be gullible enough to believe you. The adults here, however, are capable of reading between the lines.

      gulfbreeze in reply to Amy in FL. | February 28, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      “You keep stating that, as though your statement requires that we take all of your comments as those from an absolutely neutral observer.”

      Totally false. I don’t require readers to do anything with my comments, how absurd of a notion. They can ignore them for all I care. Readers can read my posts, and decide if they speak to facts/logic I use to come to my conclusions. Accept them, reject them, engage in a debate, ignore them.

      The reason I state I’m not a Trump supporter (as well as a registered Independent for over 12 years) is that here on LI, most any post that does not endorse Cruz is immediately branded and vilified by a core contingent. Even LI’s editorial slant is virtually 100% on board for Cruz, as it is entirely free to do. But that doesn’t mean that every criticism of Cruz or comment that supports Trump’s position must be from a Trump supporter. And if you’ll read below of some of my recent posts, you’ll find my posts that prove that.

      And I invite anyone to debate any of my posts with facts, which any reader will note you have chosen not to do.

      “Yet the only politician you swoop in to defend appears to be Trump.”

      This is utterly false.

      Let’s see, just in the past few days, my posts have included one in the post debate article which was 6 paragraphs criticizing Trump, Rubio and Cruz for the lack of specificity of details in their healthcare proposals. 75% of that post was criticizing Rubio for vagueness on healthcare on the very few points his website, 20+% of my writing criticizing Trump for having absolutely nothing on his website, and one single sentence on Cruz: “For Cruz’s website, which I have praised for being the most thorough of all the candidates on issues, has nothing regarding healthcare.” And indeed I have praised Cruz on LI for having the absolute best website that not only includes at least twice the content on issues than any other candidate, he even includes his abundant op-eds over the last two years that flesh out his detailed plans with consistent writings over the last few years. It’s the best GOP candidate website by far if you want to know positions on issues (even though it does have several issues which are not covered).

      In a Marco Rubio article, I posted this statement:

      “Trump has many, many legitimate issues to be criticized on. But criticizing personal security needs seems to be a stretch.” Is it a defense of Trump to point out that Trump was speaking to stadium-sized crowds that might need SS security before any other candidate AFTER I pointed out that Trump has numerous legitimate issues that invite criticism?

      Furthermore, the ONLY candidate I’ve specifically expressed admiration for on LI was Kasich after the last debate when I stated the following:

      “Rubio’s night, IMO. But I think it was Kasich’s best debate yet. I’ve had a long-time preference for governors (over legislators) going into the White House, and I appreciate his pragmatic approach to governing.”

      “Trumpkins might be gullible enough to believe you. The adults here, however, are capable of reading between the lines.”

      I believe adults here are fully capable of understanding facts vs. opinions. What I think you’re capable of is reading whatever you want into members’ posts because of your fully stated support for your candidate.

      Have I criticized Cruz? Absolutely. I’ve criticized him for being unable to craft and deliver a compelling message that will attract and motivate a broad swath of voters in this election. Do you disagree with this factually? Care to debate that subject?

      In the Readers’ Forum I’ve also recently written a detailed analysis of state primaries looking for any reasonable path in the remaining primary states for Cruz to win the nomination. I have found none. Care to debate me on that? I’ve invited readers to have a civil discussion about it and haven’t had a single person choose to take up the debate. Are you up to it?

      Make no mistake, I defend candidates where I believe they deserve defense, and criticize them when I believe they are wrong or have failed.

      Have I written voluminous posts about the idiocy of attempting to find anything about Trump’s wealth in his tax returns. Absolutely.
      Why? Because if you’ve read any of them I have factually illustrated numerous reasons that tax returns are unable to illuminate a scintilla of information about a filer’s net worth.

      Does that mean I support Trump, or rather that I have enough personal/client career knowledge of financing/developing/owning commercial real estate projects, as well as accounting and finance studied at both undergrad/grad levels to know what I’m talking about?

      And if you care to debate any of my posts with facts (which is what you’ll find abundantly in my posts along with any opinion), please feel free to engage any time, I welcome it.

      Bring it on.

This really just goes to the heart of what Trump is, a salesman, a man without principles, without scruples, and without a moral compass. Trump will say whatever he believes will carry Trump forward towards making Trump great, nothing more, and nothing less. His beliefs are solely based on how he feels at that time in relation to his brand. Period.

It’s sad that so many Conservatives are willing to back this buffoon over Cruz, and even more shocking that some still cling to their Article 2 idiocy in the face of Trump’s own comments regarding the First Amendment yesterday.

After 2012 I thought half the country had completely gone insane, now I see that figure is closer to 75%. God help us.

    Radegunda in reply to smfoushee. | February 27, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    The most rational, fact-based arguments I’ve seen in favor of Trump are: “I want him to blow the whole thing up”; and “I’m willing to roll the dice.”

    Every other argument founders on the shoals of evidence and logic, or of Trump’s own self-contradictions.

      Mean While…. a new meme has popped up today.

      The ‘get in the plane and go home’ meme

      From my Twitter feed:

      John Podhoretz
      @jpodhoretz

      People who know Christie should just text and email him this one phrase: “Get in the plane and go home.”

      9:59pm · 27 Feb 2016 · Twitter Web Client

      10 Retweets 10 Likes

Only political insiders would even think that anyone’s IRS returns is of anything but passing interest. All of us hate the IRS. Trump’s returns should be so complex that most of us would never even understand what in the hell we were reading. No one cares! Romney allowed Reid to bully him with an outright lie and he lost credibility for not going after Reid. With a few dollars in investigation he could have eviscerated Reid. Romney was truly a nice guy but also a pussy. He would have never had the stomach to make the blood curdling decisions that would have had to been made. obama on the other hand hasn’t made any. He makes Romney look like Thor! When we read where Trump says that he won’t allow people to “Die in the streets” we know that under his thin veneer he is a liberal. Dying in the streets is not an issue. Of course Trump has never been to an ER where ANYONE can and will be treated.
The man is oblivious to what we all know as our daily lives.

    This blog has never been racist enough to satisfy the Nuthouse denizens. If it’s a cloistered, fetid, white-supremacist swamp you’re looking for, this is not your place — and has never been.

“The Litigious—and Bullying—Donald Trump.” Ah, yes.

The Art of the Deal is the power of positive thing which is unicornucopia.

“Let me pull a number out of my ass. Ta Da! I am so much better than you think. See!”

Trumph is no bad ass. Trumph is a jackass.

Romney is nothing but a pawn for the establishment.
No one gives a whit about this stupid tax story!

Super Tuesday is two days away and Trump will take the majority.

A few observations, and some FLAGGED speculation…

1. T-rump committed to the release of his “taxes”. Unless someone can contradict that with a link, I think that’s established.

2. He claims he has not released the information promised because of an audit.
a.HOWEVER, this information ONLY comes from T-rump to my knowledge. I’ve seen no corroboration of this claim.
b.This gives T-rump an excuse (VERY thin, IMNHO) for NOT releasing what he said he would AND puts him in “victim” country relative to the IRS.
c.While being audited as T-rump claims (years on end) is not IMPOSSIBLE, it is highly UNLIKELY. I find the whole story stinks. But that’s me, knowing what I do about Der Donald, the IRS, and the way they respectively work.
d.One of the things that screams “LIE” to me is the “I get audited because of my religion” bullshit from T-rump. He gilded that lilly one gilt too far.

3. What gulfbreeze endlessly informs us is partly true. There is no hard link between net worth and an income tax return in any given year. But what he says is partly UNTRUE, as well. Business valuations are done every day, and often quite complex ones, and are certain enough to be evidence in any number of cases. It is not, as he implies, voodoo. Of course, where you have someone with a vested interest in shrouding his net worth from the world, as opposed to the Koch brothers, say, then the process gets more difficult until you can pry open the lid.

4. IF (this is speculation) T-rump’s returns show him paying a pittance in federal income tax, however, this would be hard for him to square with Joe Sixpack, even IF the calculations were on the square. A man with “$10 billion net worth” would, by rule of thumb, have an income that should put him paying enormous sums in income tax, whether that rule of thumb is fair or not. It isn’t about anything but perception.

5. T-rump behaves with remarkable avarice for a man with “billions” in net worth. Witness, for instance, his breach of contract against New York City in his own Trump Tower, where he had retail kiosks installed in the atrium. He has been forced to take them down and reinstall benches, according to his contract with the city, which allowed him to build in the first place. Why come out in obvious and egregious breach for what crappy gains (relatively) a couple of kiosks would provide? What kind of “public spirited” PR maven would do that? Unless money were either tight or pathologically important to him?

6. Bottom line for me…
a.T-rump lies. He lied about his net worth (I speculate with very good reasons).
b.T-rump has something(s) to hide in his tax filings, though they be “innocent” in terms of outright wrongdoing. They would hurt him politically. Maybe financially, too.

    gulfbreeze in reply to Ragspierre. | February 28, 2016 at 4:24 pm

    “What gulfbreeze endlessly informs us is partly true. There is no hard link between net worth and an income tax return in any given year. But what he says is partly UNTRUE, as well. Business valuations are done every day, and often quite complex ones, and are certain enough to be evidence in any number of cases.”

    Absolutely true they’re done every day. I even quoted both Bloomberg and Forbes (which vary wildly) as evidence.

    But except for using the “income method” of commercial RE valuation, are those business valuations done by using the subject’s tax returns? Of course not. Neither do tax returns reveal the value the contracts Trump holds to assist in the development of projects for others, nor for the value of the Trump “brand”.

    Thanks for making my point.

    “It is not, as he implies, voodoo.”

    I have never implied the process of business valuation is “voodoo”. That’s nonsense. In fact, I explained the detailed processes through which commercial RE is valued. What I’ve explicitly said is that external business valuations are ESTIMATES (which notably vary), and the subject’s tax returns are not determinative of the subject’s net worth.

    That’s it, that’s all I’ve said, and I’ve given detailed explanations as to why my statement is true.

    “Of course, where you have someone with a vested interest in shrouding his net worth from the world, as opposed to the Koch brothers, say, then the process gets more difficult until you can pry open the lid.”

    And viewing Trump’s tax returns won’t open any lid exposing a determinative value of his net worth.

      Ragspierre in reply to gulfbreeze. | February 28, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      Dude, you’re tilting at windmills.

      My stuff just flew over your head. Get Sancho Panza to brew you up a nice cup of tea, and try reading more openly…less defensively.

      Oh, and T-rump is not Dulcinea. Though both qualify as whores in their own way…

        gulfbreeze in reply to Ragspierre. | February 29, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        Rags, just because I didn’t address the bulk of your post doesn’t mean I missed anything nor that I don’t understand it. I only addressed the portion of your post that mentioned my writing, because that’s all I care about clarifying, and don’t want any mischaracterizations of it to stand uncorrected.

        Make sense?

        If there’s a Dulcinea in this election cycle, I’d suggest it may be the Republican Party which has sold itself out, but appears it can’t figure out what it stands for. It’s certainly not conservatism when only ~25% of GOP voters are supporting the “true conservative” (whatever that means anymore) candidate. The other ~75% appear to just not care about the old definitions of party and ideology anymore. And it’s for sure the party leadership doesn’t care about them either.

        But that’s a problem for you guys to figure out, as I left the GOP about a dozen years ago.

Did Trump Bankroll Planned Parenthood Abortionists?

Is that why he refuses to release his tax returns?

Not that the brain-dead cultists will even care. If their Master says it’s good to kill babies, they’ll just be all like, “YAY! IT’S GOOD TO KILL BABIES AND TRUMP IS AN HERO!”

Ruh-row…

HandyJoby, looks like you “heard” a lode of bullshit!

http://www.cnn.com/2016/02/27/politics/marco-rubio-tax-returns/index.html

Both Cruz and Rubio released tax data. They’ll release more.

Sammy Finkelman | February 28, 2016 at 9:24 pm

Did you notice that Donald Trump uses the word “file” to describe making tax returns public?

This is not hios only trouble with words. Instead of saying a judge upheld a law, or signed an opinion, he says the judge signed a “bill!”

And I think he didn’t know what the mandate was, confusing it with the requirements under EMTALA for treatment so that people woldn’t die in the street or sidewalk (the Emergency Medical Treatement and Active Labor Act, also known as the Patient Anti-Dumping Law signed by President Reagan in 1986. The bill also included COBRA)

Sammy Finkelman | February 28, 2016 at 9:36 pm

Donald Trump contradicted himself on the point of whether rich people in general get audited.

He said:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/26/us/politics/transcript-of-the-republican-presidential-debate-in-houston.html

Nobody gets audited — I have friends that are very wealthy people. They never get audited.

But he also said:

Every year, because of the size of my company, which is very, very large, I’m being audited

Well, which is it? Does nobody get audited, or does anyone with a big complany like his get audited??

After the debate he apparently claimed that he was singled out for audits because of his strong Christian religious beliefs!

Actually a very high percentage of rich people get audited, with the probability rising with income. Nelson Rockfeller tettified in 1974 he got audited every year.

Sammy Finkelman | February 28, 2016 at 9:44 pm

Donald Trump could make the claim that he can’t release his tax returns, because, being under audit, they are not finalized, so there’s no tax returns to release!

He hasn’t made that argument, though, explicitly at least anyway.

In any case, he could release what you could call beta versions of his recent tax returns. Also he could release tax returns whose audits are completed, and it seems pretty clear that Donald Trump is trying to pretend, without actually saying so, because it would be a blatant lie, that they are all still under audit.

Even if the IRS only audits one year at a time, there could very well be more than one year under audit, if the audits continue for more than a year, but they are surely done with his tax returns from before 2009 and earlier.

It is being said that lawyers or CPAs don’t like to see anyone make any return public while it is still under audit (that would probably be for the reason that other people seeing it could give the auditors suggestions.)

Sammy Finkelman | February 28, 2016 at 9:53 pm

RE:

HEWITT: Mr. Trump, a year ago you told me on my radio show, the audio and the transcript are out there on YouTube, that you would release your tax returns.

TRUMP: True.

HEWITT: Are you going back on your commitment?

TRUMP: No, I’m not. First of all, very few people listen to your radio show. That’s the good news.

(LAUGHTER)

TRUMP: Let me just tell you, let me just — which happens to be true. Check out the ratings.

The point of “No one watches your show, Hugh”– in Donald Trump’s mind is that since not too many people knew that he promised to release his tax returns, it’s not a really problem for him.

So we deduce that the degree to which a promise by Donald Trump needs to be kept depends on the number of people who heard the promise?

The second part of his answer was that he couldn’t release his tax returns because they are under audit, and he did not explain that, and neither did he answer Ted Cruz’s question about any returns whose audits were completed.

If Der Donald is, in fact, being audited, there’s absolutely no harm in releasing the “audit letters” from the IRS.

Right….

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