Hearing how little taxes Trump paid, Trumpistas don’t say, “Who cares?” They say, “Bravo.” Yet another middle finger to the Establishment and the dreaded Giant of the federal government.
Anti-Trumpers, disappointed that they have so far found no Smoking Gun of tax evasion (which is illegal), but only exploitive-but-maybe-legal tax avoidance, still detect moral failure on Trump’s part. Not a good citizen, Cadet Bone-Spurs-style.
Tax people may see something else – incompetence. A meme of tax practice is the client so intent on avoiding taxes that he distorts his businesses and makes bad decisions. Yes, taxpayers can zero out of tax obligations if that’s their goal, but that’s a weird and self-defeating goal. Here’s an analogy: In the marijuana biz, growers can distort plant chemistry to achieve ultra-high percentages of THC content, but to the detriment of the plant – like a muscle-bound athlete who overdoes it. And to the detriment of the smoker, who misses out on other cannabinoids and on terpenes — the whole Entourage Effect — lost in the quest for the wrong goal.
So maybe Trump tried so hard to beat taxes that he caused himself actual business harm – and real losses, rather than manufactured ones.