Thursday, March 29, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He accused a political enemy of following tax laws and sending mail.

A day after a news report said he was "obsessed" with Amazon, Trump tweeted out an angry but factually incorrect rant about the online retail giant.

(For the record, Amazon deliveries are a profit-maker for the USPS, whose job actually is to deliver things.)

Probably, Trump meant that Amazon is not collecting sales tax in every location it ships to. This is true, but not every state requires companies to do so. Amazon is collecting (and paying) the taxes legally required of it.

On the campaign trail, Trump claimed that finding ways to avoid taxes meant that he was "smart." Indeed, tax avoidance is the one area in which Trump's bankruptcy-prone business career was actually successful. Thanks to a loophole, Trump was able to write off over $915 million dollars of other people's losses on his own personal tax return in 1995. This saved him from paying almost a billion dollars in taxes over a period of 18 years. (Little else is known because Trump has steadfastly refused to allow the public to examine his returns.)

Amazon is owned by Jeff Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, a paper whose coverage of his administration frequently upsets Trump.

Why does this matter?

  • A president who only cares about things that upset him cannot do his job.
  • Attacking the free press is what authoritarians do.
  • Even by Trump standards, not knowing that the United States Postal Service delivers packages in exchange for money is pretty bad.
  • Accusing others of things you have done yourself is the definition of hypocrisy.