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Donald Trump paid little or nothing in taxes for many years despite being extremely wealthy

President Donald Trump’s net worth is estimated at approximately $2.5 billion.

Despite being among the wealthiest people in the world, Trump paid little or, in some years, nothing in federal income taxes, according to tax filings covering most years from 2000 to 2017, obtained by The New York Times. Trump paid only $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, the year in which he was elected President, and 2017, the year in which he was inaugurated as President. Although The New York Times was the first media outlet to report on the revelations, CNN has an extensive, non-paywalled report here.

Trump’s record of tax avoidance includes claiming tax deductions on expenditures like housing, aircraft, and a whopping $70,000 worth of hair care:

It’s important to note that most people deemed essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic pay, on average, more in federal taxes each year than Trump did in the year he was elected to our nation’s highest office:

Already, the Joe Biden campaign is making Trump’s tax avoidance a major issue, with the first of three general election debates for the major-party presidential nominees being scheduled for Tuesday night. This is the Biden campaign’s response on Twitter:

Donald Trump is a total fraud. He claimed to be a successful businessman, when his tax returns showed that he was losing money and was using, if not violating, federal tax laws for his own personal and financial gain.

Elections Federal Politics Iowa United States White House

Elizabeth Warren wins Drake University mock caucus

Tonight, students at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa participated in a mock Iowa Democratic Caucus. Here are the caucus results, courtesy of NBC News’s Maura Barrett:

Results of first alignment
Results of second alignment

With 193 students participating in the mock caucus, the 15% viability threshold was 29 students. This meant that Elizabeth Warren and Pete Buttigieg were the only two candidates viable on the first alignment. In a total surprise, Bernie Sanders was among those who failed to make the viability threshold on the first alignment on a college campus, falling seven students short of viability on the first alignment. Additionally, five candidates had more first-alignment support than Joe Biden (in addition to Warren, Pete, and Bernie, Andrew Yang and Amy Klobuchar had more first-alignment support than Biden; Biden was tied for sixth with Mike Bloomberg, who isn’t even contesting the actual Iowa Caucuses that will take place one week from today, on first alignment).

While Iowa Caucus rules allow for a candidate who failed to make the 15% viability threshold on the first alignment to make the 15% viability threshold on the second alignment, no candidate that wasn’t already viable became viable on the second alignment, so Warren and Pete were the only two candidates viable on the second alignment, and, on the second alignment Warren had 87 students in her corner to Pete’s 66 students in his corner. Had this been an actual precinct-level caucus, Warren would have received five county convention delegates, and Pete would have received four county convention delegates.

While tonight’s mock caucus at Drake was not the actual Iowa Caucuses, and Drake University students might be a demographic that is more favorable to Warren than Iowa as a whole, tonight’s Drake mock caucus is a good omen for Warren’s campaign, and could be a sign that recent polling in Iowa could be drastically underestimating Warren’s support in Iowa.

Congress Elections Federal Politics Political Campaigns Political History Political Policy United States White House

Joe Biden opposes making government work for the American people

AUTHOR’S NOTE: The author of this blog post is not an attorney and does not claim to be an attorney.

In an interview by The New York Times, Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden publicly opposed replacing the Electoral College with national popular vote presidential elections, expanding the size of the U.S. Supreme Court, setting term limits for U.S. Supreme Court Justices, and abolishing the U.S. Senate’s filibuster rule:

An important history lesson here involves Biden’s first run for federal elected office, the 1972 U.S. Senate election in Delaware. Biden defeated Republican incumbent J. Caleb Boggs a little more than two years after the Bayh-Cellar Amendment was debated in Congress. Had Congress sent the Bayh-Cellar Amendment to the states, and had it been ratified by 38 states, it would have abolished the electoral college and replaced it with a national popular vote presidential election. I am unsure as to whether Boggs had supported or opposed the amendment, as I’ve not been able to find information on any of the Senate roll call votes related to the Bayh-Celler Amendment. Keep in mind that, unlike today, Delaware was a bellwether state in presidential elections for much of the latter half of the 20th century. Nowadays, Delaware is, given increased political polarization and the expected partisan leans of each state, one of the least important states in presidential general elections under the current Electoral College system, as Delaware only has three electoral votes and is usually a Democratic stronghold nowadays.

With that history lesson aside, let’s talk about Biden’s opposition to making government work for the American people.

By saying only one word, Biden announced his opposition to fair presidential elections, term limits for federal judges, ideological fairness on the Supreme Court, and allowing the U.S. Senate to be an actual legislative body that is capable of passing legislation with majority support. Biden’s stated reason for opposing making government work for the American people is that it would create more problems than it would solve, which is absolutely false.

Also, Biden’s claim that constitutional amendments would be required to achieve all four goals is partially incorrect. The total number of Justices of the U.S. Supreme Court can, and has, been determined by passing an Act of Congress setting the size of the Supreme Court at a certain number of Justices, and this number can be raised or lowered by an Act of Congress. The Senate’s filibuster rule is not mentioned in the Constitution at all; the Senate can, if it wants to, change its own rules to abolish the filibuster and require only simple majority passage of any measure before it except for measures where the Constitution explicitly requires a different standard to pass a measure before the Senate. While abolishing the Electoral College as an institution would require a federal constitutional amendment, if enough states were to ratify the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact (NPVIC), the Electoral College would be effectively converted into a body responsible for ratifying the ticket that received a plurality of the national popular vote as President and Vice President. However, the constitutionality of the NPVIC would likely be subject to legal challenges if enough states joined the compact for it to go into effect. Term limits for federal judges at any level of the federal judiciary would clearly require a federal constitutional amendment.

Furthermore, if Biden thinks he can get political support for any kind of political agenda from Mitch McConnell, he’s absolutely delusional. McConnell will find any reason to oppose the political agenda of any Democratic president, no matter how much Democrats co-opt the Republican Party’s agenda. Seeing Biden hilariously try to seek Republican support for his agenda is quite depressing, since Biden was Vice President of the United States when Republicans obstructed Barack Obama’s agenda at virtually every opportunity, including refusing to hold confirmation hearings for Supreme Court appointee Merrick Garland and shutting down the federal government.

Unlike Biden, Elizabeth Warren has promised to make the 2020 presidential election, in which she could be elected President, the last presidential election under the Electoral College system, and that is why I support Warren’s presidential bid.

Elections Federal Politics Iowa Political Analysis United States White House

Selzer Iowa Poll has the progressive wing rising in Iowa

With 24 days remaining until the Iowa Caucuses, the latest Ann Selzer Iowa Poll for CNN and The Des Moines Register has Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren running first and second, respectively, among likely Iowa Democratic caucusgoers, with moderate candidates Pete Buttigieg and Joe Biden struggling to stay at or above the 15% threshold to receive elected pledged delegates at the statewide level:

It’s clear that, when voters learn more about progressive candidates, progressive policy proposals, and progressive political values, the more that they see themselves as not just Democrats, but progressive Democrats. However, with the leading candidate in Iowa just five percentage points above the threshold to receive statewide pledged delegates, and with three other candidates at or above that threshold, the next 24 days are going to be absolutely critical to the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.