Tonight we get to see the first match up of President Donald Trump against former Vice-President Joseph Biden – I’m expecting fireworks all around.
After this weekend’s bombshell report from the New York Times alleging that the President has paid little to no income taxes, versus Mr. Biden’s literal millions – I imagine we’re going to hear it fashioned as proof of Mr. Trump’s genius that he doesn’t pay and proof of Biden’s mental deficiency that he does.
I’m not sure how this line of spin will go over with most Americans. I’m certain that the President’s supporters will see it as proof of just how right they are for backing a man who is smart enough to not pay taxes. The hardcore Democrats will likely see it as an excess of the tax system loopholes and proof of just how corrupt the system has become.
As for me, I can’t stand the President. I find him offensive, rude, demeaning, anything but presidential in his demeanor and emotionally unattached to anything or anyone. That said, I also understand how he is using the tax code to offset losses with income, playing one company off against another, (allegedly he has some 500 or so companies – which I’ve seen used as a strategy to maximize expenses and minimize taxes).
Many a millionaire will gladly pay tens of thousands, or more, to find loopholes and schemes to avoid the taxman. How many celebrities have been caught in various tax schemes because they didn’t know better, or more accurately their business managers, lawyers and accountants didn’t? It’s one of those seductive areas of life – to play the game of tax avoidance.
Avoiding taxes is a human thing, after all we work long hard hours to bring in enough money to put food on the table, clothes on the kids and pay for a home, why should the government take upwards of 44% of our money?
The truth is that we ask a lot of our government – from schooling for the kiddies, construction workers for the roads and highways, to buying that secret nuclear bomb system that the President was just talking about ( that was a bit of an Oopsy Daisy – didn’t mean to mention that!)
Take a look at the local front and what the city provides for us. We have street cleaning crews, police department, fire department, programs for seniors, students and homeless. All of that is paid for by our tax dollars, fines, bond funds (which are repaid with tax dollars so don’t think they don’t count).
On the one hand I have to admire the President’s dedication to avoiding taxes at all costs. It’s a full time job to be that scheming and manipulate the corporate structure of so many companies so that your kids can inherit more money. Let’s not forget this is a family that abused the non-profit status of a foundation so badly they are barred from the non-profit world and have to donate $2,000,000 to make up for their abusive behavior. Granted that’s a pittance compared to the money they’ve raked in, squirreled away and buried in layers of corporations, bankruptcies, litigation, family trusts and God only knows what else their lawyers have concocted.
On the other hand, here’s the man who is supposed to be the leader of our country. He is supposed to set a tone, be a barometer of what we aspire to and hopefully lift us up to a better life. I can’t say that the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue does that. And evidently neither can most of the Republican leadership, or his former staff members who have renounced him.
Tonight we’ll get to see the first head to head debate of our two possible futures. One is a lying, scheming, manipulative, bully. The other is a man who has overcome personal obstacles from a speech impediment to tragic family losses, and through it all has maintained not just his dignity, but his empathy, and his drive to help make the world better.
Many of the critics on TV and on social media like to say that this is a choice between two horrible choices. They draw an equivalency between a career con-man and a man who has spent his life in dedication to public service. I don’t agree with much of what Biden has accomplished, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he has been in public service and has done much good for many people. Frankly anyone who looks at these two men and sees them as equivalent, is blind.
Tonight we have a unique opportunity to see in stark relief what our future will bring, and I ask you to look with your eyes open as much as possible.
David Pisarra is a Los Angeles Divorce and Child Custody Lawyer specializing in Father’s and Men’s Rights with the Santa Monica firm of Pisarra & Grist. He welcomes your questions and comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 310/664-9969. You can follow him on Twitter @davidpisarra