Given: Trump would release his tax returns if he thought it would benefit him.
Query: Why would he think there is a benefit in not releasing his tax returns?
Most Benign Hypothesis: Trump believes leadership consists of getting only what you want without compromise or concession to others. He refuses to show his tax returns for the same reason a child throws a temper tantrum and screams, ”You’re not the boss of me!”
This harkens back to his foolish pursuit of the fraudulent “birther” issue regarding President Obama. President Obama had produced his short form birth certificate same as all other candidates for president, but in the eyes of racists and GOP partisans (and there is an appreciable overlap between those two groups), this was never enough, despite the fact that in the 1950s the Supreme Court had ruled the short form was absolute proof of the live birth of a U.S. citizen.
Trump latched onto this bogus issue and clung to it despite legal setback after legal setback after legal setback. Even when Hawaii finally released the long form to the public -- President Obama having requested them to do so from the very beginning -- it was not enough for Trump and the racists.
They gleefully claimed “victory” insofar as they “made” President Obama release the long form, then refused to accept the validity the long form.
Trump continued with the issue until the point it became obvious even to him that pursuing it further would only damage his chances of winning the election and so, seething with ill-contained rage, staged a short press conference in which he claimed to have “proved” President Obama was indeed a U.S. citizen by birth and American could thus “put the issue behind us”.
The most benign hypothesis states Trump’s fear of not establishing absolute dominance is what drives his refusal to release his tax records even though he promised to do so once elected. The most benign hypothesis states there is nothing wrong in Trump’s tax returns, but he will feel a sense of failure and humiliation if somebody else can compel him to release the forms.
I call this the most benign hypothesis, but it’s still pretty fncking scary. Trump’s belief that anything less that total dominance is failure and humiliation does not bode well for anyone, especially him. The history of the world -- political and financial -- demonstrates the wisdom of leadership by objectives; i.e., determining the outcome one wishes to enjoy then making whatever short term deals and compromises are necessary to achieve those objectives.
It’s the difference between a poorly run company, such as Sears or K-Mart, in which the CEO clings to his demand the company be run just the way he wants it despite the failure of his strategies in the marketplace, and a well run one such as Disney back in Walt’s day.
Walt Disney never hesitated to remind people that it was his name on the company, but he also knew what he wanted was for Disney to be the finest brand in entertainment, and to that end listened to and accepted input from literally hundreds of people he recruited to help him achieve those objectives.
For Trump to cling to a “my way or the highway” philosophy of total dominance will only set him and the country up for disaster when he encounters peoples and groups and nations and cultures that are inimical to both him and U.S. interests and will successfully maneuver him into strutting faux-macho responses that will undermine his administration and the country.
The Legal But Wrong Hypothesis: The second most benign hypothesis is that there’s nothing actually illegal in Trump’s tax returns, but a lot of it will reflect badly on him.
Maybe he hasn’t paid what most Americans would consider the fair share of taxes for a billionaire. If you go a decade without paying taxes on a billion dollars, as Trump has in the past, then it’s hard for Sam Citizen & family to admire you when they are digging deep into their pockets to meet a few hundred dollars of additional taxes.
Maybe he is not nearly as successful in business as he has claimed to be. There’s certainly ample public evidence of this; any person who goes broke selling football and alcohol and steaks and gambling to Americans is clearly doing something wrong. If his tax returns show even greater failures and losses than what is already in the public record, then it undermines Trump’s claim of core competency. It’s like hiring an architect who has had four houses they built collapse; they can try to explain those away as freak occurrences but if their entire career reflects shoddy design and workmanship, it’s foolish to trust them.
Maybe he is not as wealthy as he claims. Thanx to a combination of a vigorous economy and creeping inflation, being a mere millionaire is no longer a big deal in the United States. Too many hoi polloi have $999,999.99+ in assets. While there is nothing shameful to a normal person to have dropped from billionaire status down to millionaire (indeed, author J.K. Rowling did so by donating much of her personal well earned fortune to charity; there’s some magic for you), to Trump this would again be a stinging sign of failure and abject humiliation.
It brings us back to Trump’s sense of entitlement re undeserved dominance in all his interactions, and is bad insofar as it denied millions of Americans the chance to make a better informed decision, but in the end is no worse for the country than the most benign hypothesis.
The Really Really BAD News Hypothesis: The above speculate there is nothing actually harmful or illegal to be found in Trump’s tax returns, he is hiding them simply because that’s the way he always acts even when it’s not in his own best interest.
No, the really really bad hypothesis would be that Trump’s tax returns will confirm he is at best deeply compromised by large outstanding, overdue debts that undermine America’s confidence in his trustworthiness to administer the country for the best benefit of the citizens.
At worst, he is deep in the pockets of any number of people and organizations, from multinational banks and corporations to organized crime to Putin and his dreams of a renewed Russian Empire.
This is a pretty big freakin’ deal. We have ample evidence of Putin’s long term political ambitions, including attacks against the Ukraine and an active campaign to undermine the unity of Europe by sponsoring the Brexit vote and stirring up white nationalist movements in France, Germany, and the Nordic nations. If Trump is compromised either directly or indirectly by Putin, then he will betray our alliances with Europe.
This means NATO will be less able to stand up to Russian expansionism and while Putin’s ambitions probably extend no further west than Belorussia and Lithuania and other former Soviet Republics, reclaiming that territory will do little to convince Germany it has nothing to fear from the east.
Already Germany has announced it is doubling its defense budget, and Sweden has just reinstituted their draft. Historically, these are not good signs, and the potential for even a medium size European war to wreak untold economic havoc and cost hundreds of thousands of human lives around the world is a well established fact.
God help us if it escalates merely to World War One levels of carnage.
Now, if there is no such evidence that Trump is compromised, the solution is quick and simple: Release the tax returns. Let the country and the world see neither he nor his administration is in any way, shape, or form compromised.
As it stands now, there are an enormous number of…well, let’s be generous and refer to them as “coincidences”…that strongly indicate collusion between Trump and his cabinet and staff with Putin and Russia.
When President Obama was asked for information on his birth certificate, he promptly provided it. When the GOP launched their series of eight bogus Benghazi investigations, each of which specifically exonerated President Obama and Hillary Clinton, both President Obama and Clinton quickly and freely handed over all the necessary information required by the committees.
Trump can put all his problems in this area to rest with one single phone call. Considering how inseparable he is from his phone, it behooves us to ask why he hasn’t already done so.