Counterpoint: No need to pound the table

By Randall Poulton | May 16, 2019

There is an old adage, when the facts are on your side, pound the facts! When the law is on your side, pound the law! When neither is on your side, pound the table! During my counterpoint, there will be no need to pound the table.

In this case, the governing law is the Constitution of the United States of America, specifically Article II, Section 1, paragraph six. In describing the qualifications to be president of the United States, of which there are three, and only three, the Constitution says: you must be: “a natural born Citizen”, “attained to the Age of thirty five years” and “been fourteen years a Resident within the United States.” There is no mention of releasing tax returns or hair color!

Now, over the years, certain “norms” have evolved. With rare exception, to be president, you must be an old white man. Let’s hope this norm soon goes by the wayside.

Now, on to the facts.

Did Trump promise to release his taxes? Yes, he did. But, he also left himself some wiggle room when he said he would not do so while he was under audit. Slimy — but a lie? I don’t think so. Even if yes — so what? Politicians lie.

I seem to remember some serious presidential whoppers like: “Read my lips — no new taxes,” “I did not have sexual relations with that woman” and “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” These lies were followed by real consequences: higher taxes, impeachment and the mess called Obamacare (which every single Democratic candidate for president now promises to fix).

I fail to see how Trump’s past financial gains and losses will impact me today or tomorrow.

Can the Democrats force Trump to turn over his tax returns? I doubt it. But, on page 3,158 of the huge and complicated IRS code, section 6103(f) does say: ”… the Secretary (of the Treasury) shall furnish such committee with any return or return information specified in such request, except that any return or return information which can be associated with, or otherwise identify, directly or indirectly, a particular taxpayer shall be furnished to such committee only when sitting in closed executive session unless such taxpayer otherwise consents in writing to such disclosure.” So maybe the Democrats have a case.

But the Trump administration says there needs to be legit grounds for Congress to see a taxpayer’s tax return. Nothing will happen on this for months or years, and, even if the Democrats win in court, you and I will never see Trump’s tax returns. Talk about a waste of time!

Specifically, to Mr. Brower’s points:

First: I agree politicians should not personally benefit from decisions they make while in office. Each year, every president, and many other officeholders, must fill out an extensive financial disclosure. You can peruse Trump’s 2017 form OGE278e online. It is 92 pages long and, unless he is lying, his income was astronomical! He lists 201 sources. Among the biggies are his golf courses: $75 million from Doral, $25 million from Mar-a-Lago and $20 million from Turnberry. Trump also owns a lot of stock in Apple, Caterpillar and Microsoft.

On the other side of the ledger, his liabilities are certainly “bigly.” Trump’s form OGE278e also includes another piece of information: On the day of his inauguration, Trump resigned his leadership position in 596 companies. Did you know that?

Second: I do think Trump “puts his money where his mouth is.” Trump has donated his entire presidential salary to various causes, including combating opioid addiction, a camp promoting STEM careers, and restoration projects at the Antietam National Battlefield. These generous donations get zero press coverage. And, according to his 2005 tax return (the one that was mysteriously leaked to the media), Trump paid $38 million in taxes for that one year! That is bigly taxes to go with his big mouth!

Third: I would support a new law that requires all future presidents to release their tax returns during their years in office. But that may require a constitutional amendment, and we have not ratified one of those since 1992.

Fourth: Is Trump a crook? Well, I don’t think so. And, apparently, Trump has also convinced the IRS that his business dealings are legal (they, after all, DO have his tax returns!).

What I find most unfortunate is that Congress is wasting valuable time chasing Trump’s tax returns while our country’s real problems go wanting. And, that is enough to make me want to pound the table!

Randall Poulton is a columnist for these newspapers. He lives in Winterport.

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Comments (6)
Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 21, 2019 13:39

One last point. It's small but annoying to some.

It's SCIF not SKIF.

Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility


Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 21, 2019 13:29

You know what Eric? I knew you have absolutely no interest in anything other than the myths you firmly believe in. Any facts or data to counter is rejected out of hand and labeled fake.

I’ll still be here Wednesday Nov 4th 2020. It will be interesting to see what your reactions will be if Trump loses “bigley”. As it stands right now he’s not doing so well.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 21, 2019 13:05

"The Donald gets another 4 years. Then Pence for another 8 years and his VP running mate for another 8 years. Wow, 20 total years,"


Delusional from any political standpoint.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 21, 2019 07:41
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | May 21, 2019 04:27

WOW! Can't believe the difference in Mr. Brower's article and comments and Mr. Poulton's. One leaves me with HOPE and the other with a sour taste in my mouth.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | May 20, 2019 11:45

"I'll take a booming economy, historic record low unemployment, virtually no inflationary pressure, record low mortgage rates and of course, the death blow to Obamacare, all accomplished in 2 1/2 years"


All within 11 years. There I fixed it for you

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