This Thursday, Jan. 9, 2013 photo, shows a 2013 1040-ES IRS Estimated Tax form at H & R Block tax preparation office in the Echo Park district of Los Angeles. “The United States income tax is a pay-as-you-go tax, which means that tax must be paid as you earn or receive your income during the year,” the IRS says. “You can either do this through withholding or by making estimated tax payments.” (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

The Tax Returns Are The Achilles Heel

I was reading the Transom this morning and Ben linked to this piece by Benjy Sarlin profiling Trump voters. The piece begins with a look at Joe Roberts, an auto mechanic from Indianapolis.

Roberts laid out his reasons for backing Trump: As a billionaire, Roberts said, Trump can’t be bought.

But it goes on from there.

He can’t be bought,” Eleanor Crume, 72, said at a South Carolina rally. “He’s not going to be bought by the lobbyists.”

He can speak his mind because he’s not backed by these donors who say what he can and can’t say,” Travis Klinefelter, a 39-year old Iowa nurse, said.

He’s not bought and paid for by special interests,” Dominic La Rocca of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida said. “Insurance companies, the banks, they get the law that they want.”

This is why Trump cannot release his tax returns. Were he to do so, his supporters would see that Trump can be bought. Trump can be bought because he is not the billionaire he claims to be. No, tax returns will not show Trump’s net worth, but they will show annual income and show Trump neither has the cash flow nor the liquidity that would indicate he really is worth $10 billion. They will show deductions Trump could not take if he had as much money as he claimed and they will show he is not nearly as charitable as he claims.

Trump knows his tax returns are his Achilles heel. That the Democrats are pivoting to pound this drum relentlessly means they know it too. This is going to become a campaign issue. Trump will ask what Hillary Clinton is hiding in her redacted and unreleased emails. She will ask what Trump is hiding by failing to release his tax returns.

Mark Cuban is right. Trump is not worth what he claims. He has conned a bunch of angry people on his inability to be bought because he is a self-funding billionaire. But he is not. Donald Trump cannot get elected if he releases his tax returns because he’ll be exposed to his own supporters as a fraud. But without releasing his tax returns he has a very difficult path to victory as doubts and questions pile up around him.

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Erick Erickson

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