March 29, 2018

March 29, 2018

Amazon, President Trump says, isn’t paying enough in taxes. Here’s one of his tweets from earlier today:

I have stated my concerns with Amazon long before the Election. Unlike others, they pay little or no taxes to state & local governments, use our Postal System as their Delivery Boy (causing tremendous loss to the U.S.), and are putting many thousands of retailers out of business!

Trump isn’t wrong on some of his particulars. Amazon has definitely put many retailers—most painfully, bookstores—out of business, though so has Walmart, which has yet to rouse Trump’s ire, possibly because Sam Walton’s children are reliably conservative donors, while Jeff Bezos owns the hated Washington Post. Amazon does collect and pay sales taxes in the states (there are 45 of them) that have sales taxes, but more broadly, it also poses a huge threat to the economy as an all-devouring monopoly.

But, cutting to the chase: Who the hell is Donald Trump to complain about someone not paying their taxes? Due entirely to his refusal to release his tax returns, breaking with a many-decades-long pattern of presidential candidates releasing theirs, we have no idea whether Trump paid his fair share in taxes, or, more likely, paid the “little or no” amounts he accuses Amazon of doing. This is a guy who once said that not paying taxes “makes me smart,” and who is notorious for not paying the contractors and employees for the work he asked them to do. I suspect if there’s one subject on which Trump could instruct Bezos, it’s tax avoidance.

In its display of zero self-awareness and its all-around chutzpah, this morning’s tweet is classic Trump.