So where was the IRS when this happened? He made the dubious claim, submitted his tax form, and the IRS let it through? Why? How? What happened?Those are such obvious questions. The tax filings were made nearly a quarter of a century ago. The "dubious" position Trump's lawyers took — doing what tax lawyers do, minimizing taxes — was entirely conspicuous. The IRS accepted these tax filings. That seems to resolve the question.
The Times calls attention to the change that was later made in the law to eliminate the provision for the advantage Trump took. That shows there was something in the law that needed to be changed, so this too is evidence that the "dubious method" Trump's lawyers saw in the law was really there.
And so we are back to the issue that Trump has openly embraced: Taxpayers look at the tax law and do what they can to pay as little as is legally possible.
Trump had a lot of money at stake so he paid a lot of money to have lawyers look quite intently at the complicated law and find the path for him. The NYT hints that there's something slimy about using lawyers to handle complex transactions and labyrinthine legal codes: "Clever tax lawyers found a way...." But it has to be said:
On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump boasts of his mastery of tax loopholes and claims no other candidate for the White House has ever known more about the tax code. This background, he argues with evident disgust, gives him special insight into the way wealthy elites buy off politicians and hire high-priced lawyers and accountants to rig the tax system — just as, he claims, they rig elections.Credit to the NYT for putting that paragraph into the article. It's buried, but it's there. It's written to prompt readers to think Trump is disgusting and he knows it, but the intelligent, skeptical reader may say: It's the law that is disgusting, and it takes an unusual person to operate in that disgusting place.
What sort of person would you be if you operated within the disgusting place that is the tax law and came out as successful as Donald Trump? Maybe you'd be such a monster everyone would think you're completely barred from switching over to the government side.
But are those who've operated from within the disgusting government side any less monstrous? Oh, but they are the monsters we're accustomed to seeing inside the government.
We know we are choosing a monster this time.