The Good Life: Trump Joins Long Line Of Liars
“Some Trump voters,” wrote Gene Lyons of the Arkansas Times, “are just now awakening to the deep fraudulence of the President’s vaunted tax cuts, which delivered vast benefits to the fat cats.” Lyons’ columns appear regularly in the Courier-Express.
My wife and I were “awakened” when we completed our 2018 federal income tax returns.
Both of us are retirees on stable incomes. I earn a few dollars writing and editing essays like this one. Aside from that, our income each year is derived from the Social Security benefits we earned during our working years, plus small pensions. I have two. My wife has three. According to the Pew Research Institutes income class calculator, we are squarely in the middle of the financial middle class.
Those Trumpian tax “cuts” took $900 more in taxes away from us for 2018 than we paid in 2017, despite virtually identical incomes and expenditures in both years.
So President Trump lied when he claimed that we would benefit from his administration’s tax “cuts” passed with the connivance of Congress.
That does not surprise me. President Trump lies as regularly as he breathes. Some claim he is a pathological liar. I don’t think so. I have read his books, including “The Art of the Deal.” In them, he implies, with wink-wink audacity, that being “creative” with the truth made him an even richer man than did his father’s inherited hundreds of millions of dollars.
Gee, do I sound bitter? Do I hate President Trump?
Yes, on both counts — politically. But not personally.
Too many Americans transfer political dislikes into personal animosity. Personally speaking, I wish President Trump a long life and a happy death, with one of his beloved cheeseburgers in his hand and one of his trademarked tent-like suit jackets disguising his cheeseburger-hefty butt.
But politically, Trump is… oh, heck, by now we all know the kind of man we elected: A non-reading, Fox News addicted, welshing, bullying, deny-everything whiner, a carnival barker.
That is not new. The American electorate has given us clunkers before: James Buchanan, Richard Nixon, John Tyler, Andrew Johnson, and Franklin Pierce.
Some historians regularly rank U.S. Grant and Warren G. Harding at the bottom of “best Presidents” polls. I disagree. Grant and Harding did not do nearly the harm to the nation as was done by Buchanan, Nixon, Tyler, Johnson or Pierce.
Whenever Trump leaves office, I expect him to rank right down there. As of now, his tax “cuts” are his chief claim to fame, just ahead of his administration’s actually commendable reduction in federal red tape and just behind his remarkable reduction of the threat of nuclear war with North Korea.
Trump and his administration have done some good things. So did previous “bad” Presidents. In my lifetime, Trump’s rapprochement with North Korea rivals Nixon’s with China.
But Trump’s tax “cuts” are a lie for many of us.
Let’s be clear. Despite constant whining by politicians, most Americans do not pay an unreasonable amount in federal taxes. My wife and I pay less than 10 percent of our disposable income as effective federal taxes. That compares to 26 percent paid by newly announced millionaire Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, a U.S. senator, and probably zero percent paid by never-tell-us President Trump.
As long as we both remain generally healthy, we are financially solvent, not quite comfortable but not poverty-stricken, either.
I just don’t like being lied to. President Trump is lying when he claims that his administration’s tax “cuts” benefit people like us.
Sigh. That is not unusual for Presidents.
President Obama lied: “I will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.” President George W. Bush lied, claiming he would govern as a compassionate conservative when in fact he governed as an autocratic imperialist. President Clinton lied: “I did not have sex with that woman.” President George H.W. Bush lied: “Read my lips: No new taxes.” President Reagan lied: “We did not, repeat not, trade weapons or anything else for hostages. Nor will we.” President Carter did not lie to my knowledge, but his incompetence in office was just as bad. President Ford did not lie significantly while in the White House, although as Vice President he stridently proclaimed Nixon’s innocence even after he had learned of Nixon’s criminality. Nixon’s “I am not a crook” is a presidential nadir in terms of truthfulness. President Johnson lied about not sending American boys to die in a land war in Asia. President Kennedy lied about infidelities, and about a fictional “missile gap” with the Soviet Union. President Eisenhower lied about an American spy plane flying over the Soviet Union. Truman? Hey, I was nine years old when he left office. I don’t know, but the trend is discouraging.
So President Trump lied about the tax cuts.
We seem to regularly elect liars.
Denny Bonavita is a former editor at newspapers in DuBois and Warren. He lives near Brookville. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.