Democrats have been demanding President Trump's tax returns since ... forever.
Trump, of course, is under no legal obligation to divulge them, but presidential candidates have followed the unwritten rule for generations. Still, Trump, a multi-billionaire, felt that there was far too much ... whatever ... in the returns to release, so he took the political fallout and held them back.
But MSNBC, which gets a thrill up its leg only for Democratic presidential candidates, decided to release the returns anyway (without, by the way, saying how they got the documents). Rachel Maddow devoted most of her program last week to Trump's two-page 1040 form from 2005.
Yet like Geraldo Rivera's big reveal of the Al Capone vault, the show was a bust – a big one (her viewership plunged afterward and she now says that Trump himself may have leaked the documents – seriously).
Here's what they showed: Trump wrote off $100 million in business losses and paid $38 million in federal income taxes on adjusted income of $150 million, an effective tax rate of 25 percent.
Vice President Joe Biden paid about 19 percent in 2015 on his adjusted gross income of $385,072 (he was generous enough to donate $7,200 to charity, a whopping 1.9 percent). Meanwhile, President Obama, who repeatedly called for higher taxes in high earners, paid just 18.4 percent on an AGI of $608,611.
But lost in the Maddow debacle was Sen. Bernie Sanders, champion of the Little Man. Turns out he paid $27,653 in federal income taxes in 2014 – an effective federal tax rate of 13.5 percent!
At the time, Sanders said: “They are very boring tax returns. No big money from speeches, no major investments. Unfortunately – unfortunately – I remain one of the poorer members of the United States Senate.”
Yeah, he so poor he just bought a $600,000 summer home on the Champlain Islands in Vermont, which includes four bedrooms and 500 feet of Lake Champlain beachfront. Sanders, the Socialist, now owns at least three houses – another in Burlington and one on Capitol Hill in D.C.
Like all Democrats, it's always do as I say, not as I do.