From the New York Sun
By SETH LIPSKY
Two candidates run for president. Tweedledum and Tweedledee oppose the Pacific trade pact. Both favor legal immigration. They promise jobs and a strong defense. One big difference is Tweedledum releases her tax returns. Tweedledee refuses.
What do you know? Tweedledee wins — in an electoral landslide.
One might think this fact would have caused a light to go off in the brain of Sen. Chuck Schumer and The New York Times. That they would see at least the possibility that voters might not care whether Donald Trump releases his tax returns and might even admire his refusal to be buffaloed.
But no, the Democrats seem to be under the impression that it escaped the notice of the American voter that Mr. Trump is rich. Even though he campaigned in his personal gold-plated jumbo jet and lives in his own gilded tower on Fifth Avenue.
The Democrats reckon the voters are not only dumb but also blind.
They would have to be both to fall for the latest gambit, in which Democrats seem bound and determined to stake the future of their party on a campaign to force President Trump to release his tax returns.
In fairness, the left-leaning press is citing polls that give some comfort to Democratic strategists. But one would think that Nov. 8 would have taught the anti-Trump editors a thing or two about polls.
Mr. Schumer insists the Democrats are prepared to hold hostage a tax cut for the American people unless Mr. Trump releases his tax returns. “If he doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done,” is the way Mr. Schumer puts it.
Are the Democrats prepared to ride that barrel over the falls?
This started to gather real steam on the eve of the election, when the Times “obtained” some pages from Mr. Trump’s 1995 tax return. The paper’s reporters concluded that a $916 million loss could have enabled the billionaire to avoid paying income taxes for years.
Mr. Trump himself boasted that legally avoiding taxes was a sign of smarts. The prospect, though, sent the Times into a terrible swivet. Its top economic columnist, David Leonhardt, called the president “the country’s most notorious tax shirker.”
The idea that Mr. Trump paid “no taxes” turned into a veritable left-wing meme. PolitiFact may have long since rated Hillary Clinton’s claim that Mr. Trump paid no federal taxes “mostly false,” but the Democrats ignored that.
Then last month, Rachel Maddow fetched up with part of a Trump tax return and discovered — oops — that in 2005 alone, Mr. Trump paid something like $38 million in taxes. “It turns out Donald Trump didn’t avoid income taxes for 18 years, after all,” said the Washington Post headline.
Now Democrats are complaining that a big portion of the taxes they think Mr. Trump paid came from the alternative-minimum tax. That’s a Marxist mash-up that Uncle Sam uses against so-called rich people who don’t owe enough under ordinary tax law.
The left is trying to make a megillah out of the fact that Mr. Trump supports ending the alternative-minimum tax. He’d be among those who might benefit, after all. Then again, too, so would huge numbers of long-suffering taxpayers.
In this sense, Mr. Trump is like Ronald Reagan. The Gipper, too, ran on a tax revolt. When he won, the Democrats didn’t know what hit them. What Reagan knew is that inflation had pushed ordinary earners into brackets that had been meant for rich people.
Mr. Trump gets this about the alternative-minimum tax. It was originally aimed at a tiny handful of taxpayers. But data released by the Tax Policy Foundation show it now clobbers upwards of 5 million people and is headed to 6 million.
Could it be that Mr. Trump is just smarter than Chuck Schumer about all this?
My own belief is American voters admire Mr. Trump for his success in business. If the rest of us benefit from tax cuts, why should we care if he does, too? Why shouldn’t he keep his personal affairs private if the law allows him to do so?
Mr. Trump’s biggest ethical obligation is to deliver on his campaign promises of jobs and growth. Tax cuts for family businesses and corporations are the first logical move. The president knows Mr. Schumer almost surely wouldn’t support a tax cut anyway, no matter how many of his personal tax returns Mr. Trump released.
If the president needs reminding, he can ask Tweedledee.