By Doug Porter
Donald Trump once said words to the effect of ‘only reporters are interested in my tax returns.’ Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway told the media shortly after the inauguration the President would not release his tax returns because “people don’t care.”
People in 150 or so cities around the country indicated otherwise on April 15, taking to the streets to demand the release of his tax returns.
It has become increasingly obvious that, while the administration will shift from side to side in accordance with whatever clique is favored, the one thing you can count on is the drive for personal enrichment. Whether it’s the foreign diplomats now feeling the need to stay in Trump’s DC hotel property or the tens of thousands of dollars the Secret Service is paying for golf carts to follow the President around on his weekly golf outings, the bottom line of his businesses is always a top priority.
The American people can’t know how else the President is using his position to enrich himself because we have only a vague idea of what his financial interests are or who else is involved in his dealings.
The tradition of presidents releasing their tax returns goes back four decades to when former President Richard Nixon released his returns following an audit.
From the Huffington Post coverage of the Washington DC march:
The rallies also featured Donny the Tax March Chicken, an inflatable chicken made to resemble Trump. The gag is intended to mock Trump for being too “chicken” to reveal his tax returns.
The march’s speakers were also calling for a fairer taxation system, which they argue is unfairly skewed to the advantage of wealthy people including Trump.
The progressive organizations and labor unions sponsoring the march include MoveOn.org, Public Citizen, Demos, Credo, the Working Families Party, the National Women’s Law Center and the American Federation of Teachers.
Whille there were organizations sponsoring marches in various cities around the country, the protest movement grew out of a tweet (or two):
From NBC News:
Jennifer Taub sparked the effort following her participation in Boston’s women’s march the day after Trump’s inauguration. She concedes she isn’t sure what to expect — organizers think thousands will show up at some locations, possibly only dozens at others.
“I’m just a law professor who sent out a tweet,” said Taub, who teaches at Vermont Law School. “I’m psyched, and I think lots of people are psyched about this. We shall see.”
Taub’s tweet about planning a #showusyourtaxes protest stemmed from the women’s march and her general interest in financial matters. She has testified before Congress and wrote a book about the 2008 financial crisis.
Comedy writer Frank Lesser is also credited with planting the seed for the idea, along with New Yorkers Wes Shockley and Liz Tursi, who started a Facebook page.
The simplicity of this protest and its (mostly) single purpose has been a draw for progressives on a day normally conceded to right wingers and libertarians.
As John Perr at Daily Kos noted:
The contrast with the Tax Day Tea Parties on April 15, 2009, could not be more stark. On that day, thousands of people took to the streets chanting “Taxed Enough Already” despite having just received the largest two-year tax cut in modern American history, all courtesy of President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
Eight years ago, thousands of the furious faithful rallied at those Tax Day Tea Parties lovingly promoted by Fox News and bankrolled by the right-wing sugar daddies including the Koch brothers and DickArmey’s FreedomWorks. In addition to carrying signs like “Sieg Heil Herr Obama” and “No Taxation without Representation,” many displayed buttons, hats, and posters announcing “T.E.A.” or “Taxed Enough Already.”
Finally, via Time:
“Trump has lied so many times about so many things, it becomes impossible to thoroughly call him out on every lie,” says Maura Quint, a comedy writer who is on the march’s national committee. “This is a clear, straightforward, easy thing: he said he was going to do it, then he said he wasn’t going to, and now he’s trying to spin it like nobody cares. Well, we do care.”