Home/Rod Dreher/Trump Might Be Broke — But Not Woke

Trump Might Be Broke — But Not Woke

An anonymous letter an antiracist troll sent to a man's employer, to try to get him fired

You saw the big Times story about Trump’s taxes, right? It’s not good. If it’s true, then Trump is more or less broke, and he hasn’t paid taxes for years. He has $400 million in loan payments coming due in the next few years. No wonder he didn’t want people to see his tax documents. Though I will say that Trump is doing what all the rich do: using his fortune to buy the expertise that allows him to avoid — legally — paying a hell of a lot of taxes.

Take Apple, for example:

Apple quietly sidestepped a crackdown on its much-maligned Ireland tax avoidance practice by moving its overseas operation to the tax haven of the Channel Island of Jersey, documents leaked from an offshore law firm revealed.

The move, beginning in 2015, allowed Apple to continue to avoid paying billions of dollars in taxes.

Apple, the most valuable and most profitable company in the world, had been paying a corporate income tax of 5 percent or less thanks to a loophole in US and Ireland tax law, according to reports.

That is much less than the 12.5 percent Irish corporate tax rate and the 35 percent top US corporate tax rate.

The loophole, known as the “double Irish,” is perfectly legal.

Apple made $92 billion in the first quarter of FY 2020, according to the company — and 61 percent of that revenue was in overseas sales. That’s about $50 billion. You know what the corporate tax rate on Jersey is? Zero.

I’m not saying this to defend Trump, especially because the massive loan payments coming due really does raise conflict of interest issues with his presidency. But I am saying that the problem of skinflint ultrawealthy tax dodgers is not limited to short-fingered Orange Men from Manhattan.

I guess this is kind of an October Surprise from the Times‘s point of view. I’m trying to bring myself to care more about it, but I gotta be honest, here’s what I’m thinking about this afternoon.

I received a letter from a teacher. I won’t say where, to protect the teacher’s identity. The teacher writes:

I am a high school teacher in [state] and one of my students recently chose to change his gender. We are now asked to call him by his chosen feminine name and use all female pronouns. I am at a loss as to how to respond. I want to stand for what is true, beautiful, and good, but I also want to show compassion and love. I would also be disingenuous if I did not mention my fear of being terminated or publicly vilified. This sentiment may display cowardice, but it is real.

This is what is happening all over. This teacher is going to have to violate their conscience, and cooperate with a lie — or lose their job, and be treated as a pariah.

I also received this letter from a reader. I have edited it to protect his identity. He writes:

As I regular reader of your articles and blog (I also pre-ordered you book) I know you get many emails from people coming under attack for not towing the Woke line.

Today they came for me.

I am a CFO at [company name and location]. I live in [city] and my wife and I proudly fly a Blue Lives Matter flag in front of our home.

Today, the CEO of my company and three other executives received anonymous letters. The letters included a picture of my home and identified me by name, title and home address. It stated next to the picture:

“Proudly flying a white supremacist flag in his front yard. Do you encourage your employees to demonstrate their racist views?”

I have attached a copy of the letter.

I assume there will be pressure on my company to fire me now or risk public shaming.

This is just insane. I am concerned for my family now and am having an alarm system with cameras installed. I cannot understand what our country has become. I do not recognize it.

We’ll keep the flag flying. We won’t back down.

The reader gave me permission to post the anonymous letter the harasser sent to his employer, as long as I blacked out his name, address, and the address of his company:


What is happening to that teacher and to that business executive could happen to any of us — and The New York Times would support it. In fact, the Times is leading the way in creating a cultural climate of persecution for people like the teacher and the executive.

Are you more worried about Donald Trump’s taxes or the woke persecutors who would happily come for your job, or force you to violate your conscience to hold on to your livelihood? I wish Donald Trump were a more honest man in all of his dealings. But Donald Trump does not threaten the jobs of ordinary schoolteachers and businessmen who support the police. The woke do.

Donald Trump is not leading a crusade to destroy the gender binary, which is one of the things civilization depends on to survive; The New York Times is. Donald Trump does not vilify the police; the progressive left does. The New York Times promotes shoving hateful racial identity politics down everybody’s throat; thanks to the efforts of Chris Rufo, the Trump administration is trying to stop it, at least in the federal government.

I didn’t vote in the 2016 presidential election, and I have been critical of Trump in this space. But I tell you, if he were the real threat to our way of life, I wouldn’t have had a book to write. I had to write Live Not By Lies because the Left holds all the institutional high ground — including in corporate suites — and will do its best to impose soft totalitarianism on the country. American immigrants who grew up under communism are seeing their adopted country looking more and more like what they left behind. My book is both a wake-up call, based on their testimonies, and a manual for how to resist what the Left is throwing at us.

Rich guys have always avoided taxes in this country. Ordinary people have never before lost their jobs for refusing to pretend that boys are really girls. Ordinary people have never faced anonymous campaigns to be fired as racist for supporting the police.

Hey, I’m going to be on Tucker Carlson’s show tonight talking about this, and my new book. Tune in if you can.

UPDATE: Let me balance this comment by something I talked about on Tucker tonight. Here’s a quote from Live Not By Lies— a story I told on TV tonight:

All the young are candidates for the solutions of communism or fascism when there are no alternatives to despair or dissipation.
—Nadine Gordimer

At dinner in a Russian Orthodox family’s apartment in the Moscow suburbs, I was shaken by our table talk of Soviet oppression through which the father and mother of the household had lived. “I don’t understand how anybody could have believed what the Bolsheviks promised,” I said glibly.

“You don’t understand it?” said the father at the head of the table. “Let me explain it to you.” He then launched into a three hundred-year historical review that ended with the 1917 Revolution. It was a pitiless tale of rich and powerful elites, including church bureaucrats, treating peasants little better than animals.

“The Bolsheviks were evil,” the father said. “But you can see where they came from.”

The Russian man was right. I was chastened. The cruelty, the injustice, the implacability, and at times the sheer stupidity of the imperial Russian government and social order in no way justifies all that followed—but it does explain why the revolutionary Russian generation was so eager to place its hope in communism. It promised a road out of the muck and misery that had been the lot of the victimized Russian peasant since time out of mind.

The history of Russia on the verge of left-wing revolution is more relevant to contemporary America than most of us realize.

I am far more concerned with the woke coming after people like my teacher reader and my business executive reader. But if the rich — including Donald Trump — continue to exploit their status, especially when, as Nadine Gordimer said in the quote I use to introduce this chapter, “there are no alternatives to despair and dissipation” then they will bring a calamity onto this country.

UPDATE.2: Getting dragged in the comments by people who actually know how taxes and finance work, and who say I’ve gotten some things wrong. I confess, it’s no doubt true. I’m terrible at things involving cipherin’.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. A veteran of three decades of magazine and newspaper journalism, he has also written three New York Times bestsellers—Live Not By Lies, The Benedict Option, and The Little Way of Ruthie Lemingas well as Crunchy Cons and How Dante Can Save Your Life. Dreher lives in Baton Rouge, La.

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