- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Remember all those headlines, all the left’s speculation that President Donald J. Trump never paid taxes and overstated his wealth?

This 2016 headline from the New York Times: “Donald Trump Tax Records Show He Could Have Avoided Taxes for Nearly Two Decades, The Times Found.”

Or this one from Forbes: “Trump exaggerating his net worth (by 100%) in presidential bid.”

Well, it turns out Mr. Trump did pay taxes within the last 18 years after all — and is actually quite wealthy.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow used her Tuesday night show to hand Mr. Trump a great victory — dispelling all the past rumors from the liberal press. It’s almost as if Mr. Trump leaked the first two pages of his 2005 tax return himself.

The report showed Mr. Trump paid taxes of $38 million on $150 million in income — at an effective income tax rate of 25 percent. That’s a higher effective income tax rate than Barack Obama paid in 2012 (18.4 percent), Mitt Romney in 2011 (15.3 percent), Bill Clinton (20.15 percent) and George H.W. Bush (19.86 percent).

The only two presidents in recent history who paid more are George W. Bush (27.2 percent) and Ronald Reagan (32.4 percent).

But really, the effective tax rate is really all you can glean from the first two pages of a tax return. Mr. Trump paid most of his taxes through the so-called alternative minimum wage tax, which ensures high wealth individuals can’t use legal deductions and credits to avoid income tax.

Without seeing additional pages, there’s no way to know why Mr. Trump paid the AMT, his sources of income, investments or financial ties. Ms. Maddow couldn’t reveal any scandalous ties to Russia, any abusing of the tax code, unlawful practices — basically, anything she really wanted to prove.

Instead, she showed Mr. Trump does pay taxes and is indeed wealthy. A win for Mr. Trump.

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