Exclusively Online | Spring 2021 Issue

“A Lighter Look” — Taxes and Cheating

Rick Meyer’s regularly appearing column takes a lighter look at politics and public affairs around the world. This month: Good luck, Bubba.

By Richard E. Meyer

“Hey, Bubba. Something wrong?”

“Whadya mean?”

“Why are you in this hole you call your office? It’s noon, and customers are coming in for lunch. Why aren’t you out there joking around with ’em?”

“I’m doing my taxes, Dude.”

“But it’s only August.”

“You’re my friend, Dude, so I’ll tell you. But you can’t tell anybody else. Okay?”


“I’m practicing. I’m gonna do my taxes differently this time. If I get this right, I’m not going to pay any taxes at all.”

“Whadya mean?”

“I’ve been studyin’ the Donald. He’s an expert. For years now, he’s been saying things like: ‘I understand the tax code better than anybody that’s ever run for president.’

“And, ‘I have brilliantly used those laws.’

“And, ‘I have a write-off. A lot of it’s depreciation, which is a wonderful charge. I love depreciation.’

“And, ‘Hillary Clinton complains that Donald Trump took advantage of the tax code. Why didn’t she change it [in the Senate]? The reason is that all of [her] friends take the same advantage that I do.’ ”

“But Bubba, you don’t know anything about tax laws or write-offs, or depreciation, or any of that stuff.”

“Don’t worry, Dude. I’m studyin’ it. I’ve incorporated this hamburger joint, and I’ve funneled the payments on my pickup truck into the corporation, along with the rent on an apartment out in Hempstead.”

“Wait a minute!  You live here in Queens!”

“That’s right. The place in Hempstead belongs to my brother. I’ve declared it as my residence. That way I don’t pay any New York taxes. And I’m taking depreciation on this burger joint.

         “At the same time, my hamburger corporation is buying me a new bed, a flat screen TV and new carpeting. It’s picking up tuition for my night manager’s kid, so I can pay the manager less and write off the kid’s business classes. You know how it’s done? Two sets of books, like the Trump Organization.”

“Bubba! Are you sure this is legal?”

“Positive. Like the Donald says, ‘[Donald] Trump hasn’t broken one law yet.’ ”

“But Bubba . . . ”

“Dude, don’t be such a wage slave! To become a big shot, you’ve gotta be an entrepreneur. Leona Helmsley put it best. She was a real estate tycoon, like the Donald. She said: ‘We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes.’ ”

“But Bubba, you’re one of the little people! This is a burger joint, not Trump Tower. Your pickup isn’t a Mercedes Benz.”

“You don’t get it. This is how I’m gonna become one of the big people.”

“Bubba, Leona Helmsley evaded $1.2 million in taxes. She was convicted of tax fraud and served 18 months. Do you know what Trump said at the time?”


“He called her a ‘disgrace to humanity.’ ”

“Probably because she got caught. Besides, they were rivals.”

“But she was worth billions of dollars. Was it smart to spend a year and a half in Danbury for $1.2 million?”

“The Donald hasn’t done a single day. Anywhere.”

“Good luck, Bubba.”


The Last Laugh:

“There isn’t a rich man in your vast city who doesn’t perjure himself every year before the tax board.”

— Mark Twain

Richard E. Meyer

Richard E. Meyer

Meyer is the senior editor of Blueprint. He has been a White House correspondent and national news features writer for the Associated Press and a roving national correspondent and editor of long-form narratives at the Los Angeles Times.

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