Trump’s Alternative Taxes


Apparently, the abbreviation “O.M.G.” was first used in 1917 in a letter to Winston Churchill. OMG!!!!!!


Release of Trump’s 2005 Taxes Reminds Everyone April 15 is One Month Away: Yesterday evening, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow released two pages of President Trump’s 2005 tax records. Trump paid $38 million in federal income taxes based on $150 million in income, with an effective tax rate of 25 percent. Trump also wrote off $100 million in business losses. $31 million of Trump’s tax payments were due to the alternative minimum tax (AMT), a tax designed to ensure a baseline tax payment from some payers. During his campaign, Trump proposed eliminating the AMT which, given the just released information, makes cents.

Trump’s 2005 tax records put him in the highest of the current tax brackets (39.6%), though it is not unusual for the very wealthy to pay a far lower effective tax rate. Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney paid a 14.1% effective rate in 2011. In 2015, according to their released returns, the Clintons paid a 34.2% federal tax rate. Perhaps the Clintons and other rich politicians who seem to have paid their fair share should talk to Trump or Romney’s tax accountants in the next few weeks? 

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Carnival is Over in Brazil, but Corruption is the Hangover: Brazil’s top prosecutor has asked the Supreme Court to open 83 investigations into politicians as part of Operation Car Wash, a three-year-old corruption probe involving state oil giant Petrobras. Dozens of firms have acknowledged paying off government officials in exchange for overpriced contracts with Petrobras.

Odebrecht, the Brazil-based and largest construction conglomerate in Latin America, is one of the companies involved in the scandal and one of the biggest donors to Brazil’s politicians. Since June 2015, 77 Odebrecht executives, including the CEO, have been jailed for corruption. Last year, all of them signed plea bargains with Brazilian officials, agreeing to confess to crimes and to identify other corrupt officials in exchange for shorter prison sentences. In 2016, the company signed what has been called “the world’s largest leniency deal” with US and Swiss authorities, in which it admitted to corruption and paid $2.6 billion in fines.

Potential Supreme Court investigations will be a test for Brazilian President Michel Temer, who took over last year after Dilma Rousseff was impeached. He promised to tackle corruption and restore fiscal discipline as Brazil faces its worst recession on record, but the investigations may hinder his efforts to jumpstart the economy. There are allegations that some of the money from the Petrobras contracts in question was used to pay for campaigning, and Brazil’s electoral court is looking into donations to the Rousseff-Temer campaign in the 2014 election. If fraud is confirmed, their campaign could be annulled and Mr. Temer would be removed from office, leading to the ouster of a second Brazilian president in as many years. Both Temer and Rousseff deny any wrongdoing.


Mass Grave Discovered in Mexico: In what can only be described as a chilling discovery, Mexican authorities have located the remains of more than 250 missing persons, believed to have been killed by drug cartels in the state of Veracruz. Only about one-third of the territory surrounding the “Colinas de Santa Fe” forest area has so far been explored, fueling fears that other gruesome discoveries will be made. “I cannot imagine how many more people are illegally buried there,” state prosecutor Jorge Winckler said, noting that Veracruz has reports of about 2,400 missing people. The state had long been dominated by the Zetas cartel, but in 2011 when the Jalisco New Generation cartel moved in, bloody turf battles began.

Illegal Shipment of Rhino Horns Seized in Thailand: 21 rhino horns worth an estimated $5 million were seized in Bangkok’s international airport after being discovered in luggage sent from Ethiopia. Officials described the incident as an intricate smuggling effort that involved individuals both inside Thailand and abroad. Despite improvements in Thailand’s anti-smuggling efforts, its main international airport remains a popular hub for illegal wildlife trafficking in Asia. In some Asian countries, particularly in Vietnam, rhino horns are believed to be a powerful and essential ingredient in traditional medicines that can cure everything from a fever to cancer.


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More reads:

  • Teenagers are using less drugs. Unless one doesn’t categorize tech as a drug (NYT)
  • A visual introduction to probability and statistics. The most popular topics right now seem to be data science courses (essentially probability and statistics) and behavioral economics. We seek precision in our world despite the fact that increasingly we realize that we generally don’t make rational, data-driven decisions in many aspects of our lives (Brown University)
  • Americans, especially millennials, are less religious. And religiously unaffiliated Republicans are very devout Trump supporters (The Atlantic)
  • Some of Trump’s cabinet members are climate change skeptics, but apparently his Secretary of Defense believes climate change is becoming a significant national security issue (Pro Publica)

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