2016 Presidential Campaign: Home Stretch Issues

 

Part  1

 

Tax Returns:   Hillary Clinton released her latest  federal income tax return on August 12, showing that she and Bill Clinton paid $3.24 million in taxes.  This came to about a third of their $10.6 million income for 2015.  This met the Warren Buffett rule that Hillary proposes in her tax plan (See her web site). Anyone with an adjusted income of  one million dollars would pay a minimum of 30% of income in taxes.

The Clintons primarily made their money from writing and speaking in 2015.   They also had income from pension, annuities, interest and dividends.  Bill Clinton as a former president receives about $200,000 a year.  It is important to note that Hillary Clinton has released 38 years of tax returns over the course of her career.

Donald Trump has refused to release his tax returns for the past year.  He insists the reason is that “he is under audit”and he will release them when it is completed.   The Internal Revenue Bureau reports that there is nothing preventing him from releasing his tax returns while an audit is being conducted.   Reporters continue  to ask him for his tax returns and he turns away and changes the subject.

Tax experts explain that as a real estate investor, he is entitled to a sizable number of tax breaks that can greatly reduce his tax bill.  They include writing off the interest paid on loans financing the properties and a favorable depreciation schedule to account for wear and tear. Another way to avoid tax is to sell a property and put the money in trust so long as it is designated to buy a similar property in the near future.  All of these benefits are why many critics of Trump believe that he may have paid little or no federal income taxes in 2015 or previous years.

He may also be very reluctant to reveal investments in foreign countries or off shore islands that would contradict his repeated emphasis on “ America First!”  It is well known that his name, the TRUMP brand has been sold extensively in European, Mid Eastern and Asian countries. Bold TRUMP letters appear  on large hotels, golf courses, clothing and even steaks!

Tim Kaine, Democratic Vice Presidential candidate, has released ten years of returns.  He and his wife,Anne, reported $313,441. in adjusted gross income and paid nearly $63,000 in federal income taxes for a rate of 20% for 2015.  The greatest amount of their income, about $312,000. came from their salaries.

Mike Pence ,  Trump’s running mate and Governor of Indiana, released  joint tax returns with his wife Karen for 2015 on September 9. Their adjusted income was $113, 026 and they paid $8, 956 in federal income taxes.  Most of their income came from his salary as governor.

Health Issues:  Donald Trump’s long time doctor, Harold Bornstein, a gastroenterologist released a brief four- paragraph letter in December, 2015  that gave very few numbers or facts about Trump’s health.  He described test results as “astonishingly positive” and concluded “If elected, I can state unequivocally, he will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”  Doctor Bornstein wrote the letter in five minutes while a messenger waited to deliver it to the Trump campaign.  There was TV coverage of Dr. Bornstein at his desk when he wrote the letter.  The result was widespread skepticism and ridicule of the letter  as a  “health report” from the press and the Clinton campaign.

In early September,  Trump said that he had seen Dr. Bornstein for a “physical” and the results would be revealed on the Dr. Mehmet Oz daytime television show on September 16.  The show was taped with a live audience in advance.  Dr. Oz and Trump were seated on two comfortable chairs facing each other.  Trump reached into his jacket and handed Dr. Oz several pages from Dr. Bornstein.  Dr. Oz  quickly reviewed some of the results and they talked about them.  Trump gave his weight as 236 pounds and said he was taking a statin to lower his cholesterol.  At about six foot two, he would have a BMI, body mass index of 30.3. Dr. Oz described him as “slightly overweight”.  The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute defines obesity as a BMI of 30 or more.

Hillary Clinton’s health had been described in stark terms by Donald Trump for months as “ extremely weak”, lack of stamina and possible illness.”  His campaign floated conspiracy theories about Parkinson’s Disease and brain disorders. The only physical evidence on her vigorous campaign schedule was a cough that appeared at some rallies.  On Sunday, September 11 In New York at the outdoor Memorial service, Clinton  left after standing for 90 minutes.  As she walked to the waiting van, she needed support .   The picture of this happening was caught on TV and shown over and over again. Her campaign immediately reported that “Clinton had become overheated and dehydrated.  As soon as she was in the cool van, and drank liquid, she revived and was fine.”  She was on the phone as they drove to Chelsea’s apartment in New York.  Within a few hours, Clinton emerged from Chelsea’s building and greeted a child,  smiled, walked and waved to onlookers.

Dr. Lisa Bardack , Clinton’s physician, is the chair of internal medicine at CareMount  Medical in Kisco, New York.   She saw Clinton after she returned to her home on 9/11.  Campaign plans for the next few days were put on hold. On Wednesday,  Clinton released a letter from Dr. Bartak that reviewed  her physical fitness and recent medical history. She had seen Clinton on September 2 for a low-grade fever, congestion and cough brought on by seasonal allergies.  Clinton was determined to continue her campaign and did so.  After the 9/11 incident, Dr. Bartak had a chest scan done. It showed “ mild non-contagious bacterial pneumonia “ and was being treated with anti-biotics.”  She concluded that Clinton “continues to remain healthy and fit to serve as President of The United States.”

The story turned into her lack of “Transparency” The cable news coverage was a deluge of criticism that they – The Press—“ weren’t told about pneumonia immediately”!! David Axelrod, former advisor to Obama, labeled it “Clinton’s penchant for privacy”.  (Et tu, David…) Hillary had not shared that information with the Press and the American people!  The facts are that thousands of people every year continue to work with “walking pneumonia.”  When Clinton did return to work on Thursday, she was greeted by a thunderous reception from the men and women at her North Carolina rally.  Apparently, they were not upset by the two day lack of “transparency”.  They were   thrilled to see her looking fit and hearing her  speak— clear,  strong and coherent as always in her presentation. When she said, “I have never been a quitter!”,  they went  ballistic, cheering and applauding.

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Next Blog:

Part II of Presidential Campaign:Home Stretch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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