I feel like such a sucker. I mean, what kind of loser pays thousands of dollars in federal taxes each year – before the April 15 deadline – on a meager journalist’s salary?

How dumb can I be? I got a tax cut from President Donald Trump’s “greatest ever” tax cut of 2017, that ended up pushing me into a higher tax bracket, only to have to pay even more in taxes the past two years because of fewer “legal” write-offs. (No, it wasn’t the biggest tax cut ever – maybe for the ultra rich – but Trump has a habit of exaggerating a bit. Some call it lying – 20,000-plus so far, but who’s counting?)

If I had any sense, I’d be more like our president, the person who sits in our highest office of honor, a person who is supposed to inspire a generation to lead our nation to greater heights. (Just forget about Tuesday night’s debate meltdowns, his raucous racist rallies and nasty Twitter tirades that have made us the brunt of jokes worldwide.)

If I could be more like the leader of the free world, our commander in chief – our self-proclaimed billionaire greatest-deal-maker-ever president – I would have found a way to pay less than the $750 he paid in federal income taxes in 2016 and 2017 and $0 for 11 previous years. After all, he says he’s a billionaire. I’m just a lowly five-figure scribe.

It’s pure genius! Like having your doctor claim you have bone spurs to get out of serving your country during the Vietnam War.

Imagine being such a “stable genius” that you could actually get away with paying $0 in federal income taxes for 11 years between 2000 and 2017 and paying just $750 in 2016 and 2017.


Of course, you have to write off highly questionable services and expenses that don’t come close to meeting the smell test. Actually, they stink to high heaven.

But hey, you’re the president. You control the IRS and all the other federal agencies in the executive branch. Just put your inexperienced goons in charge, and voila!, no problem.

Worried about mail-in ballots giving your opponent a push in the general election? Just have your guy decimate the U.S. Postal Service and make bogus claims of mail-in voter fraud.

Genius! And then tell everyone you’re donating your $400,000 annual salary as president. Double genius – and a tax write-off to boot! Just charge the taxpayers a couple million dollars for having the Secret Service stay at your leveraged golf resorts while you play golf every other weekend.

Now that’s an intellectual mastermind!

Imagine, being able to write off $70,000 in hair styling; $95,000-plus for makeup services (orange makeup must be really expensive); Donnie Jr.’s legal defense fees in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia inquiry; more than $700,000 paid to his daughter Ivanka for “consulting fees,” even though she already worked for the Trump Organization; $2.2 million on a huge estate outside New York City that the Trump family routinely uses as a personal “retreat,” not a business; and the list goes on and on.

No wonder Trump didn’t want to show anyone his tax returns, which the New York Times obtained and show the president owes some $421 million to creditors – most of it coming due within the next four years. Wonder what kind of favors are changing hands and with whom? But, nah, there’s no national security threat.

If the “billionaire” president of the United States can get away with paying $750 or less in taxes each year, then why should regular American working stiffs – like waiters and waitresses, teachers and nurses struggling to make ends meet during this pandemic – pay more than the president?

Because it’s our duty as red-blooded American citizens to support our country. And because we don’t want to wind up under the thumb of the IRS or in prison like those who routinely cheat on their taxes.

Hey, maybe I’m smarter than I think.

Unlike Trump, I’ve worn a mask out in public and social distanced while staying away from large crowds where people aren’t wearing masks and social distancing.

We learned early Friday that Trump and his wife, Melania, tested positive for COVID-19 and self-quarantined for 14 days – with less than 30 days before the Nov. 3 general election. Trump was later flown by Marine I to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center “for a few days” to be treated for the disease.

Trump, who has constantly downplayed the coronavirus despite more than 205,000 Americans dying from the disease, says it affects “virtually nobody” and that it “will magically disappear.” He takes no responsibility for how the virus has ravaged our nation, which is No. 1 in the world in cases and deaths.

I pray the president and the first lady quickly and fully recover from COVID-19. No one should suffer from this deadly virus that’s left so many victims in its wake.

Once shunned, I bet everyone in the White House is now masking up, including a lot of former anti-maskers across the United States.

I’m just glad Mexico is paying for the border wall.

Chris Wessel, editor of The Sun, can be reached at 935-5525, Ext. 250, or cwessel@jonesborosun.com.