It is no secret that Donald Trump and the Trump Organization have two sets of books, one to look flush to lenders and one to look broke to the IRS. We’ve never seen Trump’s tax returns because to reveal them would undoubtedly expose him as the “clown living on credit” that he has been called. Adam Davidson is a financial writer who contributes to the New Yorker.

It has occurred to me that maybe what Vladimir Putin has on Trump is something this basic: Putin could show that Trump is broke. Occam’s Razor dictates that the simplest explanation is usually the right one. Maybe there is no pee pee tape or great scandal and there doesn’t need to be. Putin, who actually is one of the world’s richest men, knows Trump doesn’t have squat. And that would explain why Trump is so obsequious to Putin. Putin actually is what Trump wishes he was and can never be. He can’t even be wealthy, let alone powerful and a leader in world affairs. He’s a total fraud.

His base might not be alienated by the fact that he lies about money. They probably will think, cool, he doesn’t have as much as he says, but he flies a big plane and lives in a gold leaf penthouse, and has a gold toilet, even without billions. But how can he hold his head up with actual conservative Republicans, who — purportedly, at least — value a dollar?

So this issue is explosive, make no mistake. It always has been. However, we’re not going to see Trump’s tax returns before the election.

This is dismaying, but not in the least surprising. We more or less knew that we weren’t going to see Trump’s tax returns before November, in any event, but at least the House should see them at some point. And that will be an interesting day. I wonder how many Republicans actually know the true state of Trump’s financial affairs? Maybe none, because it’s entirely possible that Trump doesn’t know the true state of his own financial affairs. But what a sublime irony, a paradox in fact: the party of fiscal conservatism put a spendthrift clown at the top of their ticket. No wonder the national debt has soared. Everything Trump touches dies, unless you’re a dollar —  then you just shrivel to worthlessness.

I pray to God Republican voters have figured out that survival is the first order of business, because if Trump is reelected, Hoovervilles are going to look like Bel Aire and it may take a wheelbarrow full of cash to buy a loaf of bread.


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  1. Maybe the NFL owners do. When Trump made a bid on the Buffalo Bills, he would have had to reveal his financials to them. Or maybe he didn’t and that was why his bid was rejected, though he “claimed” he made a higher bid than the winning one.

  2. Maybe the NFL owners know Trump’s financials. He would have had to reveal them to make a bid for owning the Buffalo Bills. Or maybe he didn’t and why his bid was rejected though Trump “claimed” his bid was higher than the winning one.

  3. “I pray to God Republican voters have figured out….”
    Oh yeah, the power of prayer, that’s surely gonna enlighten those who were once so dimly lit they went out and voted for Trump.
    Have fun with that – the last four years were a total hoot.


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