By Tim Baldwin
Morality and legality are not always the same. Two areas in which Donald Trump was deemed as “immoral but legal” were his filing bankruptcy and avoiding taxes.
Bankruptcy has been considered not only legal but necessary throughout history and is contained within religious canons. It is (partly) designed to prevent rich, powerful creditors from enslaving others. Creditors know these risks and calculate potential losses this way. Judges, attorneys and trustees are all in place to ensure creditors “get theirs.” The question of morality here seems like a waste of time.
Jesus said, “give tribute,” but when Peter was promoted to pay the Temple (a religious) tax, Jesus retrieved the precise amount of money from a fish’ mouth to pay it. Jesus could have paid the tax from the treasury Judas held for him, but he paid it through money “in nature.” Jesus avoided paying taxes too.
Avoiding taxes is every American’s desire. It is hard enough to survive without having to pay a third or more of your earnings to government. Trump’s avoiding taxes may be distasteful to some; yet most wish they could do the same. Perhaps instead of blaming Trump, America should scrap the IRS tax code and look at the bigger economic picture. Impose a flat, fair and simple tax. Let people prosper.
Trump may have morality problems, but filing bankruptcy or avoiding some taxes are not likely the greatest.
By Joe Carbonari
What is legally permissible delineates that which survives the legal processes involved in establishing our laws. It is not to be confused with that which is considered acceptable by all. Hopefully, it is what constrains the individual from doing that which hurts themselves or others. Working to the extremes of what the law allows, particularly in the area of bankruptcies, runs high risk of hurting those that don’t get paid. Individuals and small business owners often pay that price. Donald Trump has done quite well at this game. It works for him.
It is not in our best interest to encourage this proclivity to take personal aggrandizement to the edge of respectability. It risks our personal, individual freedoms by abusing them. Income taxes are a good example. Most of us try to pay less, leaving others to pay more. We are good at rationalizing. After all, isn’t the game rigged? This proclivity must be controlled, not extolled.
In the business world the dollar reigns. It is the measure of success. Alone, it is amoral. Decisions made on this basis are not necessarily immoral; they just have not been evaluated for their overall impact. Donald Trump’s ascendency is likely to accelerate the amoral and exacerbate collateral damage.His approach to business, to life, is not to be emulated. If allowed to run unchecked it will destroy the moral fiber of our country and the concepts of personal liberty, and responsibility, that our system is founded upon.