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Pierce: Trump not avoiding taxes any more than Hillary, or the rest of us

I'm taking a snap poll here. Let me see a show of hands of those of you out there who pay more taxes than you are legally required to pay. According to Hillary Clinton, if you pay only what is required by the tax code and nothing more, you have paid no taxes and, hence, you are denying funding for our troops, as well as denying care to our vets. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Apparently, according to Clinton's way of thinking, you should not take deductions for your mortgage interest, your charitable contributions, losses on investments, property taxes and every other lawful tax deduction. God forbid that you take any tax deduction that you are entitled to, you insensitive, horrible, greedy, but honest, law-abiding Basket of Irredeemable Deplorables. These legal deductions are the dreaded "tax loopholes" that are one the Left's favorite curse words. Apparently, tax loopholes are anathema!

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Enter a letter to the editor headlined "Support country by paying for services" (Oct. 5) by Carroll County Democratic Central Committee member Corynne B. Courpas. If I'm reading her letter correctly, she is telling me that I am unpatriotic because I apparently don't pay taxes, sort of like Donald Trump hasn't. Because I legally (and completely, as much as possible) avail myself of the IRS tax code as does Trump, I am not, in Courpas' view, anteing up my "fair share" to "keep our nation secure and support our veterans."

It is my opinion that Courpas' proposition is misguided as well as illogical. Just for kicks, let's follow her premise down the rabbit hole. Let me state categorically that I am not painting Clinton, Jamie Raskin, nor Chris Van Hollen with the same brush that Courpas is using to chastise me, Trump, and all of you other deplorables. My guess is that her vaunted candidates use the IRS tax code in much the same way the rest of us do, including Trump.

In fact, if you check the Clintons' most recent tax return, you will see that they deducted a $1 million contribution to their favorite charity, The Clinton Foundation. If you care to dig a little deeper, you just might find that they have set up a number of "shell companies" in Delaware to shelter their funds … just sayin'.

Using Courpas' logic, all these folks apparently do not pay their "fair share" either. In addition to that, I'll bet the rent that Courpas does not as well. Don't believe me? If she digs out her 2015 Form 1040 and looks for Schedule A, Itemized Deductions, she'll either have enough deductions to itemize or she took the standard deduction, which is in the neighborhood of $12,600 depending on your marital status. I'm sure you would agree that is a sizable sum to relinquish to keep our nation secure and to support our vets.

Either way, Ms. Courpas does not fit her own definition of a patriot because she is not paying what she defines as a "fair share." Unless of course, she just skips all that tax stuff and just gifts the caboodle of her withholdings directly to Uncle Sam. I assure you that Unc will be amazed as well as incredulous. Surely, now that she has thought this through, she would agree that it would be a foolish financial blunder. Mr. Trump thought it through also, and he arrived at the same conclusion you just have now that you have seen the light.

I am a Vietnam veteran who is receiving Department of Veterans Affairs benefits for a condition relating to my time there "to keep our nation secure." I paid all my tax obligations before I was there, while I was there and ever since, and took every legal tax deduction available to my family. I also pay for airport fees as part of my airline ticket, just as Donald Trump does when he lands his private jet at any airport. I pay for the roads, bridges, tunnels with my state, local, and yes, federal taxes just like Donald Trump does when he travels in his limousine. I'm sure his taxes in New York, Palm Beach, Nevada, etc. are more than enough to cover his share of very fine police protection that he and every other good citizen enjoys … fire protection too, I'll bet. Again, using Courpas' logic, not only shouldn't Trump have Secret Service protection, neither should Hillary because she also used legal tax advantages and thus did not pay her "fair share."

Considering my personal situation, I love my country, and of course, I love the VA. Protecting our country and supporting vets are most certainly at the top of my list for spending my tax dollars. So, let's take a look at a few rather odd government expenditures that demonstrate how our "fair share" of tax dollars is being used to keep our nation secure and to support our vets, among other things:

• $300,000 for TVs at a VA facility's patient rooms that sat in storage for three years and have never been installed.

• $500,000 to study people's fondness for spicy foods.

• $12 billion spent to collect taxes (undoubtedly only fair shares).

• $54 million for Department of Justice personnel's temporary travel.

• $500,000 for Moldova's wine industry.

• $2.5 million for the study of romance!

• And at the risk of drawing the ire of some progressive liberal out there … $24.7 million to inform the Philippines about the ever-foreboding climate change.

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There's plenty more in Sen. Rand Paul's 2016 Waste Report. Don't believe me? Look it up. Check out the IRS Tax Code while you're at it.

Cal Pierce writes from Hampstead. Reach him at yaddax2@comcast.net.

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