Am not shocked by NYT revelation that Trump paid few taxes in 2017 and in other years. Do not like it but not shocked.

Trump, and literally thousands like him, have accountants reducing their business ventures’ and personal tax exposure to the maximum degree possible. Federal and state and local tax codes offer special breaks to companies, sectors and individuals which are unfair, reduce economic efficiency, and add to rising public debt. Companies, such as Boeing, threaten to leave their communities and are repaid with tax breaks. Financial and business executives, the independently wealthy, big campaign contributors, and politically potent groups get breaks because elected officials respond to them. My own WA state, which prides itself on its progressivism, has a hugely regressive tax system with big loopholes and subsidies and reliance on sales taxes punishing middle- and low-income people.

Lots of well known people, including those in media, hi-tech, philanthropy, who do as Trump did and claimed huge losses and deductions. The question is: Were they legal or illegal? Either way, tax codes need a cleanup ASAP. Lots of talk about tax reform but little real action.

Ted Van Dyk is an author and former government official with a long history of involvement in public policy and international affairs. His career includes work as an intelligence analyst at the Pentagon; as director of the Washington, D.C., public affairs office of the European Communities (now the European Union); and as a policymaker in the Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter administrations, where he coordinated U.S. foreign assistance programs. He is a lifelong Democrat currently living in his hometown of Bellingham, WashingtonWith his permission, I occasionally feature his Facebook posts. Scroll through and enjoy.