Buffett Gets Back at Trump, Releases Tax Information

Donald Trump

Billionaire investor Warren Buffet has hit back at Donald Trump a day after being accused of tax avoidance by the Republican U.S. presidential candidate, releasing data showing he has been consistent in his payments.

While speaking at Sunday night’s presidential debate, Trump for the first time admitted since entering the race that he had avoided paying federal taxes on his income for years. But he moved quickly to somewhat exonerate himself by claiming that some supporters of his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, including Buffett, were also guilty of similar thing.

“Many of [Clinton’s] friends took bigger deductions,” Trump claimed. “Warren Buffett took a massive deduction.”

Responding in a statement released on Monday, Buffett said he has paid his federal income taxes every year since 1944. He went ahead to provide his tax data while calling on Trump to do the same.

“I have been audited by the [Internal Revenue Service] multiple times and am currently being audited,” he said. “I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump – at least he would have no legal problem.”

The Berkshire Hathaway chairman revealed that his adjusted gross income for 2015 was $11,563,931, while his total deductions stood at $5,477,694. His federal income tax payment for last year was $1,845,557, which amounted to around 16 percent of his reported total income. The billionaire, who said he has copies of all returns for the past 72 years, revealed that his returns for previous years were similar in terms of contributions, deductions and tax rates.

Charitable contributions were responsible for the largest chunk of Buffett’s deductions. He further disclosed that the amount deducted was quite little in comparison to the over $2.85 billion he gave out to charities in 2015. He had been limited by tax laws in terms of how much he could claim in charitable deductions.

This is unlike Trump whose charitable foundations have come under increasing scrutiny. It has been claimed that most charitable donations made by the Republican presidential candidate had actually come from donors to his foundation. The New York attorney general recently ordered that the Donald J. Trump Foundation should stop soliciting donations in the state.

Trump has vehemently refused to accede to requests that he should make his federal income tax returns public. This is quite unlike most American presidential candidates of recent memory. The billionaire has often given the excuse of being under audit by the IRS as a reason for not doing so, even though the U.S. tax authorities have said that does not prevent him for doing so.

He acknowledged on Sunday that he avoided paying income taxes to the federal government for years by claiming he had $916 million in losses in 1995.

Previously, Trump had claimed that Buffett reported an $873 million loss. He however did not provide evidence to back that claim.

Buffett has repeatedly spoken against loopholes in tax laws that allow him pay just a little portion of his income in taxes, according to the New York Times. He has called for a minimum 30 percent tax on income of those who make more than $5 million – a proposal Clinton is believed to be in support of.

Trump, who has criticized his Democratic opponent for not doing enough as a senator to block tax loopholes, plans to reduce the amount wealthy Americans pay in taxes.

Comment Period for CFPB’s Payday Loan Proposal Winding Down


In June, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its much-anticipated proposal pertaining to the payday loan industry. The consumer federal watchdog agency announced new rules and regulations for payday loans at the federal level, which is the first time in the nation’s history.

CFPB director Richard Cordray gave the general public 90 days to comment on the regulatory framework. Cordray said that he wanted to get everyone’s feedback so their proposal could be improved upon.

Well, that 90-day window is coming to a close. The American general public – consumers, payday loan businesses, consumer advocacy groups, community leaders and so on – will have until October 9 to submit any complaints, concerns, questions or grievances regarding the CFPB’s proposal.

Since June, many proponents and opponents of the forthcoming regulations have openly explained why the new rules and regulations are good or bad. Some say the proposal goes too far or it doesn’t go far enough. One of those people in the latter camp were Nick Bourke of the Pew Charitable Trusts.

“The CFPB is missing a big opportunity to encourage safer and more affordable loan options, our goal is to leave the best online payday loans standing while weeding out those who can’t follow the rules” he said.

Also, Traci Wickett, executive director of the United Way of Southern Cameron County, recently panned a recommended rule that would prevent low-income borrowers from entering into a payday loan debt trap. The CFPB said in its initial release that one new rule would require lenders to ensure borrowers do have enough funds to pay their debt when they take out a payday loan. She argues that many payday loan lenders could actually be exempt from this provision in the legislation.

“That’s just unacceptable, that that many loans would be exempted from the ability-to-repay,” she said.

Ultimately, according to Wickett and others, the CFPB needs to close several loopholes in the proposal.

Meanwhile, Dave Pommerehn of the Consumer Bankers Association, warned that some of the new rules could put a lot of payday loan stores out of business, which will ultimately hurt impecunious customers.

“This is resource prohibitive for most providers of this type of lending, whether they be a bank or a non-bank,” he averred. “And quite honestly, the cost [of compliance] would add greatly to the cost of the loans themselves, making them rather cost-prohibitive to offer.”

And, of course, as the United States heads towards the finish line of an election cycle, many members of Congress are looking to either shelve the proposal or get President Obama to sign it before he leaves office. Some Congressmen argue that the CFPB’s proposal will “trample on sovereignty of both consumers and Native American tribes.” Other Congressmen say the regulations help consumers who are “already overextended.”

The current administration has pledged over the years to tackle payday loans. With the incumbent president signing as many regulations as possible before he exits the White House, the CFPB’s payday loan framework could be one of the final regulatory acts he puts into law.

Felonious Wells Fargo Executives Remain Uncharged


The Wells Fargo scandal continues to grow in the national spotlight to the extent that they themselves have admitted to more than two million felony acts and yet not a single charge has been filed against them. Not one body has been arrested or even handcuffed for these self admitted crimes.

What has occurred to date is more than 5,100 employees have lost their jobs.

Customers were personally addressed this past weekend for the first time. However, the only ones that will be able to make not of this are those that happened to sign onto the Wells Fargo website.

Executives who began the scamming process continue to draw their full wages, continue to work their regular hours, and continue to live life as if they have not done anything wrong.

In a written statement from Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf he admits to failing to fulfil his job responsibilities. Even with this written admission he remains on payroll unlike the 5,100 others.

Another part of the Stumpf statement he addresses the new policy of which the staff of Wells Fargo will notify its customers via email when new accounts are opened. Yet previously it was proven and determined that many of the more than two million fraudulent accounts and credit cards also had fraudulent emails not made by the customer attached to them.

Here are a couple of questions that remain unanswered by John Stumpf’s new policy.

  • For the emailed notice that is to be sent to customers, are these emails being verified?
  • Of the accounts that were fraudulently made many had fictitious email accounts. Does the new policy simply have notice being sent to the fictitious email?
  • How is this changing the potential of fraudulently made accounts?
  • How is this actually helping protect the identities of the customers?

Wells Fargo customers, as of Monday October 3, are still finding themselves the victim of the accounts discovered, some known and unwanted and some unknown. The people and families often are still unaware of the issues that are being caused until fees or fines are charged.

The reports from Stumpf and others all claim that they are working with customers to reverse the negative effects and charges have been yet to be seen or proven.

Members of a Kansas branch of Wells Fargo, who wish to remain unnamed at this time, have seen the opposite. We will simply call them Ms. Kansas.

When Ms. Kansas logged onto her online banking accounts on October 1 she found one account in the negative because of fees that had been imposed prior to the release of her monthly statement on that account.

She immediately called the bank to discover what and how had created the negative balance only to be told it was a monthly fee that she was receiving for not meeting standards in which to reverse the fee.

This was due to the monthly transfer that Wells Fargo required had not occurred. An email from the bank stated that they were cancelling this transfer a few days prior. Ms. Kansas had not checked for such an email prior to the negative as she was unaware of it coming.

Wells Fargo refused to close this unwanted account unless the negative balance was first rectified. Ms. Kansas had no choice but to pay these fees in order to prevent herself from receiving even more bank charges.

Ms. Kansas told us that she is preparing her financial records and statements to take her all of her business elsewhere but is now leary as to whom to believe or where she should look first.

Congress Doesn’t Care About Your Paid Leave


Paid leave which can be anything from a sick day to maternity leave seems to be an important issue to everyone with the exception of Congress in the days of late. President Barack Obama has been urging them members of the Republican Congress to finally act for the American people but continues to have little to no luck.

The matter of paid leave has been a part of both presidential candidates platforms as the presidential election nears.

The Trump campaign had him joined by his daughter Ivanka in a thirty second ad. #AmericaFirst was born and further clarified in a tweet from Donald Trump’s Twitter account that stated #AmericaFirst means that family should come first. He then went on to describe his proposed child care plan and that it calls for tax deductible child care and up to six weeks of paid maternity leave.

Clinton campaign is similar in nature. Hillary Clinton states no more than ten percent of income is to be spent on the child care front and calls for twelve weeks of paid medical and maternity leave.

Employees of the federal government are in a different class than those that perform the exact same work only having a different employer. According to the Department of Labor the federal government is requiring all their contractors to include up to seven paid days of leave to each and every employee. This will affect all contracts that begin on or after January 1, 2017.

Congress has yet to act even after President Obama called them out but the same is not to be said of the Danny Meyer’s Company. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics a mere 5% of the entire restaurant industry currently offers any form of paid leave to its employees.

The same restaurant industry also ranks the lowest in terms of overall benefits as well. Statistics currently have only 20% that offer their employees such benefits.

The more than 1,800 employees that are fortunate to work at one of the Danny Meyer’s establishments which include the Gramercy Tavern, Blue Smoke, Union Square Café, and the Union Square Hospitality Group are no longer to be part of those low statistical numbers beginning in 2017.

The new Danny Meyer policy will allow for weeks one through four following the birth or adoption of a child to include rates of pay to be at 100%. The next four weeks will allow pay at 60%.

Jerry Brown, governor of California, recently vetoed the latest bill Hannah-Beth Jackson introduced also covering paid medical leave. Jackson’s bill was attempting to have companies with twenty or fewer employees to have the same benefits as those who are employed by larger companies.

Those companies having more than fifty employees will continue to be mandated to offer leave in California. All California employees will also still be guaranteed the six weeks in which they are paid up to 70% of wages.