Our Latest Techdirt Gear: I Paid More For This T-Shirt Than Trump Paid In Taxes

from the and-you-can! dept

We were working on some new Techdirt gear designs for our Techdirt Gear shop at Threadless (stay tuned!) when the NY Times dropped its bombshell of a story regarding President Donald Trump's tax returns. As you likely know, despite every Presidential candidate in my lifetime releasing their tax returns, Trump has refused to do so (also, despite promises that he would). For years, reporters have sought out those taxes, and somehow the reporters at the Times got them. There were many interesting things highlighted in those tax returns, but a key point that has resonated widely: in the year Trump won the Presidency he only paid $750 in federal taxes (the same as he paid in many other years as well, including his first year as President in 2017).

Lots of people have been pointing out that this is crazy for all sorts of reasons, and plenty of people, including Joe Biden have jumped in with "I paid more in taxes than Donald Trump" gear. But, here at Techdirt, we believe in... going bigger. So we're selling a "I Paid More For This T-Shirt Than Trump Paid In Taxes" t-shirt... for $751 (plus shipping).

This is a real shirt and you can really buy it. Whether or not it's worth paying $751 for such a t-shirt is a decision that only you can make, though we'd be happy with that kind of support.

Of course, if that's a bit too pricey for you, we do still have a lot of other more affordable gear you can pick up too, like our copyright takedown gear:

Or our 1st Emojiment gear that explains the 1st Amendment in emoji.

And many other designs and products (not just t-shirts, we've got face masks, mugs and notebooks among many other items as well). So shop around, and feel free to spend more supporting us than the President has spent supporting the United States of America.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 1:03pm

    Parasitism at it's finest

    Who could have possibly seen that coming, a man(and I use that term loosely) that loves to boast and brag about how successful and rich he is doesn't pay enough in taxes during an entire year to cover a month's pay of even one of the people tasked with protecting his worthless ass.

    Hardly a wonder he was so desperate to keep his tax returns secret, as among other things they make clear just how much of a disgusting parasite he is, taking everything he can from a country he claims to love so much while giving as little as possible.

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 5:00pm

      Re: Parasitism at it's finest

      Hardly a wonder he was so desperate to keep his tax returns secret, as among other things they make clear just how much of a disgusting parasite he is, taking everything he can from a country he claims to love so much while giving as little as possible.

      I don't think he was nearly as worried about that coming to light as the part where he's a terrible businessman who's swimming in debt and whose profits consist almost entirely of money he got from being a TV celebrity.

      Which is also not new information to anybody who's been paying attention, but keep in mind the staggering number of people who haven't been. Remember when people were shocked to learn that Mitt Romney did not think very highly of poor people?

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 11:33pm

        Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

        "Which is also not new information to anybody who's been paying attention, but keep in mind the staggering number of people who haven't been."

        It's not new info overall, but the details are notable. It's clear that he's only been kept afloat by a couple of lucky breaks (such as the TV show) and is currently only afloat due to hundreds of millions of loans that will be due in the next couple of years. Anyone else would have been blocked from holding a government security status due to large outstanding loans because he would be in danger of being easily compromised. That alone should stop any sane person from voting for him again, even if they were crazy enough not to have seen the signs in the last election.

        "Remember when people were shocked to learn that Mitt Romney did not think very highly of poor people?"

        One of my favourite moments during that election cycle was when his wife regaled us with the story of how they were so hard up in college they actually had to cash in thousands of dollars worth of stocks that Mitt's dad have gifted them to keep their head above water... and that was what they thought would make them relatable to the average worker...

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        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 12:29am

          Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

          "It's clear that he's only been kept afloat by a couple of lucky breaks (such as the TV show) and is currently only afloat due to hundreds of millions of loans that will be due in the next couple of years."

          It's an interesting story when you look at Trump's history. Ever since he borrowed his dad's signature on loans to build the Trump Tower he's been - consistently - in extreme debt and used to obtain the loans required from banks by calling in and falsifying information, sometimes even pretending he was someone else underwriting Trump's loan.

          If Hitler could be said to be an idiot savant when it came to finding the right people to put in the right place to make shit work, Trump's sole talent is that of grifting. He's literally built his whole career out of lying.

          "That alone should stop any sane person from voting for him again, even if they were crazy enough not to have seen the signs in the last election."

          Roughly half of the US citizenry have grown up learning the concept that facts are somehow malleable as long as you believe differently. That's bad enough when it comes to the status of religion and science, but in politics that background premise makes shit go real dark, real fast.

          Insanity is not required when you can explain away everything you hear, touch and see with the words "I believe differently".

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 12:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

            "Trump's sole talent is that of grifting. He's literally built his whole career out of lying."

            I'm constantly impressed by that. Not because it's a good thing but because he seems to have an uncanny ability to get people to believe the most ridiculous lies, if even just long enough for him to profit from that. If only that kind of talent could be harnessed for good.

            "Insanity is not required when you can explain away everything you hear, touch and see with the words "I believe differently"."

            Personally, I'd say that if your entire life revolves around being able to look at objective reality, ignore it and put an alternative reality in its place, that's pretty much textbook insanity. You can't be completely sane if your life depends on fiction for it to operate.

            But, some holes are starting to show. Up until the pandemic started, I used to have regular arguments with a Trump fan here (yes, the cult has sadly infected other parts of the world), and no matter how much I tried to explain to him to blindingly obvious con game he was involved in he wouldn't listen. But, something about the pandemic response finally got through to him and he now admits that Trump is perhaps the worst thing he could ever have supported.

            Whether that happens quickly enough and solidly enough to turn around some of the cult who have actual voting power remains to be seen, but it's not a totally lost cause... yet.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Thad (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 9:34am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

              Whether that happens quickly enough and solidly enough to turn around some of the cult who have actual voting power remains to be seen, but it's not a totally lost cause... yet.

              Trump's approval has been remarkably consistent, but it's also never cracked 50%. I think the independents and swing voters are likely to break Biden this time. I don't know by how much, but he won last time by 107,000 votes in three states; a 0.04-point shift would have given the election to Clinton. And Biden's polling a lot better than Clinton did. (Before anyone says "the polls were wrong last time" -- no, they weren't; the reporting on them was wrong.)

              There's still a lot that can change before election day -- we've already had two October surprises and it's still September -- but there's a reason Biden's favored to win.

              But.

              Trump is directly undermining mail-in ballots, both in his rhetoric and his behavior (weakening the USPS, suing to prevent ballots from being counted in various states) and in last night's debate he encouraged voter intimidation by the Proud Boys. He's also made it very clear that he expects the election to go to the Supreme Court, and that that's part of why he's trying to rush Barrett's nomination through.

              I don't think Trump has much chance of winning in a fair fight. But he's doing absolutely everything he can to rig the game. I think he has a very real chance of winning the election through voter disenfranchisement and Supreme Court meddling, just like Bush did.

              But I don't think it's possible for him to do that unless the election is close. I know you're not American, but to the Americans reading this: make sure you vote, and do everything you can to make sure your vote counts. If you're not comfortable voting in-person, that's completely understandable, but just do everything you can to make sure your ballot gets in on time and is counted. I plan on filling out and submitting mine as soon as I get it; even with the cuts to the Post Office, that should still be plenty of time for it to get in. And if you're worried about the Post Office (and you should be), there's also the possibility of hand-delivering your mail-in ballot at a polling center or other dropoff location.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 30 Sep 2020 @ 11:29pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

                "I don't know by how much, but he won last time by 107,000 votes in three states"

                I don't have a link handy, but the other day I saw a report that over 100,000 people ave already voted, and the majority of them have voted Biden. Hopefully that's an indication of something, but let's see...

                "he won last time by 107,000 votes in three state; a 0.04-point shift would have given the election to Clinton."

                ...and this is really the most important thing to remember. Trump did not get voted in by a majority of the population. Clinton won the popular vote by over 3 million votes. What happened was that because of the electoral college system, those votes were effectively discarded because the voters happened to live in the "wrong" states, which by extension just happen to be the states where the most Americans live. The election was decided by a handful of votes that favoured land over people.

                So, obsessing over raw numbers this time will get nobody anywhere. What's needed is for voters to be motivated to have their voices heard everywhere and not be put off by the usual silly ideas that a vote doesn't count because they don't live in a swing state, or that there's no point in voting because their preferred candidate is polling so far ahead that they have it in the bag already.

                Trump knows this, so he's trying to make it more difficult to vote unless you go in person (since COVID is likely to put people off doing that), is encouraging groups like the Proud Boys to congregate at the polls to intimidate opposing voters, and is already making loud noises about how the only way he could lose is by some kind of fraud.

                The hope I have personally is that Trump has gone too far thins time. Last cycle, he was a novelty candidate who one side didn't take seriously because they thought nobody in their right mind would vote him into office, and the other side thought that a "successful businessman" and "outsider" would be what the system needed to shake it up in their favour. This time, most of his non-supporters now understand what a serious threat he is, while the other side has people starting to recognise that the business success he presented was all a con, and that he's easily the most corrupt president in recent history for personal gain at the expense of the country.

                Whether that translates into votes, and most importantly the correct votes, but compare to 6 months ago I don't think that either side is of the same mindset as they were. As someone who can only passively watch and hope that the right decision for the world is made, I hope I'm right.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 1 Oct 2020 @ 7:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

              "Not because it's a good thing but because he seems to have an uncanny ability to get people to believe the most ridiculous lies, if even just long enough for him to profit from that."

              Well, I guess it helps when you consider WHEN he managed to push his most obvious whoppers through banks and the competitors he wanted to buy and sell to and from. This was a while before the Enron fallout and the subsequent implementation of SoD/SoX standards...meaning that business was more often done by hunch.

              If he'd tried the same in 2010 he'd have been laughed out of the door as soon as the banks actually performed a cursory Counterparty Due Diligence on him.

              At the end of his broker era when his casinos all went bellyup he managed to run his usual scam to avoid getting hit by the bankruptcy proceedings himself and at that time the scuttlebutt had gone the rounds and the banks refused to lend him a single dime no matter what he did.

              This was when he discovered reality TV and loved it. And started selling his name for people to put on everything from buildings to steak.
              And also around that time he got really interested in Russia, having noticed all the russian oligarchs eager to launder money in the west.

              "I used to have regular arguments with a Trump fan here (yes, the cult has sadly infected other parts of the world)..."

              Same here in Sweden - mainly he get support from what the mainstream here considers to be christian religious extremists. The thing is that Trump has a lot of allure to many people since he's that epitome of the bullish asshole who manages to get his way no matter how many people try to sit on him. And unfortunately some people just have that deep instinct to roll over and admire the raging psychopath who always gets his way.
              I think it's the same phenomenon responsible for hard-time infamous convicts somehow attracting hordes of fans sending them love letters.
              The closest analogy I can draw here would be Barnum, who in the end was famous for drawing crowds just because they wanted to see how he'd pick their pockets next.

              "Whether that happens quickly enough and solidly enough to turn around some of the cult who have actual voting power remains to be seen, but it's not a totally lost cause... yet."

              If it was only him...honestly, the main issue is the rest of the GOP. I have never been so happy not to have been born an american as I am today, because for the next 40 years or until the current crop of supreme court judges start dropping off, americans will not be having a good time - and bluntly put much of the damage they've done to core US institutions and the concept of american democracy in general isn't fixable with less than 20 years worth of democrat supermajority in the white house and both houses of congress...and with enlightened effective leadership through the whole period.

              I'm not concerned with Trump, really. The greatest danger about him is that he's a most willing conduit for the absolutely worst parts of american far-right extremism and has absolutely no brakes. But his only motivation is narcissism. He'd love being a real dictator as his fawning admiration of Putin indicates, but his malice is fundamentally petty. He's a Nero, not a Caligula.

              What really scares me is whatever comes after Hindenburg...eh, I mean Biden...has had a go of...likely not doing very much as the broken pieces of Trump's reign starts crashing down on him.

              Trump may be more or less done one way or the other, but the GOP is finally in that position where they can do the most sustainable harm for a very long period of time, and they've publicly abandoned any and all pretensions of acting in the interests of democracy - or even of their own nation.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 1 Oct 2020 @ 11:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Parasitism at it's finest

                "If it was only him...honestly, the main issue is the rest of the GOP."

                I agree here, my main concern is McConnell. Trump and his incompetent, sycophantic, nepotistic administration needs to be shown the door, but half the reason why Obama wasn't as effective as everybody hoped is because McConnell was able to use his position to block everything he was trying to do on team sports grounds. He didn't care what Obama was trying to do, the default position was to block it, even if they were Republican bills in origin. The cultish parts of the party regularly held the entire government hostage because Obama needed to actually fund the bills that were fixing Bush's mess. The road ahead is already tough enough, and if whatever remnants of the current administration remains is both party about country and in a position with some power, it's going to be much harder to fix anything.

                "What really scares me is whatever comes after Hindenburg...eh, I mean Biden...has had a go of...likely not doing very much as the broken pieces of Trump's reign starts crashing down on him."

                Whatever happens, Biden is going to be a short term stopgap. I very much doubt that he will serve past his first term, and there's always the possibility that things will happen that mean that he won't complete that. I don't wish the chaos that him falling ill in, say, 2023 will sow, but there's a non-trivial risk that age or other factors could conspire to mean that he's not the head of the government for his entire term.

                But, whatever you think of the man himself recent years have opened up more progressive voices in the party and he doesn't see himself as the god king that Trump sees himself as. Installing people who are competent in positions they're not actively trying to destroy will be a good start, but who succeeds Biden in 2025 or before is as important as anything Biden does. If this is the remnants of the right-wing cult the country is screwed, but there is time to ensure that they won't be effective. Whatever happens will be better than anything Trump would do with a second term, but it's not just down to Biden himself to get those messages across.

                After that, who knows what will happen, but your obsession with what Biden personally will do is not telling the whole story of what his administration could or will be.

                reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Kennedy F Johnson, 29 Sep 2020 @ 5:07pm

      Re: Parasitism at it's finest

      " taking everything he can from a country he claims to love so much while giving as little as possible."

      Ask not, what your Country can take from you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Bt Garner (profile), 29 Sep 2020 @ 1:49pm

    So if I buy the $751 shirt, can I write that off as a business expense on my 2020 taxes?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 29 Sep 2020 @ 4:31pm

    I only wish i had $751 or more, really, to throw to Techdirt.

    Hell, I'd pay the $1,000,001 for Techdirt to never shut up.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Châu, 1 Oct 2020 @ 5:37am

    T-Shirt

    Please tell us if some person buy that T shirt!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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