Episode 288
Sep 29, 2020

Death and taxes come for us all, but not equally

This week, we're focusing just on taxes, to be clear.

Consider it Tax Returns Tuesday.

The New York Times put out part two of its bombshell investigation about President Donald Trump’s tax returns last night. Democratic nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden published his returns ahead of the first presidential debate this evening. Today though, we’re going to zoom out a bit.

Because here’s the thing: When Trump paid only $750 in federal income tax in both 2016 and 2017, he was following the law. In the United States, you can’t evade taxes, but there are a lot of rules that let you avoid them. Those rules don’t benefit everyone equally.

Here to give us some insight about the tax code is Chye-Ching Huang. She’s senior director of economic policy with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ federal fiscal policy team. The U.S. has a much smaller tax apparatus than other countries, she says, which also perpetuates inequality by funding fewer public services.

Later in the show, we’ll get fired up about mail-in ballots and bounce back when we hear our listeners’ love letters to Costco. Plus, Adriene from “Yoga With Adriene” answers the Make Me Smart question.

When you’re done listening, tell your Echo device to “make me smart” for our daily explainers. This week: school choice, “Jeopardy!” and tequila. Plus, don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter! You can find the latest issue here.

Here’s a list of everything we talked about today:

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The team

Molly Wood Host
Jody Becker Interim Senior Producer
Tony Wagner Digital Producer
Sam Anderson Associate Producer