Image courtesy of Joseph Sohm /

CNN’s bespectacled morning anchor, Carol Costello, moves to the first segment of her morning show, Newsroom:

Costello: As has been reported by the New York Times, Donald Trump’s 1995 personal tax return shows a deduction for a loss of—get this—over $915 million dollars. According to tax experts, this loss could have allowed Mr. Trump to legally avoid paying taxes for 18 years. So what do you think of this? Let’s talk. Today, we have Trump surrogate and former New York Mayor, Rudy Giuliani, tax expert Robert Clawson, and civil rights advocate from Louisiana, Mae Du Bois. (the camera shows all three at a semi-circular table facing Ms. Costello) Let’s start with Mayor Giuliani. What do you make of the Trump tax return?

Giuliani: It shows the brilliance of Donald Trump, plain and simple.

Costello: Brilliance?

Giuliani: Of course, who else could think of ways to go two decades without paying federal income tax? The man is a financial genius, just what our country needs, not some woman…um, person who has only created jobs in the FBI for agents investigating her.

Costello: Woman, huh? Isn’t this just another loophole that Mr. Trump is using to take advantage of America?

Giuliani: Absolutely not. It’s every American’s patriotic duty to pay as little tax as possible. That’s what makes America great.

Costello: Like in Italy, where income tax laws are considered a recommendation?

Giuliani: My ethnicity should not be an issue in this discussion, Carol.

Costello: Okay, Mr. Clawson, you are a tax partner with a major accounting firm and have worked in the field for 30 years. Can you answer the question—is Mr. Trump acting legally?

Clawson: I don’t have all the returns, but from the looks of it, Mr. Trump is using what’s called a ‘net operating loss carry forward’ to shield his taxes after 1995.

Costello: That sounds a bit dodgy to me, can you explain?

Clawson: Yes, if a taxpayer loses money in a given year, he or she can spread the unused loss over future years as a deduction from income taxes. It’s perfectly legal.

Costello: Hmm. What do you think of this argument, Ms. Du Bois?

Du Bois: It’s ridiculous, just another way the rich soak the poor in this country.

Costello: Can you explain?

Du Bois: If I was a working class woman of color, do you think I could get away with a $915 million deduction? No way.

(Giuliani and Clawson look at Du Bois with dismay)

Costello: I suppose it would be difficult.

Du Bois: Damn straight it would be.

Costello: Mr. Clawson, do you agree?

Clawson: Yes, anyone with middle class income who claims $915 million in business losses would probably receive extra IRS scrutiny.

Du Bois: See? Even the pros agree with me. Thanks, Bob.

Clawson: Don’t mention it, Mae.

Costello: Well, apart from the tax aspects of this, does Mr. Trump’s return reveal anything relevant to his candidacy?

Giuliani: Sheer genius and financial sophistication, like I said.

Costello: Can you explain how a $915 million loss is evidence of financial genius?

Giuliani: You can’t lose a billion dollars unless you have a billion dollars. Who better to watch over our $17 trillion economy?

If you like this satire, you’ll love Buzz Kill, an irreverent, hysterical novel about political correctness in corporate America. Check out our reviews here.