It has become a maxim among trial lawyers and more recently journalists: “Never ask a question you don’t know the answer to.” Maybe that should become a rule of thumb for government office holders as well.
We saw this following the third and final presidential debate in a rhetorical question asked by Georgia State Representative Dar’shun Kendrick, who was incredulous that Donald Trump had claimed that illegal alien children “are brought here by coyotes and lots of bad people, cartels.”
Did @realDonaldTrump just say 545 kids they can't find their parents for came over through "cartels and coyotes"?! How the hell does a coyote bring a whole human across the border?! Lord—–stop talking. #FinalDebate
— Dar'shun Kendrick (@DarshunKendrick) October 23, 2020
The term coyote in this context refers to smugglers and human traffickers.
But Kendrick was not the only professional lawmaker to ask a stupid question based on something the president said during the debate. U.S. Congresswoman Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.) took issue with Trump’s claim that he has “prepaid” his taxes.
“Who prepays taxes?” Wilson asked snidely on Twitter. You could almost see the smirk on her face as she wrote.
Twitter lit up with reactions that continued long after Wilson deleted her post.
One person wrote:
Seriously?! Many people prepay their taxes. It is a smart move if you are in a high income bracket….and Trump is brilliant.
— Jaque Richards (@sottovocerocks) October 23, 2020
Easier to write smaller, quarterly checks than 1 big one. All Trump would do is show the employer match portion of all of his employees for the last year. I'm sure that is a huge number
— Fed up in Tx (@GlennrPitts1) October 23, 2020
USA Today ran the question by “tax expert” Harvey I. Bezozi, who answered affirmatively:
While Trump didn’t clarify how he prepaid his taxes, he could have relied on a few techniques, Bezozi says.
The U.S. requires workers to pay taxes as they earn their income — such as when companies withhold taxes from your biweekly paycheck. In one sense, workers can “prepay” their taxes if they withhold bigger amounts from their paychecks — a strategy that some people tap because it results in a juicier refund at tax time.
“It’s a forced savings plan,” Bezozi says. That “could very well be described as ‘prepaying their taxes.’”
But a much quicker answer could have been provided by asking any of 57.3 million Americans who work freelance and pay their taxes via quarterly estimates. This includes writers, restaurant waiters, independent contractors, and countless other non-salaried employees.