Economic Scene: What Donald Trump’s Big Tax Break Might Buy

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A convenience store in Reading, Pa. The money Donald J. Trump avoided paying in taxes because of losses on failed business ventures could have paid the average food stamp benefit of $126 a month for more than 300,000 people for a year.

Credit
Mark Makela for The New York Times

What would, say, a half-billion dollars do for the well-being of the American people?

Donald J. Trump acknowledged during his second presidential debate with Hillary Clinton on Sunday night that he had deployed nearly $1 billion in losses incurred on failed business ventures to avoid paying federal income taxes for years.

Such a huge loss would be worth a lot of money to a top 1 percenter like Mr. Trump. Assuming he used it to the fullest — as he has boasted he has — avoiding taxes on $50 million of…

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