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Is it always “smart” for individuals & businesses to avoid taxes as much as possible? Or should a good citizen grudgingly pay a fair share? Is Trump right to be proud of not paying any taxes some years? YOU DECIDE: Vote whether Trump or Cuban is right by commenting below. Results to be tallied.

From USA Today's website Sept. 27

When I was at a press breakfast Friday in Beverly Hills for Shark Tank, I was waiting my turn to interview Mark Cuban, who I have known, written about and admired since about 1999. Instead, he came up behind me and renewed our acquaintance. He was generous in his memories about past stories i had written about him.

That dates back to his storied beginnings when at the height of a stock market bubble filled with hype about the potential of the Internet in the late 1990s, he and a few others created a company that would stream video from TV networks and others online, like a new kind of network. Cuban solid it for about a billion dollars.

Since then he has enjoyed a unique position in America, and has worked on being a better citizen. He bought the Dallas Mavs franchise (which is worth much more now), built a TV network called AXS (merging it with strong partners), became a TV star on Shark Tank and sports TV and never stopped talking about things important to him (sometimes drawing fines from the NBA).

The point he raises in the presidential race separates many Trump supporters from the Clinton voters in an important way.

The controversial question is: Should a citizen pay forward by willingly paying a fair share of their taxes and those of their company?

PAR FOR THE COURSE: Trump has been open about his business and life philosophy, as he was in his June 24th speech in Scotland when he opined that the vote to separate the UK from the European Union was good because it would help his interests.

Like Trump, many smart businessmen today see themselves as Americans but also citizens of the world. They use every lever to avoid taxes moving money from Switzerland to Ireland to the Cayman Islands and beyond. Like Trump they just think it is right to be clever, tough, play cities against each other, use lobbyists to seek huge tax breaks and do anything just inside the far edge of what the law allows - and to avoid taxes at every turn?

The powerful Alt-right and many in the GOP, and some Democrats, would certainly agree with Trump at the first debate. When challenged by Secretary Clinton about not paying any taxes, he injected: "That makes me smart."

Cuban doesn't agree. He is saying that the system is flawed when a man like Trump will make, by his own account, almost $700 million this year, pays very little or no taxes (and that doesn't even address phony philanthropy).

“I get audited every year my taxes are — it takes me 45 minutes just to sign all the different taxes that I have to spend,” Cuban told USA Today after the first debate. “And I tell my tax lawyers and everybody, you know, take advantage of — do what the law recommends. But I’m not against paying taxes.”

“At some point,” added Cuban, “you have to realizes you have to give back. And you have to realize that this is a country that’s been great to us. And you can’t just take, take, take, take, take, take.”

Cuban attended the first debate as a guest of the Hillary Clinton campaign with a front row seat. After it was announced that he would attend, Trump called Cuban a loser because of the failure of his Apprentice-like TV show The Benefactor. However, Trump didn't mention Cuban has been on the hit Shark Tank for eight seasons, and the show has won back to back to back Emmys while The Apprentice was shutout.

So is Trump right? Or is Cuban right?

Is it OK to use any loophole, game the tax code in creative ways, move money around the globe to avoid taxes, refuse to bring profits home to avoid taxes, BECAUSE YOU CAN?

Cuban feels strongly that is not right. WHAT DO YOU THINK?

COMMENT below or on Alex Ben Block’s Facebook page.

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