One thing that Americans generally hate are cheaters. That is what many want you to believe. Cheaters not only diminish the hard work of others, but cheaters also take opportunities away from others. The IRS Oversight Board 2014 Taxpayer Attitude survey showed that of the thousand individuals the survey surveyed, 94% frowned on taxpayers who cheated on their taxes. A 2017 IRS survey of taxpayers found that 88% of Americans considered “not all acceptable to cheat on taxes.”

That is what Americans say publicly. But evidence suggests that Americans are cheaters.

The IRS’ own records betray the fact that Americans cheat on their taxes. In 2017, according to IRS data, 14 million Americans “owed $131 billion in taxes and penalties”. That was a billion with a “b”.

When it comes to marriage, over 40% of Americans have said that they have cheated, emotionally or physically.

When it comes to education, the numbers are grimmer.

Academic cheating is more prevalent than many Americans believe. A 2012 study into ethics in American youth by the Josephson Institute found that 51% of high school students in the United States (20,000 sampled) agreed that “successful people do what they have to do to win” even it is considered cheating. When asked if they cheated in a school test, 52% said they had.

What is worse is that a Fordham University poll found that “cheaters, on average, boast a 3.41 average” GPA, while the non-cheaters had a 2.85 GPA.

Cheating works.

The Varsity Blues scandal shows that cheating on school placement tests is far from difficult. Samuel Eshaghoff took tests for at least 15 students who paid him to take their SAT tests in 2011.

Mary Trump in her book, Too Much and Never Enough alleges that Donald Trump cheated on his SAT test. On Saturday, August 22, 2020, The Washington Post published the contents of several surreptitiously recorded conversations between Mary Trump and Donald trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, a former federal judge.

In the recordings, Barry says that Donald J. Trump cheated on his SAT test by having someone else take it for him so that he could get into the University of Pennsylvania.

When cheating becomes the standard in high school it becomes the reality for the rest of the lives of each student. Those who do not cheat perform worse forcing them to reconsider their stance on the ethics of cheating. Those who succeed by cheating continue to believe that the way forward is to cheat.

Many may be surprised in the revelations that Donald Trump has cheated on taxes and in school but the reality is that Americans cheat to get ahead.

Martin Paredes

Martín Paredes is a Mexican immigrant who built his business on the U.S.-Mexican border. As an immigrant, Martín brings the perspective of someone who sees México as a native through the experience...