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#1 User is offline   Gertie Keddle 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 07:30 AM

Everyone’s Income Taxes Should Be Public

Disclosure of tax payments would make it easier to hold politicians accountable. It also would help to reduce fraud and economic inequality.

By Binyamin Appelbaum
NY Times
April 13, 2019
Excerpt:

In October 1924, the federal government threw open for public inspection the files that recorded the incomes of American taxpayers, and the amounts they had paid in taxes.

Americans were gripped by a fever of interest in the finances of their neighbors. This newspaper devoted a large chunk of the front page to a list of the top taxpayers in Manhattan under a banner headline that read “J.D. Rockefeller Jr. Paid $7,435,169.” One story reported that a number of wives and ex-wives had lined up at a government office in New York to seek information about their present or former husbands. Journalists soon began to note the curious absence of some conspicuously wealthy people from the lists of top taxpayers.

Congress had ordered the disclosure as a weapon against tax fraud. “Secrecy is of the greatest aid to corruption,” said Senator Robert Howell of Nebraska. “The price of liberty is not only eternal vigilance, but also publicity.”

There is every reason to think that sunlight served the desired purpose. One important piece of evidence is that wealthy Americans absolutely hated the disclosure law, and soon persuaded Congress to execute a U-turn.

Almost a century later, it’s time to revisit the merits of universal public disclosure. Democrats in Congress are fighting to obtain President Trump’s tax returns under a separate 1924 law, written in response to related concerns about public corruption. That issue could be resolved, at least in part, if Congress embraced the broader case for publishing everyone’s tax bill.

Now as then, disclosure could help to ensure that people pay a fair share of taxes. Americans underpay their taxes by more than $450 billion each year, more than 10 percent of total federal revenue. Publishing a list of millionaires who paid little or no taxes this year could significantly reduce the number of millionaires who pay little or no taxes next year.

In Norway, where tax records have been public since the founding of the modern state in 1814, a newspaper put the records online in 2001. One study estimated that the records’ greater availability caused a 3.1 percent increase in the reported incomes of self-employed Norwegians over the next three years, perhaps because they feared exposure.

Disclosure also could help to reduce disparities in income, as well as disparities in tax payments. Inequality is easier to ignore in the absence of evidence. In Finland, where tax data is published each year on Nov. 1 — jovially known as National Jealousy Day — people treat the information as a barometer of whether inequality is yawning too wide.

Consider that public corporations are required to report the compensation of top executives — who check disclosures of rival companies to ensure they are not underpaid.

Another benefit would be identifying patterns of illegal discrimination against women or minorities. Lilly Ledbetter, for whom the 2009 fair pay law is named, would have learned a lot sooner that she was making less than her male colleagues at a Goodyear plant in Alabama if she could have looked up their annual incomes on a government website.

Transparency could even help to increase economic growth. People who know how much their co-workers are paid — and how much people are paid at other companies, and in other industries — can make better career decisions.

Tax data also is a rich source of information about American life. The I.R.S. tightly limits access, but one of the few researchers allowed to work with that data, the Harvard economist Raj Chetty, has produced a series of important studies illuminating the mechanics of economic inequality. He and his collaborators have shown that Americans have a dwindling chance of making more money than their parents, and that living in a good neighborhood as a child has a lifelong impact on earnings. One can only imagine what others might learn from the data.

Calling for more disclosure may seem discordant at a time of growing concern about privacy. But income taxation is an act of government, not an aspect of private life. Property tax records provide a reasonable model. Local governments disclose the name of the property owner, the value of the property and the amount of taxes owed and paid. The same information should be available for income taxes — nothing more is necessary.

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#2 User is offline   Taggart Transcontinental 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 07:54 AM

I want to see Pelosi's taxes from the day she entered Congress until today. There are some very fishy activities there. She went from 30K in the bank to over 140 Million on less than 100K / year for most of those years. Even living with no expenses that's impossible unless you are acting shady or just completely talented. There is no proof that Pelosi is talented at anything other than being a thief.
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#3 User is offline   MikeTexas 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:07 AM

can these people imagine how that would affect the work environment. The office politics would destroy many companies.
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#4 User is offline   Hieronymous 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:08 AM

View PostTaggart Transcontinental, on 15 April 2019 - 07:54 AM, said:

I want to see Pelosi's taxes from the day she entered Congress until today. There are some very fishy activities there. She went from 30K in the bank to over 140 Million on less than 100K / year for most of those years. Even living with no expenses that's impossible unless you are acting shady or just completely talented. There is no proof that Pelosi is talented at anything other than being a thief.

I remember in the 2016 debates then candidate Trump asking Hillary Clinton how she could work in public service for 30 years and be worth 250 mil.

This post has been edited by Hieronymous: 15 April 2019 - 08:09 AM

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#5 User is offline   mjperry51 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:33 AM

Screw all this
Fair Tax. . .

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#6 User is offline   Severian 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 08:41 AM

There's no limit to the awful, destructive ideals the Left/Dems will float to rationalize their hatred and desire to get Trump. The rationalization is strong in this one.
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#7 User is offline   gravelrash 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:35 AM

Binyamin Appelbaum believes this so much that he didn't post his own income taxes.
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#8 User is offline   Tikk 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:44 AM

.. and then there's that whole 4th Amendment thing ....
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#9 User is offline   Natural Selection 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 09:53 AM

View PostGertie Keddle, on 15 April 2019 - 07:30 AM, said:

In Finland, where tax data is published each year on Nov. 1 — jovially known as National Jealousy Day — people treat the information as a barometer of whether inequality is yawning too wide.


Didn't seem to help. :lol:

Finnish Government Collapses Due to Rising Cost of Universal Health Care
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#10 User is offline   RedSoloCup 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:15 AM

View PostTaggart Transcontinental, on 15 April 2019 - 07:54 AM, said:

I want to see Pelosi's taxes from the day she entered Congress until today. There are some very fishy activities there. She went from 30K in the bank to over 140 Million on less than 100K / year for most of those years. Even living with no expenses that's impossible unless you are acting shady or just completely talented. There is no proof that Pelosi is talented at anything other than being a thief.


:exactly:
You sure aren't the only one.

Precisely why she and the other crook Democraps refuse to release them. Too much shady activity would come up to the surface....:whistling:
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#11 User is offline   Martin 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 11:51 AM

"Everyone's taxes should be made public"? What a wonderful opportunity for identity theft.
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#12 User is offline   Big Dave 

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Posted 15 April 2019 - 05:17 PM

View PostMartin, on 15 April 2019 - 11:51 AM, said:

"Everyone's taxes should be made public"? What a wonderful opportunity for identity theft.

:exactly:
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#13 User is offline   mjperry51 

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 07:20 AM

I guess the Right to Privacy isn't a Leftist thing any more. . .
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#14 User is offline   Bubbajoebob 

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 08:33 AM

View PostMartin, on 15 April 2019 - 11:51 AM, said:

"Everyone's taxes should be made public"? What a wonderful opportunity for identity theft.

And a good shopping list for thieves who want to know who probably has good stuff to steal. (The same reason that lists of gun owners are a bad idea.)
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#15 User is offline   RedSoloCup 

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Posted 16 April 2019 - 08:51 AM

View PostMartin, on 15 April 2019 - 11:51 AM, said:

"Everyone's taxes should be made public"? What a wonderful opportunity for identity theft.


Except if it's Democrap politicians that are the victims. Karma, it's a mother.

This post has been edited by RedSoloCup: 16 April 2019 - 08:53 AM

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#16 User is offline   BARman29 

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Posted 17 April 2019 - 04:43 AM

Just because Europeans do it doesn't make it any better of a policy.
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