I Don’t Care About Your Taxes

I really don’t.

I mean, I care that you’re paying your taxes.  Everyone.  Not just elected officials, everyone.  Pay your due.  And in the process maybe we are all reminded that those great big numbers that get tossed around in budget discussions both local and national have to do with our money.  My money.  Your money.  And maybe we should care about how it gets spent and why.

But otherwise, I don’t care.  I think the ‘tradition’ of sharing tax paperwork as part of the election process is more a matter of voyeurism for some rather than anything overly meaningful.  I’d much rather have an independent, bi-partisan audit of ten years worth of tax returns for anyone seeking public office at the national level, to be paid for by the candidates, not the tax-payers.  Frankly, even this shouldn’t be necessary because theoretically the IRS should be ensuring that people pay the proper amount of taxes.  But anyone who seeks leadership ought to be willing to submit their private data to a private audit, the results of which are to remain private unless there are unusual discrepancies (who gets to define what is unusual?  that should be a fun argument!).  Candidates would be informed of the discrepancies privately, at which time they could decide if they want to address the discrepancies and move forward with their campaign or drop out.  If they move forward, then the discrepancies would be made public – but nothing more.  Candidate X failed to declare $45,000 of income and owes $x in taxes on it.  End of story – unless the voters think that it’s important enough to base their votes on.

How honest you are on your taxes is a good measure of how much you can be trusted when people aren’t looking to do what is right.  Anyone can make a mistake, but a trail of problems tends to make me suspicious.  But I don’t need to know the personal details of these candidates in broader terms.



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