View Poll Results: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

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  • Yes, it's necessary, and it should continue.

    7 41.18%
  • Usually meaningless, but sometimes useful information is revealed.

    8 47.06%
  • No. Please make it stop.

    2 11.76%
  • Other.

    0 0%
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Thread: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

  1. #1
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    Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Of course, it is not legally required, it is only done as a matter of... tradition? Expectation? A game of "chicken"? A game of "Got'cha!"? It all started with Richard Nixon as the VP candidate in 1952. Since then, it's become expected. It changed the unwritten rules, one might say.

    But... in YOUR opinion... is it really necessary?

  2. #2
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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    No, I don't think it is necessary.

  3. #3
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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Incredibly stupid.
    "I have never understood why it is "greed" to want to keep the money you have earned but not greed to want to take somebody else's money." -Thomas Sowell

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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    The vast majority of the time it is meaningless, but important information does come out occasionally. However, I'd still prefer that it just stop.

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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    I think it's stupid insofar that people will use them for negative attacks. Apparently these days it's a sin to have capital gains because it's not taxed as normal income. In addition, what I write off and my charitable donations are nobody else's business.

    On a side note, as an accountant, I'm against it because people think they know crap about taxes and how they work. It's borderline insulting. It's something akin to self-diagnosing your illness through the internet and going to your local doctor so you can tell him what you have.

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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    I think it can occasionally provide some insight into the mind and character of the person running for office. And I'm not just talking about scandals; I think that ANY wealthy person is going to have some questionable stuff on their tax returns if one were to dig deeply enough, so I'm generally not interested in the "OMG can you believe Senator Jones claimed this deduction! Scandal! Impeachment!" type of coverage that they usually generate. I'm more interested in what it says about the candidate's lifestyle and his or her priorities.

    But no, it's not NECESSARY, persay. I don't expect them to be bombshell news coverage. But since I see no reason why it's a bad idea, I think they should keep releasing them, barring a very good reason.
    Last edited by Kandahar; 04-14-12 at 09:04 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    On one hand, I find the whole situation annoying because it promotes mudslinging over irrelevant details. However, I think that also illustrates the primary benefit of the system: there hasn't been a presidential candidate in the last 50 years who didn't have squeaky clean financials. The mere existence of the tradition means that anyone who engages in shady behavior doesn't even consider running. Overall, it probably cuts down on the number of corrupt weasels by a considerable margin.

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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by rathi
    However, I think that also illustrates the primary benefit of the system: there hasn't been a presidential candidate in the last 50 years who didn't have squeaky clean financials.
    I fully agree. Usually people who are rich and powerful enough to consider Presidential candidacy get their taxes done by CPAs and CPA firms. This is a very good method of transparency. A CPA has stringent ethical boundaries they cannot cross at the risk of license forfeiture, much like lawyers who face disbarment or doctors with a pitfall of license revocation. The AICPA retains the power and right to basically say that you're not one of them anymore if they find someone who engages in illegal or fraudulent behavior.

    Nobody is going to risk their career and livelihood to muck up a few numbers, I promise you that.

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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Usually pointless, but this year it showed that Obama was a hypocrite. He spends a lot of time talking about how little Buffet pays in taxes, that he pays less of an effective rate than his secretary, then this year, shows that he, himself, paid less than the 30% that he wants millionaires to pay.

    No surprise there.
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    Re: Presidential candidates releasing income tax returns?

    Quote Originally Posted by Cephus View Post
    Usually pointless, but this year it showed that Obama was a hypocrite. He spends a lot of time talking about how little Buffet pays in taxes, that he pays less of an effective rate than his secretary, then this year, shows that he, himself, paid less than the 30% that he wants millionaires to pay.

    No surprise there.
    You have a strange definition of hypocrisy. This isn't evidence of hypocrisy. It's just evidence of how the current tax code works.
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