Thursday, November 16, 2017

When Pritzker finally releases tax returns, will many comprehend them?

It has become the issue that won’t die, even though I wonder how many people truly care.
PRITZKER: Will we comprehend his wealth?

That is, the public disclosure of one’s income tax returns – as in candidates for government office releasing for public disclosure copies of the tax returns filed with the Internal Revenue Service and Illinois Department of Revenue.

MANY POLITICAL OFFICIALS make a point of letting their returns become public right around Tax Day. It’s usually an attempt by government officials to show some sense of normality about their lives – something they have in common with those of us who comprise the electorate and decide who we want in office.

But in this era of excessively (or is that obscenely?) wealthy people running for office, the very issue of making details of one’s finances public has become the equivalent of classified information.

Donald Trump is most famous for this – what with the way he went through the 2016 election cycle without ever letting the public know just how wealthy he is (he says his returns are “too confusing” for us mere mortals to comprehend).

But I can’t help but be amused by the way the Illinois Republican Party has repeatedly pointed out the degree to which Democratic gubernatorial hopeful J.B. Pritzker has yet to release his tax returns.
TRUMP: He started non-disclosure issue

THE PEOPLE WHO likely would be the first to defend Trump’s “right” to privacy are claiming that Pritzker is hiding something from us. Heck, even Democrat Daniel Biss’ long-shot gubernatorial campaign is starting to try to use the issue against Pritzker.

Personally, what I take from that behavior is that Biss isn’t a loyal team player, insofar as the Democratic Party is concerned.

But the way some people are determined to keep this issue alive truly makes me wonder if they just don’t have anything else they can complain about.
RAUNER: Will he trash J.B. after saying little on Trump?

Seriously, it amuses me the way Illinois Republican operatives seem capable of working this tax return issue against Pritzker on just about every issue. Somehow, they always seem to find a way to bring the talk back around to that.

EVEN IN CASES where it is completely irrelevant and the fact they bring it up reflects more poorly upon them than it ever could on Pritzker.

For what it’s worth, Pritzker campaign aides tell the Chicago Tribune they plan to make the disclosure later this year when they file his financial disclosure forms along with nominating petitions to formally get him on the ballot for the March 20 primary elections.

That means some time about Dec. 4, we could finally get to see just how wealthy Pritzker is – and how much of the Pritzker family fortune he has a piece of. The sad thing is that a part of me wonders if Trump is correct when he talks about “too confusing.”

I wonder how many those of us whose own finances don’t come anywhere near the complexity of trying to legally hide income in obscure places so as to reduce one’s tax burden so significantly will be truly capable of appreciating the Pritzker info?

PERSONALLY, I THINK that what we’d learn about Trump if we ever get public disclosure is just how little in taxes he pays, relative to his overall income. While complaining that the wealthy are being overtaxed, and in need of even more relief.
BISS: Dem willing to use issue against J.B.

Who knows what we’d learn about J.B. Or even care much. Most of us would probably need a "Cliff's Notes"-type version in order to comprehend exactly what Pritzker is worth.

If anything, this is an issue where prompt disclosure probably is best. Dump the raw info that many won’t comprehend, and you erase the issue of non-disclosure. Most won’t care enough to study the details.

And as for those who get obsessive over studying the details, it’s more than likely that the masses will dismiss them as being geeky. It’s like political people draw more attention to the issue with non-disclosure than the masses would give it otherwise.


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