NYT editorial board member writes op-ed saying everyone's income taxes should be available to the public

The very concept of privacy seems to be under attack (except, of course, as a justification for abortion, as laid out in Roe v. Wade — that is considered sacrosanct by the Left, including academia and the media).

Now, from a member of the New York Times editorial board, comes the suggestion that not just President Trump's but your and my income tax records should be publicly available.  I'm not kidding.  Binyamin Applebaum wrote in the Sunday edition — the one with the biggest readership:

… 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.

Pairing the words "jealousy" and "jocular" is absurd.  More fundamentally, the bitter jest of the Finns demonstrates the socially corrosive effect of making very personal information subject to the scrutiny of others.  Do we really want to live in a society like that?

Applebaum disingenuously fails to note that when the income tax first began in the United States (as part of the institution of Prohibition, to replace the federal tax revenue from alcohol that was lost), income taxes were levied only on the very richest Americans.  At the time, most Americans were told they would never be subjected to them, and, most likely, the constitutional amendment required for income taxes would not have passed had Americans realized they were to be targeted along with the Rockefellers and Astors.  Applebaum indirectly partially acknowledges this by writing, "One important piece of evidence is that wealthy Americans absolutely hated the disclosure law, and soon persuaded Congress to execute a U-turn" but never informs his readers that 99% of Americans paid no income taxes then.

Of course, privacy is slipping away from us rapidly, as internet privacy has become a joke and as Americans voluntarily install spy devices such Amazon Echo in their homes, enabling the lefty techies to listen in on their conversations, and as Google keeps note of what we search for online.

The very concept of privacy seems to be under attack (except, of course, as a justification for abortion, as laid out in Roe v. Wade — that is considered sacrosanct by the Left, including academia and the media).

Now, from a member of the New York Times editorial board, comes the suggestion that not just President Trump's but your and my income tax records should be publicly available.  I'm not kidding.  Binyamin Applebaum wrote in the Sunday edition — the one with the biggest readership:

… 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.

Pairing the words "jealousy" and "jocular" is absurd.  More fundamentally, the bitter jest of the Finns demonstrates the socially corrosive effect of making very personal information subject to the scrutiny of others.  Do we really want to live in a society like that?

Applebaum disingenuously fails to note that when the income tax first began in the United States (as part of the institution of Prohibition, to replace the federal tax revenue from alcohol that was lost), income taxes were levied only on the very richest Americans.  At the time, most Americans were told they would never be subjected to them, and, most likely, the constitutional amendment required for income taxes would not have passed had Americans realized they were to be targeted along with the Rockefellers and Astors.  Applebaum indirectly partially acknowledges this by writing, "One important piece of evidence is that wealthy Americans absolutely hated the disclosure law, and soon persuaded Congress to execute a U-turn" but never informs his readers that 99% of Americans paid no income taxes then.

Of course, privacy is slipping away from us rapidly, as internet privacy has become a joke and as Americans voluntarily install spy devices such Amazon Echo in their homes, enabling the lefty techies to listen in on their conversations, and as Google keeps note of what we search for online.