I get so tired of hearing political opinions that fail to recognize how they benefit their originator. We expect “conflict of interest” (COI) statements for research, because we realize that expected benefits reliably affect outcomes. Whether consciously or not, we are designed to have biases that benefit us. Which makes me extremely skeptical of anyone currently grossing <$100,000 / year and clamoring for "increased taxes for the rich." How is that fair for them to have to pay more taxes for the same benefits? I would take these opinions a lot more seriously if they were prefaced with a brief (but honest) COI statement. I, for example, might say:

“I’m currently a student, and I’m also having part of my education funded by the state of New Mexico. This means that I pay no taxes, and I am in fact a net drain on the economy at this point in time. Please keep my ‘no taxes paid’ status in mind as I tell you about how rich people should be laden with a disproportionately higher tax burden than others.”

Similarly, the rich politicians pushing for corporate tax breaks… Wouldn’t it be just a little more honest if they’d open with a statement of their gross income, how much they paid in taxes over the last few years, and some kind of overview of their stock holdings?

I know I’d take it a little more seriously, at least. Partly because I’d have more information on whether they were being consciously selfish, but mostly because it might help them see that the purported universal benefits of their suggestions on (e.g.) tax reform tend to carry *quite convenient* personal benefits as well. I’ll trust someone that tells me they’re acting out of self interest 1,000 times over before I trust someone that thinks their motives are altruistic.

Composed on my iPhone, please excuse and inform me (via comments) of typos and grammatical errors. Except sentence fragments.