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View Poll Results: Which of these financial planning strategies are unethical in your opinion?
Manage timing of Roth conversions to reduce the income taxes that you pay 1 0.59%
Manage your income to optimize ACA subsidies 25 14.79%
Time when you start taking social security retirement benefits to optimize your benefits 1 0.59%
Structure your assets so you can obtain Medicaid LTC benefits 75 44.38%
Take unemployment when you have no intention of returning to work 74 43.79%
None of the above 49 28.99%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 169. You may not vote on this poll

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Poll: Which of these is unethical?
Old 01-18-2018, 09:56 PM   #1
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Poll: Which of these is unethical?

Looking to get a sense of the community as to which of these popular financial planning strategies are unethical in your opinion.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:35 PM   #2
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Maybe you should have added "Taking a child dependent deduction when a single person is unable to do it"

I am more concerned with continually paying to support other peoples children than someone maximizing the tax code to avoid taxes.
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:55 PM   #3
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I'm missing the point I guess....
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Old 01-18-2018, 10:58 PM   #4
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Maybe you should have added "Taking a child dependent deduction when a single person is unable to do it"

I am more concerned with continually paying to support other peoples children than someone maximizing the tax code to avoid taxes.
It is called governmental social engineering. They have the child tax credit, so people will have an incentive to have children and increase the population.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:08 PM   #5
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It is called governmental social engineering. They have the child tax credit, so people will have an incentive to have children and increase the population.
Do you really think people would have fewer children if the child tax credit disappeared? I don't.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:13 PM   #6
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scrabbler1, I agree with you but it is a help.

Senator.... a single person can get the child tax credit.... all they need to do is have a qualifying child.

Seriously, I understand your frustration.. but OTOH with a declining population in the US we need to increase birth rates for the long term benefit of the country and the child tax credit helps young families so I don't have much of an issue with it.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:29 PM   #7
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Mods... how do I add a choice for "None of the above"?
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:34 PM   #8
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Mods... how do I add a choice for "None of the above"?
OK, all set.
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Old 01-18-2018, 11:40 PM   #9
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It is called governmental social engineering. They have the child tax credit, so people will have an incentive to have children and increase the population.
If increasing the population meant increasing the tax base, I would agree. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The average number of children is higher in lower income families.


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Do you really think people would have fewer children if the child tax credit disappeared? I don't.
They certainly would have less children if additional public assistance was not increased.


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Old 01-19-2018, 12:25 AM   #10
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These are all interactions with the federal and state governments. Basically the only entities allowed to initiate force. Interactions between two individuals or private entities is on an equal footing, but that is not the case between an individual and a government.

The law happens to be very specific about these being legal. The ethics were supposed to be determined by consensus prior to them becoming law. Therefore to the extent they are legal they are ethical.

I consider ethics more important in making decisions involving other individuals since there are a whole host of dynamically evolving cultural rules that require ad hoc decisions, founded on what I hope are principles of decency.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:18 AM   #11
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Just because something is legal does not make it ethical. Abortion might be considered one. Over pricing medicines to the point people die because they can't afford them just because the company can. Selling cigarettes and other tobacco products, especially with advertisement geared toward young people.
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Old 01-19-2018, 01:57 AM   #12
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Mods... how do I add a choice for "None of the above"?
This is a very interesting and thought provoking poll. Along with a "None of the above", an "All of the above" Also could be an option.

Also, what is considered ethical or moral by one person may be considered not by another.

Kind of like plaiying to win all all costs vs how you play the game. Thought provoking!
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:01 AM   #13
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Interesting. There are a number of other items I could add, but I have to go to w$rk. I do wonder if this thread will be locked by the time I get home tonight.
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Old 01-19-2018, 04:52 AM   #14
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If I am not mistaken, to receive unemployment you have to state you are actively seeking work. If so, this is the only unethical item in the list since you have to lie to obtain this item. The others are simply tax or benefit programs. And, as long as you follow the established rules, none are unethical. Maybe they are poorly designed with loopholes but not unethical.


Edited to add: IOW, if we are expected to follow the rules when we pay taxes, we should be allowed to follow the rules to avoid taxes or receive benefits.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:25 AM   #15
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If I am not mistaken, to receive unemployment you have to state you are actively seeking work. If so, this is the only unethical item in the list since you have to lie to obtain this item. The others are simply tax or benefit programs. And, as long as you follow the established rules, none are unethical. Maybe they are poorly designed with loopholes but not unethical.
I agree. If it is legal, it is ethical - mostly (related to those). If you don't like what is happening, then change the law. If it is not verifiable, like the unemployment example above, find another way to provide the benefit, or get rid of it. Leave no room for polls like this

Far, far too many gray areas in the law for me, anyway. I'm a black-and-white kind of guy - flat tax, no earmarks, term limits, etc. Pretty sure I'm an outlier here....

JMHO
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:41 AM   #16
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The law happens to be very specific about these being legal. The ethics were supposed to be determined by consensus prior to them becoming law. Therefore to the extent they are legal they are ethical.
Taking unemployment with no intent to seek work is legal? I thought seeking work was a requirement in all states.

I was surprised to see that structuring assets to qualify for Medicaid gets a lot of negative response. I thought that was one that Medicaid Services suggests (spend down and you will qualify). They have a five year look-back to make sure you haven't transferred assets.

Edit: I only just now saw the irrevocable living trust thread so I understand the antipathy to Medicaid restructuring.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:43 AM   #17
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If I am not mistaken, to receive unemployment you have to state you are actively seeking work. If so, this is the only unethical item in the list since you have to lie to obtain this item. The others are simply tax or benefit programs. And, as long as you follow the established rules, none are unethical. Maybe they are poorly designed with loopholes but not unethical.


Edited to add: IOW, if we follow the rules when we pay taxes, we should be allowed to follow the rules to avoid taxes or receive benefits.
If I was looking for work, and all of my 'work' options were not as much fun as not working so I declined them, isn't that still looking for work?
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:53 AM   #18
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I don't know about the ethical aspect, but I would not structure my assets to receive LTC from Medicaid. I worked too damn hard assembling the assets to shield myself from Medicaid.

The unemployment is a gray area. The reason I would be eligible for it would be that I was laid off. Even if I was pretty sure I was not going back to work, I would probably keep the option open and collect the benefits while I analyzed the situation.

The rest seem fine to me. People arrange their lives to minimize their taxes and maximize their benefits all the time. I don't like subsidizing healthcare for wealthy people, but I pay for public schools in wealthy areas, which is somewhat analogous.
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Old 01-19-2018, 05:55 AM   #19
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If I was looking for work, and all of my 'work' options were not as much fun as not working so I declined them, isn't that still looking for work?
The poll states "no intention of returning to work". Georgia law (as an example) states, "must be actively seeking employment". I can't make those two statements reconcile but others might be able to. My main point was that I did not see this conflict in the other items listed in the poll.

Edited to add: And, it depends on what the definition of "is" is.
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Old 01-19-2018, 06:41 AM   #20
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The poll states "no intention of returning to work". Georgia law (as an example) states, "must be actively seeking employment". I can't make those two statements reconcile but others might be able to. My main point was that I did not see this conflict in the other items listed in the poll.

Edited to add: And, it depends on what the definition of "is" is.
Yes I voted for it because I concluded that all the others are income management choices which are not unethical.
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