Blogger Rex Hammock writes about his brief meeting with the President:
“My Warholian 15/45 minutes: I?m writing this in a cab on my way to BWI for a flight back home to Nashville. I just walked out of the Old Executive Office Building where four other ?real people? and I sat down for a 25-minute chat with the President of the United States. Then the five of us stood behind him while he told a room full of people why the tax cuts he has championed should be made permanent…..”
Meanwhile, from the Washington Post:
The White House press corps yesterday scrambled to figure out why a hastily-arranged “conversation” between President Bush and some regular Americans about the economy was suddenly closed to reporters — and what went on behind those closed doors.
If you want to learn about politics at its hardest core, read this article in the Chicago Sun-Times How Democrat fund-raiser scored Dean knockout.
The author of the article, Washington Bureau Chief Lynn Sweet, is currently in residence at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard. I attended a seminar yesterday in which she introduced David W. Jones, the fund-raiser who produced the attack ads.
Using a “527 committee” which is allowed under the McCain-Feingold law, Jones raised $663,000 from only 26 donors, including $100,000 from a single donor. He used the money to fund a poll to assess Dean’s vulnerabilities, and 3 attack ads that went after Dean: Top Grades, Facts, and the notorious Osama ad.
Thanks to Centerfield
David Cay Johnston writes today in the New York Times that a federal grand jury in Manhattan is investigating the sale of tax shelters by KPMG, the big accounting firm, to corporations and wealthy individuals who used them to escape at least $1.4 billion in federal taxes.
I sent this email to firstname.lastname@example.org today:
I am writing in response to your periodic coverage of “abusive” tax shelters.
I believe articles such as this would better serve your readers if they included references to the mess that is the US Tax Code (David Cay Johnston’s book includes many useful references). The code is ripe for all sorts of strategies and tactics, many that I’m sure remain to be discovered and exploited.
One of the worst examples, I believe, is the deductibility of vehicles over 6000lbs – which has lead many independent and small business owners who formerly drove sedans to purchase very large, gas guzzling vehicles, simply for tax reasons. What has this policy cost the treasury?
This Edmunds article mentions $17billion over 10 years.
How about ethanol?
Yet another example:
Prior to a 1986 Tax Law change, real estate partnerships (among other examples) were created for the purpose of generating tax losses. Partnerships were created for the sole purpose of selling tax losses.
I find the political grandstanding on this issue absurd. Does Senator Levin disapprove of the massive SUV tax subsidies?
Why has this issue been attractive to some politicians, vs other tax matters? Is there another agenda? Who benefits if the accounting firms are largely taken out of the tax shelter game? Do law firms and investment banks continue to do their deals?
Best wishes -
You can watch, and view transcripts of the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs November, 2003 hearings on this matter here [Day 1 | Day 2]