Thomas L. Friedman:
But don’t worry – Congress is on the case. It dropped everything last week to pass a bill to protect gun makers from shooting victims’ lawsuits. The fact that the U.S. has fallen to 16th in the world in broadband connectivity aroused no interest. Look, I don’t even like cellphones, but this is not about gadgets. The world is moving to an Internet-based platform for commerce, education, innovation and entertainment. Wealth and productivity will go to those countries or companies that get more of their innovators, educators, students, workers and suppliers connected to this platform via computers, phones and P.D.A.’s.
A new generation of politicians is waking up to this issue. For instance, Andrew Rasiej is running in New York City’s Democratic primary for public advocate on a platform calling for wireless (Wi-Fi) and cellphone Internet access from every home, business and school in the city. If, God forbid, a London-like attack happens in a New York subway, don’t trying calling 911. Your phone won’t work down there. No wireless infrastructure. This ain’t Tokyo, pal.
I’ve seen no serious movement on true 2 way broadband in Wisconsin. We’re stuck with slow service, unfortunately.
Carrie Johnson writes a well done article on a variety of 1990′s tax shelter schemes that reduced or eliminated capital gains taxes. The interesting thing, in all of this, is the transparency these activites give to the mess that is our tax system. Johnson takes a look at many points of view, not just the IRS’s:
Many of the KPMG partners denied they had engaged in a conspiracy to break the law, arguing instead that they had exploited long-standing loopholes in the arcane tax code. Lawyers and tax experts analyze shelters to determine whether they will pass IRS review on a “more likely than not” basis — a standard that amounts to a slightly more than 50 percent chance.
There are ongoing questions about whether the shelters themselves were lawful. A civil case filed in San Francisco by an investment firm that devised one of the structures is challenging the IRS interpretation that the tax shelter lacks economic justification.
Separately, individual taxpayers who used some of the structures have been able to settle their claims with the IRS through an amnesty program.
Moreover, many of the shelters were vetted by lawyers and other tax advisers, giving former KPMG officials another possible defense if they can show they relied on those professional experts and thus lacked the intent to break the law.