Thursday, March 4, 2021

Friday feedback: tax and PAC

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Hello.

It’s Friday, so some feedback. Former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti weighed in after my Wednesday post suggesting that President Biden’s spending plans will need to be funded by debt or new taxes. There is another way, he says, of collecting taxes already owed:

“Our plan is at the heart of the tax gaphigh income people who do not pay what they owe legally. At $ 574 billion in 2019 alone, the tax gap equals what the bottom 90% of all individuals pay in federal income tax annually. It is clearly unfair. “

You can read more about Rossotti’s proposal here.

And many people have commented my suggestion that companies do not withdraw from the game of political contributions – because they can be a pragmatic compromise force on important issues. A sample of the comments:

“I think buying access, or the NEED to buy access (even if the money goes both sides of the aisle) is the root of the problem… We need to… restore some sanity to the government representative and unravel a myriad of ways in which special interests control the narrative. “
—JS

“How much have the parties just spent on this campaign? Was it 11 billion? (AM: Actually, $ 14 billion.) How many people can we feed, clothe, house and train with even a fraction of that ridiculous amount?
—BT

“At its heart… the main goal (of corporate campaign contributions) is stability… Businesses want to know what to expect. With this knowledge, they can plan their strategies and tactics for the future. “
-PENNSYLVANIA

AH wrote to me to remind me that companies do not directly contribute. They do this through political action committees to which their employees contribute. And for the record, I’m not a fan of the current campaign finance system. I’m just saying that big corporations are among the most responsible and pragmatic players in this system, and if they alone pull out, the situation will get worse.

Finally, my friend Shiva Rajgopal, who teaches at Columbia Business School, sent in an article which he said shows that corporate lobbying is 10 times more profitable than spending on R&D, in terms of the effect on the bottom line. Given this result, “the bigger question is why do we observe so little rather than too much lobbying.” His paper is here.

More news below. And discover Susie Gharib new interview with Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, which expects a “sharp increase in demand” from business travelers in the second half of this year as the vaccine is rolled out. “People are tired of Zoom meetings. “

Alan murray
@alansmurray

alan.murray@fortune.com



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