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March 25, 2009

What The World Needs Now Is Much Less Transparency From The Washington Post

The Washington Post published an op-ed today by Martin Feldstein. Feldstein explains how Obama's proposed limitation on the deductibility of charitable contributions by upper-income taxpayers is a horrible idea. He's identified as "an economics professor at Harvard University [and] president emeritus of the National Bureau of Economic Research."

One affiliation the Post left out is that Martin Feldstein is a longtime member of AIG's Board of Directors. He's also a member of the board's Finance Committee.

What does Feldstein have to say about the tax code change? Well:

In effect, the change would be a tax on the charities, reducing their receipts by a dollar for every dollar of extra revenue the government collects. It is hard to imagine a rationale for taxing schools, hospitals, medical research budgets and arts organizations in this way...The proposed tax change would apply to married couples with incomes of more than $250,000...

I dunno. I think one rationale for taxing charities in this way is that the government somehow has to come up with the $180 billion it just handed over to AIG.

Finally, you may be wondering how much people get paid these days to help destroy the world economy via their mind-numbing incompetence and thus necessitate $180 billion bailouts. It turns out to be $274,193.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at March 25, 2009 09:28 AM

What will rich people do if they have to choose between a children's hospital and the American Enterprise Group?

Posted by: buermann at March 25, 2009 10:49 AM

As I say in my latest twitter tweet: Tax Stock Trading.
(please follow me on twitter to help give boost to ideas like this)

Nader makes a good case for it, pointing out that a transaction tax "would certainly raise enough to make the Wall Street crooks and gamblers pay for their own Washington bailout." Also, I support a tax on currency trades across borders. "Called the Tobin Tax after its originator, the late James Tobin, a Nobel laureate economist at Yale University, 10 to 25 cents per hundred dollars of the huge amounts of dollars traded each day across bordered would produce from $100 to $300 billion per year."

Posted by: Tom at March 25, 2009 11:05 AM

Daaamn, Jon

One affiliation the Post left out is that Martin Feldstein is a longtime member of AIG's Board of Directors. He's also a member of the board's Finance Committee.

How could the have overlooked that?

Posted by: Woody at March 25, 2009 11:42 AM

oh, so what. Board members are not responsible for the sort of detailed risk management you seem to think they are responsible for. Jon, you dumb fucking fag, when you learn something about corporate governance and corporate finance, I'd love to hear what you have to say on these subjects. same for national security, economics, intl trade and relations, etc etc. Otherwise, please stick to your pathetic little Stubbs U humor. Ugh, lame humor + ignorance =

Posted by: mln at March 25, 2009 12:29 PM


You and Jon are old pals right? Kidders?

Posted by: thwap at March 25, 2009 12:33 PM

I know how they could overlook that. The real question is, Jon, how did you know that?

Posted by: Aaron Datesman at March 25, 2009 02:17 PM

"detailed risk management"

That's what we call issuing 500 billion in insurance with no assets to cover payouts.

Posted by: buermann at March 25, 2009 04:06 PM


board members are responsible for informed strategic direction.

these motherfuckers took the AIG bus and drove it off a cliff, whereas you argue for...what? reinforcement of the other common false meme about corporate boards, namely, a big hookers 'n blow party where they have no influence?

shut the fuck up.

Posted by: yev at March 25, 2009 04:15 PM

I mean if board members aren't responsible for whether a not a company completely self-immolates, then... why are they worth over two hundred thousand dollars a year?

Posted by: dan at March 25, 2009 04:46 PM

So mln has stopped saying "dozy bint" now? That's disappointing.

I doubt anyone with great wealth really factors in the tax deduction when making their decision to donate to charities. Their primary motivations would be:

1. PR (donating to charities makes you look good)
2. PR (the charity itself is a pro-corporate/right-wing propaganda front)
3. They actually have a charitable bone in their body.

Posted by: RobWeaver at March 25, 2009 07:20 PM