Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving

INK BOTTLE“An ambitious man is a man who wants other people to think he is great.”
~ Robert Penn Warren, All the King’s Men

Small Pool of Rich Donors Dominates Election Giving NYT. “Giving.”

Not the retiring type: meet the people still working in their 70s, 80s and 90s Guardian

Today’s thinkers lack glamour, malice, looks, and a penchant for mandarin invective. Will intellectual combat ever regain the entertainment value of theBuckley-Vidal jousts mandarin to orange : spade to shovel »

New York Times editorial, The I.R.S. Gives Up on ‘Dark Money’:
The federal government has all but surrendered to the powerful, rich donors whose anonymous contributions threaten to undermine the 2016 elections. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, signaled as much on Thursday when he told a House committee that there would be no change in the tax code in 2016 to end its growing abuse by political operatives using nonprofit “social welfare” institutions to disguise the identities of affluent campaign contributors.

Keith Fogg, The Room of Lies (Procedurally Taxing). No, it’s not about debate settings, Congress or the White House Press Briefing Room. It’s about the process the government uses in deciding whether to appeal tax cases.

Showing Corruption the Red CardCorruption Now and Then. From June, and takes a long view of corruption in England, so very much germane.

A few weeks after Hillary Clinton was sworn in as secretary of state in early 2009, she was summoned to Geneva by her Swiss counterpart to discuss an urgent matter. The Internal Revenue Service was suing UBS AG to get the identities of Americans with secret accounts.

New York Times Deal Book: How to Tax Gordon Gekko, byVictor Fleischer (San Diego):

Cara Griffith, A Look at Information Sharing Agreements Between the IRS and States (Tax Analysts Blog)

The plot of Oliver Stone’s 1987 movie Wall Street revolves around the betrayal of Bud Fox by his mentor and hero, Gordon Gekko.

Here is yet another NBER Working Paper to shout from the rooftops:
How are optimal taxes affected by the presence of superstar phenomena at the top of the earnings distribution? To answer this question, we extend the Mirrlees model to incorporate an assignment problem in the labor market that generates superstar effects. Perhaps surprisingly, rather than providing a rationale for higher taxes, we show that superstar effects provides a force for lower marginal taxes, conditional on the observed distribution of earnings. Superstar effects make the earnings schedule convex, which increases the responsiveness of individual earnings to tax changes. We show that various common elasticity measures are not sufficient statistics and must be adjusted upwards in optimal tax formulas. Finally, we study a comparative static that does not keep the observed earnings distribution fixed: when superstar technologies are introduced, inequality increases but we obtain a neutrality result, finding tax rates at the top unaltered.