Saturday, May 28, 2016

Lisps and Red Tape: Bureaucratic Oppression


… he was very intelligent, and at the age of four or five had been a real chatterbox, his crisp voice, like a bean in a bamboo tube, hardly ever stopped.  But over time he spoke less and less, and often froze like a statue; no one had any idea what he was thinking
~ Bathroom Quote

Federal judge slams DOJ lawyers for lying to the court on immigration deportations.
The constitutional challenge to President Obama’s executive action on immigration keeps getting more remarkable. A federal judge has now exposed how the Justice Department systematically deceived lower courts about the Administration’s conduct, and he has imposed unprecedented legal measures to attempt to sterilize this ethics rot.

Evaluating the impact of the ghosts of decisions past on this term’s Supreme Court. [Empirical SCOTUS]

The Victorian Auditor-General's Office has released its report into reducing red tape and concludes that the current approach needs to be reviewed and options for its renewal provided to government. 
Reducing the Burden of Red Tape

On the reception and detection of pseudo-profound bullshit Judgment and Decision Making (Dr. Kevin). Important. For instance, “As a prime example, the necessary succinctness and
rapidity of “Twitter” (140 characters per “Tweet”) may be particularly conducive to the promulgation of bullshit.”

“France might pass a law that makes it illegal to send after-hours work emails” [Washington Post]

Linda Sugin (Fordham), Rhetoric and Reality in the Tax Law of Charity, 84 Fordham L. Rev. 2607 (2016):
The rhetoric of public purposes in charity law has created the mistaken impression that charity is public and fulfills public goals, when the reality is that charity is private and cannot be expected to solve the problems that governments can solve. The rhetoric arises from a combination of charity-law history and tax expenditure analysis. The reality follows the money and control of charitable organizations. On account of the mismatch of rhetoric and reality, the tax law of charity endorses an entitlement to pre-tax income and (ironically) creates a bias against taxation. This article reorients the project of defining public and private in the tax law by starting from a normative theory of government responsibility.

Leslie Book (Villanova), Bureaucratic Oppression and the Tax System, 69 Tax Law. ___ (2016):
Observers of the Internal Revenue Service’s administration of the earned income tax credit (EITC) have leveled one main criticism, that the Service has been unable to reduce stubbornly high error rates. Congress has generally focused attention on this problem with many legislative initiatives, including unprecedented (for the tax system) penalties for improper claims, special due diligence rules for preparers submitting returns with EITC claims, and a lessening of pre-assessment right to judicial review of Service rejections of EITC claims.
In this Article I wish to shift attention to the Service’s poor service to EITC claimants. In particular, I wish to broaden the inquiry to reflect the insights of nontax scholars who have looked at the ways that administrative agencies interact with low-income individuals who rely on benefits that agencies administer.
Please update your mental image of Scandinavian policy: “Being more like modern Sweden actually means deregulation, free trade, a national school voucher system, partially privatized pensions, no property tax, no inheritance tax, and much lower corporate taxes. Sorry to burst your bubble, Bernie.” [Johan Norberg, ReasonDaniel Mitchell, Cato]

Michael J. Graetz (Columbia), Follow the Money: Essays on International Taxation (Yale May 2016) (free download (PDF, EPUB (iPad, Noble), MOBI (Kindle)), book (amazon)): Publicity about tax avoidance techniques of multinational corporations and wealthy individuals has moved discussion of international income taxation from the backrooms of law and accounting firms to the front pages of news organizations around the world. In the words of a top Australian tax official, international tax law has now become a topic of barbeque conversations. Public anger has, in turn, brought previously arcane issues of international taxation onto the agenda of heads of government around the world

FBI Whistleblower Reveals Agency’s Use Of Hidden Microphones In Public Spaces Mint Express

Monopoly Power Is on the Rise in the US. Here’s How to Fix That. Nation 

More Young Adults Are Living With Their Parents Than At Any Time Since the Great Depression George Washington

Machine Bias: There’s software used across the country to predict future criminals. And it’s biased against blacks. ProPublica

Hacker, Philipp and Petkova, Bilyana, Reining in the Big Promise of Big Data: Transparency, Inequality, and New Regulatory Frontiers (May 2, 2016). Available for download at SSRN:
While we’re at it, Sweden has fewer than one-sixth as many lawyers per capita as the U.S., in part because its  rules of civil procedure are drawn so to discourage needless legal combat.

Do you think Donald Trump is the first U.S. politico to menace publishers over bad coverage? Not even close. My new Cato piece cites a few examples from a depressingly long history. Plus:reprinted at Newsweek

As you well know, but few executives in the public service are aware of, the war for talent in the accounting profession is on like Donkey Kong's flies on feces:
Firms are pulling out all the stops to attract people and their preferred tactic isn't better working conditions or salaries, it's perks! Whether it's PwC's tuition assistance, Grant Thornton'sunlimited PTO, DHG's meditation room, or whichever firm is giving jeans the green light this week, perks are today's talent bait. And accounting firms aren't the only ones going overboard with this stuff. This Washington Post article opens with a biotech CEO rationalizing his promising to lease Tesla Model 3s to its employees. ...Career Corner, What Ludicrous Perk Should an Accounting Firm Offer Its Employees? (Caleb Newquist, Going Concern).
BonusSen. Sherman Minton (D-Ind.) who put forth the remarkable proposal to make it “a crime to publish anything as a fact anything known to be false,” and who had led a Senate committee’s investigation of the Gannett newspaper chain over its (then) Republican-leaning politics, was later nominated by President Harry Truman to be an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, where he served for seven years and became a leading exponent of judicial deference to the executive branch

New Economy Resources 2016 – This guide by Marcus Zillman aggregates significant actionable sources for researchers focused on the “new economy,” including current and historical government data, analytics and alerts from Open Source providers, the private sector, and the legislative and regulatory sectors

Blowing the Whistle: Former US Official Reveals Risks Faced by Internal Critics Der Spiegel

How the Pentagon punished NSA whistleblowers Guardian 

High School Debaters Bring Surveillance, Encryption Arguments to Capitol Hill The Intercept. Debate is awesome.

And what is wrong with economic models? (ppt) Hardly anything on this topic is good, but this is.

World War III will be fought over water Quartz