Lower Tax Rates = More Jobs?

May 29, 2011

I’ve been an employer for about 30 years. “But you’re an attorney,” you say. “Yes, of course I am, but I’ve always had a secretary, and the firms with which I have been affiliated have had associates, contract attorneys, legal assistants, bookkeepers, files clerks, etc.” So, directly and indirectly, I’ve been employing people for three decades.

My practice focuses on business and real estate issues. My clients are employers, large and small, in many, many different industries.  I’ve represented my clients in times good and bad, and often talk with them about employment issues.

My point? Never, not once, have I decided to hire someone because I–or my firm–had extra money lying around. And never, not once, has a

Continue reading...

A Little Truth

January 28, 2011

A Little Truth is the first post of what I hope are several more, identifying falsehoods in our discourse that don’t get challenged.  I hope you enjoy these brief encounters with reality, that they make you more critical thinkers and better citizens, and that you tell your friends.

So, it’s a given that people live longer than they used to and, therefore, the United States of America must raise the retirement age for Social Security to save us from ourselves.  Right?  No, wrong, although I’m sure those people who argue for increasing the retirement age will quibble with my characterization of their main argument in support of their position.  To them I say, get your own

Continue reading...

Random Thoughts On The Tucson Tragedy

January 16, 2011

I’ve been quiet until now. “Mostly quiet, ” to be totally truthful. We did have a dinner party on January 8–the food was ready and the friends close, so we saw little reason to cancel–and, at about 9:30 and with a snoot full of wine in me, I answered the phone. A reporter from JTA, an international Jewish news service, was calling from Washington, wanting a referral for an article he was writing about the shooting. (Long story about why he was calling me.) I told him I’d get him Jonathan Rothschild’s number in the morning. Jonathan is my law partner, a dedicated Democrat, an active member of the Jewish community (and, most likely, the next Mayor of Tucson.) I

Continue reading...

Don’t Sell Us Out!!

January 15, 2011

I met with a client not long ago and heard a story I can’t let go of. My client’s business interfaces with the federal government. One of his employees failed to comply with a notice requirement associated with a regulation. A screw-up, absolutely, and a violation of a federal regulation, you bet! That all said, the violation was insignificant and, when it was discovered, my client’s people self-reported the violation. What followed was Kafka-esque, and only ended with the payment of a very, very large fine. The fine bore no relationship to the harm caused by the violation. (X times nothing, with nothing representing the harm, will always equal nothing.) I imagine my client could have fought the assessed penalty,

Continue reading...

Straight Talk About Tax Cuts

November 13, 2010

Tax cuts, and whether they will expire at the end of 2010, have been discussed for months. Sadly, almost every article/column/blog post I’ve read has been wrong on simple facts.

The facts are really simple. Proposals advanced by President Obama and the Democrats in Congress leave the so-called Bush tax cuts in place with respect to the first $250,000 of taxable income earned by families. Thus, the Bush tax cuts will remain in place for all taxpayers who pay federal income tax, as to the first $250,000 of taxable income.

The 2% figure you hear about represents the percentage of Americans with taxable incomes that exceed $250,000. As for them, they get the lower tax rates on the first $250,000

Continue reading...

Pizza

August 7, 2010

I’ve been eating pizza for 50 years. I’ve had lots and lots of good pizza, some bad pizza and a fair amount that falls “in between.” And that only includes the pizzas made by others, for I’ve been making my own pies for 35 years or so. In that realm there have been a few good ones, and many that have been unremarkable.

For the past several years I’ve been curious about “the best” pizzas. Are they really good? Exceptional? Memorable?

There’s no standard for “the best,” of course. (My daughter used to be sweet on Chuck-e-Cheese pizza. I thought she wanted to play games and collect little red tickets, so she could exchange them for plastic junk I’d throw

Continue reading...

Liz Cheney and the Lawyers

March 6, 2010

So Liz Cheney (former Vice President Cheney’s darker incarnation) and her pals on the Way Far Right have taken out after lawyers who work for the Justice Department now and used to represent detainees. Never mind that, when lawyers who represented detainees later worked for the Justice Department in the GWB Administration, there was nary a public peep from Ms. Cheney, Bill Kristol (a fellow board member with Ms. Cheney at Keep America Safe) or anyone who talks on Fox News. And never mind the fact that Ted Olson–it was his lawyering that put W over the top in the Supreme Court in the last days of 2000, and it was his wife Barbara who died when American Airlines Flight

Continue reading...

Isaac Toussie

December 26, 2008

Isaac Toussie is hardly a household name in our country, but he’s getting his 15 minutes of fame as a result of a pardon taken back. Mr. Toussie was convicted in 2001 and 2002; both convictions related to fraud arising out of home loans to poor people. Apparently, the pardon was granted before the White House knew Mr. Toussie’s father had donated $28,500 to the Republican Party and $2300 to John McCain. (These donations would mean less if Toussie pere had been a regular donor to Republican causes; apparently, he wasn’t.) Allegedly, when the President learned about the donations, he said: “not on my watch.”

The people who talk and write are in an uproar, comparing this event to the

Continue reading...

Corporate America Run Amok!

October 9, 2008

I wrote this essay in the summer of 2007, when corporate greed seemed like not much more than an irritant. Now, knowing what we know about the recklessness on Wall Street that went hand-in-hand with the greed, and now that we know the greed involved truly unfathomable sums of money, the essay seems quaint to me. Here goes:

Does it seem like there’s an awful lot of “me” and not much “us” in the world today? People rally around when there’s a crisis, of course, but those situations pass quickly and people move on. Where’s the follow-through? And, in normal times, where is the concern for others? And the shame?

Imagine yourself as the Chief Executive Officer of a public

Continue reading...