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,

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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

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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

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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

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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

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