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[Private Equity] in the Public Eye

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Posts

  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    Veevee wrote: »
    Cantelope wrote: »
    There are also problems like this, the government has to want to collect taxes in order to do it. If someone decides, "we need government cutbacks to be across the board" that will end up including tax collectors even if eliminating, or in this case furloughing them will cost the state more revenue than it would to keep them on.


    I suspect that in many cases governments could generate large amounts of tax revenue simply by hiring more tax collectors.

    The return on revenue examiners is insane.

    For a non-tax example, my mother works in the Wisconsin Inspector General's office for medicare and medicaid fraud investigation. It's a new department that officially started last year, but she's been working with the creation of the department for a few years and just her and a small team (I believe it's 4 or 5 office workers) collected over $60 million that was originally paid out to fraudulant claims, or just paid out in error. Now that the office is official and with a decent amount of workers she said they're looking at recovering over $200 million a year.

    Isn't the $ value return on the IRS something like 7 to 1? (each dollar spent nets 7 dollars in recovered taxes, currently - presumably one should just keep increasing it's budget till that falls to 1:1).

    Yes. Teh IRS is one of the most profitable places to spend money in the US federal government.

    It's criminally and perpetually underfunded/staffed though because Americans hate taxes and thus Americans hate the IRS so everytime there's budget issues, it's a whipping boy.

  • redxredx I(x)=2(x)+1 whole numbersRegistered User regular
    Jeffe, nice letter.

    The phrase "fair tax code" is used in it. It is a nit pick, but you know... "Fair Tax" is not something you want to bring to people mind while you are talking about reworking the tax code into something sane.

    Repetition is a good rhetorical tool, and the passive voice should be avoided, but maybe find some other way to phrase that.

    This is probably a dumb comment. It is just that it appears right where you pivot from talking about the problems to purposing a solution, right where you don't want the reader mind to be distracted by retardedly silly notions that have nothing to do with what you are talking about.

    This machine kills threads.
  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    redx wrote: »
    Jeffe, nice letter.

    The phrase "fair tax code" is used in it. It is a nit pick, but you know... "Fair Tax" is not something you want to bring to people mind while you are talking about reworking the tax code into something sane.

    Repetition is a good rhetorical tool, and the passive voice should be avoided, but maybe find some other way to phrase that.

    This is probably a dumb comment. It is just that it appears right where you pivot from talking about the problems to purposing a solution, right where you don't want the reader mind to be distracted by retardedly silly notions that have nothing to do with what you are talking about.

    "Well balanced and evenly applied--"?

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    That's a good point - I'll come up with something less code-word-y in the rewrite.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    @spacekungfuman, @sportzboytjw
    Okay, here's a first draft of a letter. Yes, it's wordy and probably riddled with typos; I'll work on that. Am I getting the gist of this right? Any other suggestions?
    Dear XXXXX,

    I have spent the last several months in witness of the national discourse as regards our nation’s tax code. The code is a great and bloated labyrinth of convoluted law, tens of thousands of pages long. It is so immensely complex that even dedicated tax lawyers, even tax law experts employed by the IRS, cannot hope to understand all of it. Part of this problem stems from a tax code assembled piecemeal over a span of decades, and part of this problem results from highly-paid lobbyists fighting for the most favorable tax code their employers’ money can buy. These are certainly weighty issues, but the problems go deeper.

    Around the complexities of our tax code has arisen an industry dedicated to mastering the nuances of that code. A handful of people in this country have focused their careers around combining the minutae of tax code in ways that were never intended, and in so doing they can reduce the taxes paid by exceedingly wealthy individuals and massive corporations to a pittance. These tax wizards are brilliant people, paid exceptionally well to effectively break the system. This is not meant to disparage these people - they are honest people given a job to do, and they do it amazingly well, all without breaking a single law. But the fact remains that there is a game being played. On one side, we have the legislators and public servants who craft tax law. On the other side, the tax experts hired to exploit it. And in this game, the public side is out-manned, out-spent, and, put bluntly, out-classed. It is tantamount to putting a highschool football team against an NFL All-Star team and expecting it to be a fair fight. The system as it exists is, if not completely broken, then at least severely bent. And the very nature of the system means that even if, through some miracle, we were gifted with a perfectly functional tax code tomorrow, it would just be broken again over time. It would be gamed to death, just as the current system has been.

    I don’t think it has to be this way. The deck is stacked against those who want a fair tax code that functions as intended, but that doesn’t make us powerless. We need to tap into the brilliance and expertise that is, right now, strictly employed by the private sector. We need to fight fire with fire. And while I recognize the political difficulty in devising a new government program staffed with the small army of seven-figure-salaried tax code geniuses necessary to make this a fair fight, especially in this economic and political environment I propose that there may be another way.

    The military has numerous divisions dedicated to research in all manner of areas, not just those fields directly related to war, but to other technologies that have non-obvious (though still existent) military applications. The fields of research include information technology, human resource studies, drug studies, environmental health. Perhaps we could add a new program under this military umbrella dedicated to exploring the finer details of our nation’s tax code. We could have it overseen by a staff of well-paid private sector experts, directly culled from the same pool of brilliance from which the private sector draws, and staffed by young military officers and interns who want to build their experience and their resumes. In the course of their employment in this tax research wing, they would develop their skills and their contacts, in the same way that many technically-minded individuals currently seek employment in military-affiliated technical research endeavors to build similarly impressive resumes. After their stint, these employees would be perfectly positioned to move to the private sector, or to remain with the tax research wing, perhaps transferring to one of the more lucrative high-level positions.

    Such a program could have an important impact on national security, ensuring that foreign investors cannot manipulate the complexities of our tax code in order to evade the taxes they should rightly pay. And, of course, it would allow our own team of legislators and tax policy authors to gradually adopt our system into one that makes sense. They would be a direct and effective response to those individuals and corporations who employ the brilliance of our nation’s financial experts so as to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And if we could shore up the inefficiencies and loopholes that plague our tax system, this new program would pay for itself.

    We could, at last, have a tax code that works for us rather than against us. And it could be sold to congress and to the public as a bipartisan endeavor that helps ensure fairness to every American while improving our nation’s security from those abroad who might seek to exploit our nation’s laws to do us harm.

    Thank you for your time.


    Sincerely,
    XXXXX

    I think this is on the right track. A few thoughts:

    1. I would add something on how the time is right, since the economic substance doctrine was recently codified, creating a new avenue for in-depth government examination of complex transactions.

    2. As an alternative to the military, you might suggest a self funding program set up within the department of treasury, which keeps a percentage of the additional tax it collects to find further activity. Congress did think in 2008 with the HITECH act, by making HIPAA compliance audits self funding.

    3. I would also stress that these people would need to have closer, more candid discussions with the private sector to gauge reactions to proposals. Private sector lawyers love to talk policy (the number of man hours the tax section of the new York state bar association puts into preparing reports is staggering) and would probably be very happy to come to government sponsored retreats to discuss tax reform or enforcement priorities.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
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    @chanus
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Ooh, mentioning the economic substance doctrine is a good call.

    As to 3), a concern I can see is that "having candid discussions with the private sector" sounds a lot like "having tax law written behind closed doors by big business". There was a lot of criticism in the day levied at Cheney's energy policy discussions, because it came off as a bunch of secret meetings where CEOs dictated what sort of energy policy would make them the most money. (Me, I didn't mind the closed-door discussions so much, because I agree that private sector agents need a venue to talk openly without having to worry about public outcry.)

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Ooh, mentioning the economic substance doctrine is a good call.

    As to 3), a concern I can see is that "having candid discussions with the private sector" sounds a lot like "having tax law written behind closed doors by big business". There was a lot of criticism in the day levied at Cheney's energy policy discussions, because it came off as a bunch of secret meetings where CEOs dictated what sort of energy policy would make them the most money. (Me, I didn't mind the closed-door discussions so much, because I agree that private sector agents need a venue to talk openly without having to worry about public outcry.)

    That makes sense. The one thing I would point out is that when lawyers are operating outside their professional role, they tend to push for good law, not just law that benefits their clients. Having people attending bar association sponsored events on a greater scale could be a good example of how to enable these conversations. Right now there are a few people in government who attend a lot of these meetings, but it would be great to have more people involved (also, the people who attend now tend to be the ones looking at exit options down the line).

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    It might be good to emphasize that this is an important part of the nation's security, both in terms of funding our military (and government) and the damage that could be done to our financial system by those abusing tax and financial law. That might be stretching it too far, but if we want to try to point to the military as part of the solution, give them their reason for "going in" so to speak.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    I like the idea of a non-military alternative (and the funding strategy for it) too. I think it is good to emphasize how this theoretical unit, military or otherwise, would be drawing on a combination of top young graduates, some academics, and the brilliant people like SFKM who are currently working for the "other side." You might even pump that second half of paragraph 4 up a bit to explain how we envision this unit not just benefitting the indivuals working on it, but the tax code and the culture of the US in regard to tax code (since the tax code would be revised by a brilliant thinktank instead of people with little tax experience).

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Philosophically, I like the idea of a non-military approach. Practically, though, a military program would be well-funded and would have the inherent protection against cuts that all military programs get (whether deserved or not).

    So based on that, I'll expand on the national security justifications. I'll also flesh out the logistics section a little, as per your (@sportzboytjw) suggestions.

    Thanks, guys. This will probably not actually result in anything being done, but goddammit at least it's an idea being proposed.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    Yup. It might be worth multiple of us c/ping and sending in signed. It is a good letter.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    edited August 2012
    I like the letter, but I love the idea of actually trying to do something with the information you've gleaned from the boards and elsewhere.

    spacekungfuman on
    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    These boards are a goddamn geyser of useful knowledge on all manner of topics; seems a shame to let it go unharnessed. You could probably staff a few respectable think-tanks with some of the people on here. Assuming you want a think-tank that combines politics, economics, tech, video games, internet memes, and My Little Pony erotic fan-fic.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
    seabassJeep-EepBehemoth
  • EncEnc A Fool with Compassion The Land of Flowers (and Dragons)Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    These boards are a goddamn geyser of useful knowledge on all manner of topics; seems a shame to let it go unharnessed. You could probably staff a few respectable think-tanks with some of the people on here. Assuming you want a think-tank that combines politics, economics, tech, video games, internet memes, and My Little Pony erotic fan-fic.

    I'm not fluttershy about how quickly congress needs to change it's stance on the internet legislation.

    Guns make you stupid. Better to fight your wars with duct tape. Duct tape makes you smart.

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  • CantelopeCantelope Registered User regular
    I like the idea of a balance the budget forum game being made that actually allows you to make a wide variety of proposals (as opposed to similar games on news websites where your options are extremely limited), and allowed people to add proposals on an on-going basis. If it was moderated and required estimates of savings/revenue generation to be based off of hard numbers then you could see some interesting proposals. It would be even more useful if each proposal included a popularity rating based on poll numbers.


    Basically, it would allow you to create realistic budget suggestions that might actually see congress.

  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    These boards are a goddamn geyser of useful knowledge on all manner of topics; seems a shame to let it go unharnessed. You could probably staff a few respectable think-tanks with some of the people on here. Assuming you want a think-tank that combines politics, economics, tech, video games, internet memes, and My Little Pony erotic fan-fic.

    And League of Legends.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • shrykeshryke Member of the Beast Registered User regular
    We'd just need to purge certain sections of the boards and I think we'd be at least as respectable and upright as your average Congressman. Probably more so.

  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    shryke wrote: »
    We'd just need to purge certain sections of the boards and I think we'd be at least as respectable and upright as your average Congressman. Probably more so.

    We already have people here who read legislative text, do that's a big advantage over the average congressman.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    You've probably seen the above by now @elki but just in case.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Is... is that supposed to be directed at me?

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    Um...

    So...

    Your names both have. E. And L.

    @ElJeffe

    Maybe.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Incidentally, that is a gloriously timed story and I'll see if I can work in a reference to it without making the letter seem too scattershot.

    I wish paper could have html links. Like, you poke a word with your finger and suddenly a newspaper appears in your hand with the relevant bits highlighted in yellow.

    Someone should get on that. Maybe the military.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    The military is basically our best hope for any non-military goal.

    Which is a weird mixture of hilarious and offputting.

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    I'm working through this enormously complex rules right now (I have done the analysis before, but there is an extra wrinkle now) and the incredible thing about it is that the IRS actively enforces these rules which result in the IRS collecting LESS in taxes. They actually go out and challenge returns that don't match their interpretation, even though the net result is an overpayment of taxes which the payers get refunded.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • BSoBBSoB Registered User regular
    I'm working through this enormously complex rules right now (I have done the analysis before, but there is an extra wrinkle now) and the incredible thing about it is that the IRS actively enforces these rules which result in the IRS collecting LESS in taxes. They actually go out and challenge returns that don't match their interpretation, even though the net result is an overpayment of taxes which the payers get refunded.

    I guess it depends on if you think the goal of the IRS should be
    1.to get as much money is a legally allowable
    OR
    2.Make sure people pay what they owe.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    Yeah, I find it hard to fault "ensuring accuracy" as a guiding principle.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Yeah, I find it hard to fault "ensuring accuracy" as a guiding principle.

    It isn't even that though. The IRS does not have the manpower to enforce anywhere near every code section actively, but this is one of a comparatively small number which they have chosen to devote resources to actively enforcing. Its strange that of all issues, they chose one that loses money to devote themselves to enforcing.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • sportzboytjwsportzboytjw squeeeeeezzeeee some more tax breaks outRegistered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Yeah, I find it hard to fault "ensuring accuracy" as a guiding principle.

    It isn't even that though. The IRS does not have the manpower to enforce anywhere near every code section actively, but this is one of a comparatively small number which they have chosen to devote resources to actively enforcing. Its strange that of all issues, they chose one that loses money to devote themselves to enforcing.

    Is it because improper application in this way could set some sort of precedent that could be abused later?

    Walkerdog on MTGO
    TylerJ on League of Legends (it's free and fun!)
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    Yeah, I find it hard to fault "ensuring accuracy" as a guiding principle.

    It isn't even that though. The IRS does not have the manpower to enforce anywhere near every code section actively, but this is one of a comparatively small number which they have chosen to devote resources to actively enforcing. Its strange that of all issues, they chose one that loses money to devote themselves to enforcing.

    Is it because improper application in this way could set some sort of precedent that could be abused later?

    In this case no. There is a shifting in tax benefits that could be viewed as problematic, but as a practical matter, the IRS always loses on this issue.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
  • Jebus314Jebus314 Registered User regular
    So planet money at npr has a podcast that has done some fairly related topics recently. Knowing next to nothing about most of these topics I always wonder how simplified they are, and whether that is leading to misconceptions. For example they just did one where they polled some of the highly regarded economic professors, both conservative and liberal, and apparently they all agree on huge changes that the tax code needs. Like it's completely obvious to anyone who studies this. But they are hard to convince people that it's for the best. The podcast. It's a quick podcast, but I might come back tomorrow when I have more time and expand on the points.

    They also did one on Bain Capital and one on offshore accounts. I can't find the bain capital one, but this is the offshore account one. They point out some legit reasons why you would create an offshore account/company/whatever SKFM was talking about in the OP, but it just seems shady as fuck.

    "The world is a mess, and I just need to rule it" - Dr Horrible
  • CantelopeCantelope Registered User regular
    edited August 2012
    Jebus314 wrote: »
    So planet money at npr has a podcast that has done some fairly related topics recently. Knowing next to nothing about most of these topics I always wonder how simplified they are, and whether that is leading to misconceptions. For example they just did one where they polled some of the highly regarded economic professors, both conservative and liberal, and apparently they all agree on huge changes that the tax code needs. Like it's completely obvious to anyone who studies this. But they are hard to convince people that it's for the best. The podcast. It's a quick podcast, but I might come back tomorrow when I have more time and expand on the points.

    They also did one on Bain Capital and one on offshore accounts. I can't find the bain capital one, but this is the offshore account one. They point out some legit reasons why you would create an offshore account/company/whatever SKFM was talking about in the OP, but it just seems shady as fuck.



    I think these are some of the one's your referencing,


    Private Equity explained


    Blind trusts


    Economic platforms


    Income tax (because it's entertaining, that's why)



    Edit: As for my opinion on the quality of their podcasts, they provide some good information but there are occasions when they blow things out of proportion or misunderstand somethings. For example, in one of their podcasts they are guilty of repeating the lie that businesses are discouraged from investment by tax law when actually it's the opposite, investment for a business in itself is an expense and therefore is pre-tax.

    Cantelope on
  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    I crafted a second draft of the letter I posted before, implementing some of the suggestions you guys put forth. I'm going to send it to my senators (in California), though I probably won't bother with my congressman on account of him being Dan Lungren, who is a skuzzy crazy person. If anyone wants to copy it and send it to their own congresscritters, or just harvest it for ideas, or whatever, please feel free:
    Dear XXXXX,

    I have spent the last several months in witness of the national discourse as regards our nation’s tax code. The code is a great and bloated labyrinth of convoluted law, tens of thousands of pages long. It is so immensely complex that even dedicated tax lawyers, even tax law experts employed by the IRS, cannot hope to understand all of it. Part of this problem stems from a tax code assembled piecemeal over a span of decades, and part of this problem results from highly-paid lobbyists fighting for the most favorable tax code their employers’ money can buy. These are certainly weighty issues, but the problems go deeper.

    We have seen the rise of an industry dedicated to mastering the nuances of our tax code. A handful of people in this country have focused their careers around combining the minutae of tax law in ways that were never intended, and in so doing they can reduce the taxes paid by exceedingly wealthy individuals and massive corporations to a pittance. These tax wizards are brilliant people, paid exceptionally well to effectively break the system. This is not meant to disparage these people - they are honest people given a job to do, and they do it amazingly well, all without breaking a single law. But the fact remains that there is a game being played. On one side, we have the legislators and public servants who craft tax law. On the other side, the tax experts hired to exploit it. And in this game, the public side is out-manned, out-spent, and - put bluntly - out-classed. It is like putting a high-school football team against an NFL All-Star team and expecting to see a fair fight. The tax system as it exists is, if not completely broken, then at least severely bent. And the very nature of the system means that even if, through some miracle, we were gifted with a perfectly functional tax code tomorrow, it would just be broken again over time. It would be gamed to death, just as the current system has been.

    I don’t think it has to be this way. The deck is stacked against those who want a just tax code that functions as intended, but this fact doesn’t make us powerless. We need to tap into the brilliance and expertise that is, right now, strictly employed by the private sector. We need to fight fire with fire. And while I recognize the political difficulty in devising a new government program staffed with the small army of seven-figure-salaried tax code geniuses necessary to make this an even fight, I propose that there is another way.

    The military has numerous divisions dedicated to research in all manner of areas - not just those fields directly related to war, but to other technologies that have non-obvious (though still existent) military or national security applications. These fields of research include information technology, human resource studies, drug studies, environmental health, and others.

    I suggest we add a new program under this military umbrella dedicated to exploring the finer details of our nation’s tax code. We could have it overseen by a staff of well-paid private sector experts, directly culled from the same pool of brilliance from which the private sector draws, and staffed by young military officers and interns who want to build their experience and their resumes. In the course of their employment in this tax research wing, they would develop their skills and their contacts, in the same way that many technically-minded individuals currently seek employment in military-affiliated technical research endeavors to build similarly impressive resumes. After their stint, these employees would be perfectly positioned to move to the private sector, or to remain with the tax research wing, perhaps transferring to one of the more lucrative high-level positions. As a whole, it would combine the best minds culled from our nation’s top graduates, academics, and brilliant private sector minds into a single engine designed to explore the tax code from the inside out.

    As a military endeavor, such a program would have an important impact on national security. It would ensure that foreign investors cannot manipulate the complexities of our tax code in order to evade the taxes they should rightly pay, and reduce the damage they might do to our financial system by abusing our tax code and our financial law. And, of course, it would allow our own team of legislators and tax policy authors to gradually adapt our system into one that makes sense. This new program would be a direct and effective response to those individuals and corporations who employ the brilliance of our nation’s financial experts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And if we could shore up the inefficiencies and loopholes that plague our tax system, this new program would pay for itself.

    We could, at last, have a tax code that works for us rather than against us. And it could be sold to congress and to the public as a bipartisan endeavor that helps ensure fairness to every American while protecting our nation from those abroad who might seek to exploit our country’s laws to do us harm. In the wake of the Economic Substance Doctrine codified as part of 2010’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and given the recent focus devoted to reforming tax law in this country, I think the time is right to introduce bold new ideas that strive for a more just and sane economic system.

    Thank you for your time.


    Sincerely,
    XXXXX

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • electricitylikesmeelectricitylikesme Registered User regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    I crafted a second draft of the letter I posted before, implementing some of the suggestions you guys put forth. I'm going to send it to my senators (in California), though I probably won't bother with my congressman on account of him being Dan Lungren, who is a skuzzy crazy person. If anyone wants to copy it and send it to their own congresscritters, or just harvest it for ideas, or whatever, please feel free:
    Dear XXXXX,

    I have spent the last several months in witness of the national discourse as regards our nation’s tax code. The code is a great and bloated labyrinth of convoluted law, tens of thousands of pages long. It is so immensely complex that even dedicated tax lawyers, even tax law experts employed by the IRS, cannot hope to understand all of it. Part of this problem stems from a tax code assembled piecemeal over a span of decades, and part of this problem results from highly-paid lobbyists fighting for the most favorable tax code their employers’ money can buy. These are certainly weighty issues, but the problems go deeper.

    We have seen the rise of an industry dedicated to mastering the nuances of our tax code. A handful of people in this country have focused their careers around combining the minutae of tax law in ways that were never intended, and in so doing they can reduce the taxes paid by exceedingly wealthy individuals and massive corporations to a pittance. These tax wizards are brilliant people, paid exceptionally well to effectively break the system. This is not meant to disparage these people - they are honest people given a job to do, and they do it amazingly well, all without breaking a single law. But the fact remains that there is a game being played. On one side, we have the legislators and public servants who craft tax law. On the other side, the tax experts hired to exploit it. And in this game, the public side is out-manned, out-spent, and - put bluntly - out-classed. It is like putting a high-school football team against an NFL All-Star team and expecting to see a fair fight. The tax system as it exists is, if not completely broken, then at least severely bent. And the very nature of the system means that even if, through some miracle, we were gifted with a perfectly functional tax code tomorrow, it would just be broken again over time. It would be gamed to death, just as the current system has been.

    I don’t think it has to be this way. The deck is stacked against those who want a just tax code that functions as intended, but this fact doesn’t make us powerless. We need to tap into the brilliance and expertise that is, right now, strictly employed by the private sector. We need to fight fire with fire. And while I recognize the political difficulty in devising a new government program staffed with the small army of seven-figure-salaried tax code geniuses necessary to make this an even fight, I propose that there is another way.

    The military has numerous divisions dedicated to research in all manner of areas - not just those fields directly related to war, but to other technologies that have non-obvious (though still existent) military or national security applications. These fields of research include information technology, human resource studies, drug studies, environmental health, and others.

    I suggest we add a new program under this military umbrella dedicated to exploring the finer details of our nation’s tax code. We could have it overseen by a staff of well-paid private sector experts, directly culled from the same pool of brilliance from which the private sector draws, and staffed by young military officers and interns who want to build their experience and their resumes. In the course of their employment in this tax research wing, they would develop their skills and their contacts, in the same way that many technically-minded individuals currently seek employment in military-affiliated technical research endeavors to build similarly impressive resumes. After their stint, these employees would be perfectly positioned to move to the private sector, or to remain with the tax research wing, perhaps transferring to one of the more lucrative high-level positions. As a whole, it would combine the best minds culled from our nation’s top graduates, academics, and brilliant private sector minds into a single engine designed to explore the tax code from the inside out.

    As a military endeavor, such a program would have an important impact on national security. It would ensure that foreign investors cannot manipulate the complexities of our tax code in order to evade the taxes they should rightly pay, and reduce the damage they might do to our financial system by abusing our tax code and our financial law. And, of course, it would allow our own team of legislators and tax policy authors to gradually adapt our system into one that makes sense. This new program would be a direct and effective response to those individuals and corporations who employ the brilliance of our nation’s financial experts to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. And if we could shore up the inefficiencies and loopholes that plague our tax system, this new program would pay for itself.

    We could, at last, have a tax code that works for us rather than against us. And it could be sold to congress and to the public as a bipartisan endeavor that helps ensure fairness to every American while protecting our nation from those abroad who might seek to exploit our country’s laws to do us harm. In the wake of the Economic Substance Doctrine codified as part of 2010’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and given the recent focus devoted to reforming tax law in this country, I think the time is right to introduce bold new ideas that strive for a more just and sane economic system.

    Thank you for your time.


    Sincerely,
    XXXXX

    Send it to everyone anyway. The worst that can happen is that it's ignored.

  • ElJeffeElJeffe Moderator, ClubPA mod
    But Dan Lungren might figure out my secret plan to make things not suck and then when Feinstein goes up on the podium to tout these ideas he'll be all, "Nuh uh, Senator Feinstein, I already heard about this scheme and I have prepared a comprehensive retort! So thbbppt!"

    Because in my head the Senate and the House are actually the same place and also everyone talks like a third grader with a thesaurus.

    Okay, the last part is probably pretty accurate.

    Maddie: "I named my feet. The left one is flip and the right one is flop. Oh, and also I named my flip-flops."

    I make tweet.
  • spacekungfumanspacekungfuman Poor and minority-filled Registered User, __BANNED USERS regular
    ElJeffe wrote: »
    But Dan Lungren might figure out my secret plan to make things not suck and then when Feinstein goes up on the podium to tout these ideas he'll be all, "Nuh uh, Senator Feinstein, I already heard about this scheme and I have prepared a comprehensive retort! So thbbppt!"

    Because in my head the Senate and the House are actually the same place and also everyone talks like a third grader with a thesaurus.

    Okay, the last part is probably pretty accurate.

    The best think you can do is get anything you want your representatives to see in front of their faces. Even if they disagree, at least the idea will be in their minds, and if enough people from their state or district
    send the idea, then they will have to at least take it seriously to avoid angering their voters.

    More on topic, the way Bain has been treated in the media is certainly having an impact on people in the industry. It has been very interesting to me seeing how my clients which are "nicer" tend to get upset about the characterization, while the firms who really fit the stereotype don't seem to care. One disturbing trend that seems to be emerging is that some of the traditionally "nicer" firms more focused on employees seem to be swinging in the other direction, out of a feeling that if the media is going to crucify them, they might as well maximize profits as much as possible. I have seen this twice, so it may just be isolated incidents, but there is at least the possibility that dragging Bain over the coals like this will cost more people their jobs in the long run.

    7zh9uu9etcor.jpg
    Chanus wrote:
    It's been a butt come true! I get to work with the absolute best boobs in the business. What more could a money ask for? Kids, aim for the freeloaders !

    @chanus
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