TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Saturday, April 20, 2019

College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students And Faculty Worked Harder

VedderWall Street Journal op-ed:  College Wouldn’t Cost So Much If Students and Faculty Worked Harder, by Richard Vedder (Ohio University; author, Restoring the Promise: American Higher Education Today (2019)):

I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago.

One reason college is so costly and so little real learning occurs is that collegiate resources are vastly underused. Students don’t study much, professors teach little, few people read most of the obscure papers the professors write, and even the buildings are empty most of the time.

The New York Federal Reserve says more than 40% of recent college graduates are “underemployed,” but many already are while in school. Surveys of student work habits find that the average amount of time spent in class and otherwise studying is about 27 hours a week. The typical student takes classes only 32 weeks a year, so he spends fewer than 900 hours annually on academics—less time than a typical eighth-grader, and perhaps half the time their parents work to help finance college.

It wasn’t always this way. As economists Philip Babcock and Mindy Marks have demonstrated, students in the middle of the 20th century spent nearly 50% more time—around 40 hours weekly—studying. They now lack incentives to work very hard, since the average grade today—a B or B-plus—is much higher than in 1960 when the average grade-point average of around 2.5 implied a typical grade of B-minus or C-plus.

I’m part of the problem: I’ve been teaching for 55 years, and I assign far less reading, demand less writing, and give higher grades than I did two generations ago. ...

Continue reading

April 20, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Death Of An Adjunct ... And The University's Soul

AdjunctThe Atlantic, The Death of an Adjunct:

Thea Hunter was a promising, brilliant scholar. And then she got trapped in academia’s permanent underclass. ...

To be a perennial adjunct professor is to hear the constant tone of higher education’s death knell. The story is well known—the long hours, the heavy workload, the insufficient pay—as academia relies on adjunct professors, non-tenured faculty members, who are often paid pennies on the dollar to do the same work required of their tenured colleagues.

The position is often inaccurately described as akin to a form of slavery. Thea, a scholar of rights, slavery, and freedom, would have been the first to say that is not the case. It is more like the lowest rung in a caste system, the one that underrepresented minorities tend to call home.

“Just as the doors of academe have been opened more widely than heretofore to marginalized groups, the opportunity structure for academic careers has been turned on its head,” a 2016 report on faculty diversity from the TIAA Institute, a nonprofit research center focused in part on higher education, reads. From 1993 to 2013, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in non-tenure-track part-time faculty positions in higher education grew by 230 percent. By contrast, the percentage of underrepresented minorities in full-time tenure-track positions grew by just 30 percent.

Nearly 80 percent of faculty members were tenured or tenure-track in 1969. Now roughly three-quarters of faculty are nontenured. The jobs that are available—as an adjunct, or a visiting professor—rest on shaky foundations, as those who occupy them try to balance work and life, often without benefits. And Thea wobbled for years.

She was on the tenure track, and then she wasn’t. She had a promising job lead, and then it wasn’t so promising. She was on her way to publishing, and then that fizzled. Meanwhile, her hopes and setbacks were compounded by an underlying reality that many adjuncts face: a lack of health insurance. She was a black woman in academia, and she was flying against a current. Some professors soar; adjuncts flap and dive and flap again—until they can’t flap anymore. ...

Continue reading

April 18, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (8)

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Infanti: How U.S. Tax Laws Discriminate Against Women, Gays And People of Color

InfantiPBS News Hour op-ed:  How U.S. Tax Laws Discriminate Against Women, Gays and People of Color, by Anthony Infanti (Pittsburgh):

What and how a country chooses to tax says a lot about its values.

A core value built into the DNA of America, for example, is equality. And in practice, Americans imagine their country to be more equal than it is and strive to treat every member of society that way.

But, as I learned in researching my book, Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (MIT Press 2018), America’s tax laws paint a different picture.

Instead of reflecting a society constantly striving to better itself, U.S. tax laws are mired in the past. They reinforce the social and economic marginalization of women, racial and ethnic minorities, the poor, members of the LGBTQ community, immigrants and people with disabilities.

Continue reading

April 16, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Clausing: Fixing Our 'America Last' Tax Policy

OpenThe Hill op-ed:  Fixing Our 'America Last' Tax Policy, by Kimberly Clausing (Reed College):

On inauguration day, Trump promised the American people he would put “America first.” This rhetoric has provided verbal backing for new trade restrictions, immigration reductions and the withdrawal of the United States from prior international agreements and commitments.

As I argue in my new book, “Open: The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital,” these new trade barriers and immigration restrictions are more likely to harm than help American workers.

Tariffs are regressive consumption taxes, and trade wars generate new disruptions that hurt American workers and industries, including soybean farmers with unsold crops as well as autoworkers facing plant shutdowns resulting in part from higher costs due to steel tariffs in the United States. 

Likewise, immigration restrictions harm American workers and our larger economy. We lose talent, innovation and entrepreneurship; we will have fewer Nobel prizes, fewer workers with desperately needed technological skills and fewer billion-dollar startups. Also, the budget pressures of our aging population weigh more heavily.

But policymakers looking for a better way to put “America first” might usefully start with the tax code. The 2017 tax legislation known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has many provisions that are in desperate need of improvement. ...

Continue reading

April 14, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Clausing Presents The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital Today At Loyola-L.A.

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College) presents Open: he Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019) today at Loyola-L.A. as part of a panel discussion with Jeffrey Atik, Kathleen Kim, Katie Pratt, and Ted Seto:

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

Continue reading

April 11, 2019 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Commuter Faculty Spouses

Commuter SpousesInside Higher Ed, ‘Commuter Spouses’:

Many academics have partners who are academics, and "two-body issues" complicate many a job search. A new book looks at the impact of these situations on the couples and on society. While many of the couples examined in Commuter Spouses: New Families in a Changing World (Cornell University Press Mar. 15, 2019) are academics, the book explores the issues that arise for others as well.

Danielle Lindemann, assistant professor of sociology at Lehigh University, wrote the book based not only on her research but on her personal experience. She responded via email to questions about the book.

Q: Your author ID says of you, your husband and your "feisty preschooler" that "Currently they all live together." As you note in the acknowledgments, this is a subject you know from personal experience. What has your experience as a "commuter spouse" been like?

A: I lived apart from my husband (part of the time) from 2011 to 2013 while I was doing a postdoc at Vanderbilt in Nashville and he remained in New York. We’re actually not a great case study of commuter marriage, because in many ways we had an ideal setup. We knew we were doing it for a finite period, we were childless at the time, it was a research-oriented postdoc, so there was a lot I could do remotely, and we’re also incredibly privileged in a lot of ways. If you changed just one of those variables, it probably would have been a lot less tolerable. As it was, by the end of the two years, I was more than ready to be done with the commuting. In that last respect, I was similar to the people I interviewed for the book. Most people could find at least one thing they liked about the arrangement, but almost nobody was saying, “This my ideal setup and I want to do it forever.” Everyone I interviewed, except for one person, was either back living with their partners at the time I spoke with them, or planned on resuming cohabitation in the future.

Q: Many academic jobs are in small college towns. How does this influence the academic couple in a commuter relationship?

Continue reading

March 31, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Gallup's 'Single Most Profound Finding In Its History': 70% Of An Organization's Success Depends On The Quality Of Its Managers

ManagerWall Street Journal op-ed:  One Fix For All That's Wrong: Better Managers, by Sam Walker (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World’s Greatest Teams (2018)):

Five years ago, the Gallup organization embarked on one of the most ambitious deep dives it has ever conducted; an analysis of the future of work based on a decade of input from nearly 2 million employees and more than 300,000 business units. The results confirmed something Gallup had seen before: a company’s productivity depends, to a high degree, on the quality of its managers.

What no one saw coming, however, was the sheer size of that correlation—something Gallup calls “the single most profound, distinct and clarifying finding” in its 80-year history. The study showed that managers didn’t just influence the results their teams achieved, they explained a full 70% of the variance. In other words, if it’s a superior team you’re after, hiring the right manager is nearly three-fourths of the battle. ...

The study’s conclusions, laid out in Gallup’s forthcoming book, It’s the Manager, struck a particular chord with me. I, too, had exhaustively studied teams—although my subjects were the top dynasties in sports. I’d reached a similar conclusion: The overwhelming driver for sustained excellence in sports was another kind of middle manager, the team captain.

Continue reading

March 27, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, March 25, 2019

Ellen Aprill Reviews Philip Hamburger’s Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) And The Taxation Of Speech

Liberal SuppressionFollowing up on my previous post:  Ellen Aprill (Loyola-L.A.), Liberal Suppression: Viewing Section 501(C)(3)’S Speech Restrictions In Their Tax Context (reviewing Philip Hamburger (Columbia), Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) and the Taxation of Speech (University of Chicago Press 2018)):

Philip Hamburger’s Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) and the Taxation of Speech opposes on constitutional grounds the limitation on lobbying and the prohibition of campaign intervention required of charities, including churches, exempt under the Internal Revenue Code. The book is erudite, thoughtful, and thought-provoking. I learned a great deal from it. I also share a number of the author’s concerns. As a tax professor, naturally enough, I see these issues primarily through a tax lens, and this context leads me to draw conclusions regarding section 501(c)(3) quite different from those Hamburger comes to as a constitutional scholar. Yet I also believe that establishing a common understanding of the provision’s place in the Internal Revenue Code is crucial to any critique of it.

Language from Regan v Taxation with Representation (TWR), the 1983 case to which the book often refers, helps frame the contrast between our points of view. Against constitutional challenge, the Supreme Court in TWR upheld the limitation on substantial lobbying for entities exempt under section 501(c)(3) against constitutional challenge. Professor Hamburger’s book, my earlier work, and that of others have extended its reasoning, in particular its reliance on the principle that Congress has no duty to subsidize political activity, to section 501(c)(3)’s prohibition on campaign intervention as well. ...

Continue reading

March 25, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Clausing: Open — The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College), The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

Continue reading

March 5, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, February 25, 2019

Zelenak Presents Cordell Hull’s Legacy And Changes To The Federal Income Tax Over Time Today At Cumberland

Zelenak BookLawrence Zelenak (Duke) presents Figuring Out the Tax: Cordell Hull’s Legacy and Changes to the Federal Income Tax Over Time at Cumberland today at its 2019 Cordell Hull Speaker's Forum:

While many of you may be aware that Cumberland School of Law alumnus, Cordell Hull, is known as the Father of the United Nations, you may not know that he was also the “Father of the Federal Income Tax.” Attendees seeking one hour of CLE credit will enjoy access to the first chapter of Zelenak’s recently released book, Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press 2018) [reviewed by Charlotte Crane (Northwestern) here].

The publisher's description of Figuring Out the Tax:

Continue reading

February 25, 2019 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, February 16, 2019

Is Email Making Professors Stupid — 'Digital Torture For Serious Scholars'?

GmailChronicle of Higher Education op-ed:  Is Email Making Professors Stupid?, by Cal Newport (Georgetown; author, Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World (2016)):

Email used to simplify crucial tasks. Now it’s strangling scholars’ ability to think.

Donald Knuth is one of the world’s most famous living computer scientists. He’s known for his pioneering efforts to bring rigorous mathematical analysis to the design of computer algorithms. An emeritus professor at Stanford University, he’s currently writing the fourth volume of his classic book series, The Art of Computer Programming, which he’s been working on since the early 1960s.

Given Knuth’s renown, many people seek him out. If you’re one of those people, however, you’ll end up disappointed. On arriving at Knuth’s homemade Stanford homepage, you’ll notice that no email address is provided. If you dig deeper, you’ll eventually find a page named email.html which opens with the following statement:

I have been a happy man ever since January 1, 1990, when I no longer had an email address. I’d used email since about 1975, and it seems to me that 15 years of email is plenty for one lifetime.

Knuth does provide his mailing address at Stanford, and he asks that people send an old-fashioned letter if they need to contact him. His administrative assistant gathers these letters and presents them to Knuth in batches, getting urgent correspondence to him quickly, and putting everything else into a “buffer” that he reviews, on average, “one day every three months.”

Knuth’s approach to email prioritizes the long-term value of uninterrupted concentration over the short-term convenience of accessibility. Objectively speaking, this tradeoff makes sense, but it’s so foreign to most tenured and tenure-track professors that it can seem ludicrous — more parody than pragmatism. This is because in the modern academic environment professors act more like middle managers than monastics. A major factor driving this reality is the digital communication Knuth so carefully avoids. Faculty life now means contending with an unending stream of electronic missives, many of which come with an expectation of rapid reply.

Continue reading

February 16, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (7)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

The Resilience Of Religion In American Higher Education

ResilienceInside Higher Ed Book Review, The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press 2018):

William F. Buckley Jr.'s 1951 book God and Man at Yale popularized a view of higher education as hostile to faith. A new book, however, The Resilience of Religion in American Higher Education (Baylor University Press), finds faith alive and well in American higher education. The authors find that resilience evident both at public and private institutions. And they find it at religious institutions with varying ideas about their missions. ...

The authors are John Schmalzbauer, a professor of religious studies at Missouri State University and the author of People of Faith: Religious Conviction in American Journalism and Higher Education, and Kathleen A. Mahoney, a senior staff member at the GHR Foundation and author of Catholic Higher Education in Protestant America: The Jesuits and Harvard in the Age of the University. They responded via email to questions about their new book.

Q: Many evangelical colleges have been criticized for their views on sexuality (in particular ideas about gay people) and science (a belief by some that the Bible is to be taken literally, challenging ideas about evolution and so forth). Do you see those views holding back these colleges?

Continue reading

January 13, 2019 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Clausing: Open — The Progressive Case For Free Trade, Immigration, And Global Capital

OpenKimberly Clausing (Reed College), The Progressive Case for Free Trade, Immigration, and Global Capital (Harvard University Press 2019):

With the winds of trade war blowing as they have not done in decades, and Left and Right flirting with protectionism, a leading economist forcefully shows how a free and open economy is still the best way to advance the interests of working Americans.

Globalization has a bad name. Critics on the left have long attacked it for exploiting the poor and undermining labor. Today, the Right challenges globalization for tilting the field against advanced economies. Kimberly Clausing faces down the critics from both sides, demonstrating in this vivid and compelling account that open economies are a force for good, not least in helping the most vulnerable.

A leading authority on corporate taxation and an advocate of a more equal economy, Clausing agrees that Americans, especially those with middle and lower incomes, face stark economic challenges. But these problems do not require us to retreat from the global economy. On the contrary, she shows, an open economy overwhelmingly helps. International trade makes countries richer, raises living standards, benefits consumers, and brings nations together. Global capital mobility helps both borrowers and lenders. International business improves efficiency and fosters innovation. And immigration remains one of America’s greatest strengths, as newcomers play an essential role in economic growth, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Closing the door to the benefits of an open economy would cause untold damage. Instead, Clausing outlines a progressive agenda to manage globalization more effectively, presenting strategies to equip workers for a modern economy, improve tax policy, and establish a better partnership between labor and the business community.

Continue reading

January 3, 2019 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy And How It Can Do Better

Just GivingWall Street Journal: Leslie Lenkowsky (Indiana University), Generosity, With Benefits (reviewing Rob Reich (Stanford), Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better (2018)):

Critics take aim at government policy when it fails, in their view, to sufficiently encourage donations to charity. In “Just Giving: Why Philanthropy Is Failing Democracy and How It Can Do Better,” Rob Reich, a Stanford political-science professor, argues that a more fundamental question needs to be asked: Why should government policies encourage philanthropy at all?

Throughout history, Mr. Reich says, religious and ethical traditions have provided people from many backgrounds with powerful reasons for giving. If governments are to play a role, Mr. Reich argues, they need a different kind of justification: a political one. They need to be able to identify the ways in which charity achieves public purposes, and for him the greatest public purpose is that of promoting equality. A policy that fails in this regard, he believes, is shaky at best and perhaps unjustifiable.

Continue reading

December 27, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (3)

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

NY Times: Professor, Was Jesus Really Born To A Virgin?

CraigNew York Times op-ed:  Professor, Was Jesus Really Born to a Virgin?, by Nicholas Kristof:

I question William Lane Craig [author, Reasonable Faith: Christian Truth and Apologetics] of Talbot School of Theology and Houston Baptist University about Christianity.

KristofMerry Christmas, Dr. Craig! I must confess that for all my admiration for Jesus, I’m skeptical about some of the narrative we’ve inherited. Are you actually confident that Jesus was born to a virgin?

Craig: Merry Christmas to you, too, Nick! I’m reasonably confident. When I was a non-Christian, I used to struggle with this, too. But then it occurred to me that for a God who could create the entire universe, making a woman pregnant wasn’t that big a deal! Given the existence of a Creator and Designer of the universe (for which we have good evidence), an occasional miracle is child’s play. Historically speaking, the story of Jesus’ virginal conception is independently attested by Matthew and Luke and is utterly unlike anything in pagan mythology or Judaism. So what’s the problem? ...

Continue reading

December 25, 2018 in Book Club | Permalink | Comments (2)

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Bar-Ilan University Hosts Book Event For Tsilly Dagan's International Tax Policy

Dagan BookBar-Ilan University (Israel) hosted a book event for Tsilly Dagan, International Tax Policy: Between Competition and Cooperation (Cambridge University Press 2018), with these discussants:

  • Ofer Groskopf (Israel Supreme Court)
  • Yiran Margalioth (Tel Aviv) 
  • Daniel Shaviro (NYU)
  • Linda Sugin (Fordam)

Bringing a unique voice to international taxation, this book argues against the conventional support of multilateral co-operation in favour of structured competition as a way to promote both justice and efficiency in international tax policy. Tsilly Dagan analyses international taxation as a decentralised market, where governments have increasingly become strategic actors. While many of the challenges of the current international tax regime derive from this decentralised competitive structure, Dagan argues that curtailing competition through centralisation is not necessarily the answer.

Continue reading

December 15, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 14, 2018

George Yin's Holiday Reading Picks

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Stanford Law Faculty End-Of-Year Reading List

Monday, December 10, 2018

Mann & Roberts: Tax Law And The Environment

Tax Law and the EnvironmentTax Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary and Worldwide Perspective (Roberta F. Mann (Oregon) &  Tracey M. Roberts (Samford) eds. 2018):

Tax Law and the Environment: A Multidisciplinary and Worldwide Perspective takes a multidisciplinary approach to explore the ways how tax policy can is used solve environmental problems throughout the world, using a multi-jurisdictional and multidisciplinary approach. Environmental taxation involves using taxes to impose a cost on environmentally harmful activities or tax subsidies to provide preferred tax treatment to more sustainable alternatives to those harmful activities. This book provides a detailed analysis of environmental taxation, with examples from around the world. As the extraction, processing and use of energy use resources is has been a major cause of environmental harm, this book explores the taxation and subsidization of both fossil fuels and renewable energy. Its analysis of the past, present, and future potential of environmental taxation will help policymakers move economies toward sustainability, as well as and informing students, academics, and citizens about tax solutions for pressing environmental issues.

Reviews:

 

Continue reading

December 10, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Crane Reviews Zelenak's Figuring Out The Tax

Jotwell (Tax) (2016)Charlotte Crane (Northwestern), Learning From Our Mistakes (JOTWELL) (reviewing Lawrence Zelenak (Duke), Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press 2018)):

The income tax is a formidable institution in American political life. Understanding the many facets of its current form is a challenge, given the myriad forces that have interacted in its evolution. Larry Zelenak, in his book Figuring Out the Tax, published in January 2018 as part of the Cambridge Tax Law Series, offers the reader substantial insights into these forces through a close examination of the early history of the income tax in the United States.

Continue reading

November 29, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

How To Grow A Lawyer: A Guide For Law Schools, Law Professors, And Law Students

How To Grow A LawyerE. Scott Fruehwald, How to Grow A Lawyer: A Guide for Law Schools, Law Professors, and Law Students (2018):

We live in a world of accelerating change. Yet, legal education still relies mainly on a teaching approach developed in 1870. Is this any way to grow a lawyer?

Law schools need to radically transform legal education. They must base this transformation on research of education scholars both within and without legal education. They must reject everything from the past that does not grow effective lawyers.

This book shows how law schools and law professors can use the new scholarship to become better teachers and how they can help their students become better learners. In brief, legal education should involve active learning, teaching students metacognition, and formative assessment. This book contains exercises, particularly reflection exercises, at the end of each subsection to help the reader better absorb the new approaches to teaching and learning.

November 28, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education, Scholarship, Teaching | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Bakija Presents Would A Bigger Government Hurt The Economy? Today At Pennsylvania

HowJon Bakija (Williams College) presents Would a Bigger Government Hurt the Economy?, in How Big Should Our Government Be? (University of California Press 2016) (with Lane Kenworthy (UC-San Diego), Peter Lindert (UC-Davis) & Jeff Madrick (Bernard L. Schwartz Rediscovering Government Initiative, Century Foundation)) at Pennsylvania today as part of its Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series hosted by Michael Knoll, Chris Sanchirico, and Reed Shuldiner:

If the United States is going to meet the rising costs of promised government retirement benefits and health care for the elderly while doing more to promote economic security, equality of opportunity, and shared prosperity, it will eventually need to increase taxes. Is this the best solution, or should we scale back government and cut taxes, thereby improving incentives for productive economic activity? This is the fundamental political dilemma of our times. A thoughtful answer ought to depend on many different considerations, but one of the most critical is the long-run economic costs and benefits of larger government and the taxes that go with it. I begin by briefly reviewing some theory that helps to put the debate into perspective. Then I consider evidence on three key empirical questions:

Continue reading

November 7, 2018 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

How Dan Markel's Murder Led Todd Henderson To Write His First Novel, Mental State

Mental StateM. Todd Henderson (Chicago), Mental State (2018):

When conservative law professor Alex Johnson is found dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at his house in Chicago, everyone thinks it is suicide. Everyone except his brother, Royce, an FBI agent.

Without jurisdiction or leads, Agent Johnson leaves his cases and family to find out who killed his brother. There are many suspects: the ex-wife, an ambitious doctor with expensive tastes and reasons to hate her ex; academic rivals on a faculty divided along political lines; an African-American student who failed the professor’s course.

As Agent Johnson peels back layers of mystery in his rogue investigation, the brother he never really knew emerges. Clues lead from the ivy-covered elite university and the halls of power in Washington to the gritty streets of Chicago and Lahore, Pakistan. Ultimately, Agent Johnson must face the question of how far he is willing to go to catch his brother’s killer.

Mental State is about two brothers learning about each other in death, and about the things people will do when convinced they are in the right. 

Los Angeles Review of Books, DC State of Mind:

ANTHONY FRANZE: To call your novel timely is an understatement: a Supreme Court nominee navigating the confirmation process, child sex abuse, and shades of the real-life upcoming trial of murdered law professor Dan Markel. What inspired your story?

Continue reading

October 30, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 26, 2018

LSE Hosts Book Launch Today For Tsilly Dagan's International Tax Policy

DaganThe London School of Economics and Political Science is hosting a book launch today for Tsilly Dagan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), International Tax Policy: Between Competition and Cooperation (Cambridge University Press 2018):

Bringing a unique voice to international taxation, this book argues against the conventional support of multilateral co-operation in favour of structured competition as a way to promote both justice and efficiency in international tax policy. Tsilly Dagan analyzes international taxation as a decentralized market, where governments have increasingly become strategic actors. While many of the challenges of the current international tax regime derive from this decentralized competitive structure, Dagan argues that curtailing competition through centralization is not necessarily the answer.

Continue reading

October 26, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, October 12, 2018

Liberal Suppression: Section 501(c)(3) And The Taxation of Speech

Liberal SuppressionMark Pulliam (Law & Liberty; Retired Partner, Latham & Watkins), Is Section 501(c)(3) a Form of Censorship?:

Columbia Law School Professor Philip Hamburger is a prodigious and iconoclastic legal scholar. ... Hamburger’s latest subject, in Liberal Suppression ([University of Chicago Press] 2018), is an inquiry into the legitimacy of restrictions on the political speech of non-profit organizations. [1] Section 501(c)(3) exempts religious, educational, and charitable organizations from federal income tax but denies them this exemption if they engage in campaign speech for or against any candidate for public office or devote a substantial part of their activities to propaganda or other attempts to influence legislation. Section 170(c) makes contributions to qualifying non-profits tax-deductible to the donor. According to Hamburger, these exemptions and deductions amount to “many billions of dollars annually.”

Most people’s knee-jerk reaction is that section 501(c)(3)’s restrictions are justified by the tax-exempt status such non-profit organizations applied for and received. Rejecting such preconceptions in his trademark fashion, Hamburger strongly disagrees. Although non-profits are free to express a wide range of opinions—even political opinions—outside of political contests, Hamburger views section 501(c)(3) as “an extraordinary abridgement of an essential freedom,” which ought to be considered unconstitutional. Inasmuch as the Supreme Court has unanimously upheld the lobbying restrictions in section 501(c)(3) [2], Liberal Suppressionis nothing if not ambitious, but is it persuasive? Realizing that his arguments may appear to be an “uphill struggle,” early on Hamburger asks readers to “hold their skepticism in abeyance.”

After reading the book, my skepticism remains stubbornly intact.

Continue reading

October 12, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (6)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Infanti: Our Selfish Tax Laws

SelfishAnthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), Our Selfish Tax Laws: Toward Tax Reform That Mirrors Our Better Selves (MIT Press 2018):

Most of us think of tax as a pocketbook issue: how much we owe, how much we'll get back, how much we can deduct. In Our Selfish Tax Laws, Anthony Infanti takes a broader view, considering not just how taxes affect us individually but how the tax system reflects our culture and society. He finds that American tax laws validate and benefit those who already possess power and privilege while starkly reflecting the lines of difference and discrimination in American society based on race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, gender, sexual orientation and gender identity, immigration status, and disability. Infanti argues that instead of focusing our tax reform discussions on which loopholes to close or which deductions to allow, we should consider how to make our tax system reflect American ideals of inclusivity rather than institutionalizing exclusion.

After describing the theoretical and intellectual underpinnings of his argument, Infanti offers two comparative case studies, examining the treatment of housing tax expenditures and the unit of taxation in the United States, Canada, France, and Spain to show how tax law reflects its social and cultural context. Then, drawing on his own work and that of other critical tax scholars, Infanti explains how the discourse surrounding tax reform masks the many ways that the American tax system rewards and reifies privilege. To counter this, Infanti urges us to work together to create a society with a tax system that respects and values all Americans.

Continue reading

October 9, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, October 8, 2018

Chaired Law Prof At University Of Oklahoma Resigns Associate Dean Position Amidst Outcry Over His Book, To Build A City Of God: Living As Catholics In A Secular Age

Build City of GodABA Journal, Oklahoma University College of Law Associate Dean Resigns Over Sexist, Homophobic Writings:

A law professor and associate dean for academic affairs at the Oklahoma University College of Law voluntarily resigned Tuesday after his discriminatory writings about women and same-sex marriage in a 2014 book came to light.

The controversy stems from Brian McCall’s book titled To Build the City of God: Living as Catholics in a Secular Age.

Message From Dean Harroz:

Dear OU Law Community,

I appreciate hearing from those of you who have reached out to me. I understand your frustration and concern about statements made by Associate Dean Brian McCall. I assure you that I do not agree with those statements.

Due to the concerns about those statements, as well as our desire to uphold our values of inclusivity and respect for all people, an independent review was undertaken by an outside law firm through the university’s Equal Opportunity Office. Because of this review, I was asked to refrain from making any comments. I recognize that this has caused additional concern and frustrations, for which I am truly sorry.

Continue reading

October 8, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (14)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Mehrotra Reviews Taxing The Rich: A History Of Fiscal Fairness In The U.S. And Europe

Taxing The RichAjay K. Mehrotra (American Bar Foundation, Northwestern), Why Atlas Hasn't Shrugged, 21 Fla. Tax Rev. 655 (2018):

Scholars, policy analysts, and lawmakers have long debated the relationship between steeply progressive taxes and economic prosperity. In their recent book, Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe, Kenneth Scheve and David Stasavage take a step back to ask the broader, and perhaps more compelling, historical question: “When and why do countries tax the rich?” This essay reviews Taxing the Rich. It explores how the authors’ impressive comparative and historical analysis addresses why modern democracies have been able to tax the rich without negative consequences. Using a data set of tax laws and policies from twenty industrialized democracies across nearly two centuries, the authors persuasively document how “compensatory arguments” made during wartime have led to robust taxation of the wealthy.

Continue reading

September 5, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

OECD: Tax Policy Reforms 2018

OECDOECD, Tax Policy Reforms 2018:

Countries have used recent tax reforms to lower taxes on businesses and individuals, with a view to boosting investment, consumption and labour market participation, continuing a trend that started a couple of years ago, according to a new report from the OECD.

Tax Policy Reforms 2018 describes the latest tax reforms across 35 OECD members, Argentina, Indonesia and South Africa. The report identifies major tax policy trends and highlights that economic stimulus provided by fiscal policy, including to a large extent through tax policy, has become more significant.

Significant tax reform packages were introduced in Argentina, France, Latvia and the United States, with a strong focus on supporting investment and some measures designed to enhance fairness. Other countries have introduced tax measures in a more piecemeal fashion.

Across countries, the report highlights the continuation of a trend toward corporate income tax rate cuts, which has been largely driven by significant reforms in a number of large countries with traditionally high corporate tax rates. The average corporate income tax rate across the OECD has dropped from 32.5% in 2000 to 23.9% in 2018. While the declining trend in the average OECD corporate tax rate has gained renewed momentum in recent years, corporate tax rate reductions are less pronounced than before the crisis.

Continue reading

September 5, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 31, 2018

New 2018 Edition Of Partnership Income Taxation

Partnership TaxationJames R. Repetti  (Boston College), William H. Lyons (Nebraska) & Charlene D. Luke (Florida), Partnership Income Taxation (amazon) (Foundation Press 6th ed. 2018):

This book attempts the simplest possible introduction to an intricate body of law. Any “simplified” description of the rules of partnership taxation would be so misleading as to be useless. We have therefore tried to make the subject accessible not by paraphrasing the rules, but by including numerous illustrations that are as straightforward as possible. The text focuses on simple partnerships holding few assets and engaging in routine transactions. It places the rules in context by pointing out the purposes of the statute and regulations and presenting background information about practical matters such as how partnerships maintain capital accounts and how nonrecourse financing works. Using many examples, it then shows the operation of the rules in everyday cases encountered by practitioners.

This is not a reference book: many interesting and difficult issues have been ignored. Some matters, such as the application of § 736 to noncash distributions and the taxation of tiered partnerships, are not discussed at all. Most of the points that are addressed, however, are discussed at considerable length. Changes may be on the horizon; as this edition is going to press, tax professionals are grappling with understanding and implementing 2017 tax legislation, which included a reduction to the tax rate for some types of pass-through income. Numerous proposed regulations have been issued in recent years, and new regulatory projects interpreting the recent legislation are likely. Our goal has been to give students background material and illustrations so that they can begin to understand and work with a statute that was drafted for (and by) experienced practitioners and so that they can be prepared to make sense of any future changes.

Continue reading

August 31, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, And Innovation in Law

Legal UpheavalMichele DeStefano (Miami) Legal Upheaval: A Guide to Creativity, Collaboration, and Innovation in Law (2018):

In today’s legal marketplace, clients are demanding services that require a new skill set and a new mindset from lawyers. In Legal Upheaval, Professor Michele DeStefano lays out the trifecta for success in a changed legal landscape: creativity, collaboration, and innovation. DeStefano, a former marketing executive, now a professor at the University of Miami and guest faculty at Harvard Law School’s Executive Education program, has spent more than a decade researching the evolving legal marketplace. The book provides powerful evidence that collaboration toward innovation is the new value equation in law, creating stickier and more profitable client relationships.

In a conversational fashion, DeStefano takes us on a journey from why lawyers need to innovate to how they can do so. She unveils the Lawyer Skills Delta and maps out a methodology for filling the gaps in current legal skill sets: The 3 Rules of Engagement and The 3-4-5 Method of Innovation for Lawyers. Full of points of reflection, as well as concrete directions, Legal Upheaval makes innovation accessible.

Continue reading

August 7, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 4, 2018

2018 Federal Tax Procedure Book & Supplements

Federal Tax Procedure is the book for originally prepared for a course on Tax Procedure taught by Adjunct Professor Townsend at the University of Houston School of Law (through the Fall of 2015). The book and related materials contain text discussion, relevant Code Sections, and certain cases designed to encourage students to think about the Tax Procedure process.

Continue reading

August 4, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Who Is Your Faculty's Carlos Beltrán?

AstroballFollowing up on my previous post, Who Is the Shane Battier of Your Faculty?:  Wall Street Journal Book Review:  Paul Dickson, Lone Star Turnaround (reviewing Ben Reiter, Astroball: The New Way to Win It All (2018)):

Mr. Reiter now has written a full account of the remarkable story of how one of the greatest turnarounds in modern baseball history was engineered. ... Houston had looked at the processes that Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane had used early in the 21st century. That team’s methods—sophisticated statistical analyses and attention to “undervalued” measuring sticks (like on-base percentage)—were detailed in Michael Lewis’s Moneyball (2003), and they changed the way baseball front offices operated. But Mr. Lewis’s book also portrayed a somewhat fraught internal organization, with old-fashioned scouts in one corner and the analytic nerds in the other, often disagreeing about players and prospects and resenting one another as well.

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow wanted to figure out how to get scouting and analytics to work together and eventually produce an internal metric that would render a decision on a player as simple as the one in blackjack: hit or stay, keep or trade, play or bench. The blackjack analogy is apt, since Mr. Luhnow’s leading partner in all of this was Sig Mejdal, a former blackjack dealer and NASA scientist who became the head of the Astros’ Nerd Cave or, as the Astros named him, “director of decision sciences.”

Under Mr. Luhnow, scouts not only made subjective judgments about a prospect’s talent but also collected unique data that they fed to the folks in the Nerd Cave. And the nerds began listening to the scouts. All of this was easier said than done, but it was done, and the team made a series of sound, even brilliant, choices as it drafted, traded and signed players. ...

[R]oster-creation, all by itself, did not bring home the championship. Building an exceptional team is one thing, but making it work as a team is another. “Fault lines” exist in all complex organizations—including baseball teams. If these lines can be bridged or eradicated, a team is likely to win more ball games. To use another bit of old-fashioned terminology, a team needs chemistry.

Carlos Beltrán, the veteran outfielder signed by the Astros after the 2016 season, immediately took on the role of chief chemist. Among other things, he created a postgame ceremony that awarded prizes for excellence in the field and instituted a postgame “court” for those who failed to attend: The fine was $500. Mr. Beltrán also had a singular ability to study opposing pitchers and determine their “tells”—gestures and small changes in behavior that signaled whether or not the next pitch would be, for example, a breaking ball or a fast ball. Finally, Mr. Beltrán had a strong desire to close the gap between the English and Spanish speakers. ...

Mr. Reiter’s superb narrative of how the team got there provides powerful insights into how organizations—not just baseball clubs—work best.

Sports Illustrated, Why Carlos Beltrán Was the Perfect Addition to Aid the Astros' Journey to the World Series:

Luhnow also felt that Beltrán could imbue a club with something else, a variable that neither Statcast nor any of Sig’s other metrics could begin to track.

Continue reading

July 25, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, July 22, 2018

The Geometry Of Wealth: How To Shape A Life Of Money And Meaning

Geometry of WealthBrian Portnoy, The Geometry of Wealth: How To Shape A Life Of Money And Meaning (2018):

In The Geometry of Wealth, behavioral finance expert Brian Portnoy delivers an inspired answer based on the idea that wealth, truly defined, is funded contentment. It is the ability to underwrite a meaningful life. This stands in stark contrast to angling to become rich, which is usually an unsatisfying treadmill.

At the heart of this groundbreaking perspective,Portnoy takes readers on a journey toward wealth, informed by disciplines ranging from ancient history to modern neuroscience. He contends that tackling the big questions about a joyful life and tending to financial decisions are complementary, not separate, tasks.

These big questions include:

  • How is the human brain wired for two distinct experiences of happiness? And why can money"buy" one but not the other?
  • Are the touchstones of a meaningful life affordable?
  • Why is market savvy among the least important sources of wealth but self-awareness is among the most?
  • Can we strike a balance between pushing for more and being content with enough?

Continue reading

July 22, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Would A Universal Basic Income Cure Poverty?

WSJ 2Wall Street Journal Book Review:  The Cure for Poverty?, by Edward Glaeser (Harvard) (reviewing Annie Lowrey, Give People Money (2018) & Andrew Yang, The War on Normal People (2018)):

The concept of a universal basic income, or UBI, has become part of the moral armor of Silicon Valley moguls who want a socially conscious defense against the charge that technology is making humanity obsolete. The logic of UBI runs that if every adult received $12,000 annually in free, unfettered cash, then we would not need to worry about an ocean of underemployed men who numb their feelings of worthlessness with computer games and opioids. The folly of UBI is that it sees a cash payment as a substitute for purpose and accomplishment and that it enables joblessness when we should be encouraging employment and job-creating innovation.

Two new books examining UBI are better than their subject deserves. Annie Lowrey’s “Give People Money” advances the general progressive case for UBI as a new link in the safety net. Andrew Yang’s “The War on Normal People” is squarely targeted at the techno-dystopians who see UBI as a response to a jobless future in America.

Continue reading

July 17, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (4)

Monday, June 18, 2018

Hamilton And Philosophy

HamiltonI gotta get back in the classroom:  Professor Carrie-Ann Biondi at Marymount Manhattan College is teaching a course in the fall on Hamilton and Philosophy:

Alexander Hamilton not only participated in the American Revolutionary War as George Washington’s right-hand man, but he also introduced revolutionary ideas into American political philosophy before and during the early American republic. Inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda created a revolution of his own on Broadway with his smash-hit Hamilton: An American Musical. In this course, we will explore both the political philosophy of Hamilton and examine various philosophical issues surrounding the creation and reception of Miranda’s Hamilton

Professor Biondi contributed a chapter (Legacy and Happiness in Hamilton: An American Musical) in the book Hamilton and Philosophy (2017):

In Hamilton and Philosophy, professional thinkers expose, examine, and ponder the deep and controversial implications of this runaway hit Broadway musical.

Continue reading

June 18, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Stephen Presser's Love Letter To Law Professors: 'We Are All Multicultural Progressives Now'

PresserJesse Merriam (Loyola), Stephen Presser's Love Letter to the Law, in Five Parts, 33 Const. Comment. 71 (2018) (reviewing Stephen B. Presser (Northwestern), Law Professors: Three Centuries of Shaping American Law (West 2017)):

This book on law professors, Stephen Presser writes in the Preface, is a “love letter to the teaching of law” (p. v). But this is no mere “love letter.” The twenty-four chapters read more like a break-up letter, sounding with each successive chapter the ominous tone of a betrayed lover—more like Søren Kierkegaard’s regretful reflections on losing Regine Olsen to a more decisive suitor, and less like Kierkegaard’s earlier romantic confessions of adoration for Regine. Reading Law Professors, one gets the impression that, like Kierkegaard, Presser is writing his love letter with some bitterness, recalling the halcyon days of the legal academy when it was more insulated from the mass and welter of partisan politics.

Like all love letters contemplating the future of the relationship, Law Professors is essentially about change and loss, making it ideal for a course on social movements and legal change. These themes are all the more serious, given Presser’s prominent academic status, holding joint appointments at Northwestern University and having authored several casebooks—ranging from corporate law, to legal history, to constitutional law and theory—as well as two important, and controversial, books arguing for a reconsideration of various areas of constitutional law. Presser’s recent move to emeritus status gives this tome on law professors an even heavier tone, the ruminations of a legal giant on his thirty-plus years of experience in the legal academy.

Continue reading

June 7, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (6)

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Shaviro Presents Gilded Age Literature And Inequality Today At Stanford

ShaviroDaniel N. Shaviro (NYU) presents Gilded Age Literature and Inequality today at Stanford:

We are an intensely social species, and often a rivalrous one, prone to measuring ourselves in terms of others, and often directly against others.  Accordingly, relative position matters to our sense of wellbeing, although excluded from standard economic models that look only at the utility derived from own consumption of commodities plus leisure.  For example, people can have deep-seated psychological responses to inequality and social hierarchy, creating the potential for extreme wealth differences to invoked feelings of superiority and inferiority, or dominance and subordination, that may powerfully affect how we relate to each other.

The tools that one needs to understand how and why this matters include the sociological and the qualitative.  In my book-in-progress, Dangerous Grandiosity: Literary Perspectives on High-End Inequality Through the First Gilded Age, I use the particular tool of in-depth studies of particular classic works of literature (from Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice  through Theodore Dreiser’s The Financier and The Titan) that offer suggestive insights regarding the felt experiences around high-end inequality at different times and from different perspectives. A successor volume will carry this account through the twentieth century and up to the present.

Continue reading

May 17, 2018 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Success Of A Disruptive Leader Depends On Her Successor

CaptainInteresting inaugural piece in the Wall Street Journal's new column on the lessons and strategies of leadership, The Captain Class, by Sam Walter (author, The Captain Class: The Hidden Force That Creates the World's Greatest Teams (2018)):  One Leader Sent Boeing Into a Hurricane; Landing It Was the Next Guy’s Job:

Jim McNerney’s tenure shows that the success of a disrupter often hinges on who comes next.

Boeing ’s board of directors knew one thing for certain when they handed the institutional yoke to Jim McNerney in 2005. The incoming chief executive planned to steer the aerospace giant straight into the turbulence.

This wasn’t a tactical blunder. Turbulence was the whole point.

Boeing’s deepest problem in 2005 was a universal one:  No empire rises forever. The company had been floundering, and the digital revolution was barging down the gangway. The board figured it was time to buckle up.

Continue reading

May 2, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, April 28, 2018

How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare For Political Gain

IncentivesNew York Times op-ed:  Do Taxpayers Know They Are Handing Out Billions to Corporations?, by Nathan M. Jensen (University of Texas; author, Incentives to Pander: How Politicians Use Corporate Welfare for Political Gain (Cambridge University Press 2018)):

Every year, states and local governments give economic-development incentives to companies to the tune of between $45 billion and $80 billion. Why such a wide range? It’s not sloppy research; it’s because many of these subsidies are not public. ...

Economic development all across the country is getting less open — and both Democrats and Republicans are doing it. In fact, in many cases, the politicians themselves aren’t even the ones negotiating for the public.

How do communities balance the tremendous opportunity of attracting a world-class company against the taxpayer costs, the pressures on our infrastructure and our struggles of providing affordable housing? ...

Continue reading

April 28, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Mystery Of The Dead Law School Dean

DeadMark S. Silver, Res Ipsa Loquitor: The Mystery of the Dead Law School Dean (2017):

Not everybody is accepted to Yale Law School. David Balfour will attend LUNY Law School where he will have to contend with the oddities of jurisprudence and a harrowing academic load, all the while trying to solve the Mystery of the Dead Law School Dean. David and his law school friends will negotiate a new terrain as 1L students on a journey to become lawyers after passing the bar.

About the author:

I am a New York State Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I have a Combined Specialist Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science from the University of Toronto and a Master of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Western Ontario. I have also completed a Master of Social Work at the University of Toronto, a post-graduate Certificate Program in Family Therapy at Smith College, and a Doctor of Psychology at the Southern California University for Professional Studies.

Continue reading

April 24, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Michigan Law Review Tax Book Reviews

Continue reading

April 24, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Brunson: God And The IRS — Accommodating Religious Practice In U.S. Tax Law

BrunsonSamuel D. Brunson (Loyola-Chicago), God and the IRS: Accommodating Religious Practice in United States Tax Law (Cambridge University Press 2018):

Seventy-five percent of Americans claim religious affiliation, which can impact their taxpaying responsibilities. In this illuminating book, Samuel D. Brunson describes the many problems and breakdowns that can occur when tax meets religion in the United States, and shows how the US government has too often responded to these issues in an unprincipled, ad hoc manner. God and the IRS offers a better framework to understand tax and religion. It should be read by scholars of religion and the law, policymakers, and individuals interested in understanding the implications of taxation on their religious practices.

Continue reading

April 22, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Fundamentalist U: Keeping The Faith In American Higher Education

UAdam Laats (Binghamton University), Fundamentalist U: Keeping the Faith in American Higher Education (Oxford Univ. Press 2018):

Colleges, universities, and seminaries do more than just transfer knowledge to students. They sell themselves as "experiences" that transform young people in unique ways. The conservative evangelical Protestant network of higher education has been no different. In the twentieth century, when higher education sometimes seemed to focus on sports, science, and social excess, conservative evangelical schools offered a compelling alternative. On their campuses, evangelicals debated what it meant to be a creationist, a Christian, a proper American, all within the bounds of Biblical revelation. Instead of encouraging greater personal freedom and deeper pluralist values, conservative evangelical schools thrived by imposing stricter rules on their students and faculty.

In Fundamentalist U, Adam Laats shows that these colleges have always been more than just schools; they have been vital intellectual citadels in America's culture wars. These unique institutions have defined what it has meant to be an evangelical and have reshaped the landscape of American higher education.

Continue reading

April 1, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Fair Shot:  Rethinking Inequality And How We Earn

Fair ShotNew York Times Book Review, Chris Hughes Made Millions at Facebook. Now He Has a Plan to End Poverty. (reviewing Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn (2018)):

Chris Hughes, as he will be the first to tell you, has too much money. As he relates in his new book, “Fair Shot,” he co-founded Facebook, asked his roommate Mark Zuckerberg for 10 percent of the company, received 2 percent instead and became dynastically wealthy as a result.

Hughes is acutely aware of how unfair this is. “Most Americans cannot find $400 in the case of an emergency,” he writes, “yet I was able to make half a billion dollars for three years of work.” He’s also aware that the flip side of people like himself having too much money is that tens of millions of Americans have too little. Over 40 million Americans live below the poverty line, including one in five children under the age of 6.

There is a simple solution to the problem of people having too little money: giving them some. As Hughes efficiently and compellingly recounts, the proven and far-reaching effects of cash grants include more work; higher incomes; better performance in school and college; less tobacco and alcohol use; and fewer hospitalizations, illnesses and untimely deaths. In short, grants strengthen and empower the poor, making them much more economically and socially productive.

Continue reading

March 17, 2018 in Book Club, Tax | Permalink | Comments (2)

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Zelenak: Congress, Treasury, And The Design Of The Early Modern Income Tax

LZelenakawrence Zelenak (Duke), Figuring Out the Tax: Congress, Treasury, and the Design of the Early Modern Income Tax (Cambridge University Press 2018):

Figuring Out the Tax recounts the forgotten early development of the federal income tax in the US, resulting from the interplay between Congress and the Treasury Department in the decades following the enactment of the tax in 1913. It covers a wide range of topics including the income tax treatments of marriage, capital losses, charitable contributions and homeownership, as well as the rise, demise and resurrection of income tax withholding. Lawrence Zelenak deftly illustrates how the income tax achieved its current form through a range of stories which are new to tax history scholarship and involve some remarkable personalities and surprising plot twists. Although of particular interest to tax academics and professionals, this book will also serve as a useful introduction to the development of income tax for undergraduate students and law students.

Continue reading

March 13, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, March 11, 2018

What They Don't Teach You In Law School: How To Get A Job

Gropper 2Adam Gropper (Legislation Counsel, Joint Committee on Taxation; Founder, Legal Job.com; Former Tax Partner, Baker & Hostetler), What They Don't Teach You in Law School: How to Get a Job (2018):

It arms you with a fresh perspective from students who landed great legal jobs. These personal, enlightening stories and the insight they reveal form the foundation of a straightforward six-step process to create multiple job opportunities.

You'll quickly learn how to:

  • Create an entrepreneurial approach to your career planning.
  • Be seen by potential employers as integral to achieving their objectives.
  • Build your brand to get the job you want with the employer you want.

Continue reading

March 11, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Dagan: International Tax Policy — Between Competition And Cooperation

International TaxTsilly Dagan (Bar-Ilan University, Israel), International Tax Policy: Between Competition and Cooperation (Cambridge University Press 2017):

Bringing a unique voice to international taxation, this book argues against the conventional support of multilateral co-operation in favour of structured competition as a way to promote both justice and efficiency in international tax policy. Tsilly Dagan analyses international taxation as a decentralised market, where governments have increasingly become strategic actors. While many of the challenges of the current international tax regime derive from this decentralised competitive structure, Dagan argues that curtailing competition through centralisation is not necessarily the answer. Conversely, competition—if properly calibrated and notwithstanding its dubious reputation—is conducive, rather than detrimental, to both efficiency and global justice. International Tax Policy begins with the basic normative goals of income taxation, explaining how competition transforms them and analysing the strategic game states play on the bilateral and multilateral level. It then considers the costs and benefits of co-operation and competition in terms of efficiency and justice.

Continue reading

March 1, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Tyranny Of Metrics

MetricsFollowing up on my previous post, The Tyranny Of Metrics: 'Not Everything That Is Important Is Measurable, And Much That Is Measurable Is Unimportant':  Inside Higher Ed, 'The Tyranny of Metrics':

These days colleges boast about their admissions rankings, their graduation rates, their faculties’ achievements and much more. Many say that the statistics are a tool to promote accountability and improvement.

Jerry Z. Muller disagrees. His new book, The Tyranny of Metrics (Princeton University Press 2018), critiques not only higher education but many parts of society that rely on metrics.

"Gaming the metrics occurs in every realm: in policing, in primary, secondary and higher education; in medicine, in nonprofit organizations; and, of course, in business," Muller writes. "And gaming is only one class of problems that inevitably arise when using performance metrics as the basis of reward and sanction. There are things that can be measured. There are things that are worth measuring. But what can be measured is not always what is worth measuring; what gets measured may have no relationship to what we really want to know."

Q: Some colleges, government agencies and businesses promote tools to evaluate faculty productivity -- number of papers written, number of citations, etc. What do you make of this use of metrics?

Continue reading

February 28, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, February 4, 2018

How To Maintain Joy In Your Work As A Lawyer (Or Law Professor)

Happy GoodABA Journal, Loving Life as a Lawyer: How to Maintain Joy in Your Work:

[Nancy Levit (Missouri-Kansas City), co-author of The Happy Lawyer: Making a Good Life in the Law (Oxford University Press 2010) and The Good Lawyer: Seeking Quality in the Practice of Law (Oxford University Press 2014)] shares tips on how to find the work you want to do and how to find joy in the work you’re already doing.

One way to adjust your mindset at work is to look at who you’re spending time with, she says. Are you hanging out with colleagues who have positive outlooks, or with the workplace worrywarts and complainers?

Continue reading

February 4, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)