TaxProf Blog

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

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.

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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:

 

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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? ...

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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.

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

Michigan Law Review Tax Book Reviews

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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?

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

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Chorvat & Chorvat: The Dynamic Stability Of Progressive Taxation

TaxingElizabeth Chorvat (Illinois) & Terrence R. Chorvat (George Mason), The Dynamic Stability of Progressive Taxation, 71 Nat'l Tax J. 1 (2018) (reviewing Kenneth Scheve & David Stasavage, Taxing the Rich: A History of Fiscal Fairness in the United States and Europe (Princeton University Press 2016)):

The optimality of progressive taxation is influenced by various factors including elasticities of response, taxpayers’ ability to hide income, the technology of government enforcement, et cetera. In Taxing the Rich, Scheve and Stasavage point to the large increases in taxes on the rich which accompanied the entrance of various countries into the two world wars of the twentieth century and conclude that high taxes on the rich have been sustained essentially only in times of mass mobilization for war, the prime examples of which being the two world wars. Although they are careful not to assert that it is the only setting in which significantly progressive taxes can be implemented and maintained, the authors argue that mass mobilization is the only factor which can be isolated as correlative with highly progressive taxation. Based on the Scheve and Stasavage data — including observations from the tax systems of twenty-one countries between 1800 to 2010 — and the Stata commands used in their analysis online, we conclude that not only are there other factors that have determined the dynamics of progressivity, but that these factors appear to be more important than military mobilization.

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January 18, 2018 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

The Tyranny Of Metrics: 'Not Everything That Is Important Is Measurable, And Much That Is Measurable Is Unimportant'

MetricsWall Street Journal:  A Cure for Our Fixation on Metrics, by Jerry Z. Muller (Catholic University; author, The Tyranny of Metrics (Princeton University Press 2018)):

Measuring results is all the rage in organizations, but it is often wrongheaded and counterproductive.

In recent decades, what I call “metric fixation” has engulfed an ever-widening range of institutions: businesses, government, health care, K-12 education, colleges and universities, and nonprofit organizations. It comes with its own vocabulary and master terms. It affects the way that people talk and think about the world and how they act in it. And it is often profoundly wrongheaded and counterproductive.

Metric fixation consists of a set of interconnected beliefs. The first is that it is possible and desirable to replace judgment with numerical indicators of comparative performance based on standardized data. The second is that making such metrics public (transparency) assures that institutions are actually carrying out their purposes (accountability). Finally, there is the belief that people are best motivated by attaching rewards and penalties to their measured performance, rewards that are either monetary (pay for performance) or reputational (rankings).

But not everything that is important is measurable, and much that is measurable is unimportant. Most organizations have multiple purposes, and that which is measured and rewarded tends to become the focus of attention, at the expense of other essential goals.

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January 16, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (3)

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Key To Success Is Not Talent Or Hard Work, But Instead Pruning Your Tasks And Excelling In What's Left On Your Plate

Great at WorkWall Street Journal:  The Key to Success? Doing Less, by Morten T. Hansen (UC-Berkeley; author, Great at Work: How Top Performers Do Less, Work Better, and Achieve More (2018)):

Talent and hard work are important, but most top performers in business have one thing in common: they accept fewer tasks and then obsess over getting them right.

Most Americans work impossibly hard. We put in long hours and maximum effort, but better performance often eludes us. ...

The knee-jerk answer to what distinguishes great performers from others is simple: talent. Social scientists and management experts explain performance at work by pointing to people’s innate gifts and natural strengths. How often have you heard phrases such as “She’s a natural at sales” or “He’s a brilliant engineer”? These talent-based explanations deeply influence our perceptions of what makes for success.

Are they right? Some experts say no, arguing that an individual’s sustained effort is just as critical as talent or even more so in determining success. According to this view, people perform well because they work hard and put in long hours. They end up doing more, taking on many assignments and running to lots of meetings.

But neither of these arguments ... explain[ed] the performance differences I had observed between equally hardworking and talented people.

In 2011, I decided to try to answer the question of why some people outperform others. I recruited a team of researchers with expertise in statistical analysis and began generating a set of hypotheses about which specific behaviors lead to high performance. We then conducted a five-year survey of 5,000 managers and employees, including sales reps, lawyers, actuaries, brokers, medical doctors, software programmers, engineers, store managers, plant foremen, nurses and even a Las Vegas casino dealer.

The common practice we found among the highest-ranked performers in our study wasn’t at all what we expected. It wasn’t a better ability to organize or delegate. Instead, top performers mastered selectivity. Whenever they could, they carefully selected which priorities, tasks, meetings, customers, ideas or steps to undertake and which to let go. They then applied intense, targeted effort on those few priorities in order to excel. We found that just a few key work practices related to such selectivity accounted for two-thirds of the variation in performance among our subjects. Talent, effort and luck undoubtedly mattered as well, but not nearly as much.

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January 14, 2018 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (2)

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions

Feminist JudgmentsFeminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions (Bridget J. Crawford (Pace) & Anthony C. Infanti (Pittsburgh), eds.) (Cambridge University Press Dec. 28, 2017):

Could a feminist perspective change the shape of tax laws? Feminist reasoning and analysis are recognized as having tremendous potential to affect employment discrimination, sexual harassment, and reproductive rights laws - but they can likewise transform tax law (as well as other statutory or code-based areas of the law). By highlighting the importance of perspective, background, and preconceptions on reading and interpreting statutes, this volume shows what a difference feminist analysis can make to statutory interpretation. Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tax Opinions brings together a group of scholars and lawyers to rewrite tax decisions in which a feminist emphasis would have changed the outcome, the court's reasoning, or the future direction of the law. Featuring cases including medical expense deductions for fertility treatment, gender confirmation surgery, tax benefits for married individuals, the tax treatment of tribal lands, and business expense deductions, this volume opens the way for a discussion of how viewpoint is a key factor in statutory interpretation.

Tax Prof contributors: 

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December 28, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas And The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’

Fire RoadWall Street Journal op-ed:  The Salvation of ‘Napalm Girl’, by Kim Phuc Phan Thi (author, Fire Road: The Napalm Girl’s Journey through the Horrors of War to Faith, Forgiveness, and Peace (Oct. 2017):

You may not recognize me now, but you almost certainly know who I am. My name is Kim Phuc, though you likely know me by another name. It is one I never asked for, a name I have spent a lifetime trying to escape: “Napalm Girl.”

You have probably seen my picture a thousand times. Yes, that picture. The image that made the world gasp. Some called it a turning point in the Vietnam War—a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph of me in 1972, age 9, running along a puddled roadway in front of an expressionless soldier. I was photographed with arms outstretched, naked and shrieking in pain and fear, with the dark contour of a napalm cloud billowing in the distance. ...

Those bombs have caused me immeasurable pain over the course of my life. Forty-five years later I am still receiving treatment for the burns that cover my arms, back and neck. But even worse than the physical pain was the emotional and spiritual pain. For years I bore the crippling weight of anger, bitterness and resentment toward those who caused my suffering. Yet as I look back over a spiritual journey that has spanned more than three decades, I realize the same bombs that caused so much pain and suffering also brought me to a place of great healing. Those bombs led me to Jesus Christ.

My salvation experience occurred on Christmas Eve.

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December 25, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 11, 2017

Johnson: Tax Policy For The Coming Bitter Hard Times

BookCalvin H. Johnson (Texas), Winter is Coming: Tax Policy for the Coming Bitter Hard Times, 157 Tax Notes 851 (Nov. 6, 2017) (reviewing Robert J. Gordon (Northwestern), The Rise and Fall of American Growth (Princeton University Press 2017)):

The United States has always defined itself in terms of great optimism and progress. For long periods, that self-definition was accurate. It no longer is. Robert J. Gordon’s magisterial economic history, The Rise and Fall of American Growth, describes 1870-1970 as the miracle century that improved the real standard of living tenfold. For the future, says Gordon, the United States faces an anemic growth rate of less than a third of a percent per year, and — even worse — only the richest tier will see growth.

For tax, the realistic expectations of slow future growth mean a high danger of collapse in our ability to run deficits or borrow money well within the decade. Federal creditors have been extraordinarily generous to the U.S. government, accepting interest below the expected rate of inflation. They have assumed that federal debt is risk free. If our creditors lose faith in our ability to repay debt, or believe that we will just pay it off with inflated paper, then the debt will no longer be treated as risk free. The loss of faith will probably not be just a squeeze but a collapse.

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December 11, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Lawyering In The Nation's Capital

LNCNancy Hunt is the director of our unique Washington, D.C. externship program located at Pepperdine's property four blocks from The White House at 2011 Pennsylvania Avenue (more here):

The Washington, DC, Externship Semester offers students the practical experience of working full-time in a legal capacity for the government, non-profits, or other related entities, while completing coursework, networking for post-graduate employment, and experiencing the legal and cultural environment of our nation's vibrant and exciting capital. Classes take place and limited housing is available on the graduate floor of the University's Washington, DC, building, located in the heart of DC just four blocks from the White House.

Nancy has literally written the book on Lawyering in the Nation's Capital (West 2017):

Lawyering in the Nation’s Capital examines legislative process, congressional oversight, administrative law, executive power, statutory interpretation, judicial review of agency action, and the work and impact of Washington, D.C., attorneys working in government, lobbying, law firms, and nonprofits. In undertaking this survey, this text analyzes the sources of authority for those attorney functions and discusses the power struggle between the branches and, at times, between the offices within a single branch. This text further uncovers some of the more complex issues about how our federal government operates and asks thought-provoking questions about the outer limits of the power of each of the branches. It is ideal for companion courses for Washington, D.C., legal externship programs or for survey courses regarding government lawyers. The text is likewise a powerful reference book that clearly and succinctly explains complicated procedures, legal issues, and conflicts arising in and among the branches of government and within the private sector.

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December 7, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Gillman & Chemerinsky: Professors Are Losing Their Freedom of Expression

Free SpeechWashington Post op-ed:  Professors Are Losing Their Freedom of Expression, by Howard Gillman (Chancellor, UC-Irvine) & Erwin Chemerinsky (Dean, UC-Berkeley) (Co-Authors, Free Speech on Campus (Yale University Press 2017)):

With so much attention focused on whether controversial speakers such as Milo Yiannapoulos or Richard Spencer should be allowed to appear on campus, an even more basic issue has been obscured: universities punishing faculty who, outside of professional settings, express views that are considered controversial or even offensive.

There are many recent examples of this. A year ago, a University of Oregon law professor was suspended for wearing blackface at a Halloween party held at her house. Twenty-three law school faculty members wrote a letter urging the professor to resign. A campus investigation found that by wearing this costume at a party in her home she had engaged in “discriminatory harassment.” [More here]. ...

In responding to those who would silence or censor speakers, many people, especially on the right, argue that, at universities, all ideas should be expressible, and if someone doesn’t like particular ideas, the response should be to engage and rebut the speakers rather than harass them or shout them down. These same sentiments should apply when faculty members express controversial opinions. ...

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November 22, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education | Permalink | Comments (5)

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Williamson Presents Why Americans Are Proud To Pay Taxes Today at Columbia

Read My LipsVanessa S. Williamson (Brookings Institution) presents Read My Lips: Why Americans Are Proud to Pay Taxes (Princeton University Press 2017) at Columbia today as part of its Davis Polk & Wardwell Tax Policy Colloquium Series hosted by Alex Raskolnikov and Wojciech Kopczuk:

Conventional wisdom holds that Americans hate taxes. But the conventional wisdom is wrong. Bringing together national survey data with in-depth interviews, Read My Lips presents a surprising picture of tax attitudes in the United States. Vanessa Williamson demonstrates that Americans view taxpaying as a civic responsibility and a moral obligation. But they worry that others are shirking their duties, in part because the experience of taxpaying misleads Americans about who pays taxes and how much. Perceived "loopholes" convince many income tax filers that a flat tax might actually raise taxes on the rich, and the relative invisibility of the sales and payroll taxes encourages many to underestimate the sizable tax contributions made by poor and working people.

Americans see being a taxpayer as a role worthy of pride and respect, a sign that one is a contributing member of the community and the nation. For this reason, the belief that many Americans are not paying their share is deeply corrosive to the social fabric. The widespread misperception that immigrants, the poor, and working-class families pay little or no taxes substantially reduces public support for progressive spending programs and undercuts the political standing of low-income people. At the same time, the belief that the wealthy pay less than their share diminishes confidence that the political process represents most people.

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November 21, 2017 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Cardozo Hosts Book Launch Today For Zelinsky's Taxing The Church

Taxing the churchCardozo is hosting a panel discussion with Miranda Perry Fleischer (San Diego), Brian Galle (Georgetown), and Daniel Hemel (Chicago) to discuss the new book by Edward A. Zelinsky (Cardozo), Taxing the Church: Religion, Exemptions, Entanglement, and the Constitution (Oxford University Press 2017):

  • Explores the taxation and exemption of churches and other religious institutions, both empirically and normatively
  • Reveals that churches and other religious institutions are treated diversely by the federal and state tax systems
  • Focuses on church-state entanglements with respect to taxing or exempting churches and other sectarian entities
  • Discusses improvements that can be made in legal and tax policy trade-offs, such as the protection of internal church communications and the expansion of the churches' sales tax liabilities
  • A clear, balanced, and comprehensive treatment of the topic that is broadly accessible to tax policymakers, lawyers, nonlawyers, judges, tax specialists, and even those with no background in the subject

Peter J. Reilly has an extensive review on Forbes.  Other reviews:

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November 8, 2017 in Book Club, Conferences, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tillotson Presents Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer And The Rise Of Canadian Democracy Today At McGill

Give and TakeShirley Tillotson (Dalhousie University) presents Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy (University of British Columbia Press Nov. 15, 2017) at McGill today as part of its Spiegel Sohmer Tax Policy Colloquium Series convened by Allison Christians:

Can a book about tax history be a page-turner? You wouldn’t think so. But Give and Take is full of surprises. A Canadian millionaire who embraced the new federal income tax in 1917. A socialist hero, J.S. Woodsworth, who deplored the burden of big government. Most surprising of all, Give and Take reveals that taxes deliver something more than armies and schools. They build democracy.

Tillotson launches her story with the 1917 war income tax, takes us through the tumultuous tax fights of the interwar years, proceeds to the remaking of income taxation in the 1940s and onwards, and finishes by offering a fresh angle on the fierce conflicts surrounding tax reform in the 1960s.

Taxes show us the power of the state, and Canadians often resisted that power, disproving the myth that we have all been good loyalists. But Give and Take is neither a simple tale of tax rebels nor a tirade against the taxman. Canadians also made real contributions to democracy when they taxed wisely and paid willingly.

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November 6, 2017 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 26, 2017

LSE Hosts Book Launch Today For A Global Analysis Of Tax Treaty Disputes

GlobalThe London School of Economics Law Department hosts a book launch today for Eduardo A. Baistrocchi (LSE), A Global Analysis of Tax Treaty Disputes (Cambridge University Press 2017):

This two-volume set offers an in-depth analysis of the leading tax treaty disputes in the G20 and beyond within the first century of international tax law. Including country-by-country and thematic analyses, the study is structured around a novel global taxonomy of tax treaty disputes and includes an unprecedented dataset with over 1500 leading tax treaty cases. By adopting a contextual approach the local expertise of the contributors allows for a thorough and transparent analysis. This set is an important reference tool for anyone implementing or studying international tax regulations and will facilitate the work of courts, tax administrations and practitioners around the world. It is designed to complement model conventions such as the OECD Model Tax Convention on Income and on Capital. Together with Resolving Transfer Pricing Disputes (2012), it is a comprehensive addition to current debate on the international tax law regime.

Reviewers:

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October 26, 2017 in Book Club, Colloquia, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Law’s Picture Books: Illustrating The Letter Of The (Tax) Law

YaleWall Street Journal, ‘Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection’: Illustrating the Letter of the Law:

Picture books about the law are as superfluous as songs about economics. In legal codices and textbooks, illustrations can even seem frivolous. Before visiting the Grolier Club’s exhibition Law’s Picture Books: The Yale Law Library Collection, you might also believe this is as it should be: Justice typically devalues the visual. Not for nothing is Lady Justice blindfolded — as we see in many texts displayed at this unusual exhibition. The law library’s rare book librarian, Michael Widener, has been collecting illustrated law books for the institution, and now he and his co-curator, the legal scholar Mark S. Weiner, have offered an eye-opening survey of that specialty.

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September 30, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (1)

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Larson & Ruse: On Faith And Science

Larson 2Edward J. Larson (Pepperdine)  & Michael Ruse (Florida State), On Faith and Science (Yale Univ. Press 2017):

Throughout history, scientific discovery has clashed with religious dogma, creating conflict, controversy, and sometimes violent dispute. In this enlightening and accessible volume, distinguished historian and Pulitzer Prize–winning author Edward Larson and Michael Ruse, philosopher of science and Gifford Lecturer, offer their distinctive viewpoints on the sometimes contentious relationship between science and religion. The authors explore how scientists, philosophers, and theologians through time and today approach vitally important topics, including cosmology, geology, evolution, genetics, neurobiology, gender, and the environment. Broaching their subjects from both historical and philosophical perspectives, Larson and Ruse avoid rancor and polemic as they address many of the core issues currently under debate by the adherents of science and the advocates of faith, shedding light on the richly diverse field of ideas at the crossroads where science meets spiritual belief.

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September 17, 2017 in Book Club, Legal Education, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Tax Law And Social Norms In Mandatory Palestine And Israel

Tax LawAssaf Likhovski (Tel-Aviv University), Tax Law and Social Norms in Mandatory Palestine and Israel (Cambridge Univ. Press 2017):

This book describes how a social-norms model of taxation rose and fell in British-ruled Palestine and the State of Israel in the mid-twentieth century. Such a model, in which non-legal means were used to foster compliance, appeared in the tax system created by the Jewish community in 1940s Palestine and was later adopted by the new Israeli state in the 1950s. It gradually disappeared in subsequent decades as law and its agents, lawyers and accountants, came to play a larger role in the process of taxation. By describing the historical interplay between formal and informal tools for creating compliance, Tax Law and Social Norms in Mandatory Palestine and Israel sheds new light on our understanding of the relationship between law and other methods of social control, and reveals the complex links between taxation and citizenship.

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August 16, 2017 in Book Club, Scholarship, Tax | Permalink | Comments (0)