Saturday, December 16, 2006

Larry Summers

Larry Summers got fired from his last job at Harvard for making some insensitive statements about the lack of women in the sciences. His latest gig is as a columnist for the Financial Times and my guess is that the FT is hoping he'll place another foot in his mouth soon so they can send him packing as well.

It is neither fair nor efficient to audit disproportionately the tax returns of those in the bottom half of the income distribution at a time when most of the $500bn tax gap comes from those with high incomes. There is no policy justification for allowing the erosion of corporate income tax through pervasive use of corporate tax shelters and manipulation of transfer price rules. Not only does this cost the government revenue, it also puts undue competitive pressure on companies that want to meet obligations to their workers.

Much more can done in a range of areas, from disclosure of executive compensation, to ensuring that the government leverages the volume of its purchases, to making financing of education at every level more equitable, to making sure that businesses continue to take responsibility for their workers’ healthcare costs.

Unimaginative ideas written in drool inducing prose. I had thought Summers got a raw deal at Harvard, but if this is represenative of his intellectual skills, maybe they made the right choice.

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