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It's Friday so some feedback. Former IRS Commissioner Charles Rossotti weighed in after my contribution on Wednesday that President Biden's spending plans must be funded through debt or new taxes. There is another way, he says – to collect taxes already owed:
"Our plan is at the core of the tax gap – higher-income people who don't pay what they legally owe. At $ 574 billion in 2019 alone, the tax gap is what the bottom 90% of all individuals pay in federal income taxes annually. That is obviously unfair. "
More information on Rossotti's proposal can be found here.
And many people commented on my suggestion that companies shouldn't get out of the political contribution game – because they can be a force for pragmatic compromises on important issues. A selection of the comments:
“I believe that buying access, or the need to buy access (even when money is flowing on both sides of the aisle) is the root of the problem. We need to … regain some sanity on the representative government and handle myriad kinds of special interests and control the narrative. "
“How much have the parties just spent on this campaign? Was it 11 billion? (AM: $ 14 billion, actually.) How many people can we use a fraction of this ridiculous amount of money to feed, clothe, house, and train? "
“The focus … the main goal (of corporate campaign contributions) is stability … companies want to know what to expect. With this knowledge, they can plan their strategies and tactics for the future. "
A. H. wrote to remind me that companies do not make direct contributions. They do this through political action committees, to which their staff contribute. I'm not a fan of the current campaign funding system. I'm just saying that big corporations are among the more responsible and pragmatic players in this system, and if they pull out on their own it will get worse.
Finally, my friend Shiva Rajgopal, who teaches at Columbia Business School, sent a paper saying that corporate lobbying pays ten times better than R&D spending in terms of the bottom line impact. With that in mind, "the bigger question is why we observe so little versus too much lobbying." His paper is here.
More news below. Also check out Susie Gharib's new interview with Ed Bastian, CEO of Delta, who expects a "sharp increase in demand" from business travelers in the second half of this year when the vaccine launches. "People are fed up with the Zoom meetings."