Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dollars and Sense: Ed Kleinbard, We Are Better Than This

In a new book, We Are Better Than This, Ed Kleinbard gives a detailed and accurate rendering of how we spend public monies and how we tax and borrow to obtain those monies. It is a profound lesson in civics, with politics and economy thrown in. He has his own preferred policies, but 90% or more of the book is a description of "the system." Most of us know bits and pieces, but the whole picture is presented here. The book is lengthy, but not too long. I know of nothing like it. For most of us in the professions, you need to know this material if you are to thrive in your careers. (Most of what we 'know' is somewhat partial and biased, I believe.) 

Kleinbard was a leading partner of Cleary, Gottlieb, one of the major law firms ("white shoe"), in its tax practice. He then was the head of the Joint Commission on Taxation of the Congress, and now is on the faculty of USC in the Gould School of Law. In his legal practice at Cleary, he was one of the innovators in structured financial instruments, and is widely respected in the legal world. I think he is terrific as a colleague, deep and fun. He is comfortable in the world of practice, government, and scholarship. Quite rare.

This interview on CSPAN does not convey the detailed and balanced character of the book and Kleinbard. But it is a beginning:

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