Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Best line in today's NYT op-ed about the value of college.

The op-ed is here.  And my favorite bit?
That brought [Professor] Hall to her own answer about college’s mission: “It is for developing the muscle of thoughtfulness, the use of which will be the greatest pleasure in life and will also show what it means to be fully human.”

Monday, February 16, 2015

R.I.P, Marvin Chirelstein.

Just heard the sad news.  Marvin Chirelstein made Federal Income Tax comprehensible for me when I was a lost law student, trying to figure out how "philosophy of tax" (interesting, and the bulk of the course that I took) meshed with "actual Federal Income Tax" (which is what I knew would be on the exam).  I read his Federal Income Tax paperback (now in its 12th edition) and made a vow to myself that if I made it through the course with a decent grade, I'd name a child after him. (That little factoid probably explains part of the reason that Jeff and I don't have kids:  Marvin Rapoport Van Niel?  Chirelstein Rapoport Van Niel?  See--that's quite a burden to put on a little tyke.)  Lighthearted remembrance aside, I just wanted to go on record to say that Professor Chirelstein was one of the greats, and I know he'll be missed.

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

More Enron-ization of rankings.

As TaxProf Blog reports (here), UMKC has had an outside audit (here) to uncover rankings shenanigans.  What should we learn from examples like this one?  The same thing we should've learned decades ago: people respond to incentives.  For the best examples of perverse incentives, see this Freakonomics post.