Longish Tax Sentence To Ponder

It’s well known that in the (dis)United States, many business owners do not report all of their income. It is also well known that the Internal Revenue Service is unable to catch and penalize them.

From the New York Times editorial team:

Mr. Rossotti, together with the Harvard economist Lawrence Summers and the University of Pennsylvania law professor Natasha Sarin, argued in an analysis published in November that investing $100 billion in the I.R.S. over the next decade, for technology and personnel, in combination with better data on business income, would allow the agency to collect up to $1.4 trillion in lawful tax revenue that otherwise would go uncollected.

What percentage of tax evading business owners routinely bitch about the “criminal element” in society?

Michael Cohen’s Decision

From Frank Bowman in Slate:

“Cohen has a lot more he could give. The government knows that. They want to crack him. Moreover, even on the stuff he’s given them so far, he is a less valuable witness so long as he refuses to be fully candid. They are tired of playing his coy little game, and political considerations require speed. So they’ve accelerated sentencing, and set up a classic “good cop – bad cop” squeeze. New York has told the judge to hammer Cohen. By contrast, Mueller looks like a generous friend. Cohen—who like every white collar criminal I’ve ever known is undoubtedly scared silly of going to prison—is facing 4-5 years (and, not improbably, a good deal more if the judge is impatient with his recalcitrance). This crystallizes his choices. Either he quits fiddling around or he goes to the Big House for a long while.

Moreover, an immediate sentencing forces Cohen to make up his mind fast. If he wants to avoid a sentencing in which the Southern District of New York is calling for his head, he has to act within the next few days—his sentencing hearing is scheduled to go ahead on Wednesday. Alternatively, if he gambles and goes ahead with the sentencing and the judge hammers him, there is still one escape hatch. If he decides post-sentencing to open up and cooperate fully, the court could reduce its original sentence, but only if the government makes a special motion to allow that and only if he provides substantial assistance to the government within one year of the original sentence.

In short, the government has just put a ticking clock in front of Michael Cohen. He can’t filibuster anymore. Either he spills his guts or he goes to prison. And the time to decide is right now.”

Puts my indecision about which Christmas tree into perspective.