A selection of recent correspondence from our readers.

 

 

CPAs on the case

KUDOS TO MR. OXLEY FOR HIS comments/observations in the July issue (Letters, page 10) about the waste by the IRS and other government agencies. I have long maintained that turning loose 1,000 honest, ethical CPAs on the federal agencies would result in the detection, and hopefully elimination, of billions of dollars of waste and fraud.

Walter D. Smith, CPA

Baraboo, Wis.

 

Wealth inequality

I REALLY ENJOYED THE “SPIRIT OF Accounting” column by Paul Miller and Paul Bahnson in the August issue (“Global standards advocates need to understand the problems,” page 20), particularly their list of factors that contribute to capital market efficiency.

No. 4 is: “Population with adequately distributed wealth: Without large numbers of buyers and sellers, a market will fall under the control of a few hyper-wealthy individuals, thus losing any chance for efficiency.”

As the target of their October 2007 column lecturing me (yes, singling me out because they disagreed with my letter to the editor the previous month) on the virtues of an economy with high concentrations of wealth, I am gratified to see that they may now have a more rational perspective on the topics of income and wealth inequality.

In Monopoly, when all of the wealth is in the hands of the winning player, the game is over. In our economy, when all of the wealth is in the hands of a few oligarchs, our democratic republic ceases to exist.

Extreme wealth inequality not only results in inefficient capital markets, as Miller and Bahnson note, but also correlates with authoritarian forms of government and lack of individual freedoms. The solution is a return to progressive taxation. A book I recommend to any CPA is Capital in the Twenty-First Century, by Thomas Piketty, which, besides including a fascinating history of taxation in Europe and America, makes a compelling case for progressive taxation as the one and only solution to the problem of wealth inequality.

Harry Bose, CPA

Read & Bose PC

Pendleton, Ore.

 

Henry Phyfe redux

I READ TOM SCHULTE’S ARTICLE IN THE June issue (“From Sleepy A to Super CPA, page 10) and thoroughly enjoyed it, having done the career day thing myself. However, in the second paragraph he asked, “Have you ever seen an action show based on the daring exploits of a CPA?” Well, yes, I have.

I started my accounting career in 1965, and I remember an adventure show starring comedian Red Buttons as a CPA working for an accounting firm, and as a double agent for the FBI. Google has it as The Double Life of Henry Phyfe. I recall bragging to my friends that I was also a double agent, and of course they believed me. The bad news is that it was canceled after 17 weeks.

Maybe there is hope for a sequel, which I will volunteer to star in. I am in the Philadelphia area, so I will leave that up to Tom’s influence in the Los Angeles or Hollywood area.

Jerry Fisher

Via e-mail

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