It’s too bad the International Tax Review (ITR) isn’t planning an awards ceremony for its second annual list of the "Global Tax 50," because it probably would have been someplace nice, like the Cayman Islands. Or maybe they are having one -- secretly in Switzerland.
Munching on canapés at this imagined soirée, you’d have found NYU Law’s Daniel Shaviro, Wayne Perry Professor of Taxation. And it would have been a fun crowd: In addition to Shaviro, ITR’s 2012 list, composed of individuals and organizations that "have made a substantial impact on tax practice and administration," also includes the likes of French President François Hollande; the Occupy movement; Sir Martin Sorrell, chief executive of ad giant WPP; Twitter; Congressman Paul Ryan; and a Swiss whistle-blower. ITR cited Shaviro for his "closely-followed Start Making Sense blog, which has given him a chance to bring his views to a wider audience than his students." Shaviro took some time out from blogging to answer a few questions:
How does it feel to be in the company of the others selected for the ITR list?
The list is certainly a mixed bag. It’s flattering to be grouped with people and groups of such obvious policymaking importance. But then again, I’d rather be doing what I am than what they are.
Does any particular posting on your blog stand out for the response it generated?
In general, my blog entries discussing Mitt Romney’s tax returns (including what we might have seen on the unreleased pre-2010 returns), have gotten the greatest readership. My most-read recent blog entry was one from October 20 that offered a tongue-in-cheek comparison of Romney’s political philosophy to that of John Rawls (e.g., the "veil of arrogance" and "deceptive equilibrium"). While current events topics get the most hits, one of my main hopes in writing the blog is that it will generate return visitors to read about tax and budget policy issues of more general and long-term interest, and to follow my talks and conference appearances, along with my scholarly writing.
Who do you know on the ITR list and who would you want to meet?
The only other members of the “50” whom I’ve definitely met are Senators Baucus and Levin (at Senate Finance Committee hearings); fellow law prof and blogger Paul Caron; Michael Plowgian from the Treasury Department; and Tax Notes columnist Lee Sheppard, who is probably the most fun of anyone on the list. I’d probably be most interested in meeting the people on the list from Third World countries, as I would have the most to learn from them. The tax world is changing in the direction of being more genuinely global, rather than just U.S. plus European-dominated, but for U.S. people (even when they are living in New York, our most global city) it can be hard to stay on top of things.
Posted on November 8, 2012