Posts Tagged ‘IRS’

Taking Any Bets on Ohtani’s Story?

Friday, March 22nd, 2024

By Bob Gaydos

    Temporarily out of touch and easing my way back in via the sports portal, which used to be a place to escape from a world gone mad. Used to be. With a nod to Jimmy Cannon …

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

Shohei Ohtani and his former interpreter in happier times.

  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’d love to be having a cuppa coffee with Pete Rose right now. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying any of the stories the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shohei Ohtani‘s lawyers have offered so far regarding an IRS investigation into the Japanese star’s interpreter and gambling. The interpreter was supposedly ripping off Ohtani or, in another story, Shohei was helping the guy pay off illegal gambling debts. The keyword here for the interpreter, who has been fired by the Dodgers, is illegal. Sports betting is illegal in California. The keyword here for Ohtani is gambling. Unfortunately, all major sports have succumbed to the lure of easy money via gambling, while repeatedly urging players not to do it, because, you know, people might wonder what you’re placing a bet on. And, of course, betting on your own sport, in this case baseball, is forbidden. Ohtani’s now former interpreter has assured everyone that he never, never, ever, cross-his -heart-and-hopes-to-die bet on baseball. Because, you know, cheating. Integrity of the game. But a bookie was owed a lot of money, apparently, and Ohtani did, or didn’t try to pay him off for his interpreter, but didn’t notice a bunch of money missing from his bank account. Or something. Baseball’s investigating and no one’s talking now but the lawyers so Ohtani can try to focus on baseball. The slugger/pitcher recently signed a $700 million contract with the Dodgers. He agreed to take just $2 million a year while he played for them so they could afford to pay the rest of the team. Take the rest when he retires. Nice. If Pete and I are still around then, maybe we can all get together for a cup of coffee in Cooperstown and lay odds on who’s going to get into the Hall of Fame that year.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m a little confused when Major League Baseball sends the aforementioned Dodgers and the San Diego Padres to Korea to play two official,  season-opening baseball games, then has them come back to the States to resume spring training with the rest of the teams. Couldn’t they just be exhibition games or couldn’t they just start the actual season? And while they were at it, couldn’t they just take that ghost runner off second base to start the 10th inning?
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: I’m hoping Aaron Rodgers has had enough time to decide whether he wants to try again to play football for the New York Jets this fall or run for vice president of the United States as Bobby Kennedy Jr.’s running mate. Tough choice, I know. Rodgers is known to have some political views that are as, umm, unusual as Kennedy’s and the quarterback’s ego undoubtedly found the mention by the third-party presidential candidate flattering, but instead of playing second fiddle to a conspiracy theory fanatic, he’s likely to find more acceptance in New York playing quarterback for a team that desperately needs one. At least he has a wealth of experience at that job. And of course, there’s the fact that he had to be helped off the field after his first series of downs for the team last year never to take another snap. Unfinished business. Stick with what you know, Mr. Rodgers, and they’ll cheer you in the Meadowlands.
  • Maybe it’s just me, but: On the positive side, it was nice to see the Robert Kennedy family gather for a reunion (without Bobby Junior) at the Washington, D.C.  home of family friend, Joe Biden. Warmth and support all around the White House. I think the family patriarch would have understood and appreciated. Bobby Kennedy understood the importance of freedom and democracy and I’m pretty sure would’ve recognized President Biden as the best bet this year to maintain and continue to fight for both. In fact, I’d take that bet to the bank.

As Maine Goes … Well, Never Mind

Friday, November 3rd, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Cameras captured images of the shooter in Maine.

Cameras captured images of the shooter in Lewiston, Maine.

Well, it is was another typical week in America: A mass shooting, a judge telling Donald Trump, in effect, to shut up and Republicans in the House of Representatives choosing a “leader” who doesn’t believe in the separation of church and state, wants to give rich people more money and take food away from the not-so-rich.

 Let’s be mercifully brief and start with (1.) the Republicans’ latest demonstration that it is a political party out of touch with a majority of Americans and has no interest in actually governing, to wit, the election of Mike Johnson (who?!) to be Speaker of the House, with a mandate from the rightwing extremists who control the GOP to (2.) refuse to negotiate with President Biden and the Democrat-controlled Senate on pretty much anything, as quickly evidenced by Johnson’s (3.) opposition to further aid to Ukraine, (4.) tying aid to Israel to (5.) a cut in funding for the Internal Revenue Service, which would mean fewer agents to audit the rich, billions less in taxes paid and a larger budget deficit and (6). a cut in SNAP benefits, which provides food to the needy, who presumably should just (7.) pray for a miracle from the Almighty, which would seem to be the guiding principle for a man who, as a Christian Nationalist, believes the U.S. is a Christian nation, refers to the Constitution’s “so-called ‘separation of church and state’” and was once (8.) dean of a law school at a Baptist university in Louisiana that never opened its doors to teach its “biblical worldview,” which Johnson can now try to bring to the Congress instead and maybe even lead the Freedom Caucus Trumpers in praying that (9.) Judge Tanya Chutkan, presiding over Trump’s election overthrow attempt trial in Washington, D.C., doesn’t finally lose patience with the pathological liar and toss his twice-impeached, four times indicted rear end into jail for repeatedly violating her orders not to threaten or harass prosecutors, potential witnesses or court personnel as he continues to demean the status of the office he once held while his successor, Joe Biden, (10.) demonstrates just the opposite, including (11.) a trip to Maine to mourn with survivors and, indeed, the whole state, for the 18 victims (nearly the average toll for shooting deaths in a year in Maine) of a mass shooter, who chose kids’ night at a bowling alley to start his killing spree, one that was (12.) predicted by the shooter himself, his family, his superior officers and other members of his Army Reserve unit, flagged by a two-week stay in a psychiatric facility in New York State, including an evaluation at the military hospital at West Point, none of which, apparently (13.) was reason enough for anyone in any position of authority in the entire state of Maine to take his assault rifles and ammunition away from him before he actually did what the voices in his head were telling him to do, because Maine (14.) is one of those states where people are free to buy any kind of guns any time and walk around with them anywhere they please and (15.) doesn’t have a “red flag“ law requiring that guns be taken away from people who exhibit all the behaviors this shooter did, a situation that is (16.) likely to get the attention of lawmakers there who have always felt proud to proclaim, “Things like that don’t happen in Maine.”

    (17.) Not anymore.

Cryptocurrency’s Cryptic Rise and Fall

Tuesday, December 6th, 2022

By Bob Gaydos

The original cryptocurrency.

The original cryptocurrency.

   I admit it. I’m a crypto cynic. I didn’t get it from the start. Still don’t.

       Who created it? Why? What was the point? What was the need? I could already spend money in a flash on my phone. My bank and various other accounts were always urging me to access my money electronically. Cash was still cash, whether I folded it or used PayPal.

        Then there was the obvious question: How do I get some Bitcoin (the original cryptocurrency) and how do I know what it’s worth? There was all this “mining” of currency, basically some computer geeks spending thousands of hours on computers typing in digital codes to create algorithms that other geeks accepted as currency to conduct a transaction. To play a video game maybe or buy some cool electronic stuff.

      If you didn’t have the patience or skill to create your own currency and protect the codes, you could, eventually, “buy” some crypto. From a “bank” or “exchange” with, you know, hard cash. Money.

        Crypto turned into a major commodity, something to invest in, rather than an alternative monetary system.

         Why? Greed apparently. Having “invented” some kind of cool, alternative “money,” the geniuses behind crypto apparently figured that convincing people with a lot of real money that owning a lot of too-complicated and shakily supported “crypto” money was too good an investment to pass up.

      In other words, it was something to have, not to spend. The IRS, of course, had figured that out quickly, taxing crypto as a commodity, not income.

      Anyway, a lot of not-so-rich people have also been victimized by the current crypto meltdown and it all turns around trust, an important thing when you’re talking about money. Can you trust the bank that your money is there and available when you want it? Pretty much, yes. No real problems of late. The government keeps a watch.

       But who was watching crypto? And, more to the point, if it was supposed to be a one-to-one point of sale exchange program, as created, how did all the other people get involved?

      Again, greed.

      Cryptocurrency grew as an investment with no one really watching over it and, dare I say, with most people never really understanding it. It was “money” that was, in a practical sense, not really good for anything but having. Gold at least has some intrinsic recognized value.

      Perhaps not surprisingly, like a magic trick, as mysteriously as it was created, crypto started disappearing, along with the real cash money people had invested in it. But it wasn’t through some modern computer wizardry. Rather, apparently through some good, old-fashioned larceny.

        The folks who created one of the unregulated exchanges to buy and sell crypto apparently just stole their customers’ real cash (reportedly billions) to invest in some other stuff. Apparently they couldn’t use crypto to do it. You know, to get around the banks and all those annoying regulations. They’ve filed for bankruptcy. So the real money is gone, the astronomical price of cryptocurrency has fallen and no one apparently knows whom to trust in a field that relies entirely on trust.

       What’s the message here? I don’t know. Maybe to make sure there’s a need for something before inventing it. Maybe to make sure what you invent isn’t too complicated for most people to use. Maybe to make sure you can trust someone to whom you are giving lots of your money to invest and you understand what you’re investing in. Maybe, that greed finds its way into pretty much any enterprise that involves money, real or imaginary. Or just maybe that was the idea all along.

     Whatever, I still don’t get it.

 Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at

A Use for Untaxed Corporate Profits

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

 By Jeffrey PageGE logo

Through loopholes and possible sleight of hand, 15 gigantic American corporations reported that they’d made a combined $792 billion in offshore earnings in 2012, money that was not, and will not, be taxed.

Leading the pack, according to an eye-opening chart in The New York Times, was General Electric with $110 billion derived outside the United States and which the IRS can’t get its hands on. Microsoft was second with $76 billion and Pfizer was next with $69 billion.

I’m not here to argue that this money ought to be taxed; that’s a legal and political fight for another day.

Rather, my proposal, at its core, is a morality tithe. Read on and tell me what you think of its chances.

It starts with the famous quote usually attributed to the late Everett Dirksen, a Republican from Illinois. Dirksen is said to have declared: “A billion here, a billion there, and pretty soon you’re talking about real money.”

Such a tithe is not complicated. Here’s how it would work. GE’s $110 billion represented 14 percent of the total $792 billion in untaxed profits. So in this case, GE would cough up 14 percent of its $15.4 billion windfall – chump change – for charitable good works.

Think about it. Poor people get some help. Taxpayers get to believe, at least for a while, that corporations actually participate in the great social compact of America. And if GE were a man, he would be proud to look at himself in the bathroom mirror while shaving.

A corporation that shaves is not really a stretch. Recall Citizens United, in which our benighted Supreme Court held that corporations are fairly close to humans and even have freedom of speech.

So GE and IBM and XYZ Inc. tithe themselves. Next thing is for them to assign someone with CFO status to hand out cash to people – individuals or groups – in need here in the U.S. or overseas without crushing their dignity and spirit in the great steel gears of bureaucracy.

As Dirksen taught us, $1 billion isn’t much, but it has the potential to do great good for people who need a hand. Or who need surgery, or a place to live, or medicine for their kids. Or any of a thousand other needs that a lot of people take for granted.

Here’s what $1 billion can buy: 6.7 million front doors for Habitat for Humanity; 2.2 million fistulas repair surgeries through the Fistula Foundation. Based on retail pricing, $1 billion can buy 125 million bottles of the anti-diarrhea medicine Imodium; 67 million bottles of the antibiotic amoxicillin, 153 million bottles of children’s ibuprofen.

And a mere $10 will get a sandwich, coffee and maybe dessert for someone who doesn’t eat regularly.

All this plus your own examples for the use of some money that Big Biz won’t miss.