Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Taxing Ethics

Today's New York Times highlights the difficulty of squaring ethical principles with the political culture of money/speech.  Everywhere President Obama turns for expertise (Treasury, Defense, Health) his appointments run counter to his rhetorical policy about lobbyists and the ethical contours of public service.  President Obama has lost one major player, Tom Daschle, and a smaller one, Nancy Killefer because of their failure to pay taxes.  Part of President Obama's difficulty will be the perception of opportunism as his ethical policy norms interact with  the specific case.   Regarding taxes, the rule of thumb seems to be:  a Treasury Secretary can avoid taxes but not a Health and Human Services Secretary nor a White House performance officer.  


  1. Ronerrific! Just a quickie: I'm diggin' the slash "money/speech," just cause it sounds RIGHT. I'm wonderin' if you might blog about what this special slash/term means for you, why the blog name, and if this constrains your topics, etc. (I think I know the answer from your work on communicative labor, but just wanna make sure).

    Love the blog! Love that you're bloggin'! XO!

  2. Hi DJKx3, thank you for your encouragement. in many ways, I hope this blog provides the platform to answer your questions, but, I will take your question to heart that the time for a more declarative statement (manifesto) is needed. I can answer the latter question: yes, I am finding that the name of the blog constrains what I want to write, but, I wanted to work within those limits as I explore what those limits might be. If you will, I wanted to try to use the blog to work on the parameters of the concept with the full recognition that at the present time I do not know the parameters. However, one quick analogy that might be working in the background and one that I think I will return to soon, perhaps to displace it or to more fully embrace it is something like: as finance capital is to commodity capital so too money/speech is to communicative labor.