Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The case for progressive taxation

Tuesday's Irish Times (subs. req'd) carries details on how one particular donor to George Bush's Republican party, Robert Greifeld, the chief executive of the Nasdaq stock exchange, spends the cash that Bush's tax cuts let him keep -- even if later refuses to settle the bill --

[he] brought 16 adults and seven children to stay for a week at Luttrellstown Castle in Dublin. He claims that he was overcharged by $70,000 and is refusing the pay the money for the trip, which included 32 actors in medieval dress, banquets of wild boar, helicopter rides, a marquee for Irish dancing and lessons in falconry, archery and jousting.

The August 2004 trip also included four butlers who led guests to horse-drawn carriages, goose hunts and Dublin masseuses on hand to attend for guests ... Other expenses included €28,000 for Mr Greifeld snr's transatlantic voyage on the Queen Mary II and even €100 for a leprechaun costume for an actor performing at the castle.

He has already spent more in legal fees that his creditor says he owes, which makes one wonder what exactly his qualifications are to be in charge of a stock exchange.

UPDATE: Reader KH alerts us to coverage of the same case in the Times (UK); one story notes a key point of dispute relating to the difference between "markup" and "gross margin" while another story has further details on the extravagance, some of which has a Spinal Tap quality to it.

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