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A Narcissist Mistakes Love With Possession

"This isn't about love as in caring. This is about property as in ownership."  

Imagine the One Who Got Away is getting married today.  Imagine you have a national column, read by tens-of-thousands of people.  Imagine you love the One Who Got Away.  What do you do?

If your answer is anything other than, "Shut up," then like Andrew Cohen, you don't understand romantic love:

The great love of my life marries today and I am not the groom. I had my chance, a few years ago, but did not realize until too late how fleeting my moment with her was meant to be. Whether it was my fault or hers, and, let's face it, it was probably mine, I will wonder always about the life I might have had with the most loving and loveable woman I have ever known. Sometimes, I finally now understand, love, even crazy love, is not enough. Sometimes, as the romance novelists know, timing is everything.

Yes, this is beta, and I of course nominated him for Roissy's Beta of the Month Contest.  Putting aside the "man's" lack of self-respect and dignity, consider what he's doing: He's ruining his so-called love's wedding night.

Can't he see that?  Is it really that hard?

It's thus that surprising that Cohen spend hundreds of words - admittedly, I read less than half of them - he reminds the One Who Got Away that he loves her.  He reminds the groom that the One Who Got Away

arrived, unexpectedly, and showed me what was possible. She raised me up from the emotional dead. She drew out of me the poison of divorce and betrayal. Eleven years younger but already more mature than me, she was dazzling, brilliant, funny, and sweet; she both gave and taught me patience and devotion and sacrifice. No woman before or since ever made me feel as desired, needed, beloved, appreciated as she did. 

Awesome!  On my honeymoon night, I want to imagine my then-29-year-old starstruck wife having sex with a 40-year-old Andrew Cohen.  Thank you for that wedding present.

Cohen also reminds the bride and groom that she once loved him very much:

On her wedding day, I want to thank her for all those times she stuck up for me -- with her friends, with her family, with her work colleagues. It could not have been easy, explaining to all those cooler heads, why she was so devoted to an "old guy" who lived so far away. Yet she did ....

Why bring this up?  It is good for the bride to remind her how much she loved you?  Is it good for the groom?  Who is benefiting from these words?

Now certainly a person has a right to public catharsis.  If Cohen wants to write a column about how sad he is, great.  We've all lost sleep and weight over love, man.  We get it.  It's painful.  

Yet instead of recognizing that the column is about Cohen's Feelings, he writes about love:

So at last my wedding toast today is sincere: I wish the deepest and most profound love of my life a happy life, a good life, one in which she gives to and gets from the loved ones in her world the hope and the passion and the comfort and the support she always and so magically gave to me.

Loving a person means putting that person's interests before your own.  The best way to describe love it to ask: Is it about you?  If it's about you, then it's not love.  As one of Cohen's commenters aptly notes:

Well intentioned as this may have been (and even that's questionable), this column is not a gift to her. It's horribly self-centered--the entire thing is about you. Clearly, she didn't help you grow up that much if you're still so selfish and arrogant as to post a public letter of your undying love for her on your wedding day. It's awkward at best and a slap in the face to them at worst. Maybe you don't get it, but their wedding day isn't about you. It's about them, and they couldn't care less what you have to say. 

You can read the rest of Cohen's narcissistic drivel here.

Breach of the Social Contract

Until I studied banking and Wall Street, I was the most-useful idiot mankind had ever seen- a libertarian.  People would complain about unfair deals, to which I would answer, "It's a free market."  The bailouts forced me to re-examine my libertarian assumptions.  A detailed study of Wall Street and modern banking and general leads me to only one conclusion: Lynch mobs should be forming.

My student loan with Sallie Mae offers a typical example of the subtle theft that occurs daily.  

Unlike many people who went to law school, I have no regrets.  I love what I do - at least insofar as anyone can love work.  I do not regret financing my education through debt.  Once I graduated law school, I began repaying my student loans.  

Tonight - on the advice of someone more cynical than myself - I audited my student loans.  My cynical adviser assured me that a close inspection of my loan's repayment terms would reveal fraud.  He was right.

I noticed a subtle theft that had been occurring for the past few years.  Unless you're an accountant or otherwise sophisticated, you might need to squint.  It's worth it, though:

Loan #  |  Monthly Payment Amount | Current Principal Balance  | Interest rate

01         |   130.80                          |  7,250                              | 2.47%

02         |  105.95                           |  8,544                              | 5.75%

My largest payment goes towards Loan 1.  The interest and principal on Loan 1 are lower than the interest on Loan 2.  Thus, I will repay Loan 1 before Loan 2. Isn't that backwards?

Shouldn't my largest payment go towards the loan with the higher interest rate?  That's basic economics, right?  Of course it is.  A rational economic actor always pays high-interest debt before paying low-interest debt.  This is no-brainer material.

Or I thought it was.  Yet I simply paid the monthly bills, presuming some sort of good faith on Sallie Mae's part.   

Is it too much for me to presume good faith on the part of a bank?  And if you laugh at my naivete, how does that support your free-market [sic] values?  Doesn't laughing at me for being a chump prove my point, namely that banks are evil and bankers should be hung from nooses?

Incidentally, I tried changing the payment arrangement online.  I cannot do so without spending several hours printing, filling out, and faxing forms to Sallie Mae.  More bad faith. 

More and more, I am considering paying the interest only on these loans for the next several years; acquiring capital; and expatriating, leaving no assets in the United States that my lenders may attach in a lawsuit.  

If I have to watch my back in every economic transaction, why bother?  If my vote brings no change, why bother voting?  Sallie Mae should be out of business, and yet they are cheating me every month.

What Sallie Mae is doing to me, they are doing to millions of others.  And every bank is running this type of fraud.  

I am someone who, until recently, played by the rules.  I was what you wanted out of an American.  I was willing to work hard to earn my way through life.  The more I look at the Bailouts, and at the banal evil of Sallie Mae, the less I see the point.  Why bother?

Some may say this is a childish rant, and that's fine.  I've gone beyond caring what other people think.  Since my arguments rely on logic, my critics are left with nothing by name-calling.  

For years I've watch idiots treat partisan politics as if it matters.  Obama was elected: What changed?  Nothing.  Banks will continue robbing you, and robbing the public.  Wars will continued to be funded by deficits.  Trillions will continue disappearing in the Blackwater-Pentagon black hole.  Yet those of you who disagree with my position will continue loyally voting for your dictator of choice.  Voting "R" or "D" symbolizes "L" - for lunacy.

Moreover, I am not alone.  I wasn't the first to learn about these scams.  Many others share my outrage.

Many talented Americans are considering leaving the United States.  Conditions in Costa Rica and Panama are favorable; and if those countries show stability, more people are going to leave.  Thailand, too, is an option.

What happens when young, would-be-hard-working people leave?  Who is going to pay taxes?  Who is going to prop under Medicare and Social Security?  Who is going to keep the Ponzi Scheme alive?

Soon enough, we may learn that the answer is, "No one."  

U.S. Taxpayers to Pay for BP Oil Spill

It is criminal, as well as totally lawful, for BP to force United States taxpayers to pay for the BP oil spill:

Under the U.S. corporate tax law, companies can take credits up to 35% of their loss. Since BP reported $32.2 billion charge related to the cost of the spill, 35% of that will give you roughly $10 billion in credit. So BP’s claim is pretty much what its spokesman said. Read more.  

I have studied revolutions my entire life, and now is the time for someone to create a movement.  It hasn't been this ripe since Tsar Nicholas was fed lead rather than cake.   

Under the law, Goldman Sachs may steal taxpayer money, and hand that money out to the bankers who stole it.  Under the law, BP may take a huge shit in the ocean, and then use taxpayer money as toilet paper.

The laws are not changing.  A reasonable person must therefore ask when it will be time to act outside of the law.

The Hell of Sex Offender Registration

Today Scott Greenfeld reprints a depressing e-mail from a person who is a registered sex offender.  The person's life on Earth is more-or-less over:

I wake up and cant believe whats happen . this has been going on now for 8 1/2 years i have no job i am broke i have nothing i am going to lose my home my parents pay for my bills but when you havnt been to a medical Doctor in 7 years or a dentist my teeth are rotting . I lost my medical insurance when i was fired from my job. my savings are gone.  

i cant form a relationship because who wants to be with a felon and a registered sex offender ?? I have lost friends i had . Now they changed how you have to register so you have to pay for a drivers license every year and on top of that they charged $75 a year just for the privilege of being a registered sex offender which they raised to $ 125 which i don't have the money to pay for i don't have any money because i was fired from my job and am now unemployable I live off my parents who can not afford it. my life is a pure hell. i am 10 years older now and unemployed. all my savings which i had saved for retirement is GONE! but i want people to know ...

The e-mail is depressing because it's common.  The sex offender registry is not filled with large angry men waiting to ambush you, your wives, sisters, or daughters when they walk down dark alleys.  It's filled with people convicted of trivial sexual offenses.  

In California, you can be put on the sex offender registry for sexual harassment:

A guy walks into a sauna at a 24-hour fitness where another guy's in there talking on a cell phone. They're both in towels. The guy who walks in takes a seat and, looking and smiling at the guy on the cell phone, drops his towel and starts quasi-masturbating. It's clear the guy's asking the other guy if he wants a little action. But the other guy's not interested.

Crude, sure, and not something I would want to see at the gym.  Yet there was no touching; no approach; no threat.  No children were present.  No one was in any danger of being raped.

Heterosexual thought I may be, I have seen many penises.  It's part of being in any locker room.  And yet a man who shows me his penis too provocatively will be required to tell his neighbors that he's a danger to society.  The person's life is over.  How is that sane?

And a few years ago, a man named John the Guitarist posted a tragic account of finding himself on the sex offender registration.  I verified his story through court records.  What he said was true:

In December of 2001, I was in my senior year at a Georgia state university, majoring in Business Management. I was 25, and had already earned an associates degree in music at this point, as well....

I went to a party during that Christmas break, and there was a girl there. The fact that she was drinking beer and smoking cigarettes led me to believe that she was of legal age. I have never been a promiscuous person, but she came on to me, and we ended up sleeping together that night. I told the hosts of the party, a couple with whom I was good friends that I had hooked up with the girl at the party. They told me that she was the host's younger sister, and that she was 14 years old. They also told the father, who was a police officer.

The plea agreement did not seem all that bad at the time. I knew that, as the adult, I should have had the foresight not to have slept with that girl. I knew that the responsibility for the entire situation rested upon my shoulders. I took all the blame and felt genuinely remorseful for making such a stupid decision. They offered me a "First Offender" sentence. They would drop the Child Molestation charge, and leave the Statutory Rape. I was offered 10 years of probation, no jail time, and ordered to attend counseling, or "Sex Offender Treatment".... According to Georgia's First Offender Act, the case would also be shielded from the public and removed from my record if I was able to stay out of trouble for the duration of my probation. The most significant part of the plea agreement was that I would NOT have to register and have my name, address, and picture plastered across the Internet. The DA and Judge had decided that I did not deserve to have my life wrecked because of this. I took the plea, was grateful for what I had received, and attempted to become a contributing member of society. When I took the plea, the state also dropped all charges against the hosts of the party (Contributing to the delinquency of a Minor).

Being placed on the Sex Offender Registry is one of the most horrible things that our society has ever known. It is a cruel experiment by our government that has already been proven to do absolutely no good towards protecting society from dangerous people. The lawmakers had no idea what they were doing when they passed (and continue to pass) all these laws. I know this for a fact because my uncle, a member of the (GA) house of congress, even said so himself when I told him that my entire life had been ruined by a law that he didn't even remember voting on last year. It is absolutely mind blowing to myself and everyone that I have told (and I've told a lot of people at this point), but nobody seems to be able to do anything about it...nobody wants to touch it because it's such a "hot button" issue right now. Nobody would want to be accused of "Not wanting to protect the children..."


The biggest problem with all of this, through my eyes, is that I have done so much over the last 2 years. I have based and built my life around the guidelines that were set out for me. I am being forced to undo the successes that I have accomplished under these guidelines. To go back and change the rules 2 years later just seems unconscionable to me. The worst part is that forcing people to register has already been challenged at the Supreme Court level, and the verdict has been returned that it is not considered additional punishment to be placed on the Registry. If it were considered additional punishment, it would violate the constitutional laws of due process and against double jeopardy and ex post facto laws. The problem is that it IS additional punishment. Being placed on the sex offender website is probably one of the most horrible things that can happen to a person in today's society. The registry does not state the conditions of my probation. I'm sure that the lady who called the store did not realize that I was not violating any laws by teaching there. She, like most other people who check the registry, probably assumed that I was a child rapist/molester/kidnapper who deserves to burn in Hell forever. That is one of the biggest problems with the registry. People who are on it are automatically assumed to be the worst of the worst through society's eyes. I am not a rapist. I do not hurt children. I do not want to sleep with children.

Lives are being ruined. And for what? How does society benefit by requiring those men to register as sex offenders?

H+ Links

H+ is short for transhumanism, which is something I've studied in various forms since adolescent ventures into Ralph Waldo Emerson's remarkable essays.  Today the H+ movement is focused on scientific methods of improving the human condition.  Properly understood, H+ should be about total transcendece of mind and body.  

Transcendence of mind sounds pseudo-scientific until you think: Why do you believe most of what you believe?  Where did your ideals on "morality" come from?  Were you sitting on a mountain top when your moral ideas formed?  Chances are, you were inculturated - which is different from brainwashing, how? - into whatever value system you hold.  I did not suddenly decide that an invisible force impregnated a virgin who gave birth to a son who soon became a zombie.  I could never have been so creative.  And yet for a good part of my life, that is what I believed.

And what other stuff do people believe?  Look at politics.  Why are you a Democrat or a Republican?  What is the unifying themes of these politico-religious organizations?  There are no themes.  Yet people proudly proclaim party affiliation - as if this proves anything other than a dependence of mind, and obedience to a power elite.  

Let's even get to the banal.  Years ago Gerry Spence made a great point about the banality of slavery.  Why eat cereal for breakfast?  Why not eat chili?  Why are some foods breakfast foods?  It's pretty silly.  Yet we develop these patterns without ever asking if those patterns are in our best interest.  (Most people would be far better off having beans-and-beef for breakfast than blood-sugar-spiking Frosted Flakes.)

Why, I wonder, eat a muffin for breakfast?  How is that different from cake?  Both contain flour, sugar, and butter.  Both similar nutritional profiles.  And yet you'd consider eating cake for breakfast as odd.  How remarkable!

Most of our beliefs are unexamined, and thus transcendence is simply understood as moving past - which often means the painful profess of breaking through - culture.  If you want to eat cake for breakfast, how delicious.  Why would I stop you?  Yet if you think eating a muffin is different from eating cake, we cannot be friends.

With that introduction, here are some transhumanist questions:

1.  Why sit in a chair?  FuturePundit (a book-marked blog) notes that sitting down is deadly:

Think you can safely sit for many hours if you just get yourself a Hermann Miller Aeron chair then you are all set to sit for long hours? Nope, not that easy. Sitting is the problem. Worse yet, the classic 90 degree sitting angle is bad. Yup, all that advice about sitting up straight and rectangular was wrong. Those ram-rod straight sitters were all damaging their metabolism. 

As I work from home, I sit on a couch with pillows propping me up.  I probably look lazy.  Why?  Why is laying down and thinking lazy?  Why is working from a reclining chair or couch lazy?  It makes no sense, and yet people would righteously - always so righteous! - attack my health-improving habits - even though getting my work done is never a problem.

If you're not writing, why not leave the office and walk?  Walking and thinking is how Plato and Aristotle discussed philosophy.  It is not possible - indeed, superior - to think about legal matters while walking?  Why sit in a chair, killing yourself, when there are superior ways of working?

It's because if you're not in your office, you're lazy.  You're shamming.  (This is the case even though most workers hide in their offices playing Solitaire all day.)  It's cultural programming.  It's thoughtless.  It's deadly.  

2.  Why grow old gracefully?   How is having nagging joints, losing muscle, and gaining fat in my best interest?  How is age-related cognitive decline in my best interest?  

And yet people think I'm crazy for claiming that Sylvester Stallone is a model for aging gracefully.  Why is falling down a breaking one's hip graceful?  

There are drugs men and women can take - starting at about 35-40 - that will improve cognition and increase overall vitality.  The common fools call these drugs steroids, and declare that using steroids [sic] is immoral, unnatural, and unethical.  


Is is unethical or unnatural to use cancer-fighting drugs?  To have a dentist put a heat-forged drill in your mouth to carve out - natural? - disease and rot?  And to apply paste to hold a porcelain cap to your chipped tooth?

Is is unnatural for a diabetic to inject pig - pig! - insulin to regulate blood sugar?  Why not just die of diabetes?  It's natural, right?

What is difference, then, between injecting synthetic testosterone and human growth hormone and injecting insulin?  Because doctors claim that aging is "natural"?  Who defines natural?  And why are others allowed to define natural for you?

Transhumanism is the recognition that what we consider "natural" or "human" need to be reconsidered - and, where possible, transcended. It is not a philosophy of values, but instead of a philosophy of choices.

On Anonymous Blogging and Commenting

Who's a bigger weakling: The guy who posts anonymous comments on a blog; or the blogger whose feelings he hurts?


The answer is obvious, and yet nothing hurts a blogger's feelings more than an anonymous insult.  We want people to identify themselves, so that we may salve the wound.  It works a lot like this: 

You post a nasty comment.  If I know your name, I'm going to Google you.  Am I your superior in some way, I wonder.  If so, then I am able to disregard your comment.  Who are you to say anything to me?

Thus, it's always old bloggers who rant about anonymous commenters.  Old guys are full of themselves.  Despite being born during the most economic prosperous time in the world - and being born white - they have worked for everything they've got.  You had better respect them.  

They'll always find a way to win a status game, and thus they must know who insulted them.  How dare you?! is not something kids demand an answer to.  It is extremely important for older people to identify their critics.

Yet caring about anonymous voices reveals insecurities and weakness of will.  By caring, they identify themselves as lacking philosophical perspective and emotional depth.


If I needed to borrow $1,000 to pay my rent, would you loan it to me?  If I died today, would you care?  Sure, you might be upset in the he-was-too-young sense.  Yet you wouldn't need to pull your car over onto the side of the road tomorrow, overwhelmed with grief.

That's cool with me.  Why should I be somebody to you?  I'm not your father, son, or lover.  I'm just some guy who posts things you find interesting and thought-provoking.

It is indeed humbling that people read this site, and it still shocks me to find out who is reading.  Yet I understand that our relationship is casual.  It's an ongoing one night stand rather than a relationship built on mutual obligations, respect, and trust.

Why then would I care if you insulted me?  Why would your words have power?


Unlike a random hit-and-run commenter, you and I actually have a relationship.  Again, it's not intimate.  Yet there is something there.  It's hyperbole to claim you wouldn't care at all if I died.  

If our relationship is limited, what then is the relationship between me and an anonymous blog commenter?  There is no relationship.  Why would that anonymous person have power over me?  


An anonymous commenter - or blogger - has no relationship with me, and thus has no power.  There are a few people in my life who can hurt me with their words.  I have given them love, and thus power.  (When this power is abused, the love is taken away.)

Until I have given you love or respect, you have no power over me.  I therefore care not what you say.  You may insult me under your real name or a fake name.  Either way, I don't care.

And why should I care?

Jonathan Zasloff and the World of Passive-Aggressives

Does UCLA law professor Jonathan Zasloff represent all that is weak about America?  Consider this: Zasloff, tired of listening to FoxNews (and listening to people talk about FoxNews) decided that ignoring morons was too difficult.  That would require some level of self-control and virture.  He'd have to personally decide to ignore the buffoons.  That was too much.

Thus, like all too many people prone to "take to the bed" when stressed, he sought government intervention.  On a list-serve populated by emotionally-stunted - though allegedly adult - journalists, he wrote: "I hate to open this can of worms, but is there any reason why the FCC couldn’t simply pull [FoxNews'] broadcasting permit once it expires?"

Zasloff didn't realize that his words would become public, as he posted it to JournoList - an off-the-record list-serve created by liberal commentator Ezra Klein.  (That Zasloff and other alleged adults sincerely believed that an e-mail sent to several hundred other people would remain private is worthy of a separate post.)

Zasloff made a flip comment.  We all have.  You can find on this very site things I wish I hadn't written.  If you printed a post and put it in my face, I'd say, "Yeah.  That was pretty dumb.  The hazard of saying many things is that you'll regret a few of those things."  There is nothing wrong with being wrong.  You took a swing while everyone else stared to watch.  There is no shame in an occasional foul ball.

Has Zasloff admitted that he made an ill-conceived comment?  Has he expressed remorse or regret?  Of course not. 

Instead, Zasloff has joined the wormiest subculture in the United States - the passive-aggressive.  Instead of owning his idea, he writes

Journolist was more like a conversation around a water cooler; it wasn’t a law review article. I raised a question.

One can admire his adversaries.  As Edmund Burke noted centuries ago: "He that wrestles with us strengthens our nerves, and sharpens our skill. Our antagonist is our helper. This amicable conflict with difficulty helps us to an intimate acquaintance with our object, and compels us to consider it in all its relations. It will not suffer us to be superficial."    

Yet Zasloff wants to pretend he is no one's adversary.  His questions do not contain content.  Oh, no.  He's just asking a question.

Rather than face you as a person with honor and integrity, the passive-aggressive always seeks cover.  They always seek deniability.  They don't offer ideas - no, just questions.

The passive aggressive doesn't accuse, as accusations require courage.  Instead, the passive-aggressive asks: "Do you feel like an idiot today?"  When you ask them what they mean, they accuse you of overreacting.  "Chill out, man.  I was just asking a question." 

Zasloff can be forgiven for suggesting that FoxNews be shut down.  Who wouldn't like to see FoxNews, the New York Times, and CNBC all closed down?  They are all part of the same Ministry of Information.  They all serve corporate and government power.  The only difference is whom they want to have power.  Yet Zasloff, like the CIA, will neither confirm nor deny his opinions.  

Zasloff cannot be forgiven for failing to take responsibility for his words.  He's a slug deserving of far more contempt than he's received.  He's revealed himself as a lowlife passive-aggressive.

BP Oil Spill: "We now have killed the Gulf of Mexico"

How bad is the BP oil spill?  Is the well really capped?  Even if the well is capped, so what?  Unfortunately, we do not know, because we cannot know.  One EPA official claims:

Corexit is one of a number of dispersants, that are toxic, that are used to atomize the oil and force it down the water column so that it’s invisible to the eye. In this case, these dispersants were used in massive quantities, almost two million gallons so far, to hide the magnitude of the spill and save BP money. And the government—both EPA, NOAA, etc.—have been sock puppets for BP in this cover-up. Now, by hiding the amount of spill, BP is saving hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars in fines, and so, from day one, there was tremendous economic incentive to use these dispersants to hide the magnitude of the gusher that’s been going on for almost three months.

Is he telling the truth?  How can we know?  What's the basis for our knowledge?  The Coast Guard, under direct orders from BP, is preventing independent scientists and journalists from getting too close to the spill.  If the EPA official is mistaken, how can we know?

Matthew Simmons, founder of the Ocean Energy Institute, claims that the Gulf of the Mexico is done:

“No, it’s a total diversion - that’s the gas condensation that was trapped in the drilling riser which blew off the wellhead at 10:01 PM CT on April 20th, it's a mile-long compressed natural gas."

True or false?  As someone who relies on evidence, I have no opinion.  There is no way for me to evaluate Mr. Simmons' statements.  The evidence is being kept away from me.

I can draw inferences from BP's and the government's conduct.  If there is nothing to hide, why are journalists being prevented from studying the Gulf?  Why are independent scientists not being allowed in the area?

No news is not good news.

The Trial Lawyer's "Tax Cut" That Isn't

Running a business costs money, and under normal accounting practices, ordinary and necessary business expenses are tax deductible.  If I buy a printer cartridge, for example, I'm able to claim that expense as a tax deduction.  I am also able to claim that business expense immediately.

For years there existed an odd-ball method of tax accounting for trial lawyers.  Unlike every other small businesspersons, trial lawyers were not able to deduct expenses immediately.  Instead, trial lawyers were required to wait until a lawsuit had reached a final outcome before deducting its business expenses.   

Here's an example: Lawyer A files a lawsuit for a wage-and-hour violation in 2010.  Lawyer A has to pay to file fees to file the lawsuit; serve the lawsuit; depose witnesses; and hire experts.  People want paid now.  Imagine lawyer A incurs $10,000 in business expenses in 2010.

The lawyer, unlike every other businessperson, is not able to deduct that $10,000 as a 2010 business expense.  Instead, she'd have to wait until the case settled - 3-to-5 years - before claiming that expense.  

This leads to cash crunches for trial lawyers, which is why the unfair tax treatment exists.  If you run your own small business, this needs no explanation.  For those of you who don't, here's what happens to the lawyer.

If I give you $100,000 but take away $10,000: How much money have you earned?  The logical answer is $90,000.  After all, the $10,000 is not in your hands.  It's in the hands of other small business owners.

Yet under current tax law, the trial lawyer who pays $10,000 in legal expenses in 2010 while earning $100,000 in revenue from other clients, is not going to be taxed for her $90,000 in earnings.  Instead, she'll pay taxes on $100,000 in earnings.  This prevents her from investing money back into her small business.

How is that fair?  How is that logical?  A civil defense lawyer claims:

“They’re trying to get the best of both worlds,” said Christopher Appel, an attorney in the public policy group at the Washington-based law firm Shook, Hardy, and Bacon. “It’s not really a business expense. It’s a loan made to the other person the attorney fully expects to get back.”

This is spin at best - and fraud at worst.  A trial lawyer who takes on a case must immediately pay for experts and other expenses.  If the client wins, then the client will reimburse the lawyer for incurred expenses.  If the client loses, then the client does not reimburse the lawyer.

Does that sound like a loan to you?  

I challenge Christopher Appel to go to his bank with the following proposition: "I need money to start a business.  If the business succeeds, I'll give you your money back.  If the business fails, I owe you nothing.  I won't need to file for bankruptcy to discharge the loan, since you agree not to come after me if my business fails.  We'll just amicably part ways."  Anyone think that bank would call that a loan?   

Thus, Appel's comment - like this entire article - is based on bad faith.  Appel doesn't like trial lawyers.  He wants trial lawyers to hurt.  He wants trial lawyers to have less money to run their businesses.

That's certainly a legitimate viewpoint.  My best friends are all plaintiffs' trial lawyers, and so Appel's viewpoint is not one that I share.  Yet people disagree, and some consider trial lawyers to be bad people.  Fine.  People disagree.

Yet let's at least be honest about our biases.  I don't lie to confuse the public about an important tax issue.  I tell the truth.  Rejecting me is your right as a free person.  If you accept me based on lies, then you are not free - but have instead been enslaved by propaganda.

Money spent litigating a case is a business expense. Money spent litigating is not a loan, because the client is under no legal obligation to reimburse the lawyer for his expenses - unless the case settles in favor of the client.  Thus, the trial lawyers are not going to receive a tax cut.  Instead, they're going to be treated like every other small business owner.