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Friday, December 30, 2016


To the Editor

In all the discussion about Mr. Trump's potential conflicts of interest with respect to the emoluments clause, commentators have been silent on one issue: the second part of the clause; the piece that says "without the consent of Congress."
What does this mean? Does it mean that at the start of Mr. Trump's term, Congress can give blanket consent to all emoluments from any source for the whole four year term? Or does it men that Congress will have to consent to each emolument as soon as it is deposited in one of Mr. Trump's personal or corporate bank accounts; if so, Congress will have no time for any other legislation. Or perhaps there is a middle ground with some emoluments receiving blanket permission while others have to be permitted individually. Where will the line be drawn?
Perhaps Mr. Trump can avoid triggering the emoluments clause. An emolument is defined as a profit gained from services rendered. With some creative accounting, perhaps involving paying down debt, Mr. Trump could reduce the profits from his overseas activities to a very small amount and then assign those profits to the Federal government. Then there would be no need to gain the consent of Congress

Sent to New York Times

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Trump's lack of plan for conflict of interest

To the Editor

The Electors, potential members of the cabinet, and the Vice President elect should all demand that Mr. Trump present a credible plan for dealing with his business interests before December 19th.

This is a promise he made that cannot be broken.

Sent to New York Times

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016

Libel Law

Dear Editor:

Mr.. Trump should be careful what he wishes for.

The kind of law he wants would have allowed President Obama to sue Mr. Trump over his "birther" claims.

Pity it couldn't happen.

Sent to New York Times

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Salaries at J.P. Morgan

In his article on pay increases at JP Morgan (New York Times, July 12, 2016: A23), Mr Dimon did not mention the $87 million (in cash, stock options, and other compensation) paid in 2015 to the top five executives at JP Morgan.

The $200 million invested in training its over 200,000 employees looks paltry by comparison: under $1,000 each.

Sent to New York Times

Monday, June 13, 2016

Outsourcing Plans at the MBTA

Wishful Thinking at the MBTA

For over 15 years, the MBTA has subcontracted its Commuter Raile Service to private companies. It is generally viewed that the Commuter rail has not been well run.

Now, the T -- relying on hope over experience -- plans to outsource its maintenance activities to the private sector. This is madness. Managing a contrattor is at least as difficult as managin in-house employees. In house, you have diorect influence over employees' behavior. With contractors you don't. All you can do in the face of poor performace is abrogate the contract and then suffer the disruption of trying to find a replacement.

It is an embarrassment that in a city with half a dozen world class business schools full of Operations Managemnt faculty memebers that the T cannot manage its maintenance operations effectively. This is not rocket science; this is a well undertood process. 

The T should not outsource this problem. It should work hard to get its house in order and improve its operations.

Sent to Boston Globe