What Sam Zell knows

Several times each year I give a little talk at HGS about “What the Rich Know.”  And I always point out that the richest man in Chicago, Sam Zell, got that way not so much from smart investments in real estate and other monopolies, but more because he is extremely clever in taking advantage of income tax laws and regulations.  (And that’s why increasing tax rates on high incomes doesn’t really bother the rich much, nor does it raise much revenue, except for tax lawyers.)

We see another example today, with a Sun-Times report that tax expert Robert Willens suggests that IRS will eventually examine the (pending) “sale” of the Cubs, which has been structured to avoid $300 million in capital gains tax that would otherwise be due.

Update Sept 27 2009: Kevin Horrigan suggests that, if Zell doesn’t want to pay the tax, America’s taxpayers should be entitled to a share in the team.

For those who say government can’t run anything right, I say, compared to what? Not winning a World Series for 101 years?

Thanks to Al Katzenberger of Public Revenue Education Council/ Common Ground USA for the tip.