Thursday, May 19, 2011

Final full day in Singapore

Tomorrow (Friday) is my final full day in Singapore. In addition to teaching my eighth and final marathon-length class over an 11-day span (ah, the narcissism and melancholy of spending too much time as a performer), I will be giving a late-morning hour-long talk to people at the NYU@NUS program generally. At the last minute (i.e., tonight), I have grown verging on enthusiastic, at least given my overall state of near-burnout and fatigue, about this talk.

When I was asked to give this talk, I had nothing more definite in mind than to reprise the main themes of my forthcoming Tax Notes paper, "1986-Style Tax Reform: A Good Idea Whose Time Has Passed." Forthcoming, I should add, this Monday, May 23. I will post a link on this blog as soon as I can; I'm pretty sure this can be done with Tax Notes articles once they're out.

The problems with the approaching talk were twofold (apart from simultaneous classroom preparation). First, although few people have seen my new paper as yet and I haven't widely discussed it, it's been on my mind over the last few months and I've discussed bits and pieces or ideas from it on numerous occasions (e.g., at my Senate Finance testimony earlier this month). Thus, to me it no longer feels quite as fresh as it might at this point. Second, it's U.S.-centric, hence not ideal for a talk in Singapore, especially to people who aren't any more tax-focused than they are U.S.-focused.

But I've been idly discussing Singapore-specific factors with various people during my brief stay here, and now feel qualified (at least for a fairly casual talk to a moderate-sized audience) to take things in a fresher and more locally pertinent direction. Hence, my lunch talk is now entitled (in my own mind; I didn't get to tell the organizers in time for any signage to reflect it), "Tax Reform: Singapore Versus the U.S."

As I've mainly written it out, I'll consider posting the talk's main contents here if, after the session is done, I still feel good about it. This, however, may have to wait until next week, as I am taking a 19 hour flight back home on Saturday morning.

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