Wednesday, March 22, 2023


All Things Linguistic — Eeyore: You've been saying it wrong

If Streckfus was a cartoon, he would be Eeyore according to those who know him.

Streckfus is of German derivation.  It sounds like the German, "Fuss Strecken," which translates to the English, "stretch feet."  There is a guy named Peter Streckfus who writes and teaches poetry:


My grandfather went on his moped to the factory, two hours travel each way.
The rest of the days he fished in the woods.
The fishing rods and the nets he tied to the moped.

When I was old enough, he took me.
We rode with our legs out in the air on the bags.
We fished for eel.

Boiled water out of the creek for coffee, tea, and soup.
If we didn’t catch anything, we had nothing.
At night, when we lay to sleep, the world changed.

. . . 

Peter Streckfus seems introspective and contemplative, as all poets must be I suppose.  He doesn't seem as grouchy as his cousin/uncle/father/unrelated (I don't know which), Paul Streckfus.  Except for Peter's poem Purgatorio, by which I think he refers to life in front of a computer screen. I thought computers would make writing a breeze and me a Pulitzer prize winner.  Now I know computers are just the gates to hell.  Peter might be trying to warn us all.  But poetry is not my day job so what do I know?  I went to jump school, though, and served in the 101st Airborne (during a war but not during the Vietnam war!) just like Paul.  And I read Neil Sheehan just like him.  I hope he is not my ghost of Christmas future; I'm just trying to be happy is all.  

Streckfus has been on a kinda rant lately, I thought to myself.  But then I realized that he might always have been on some sort of rant, though certainly not without justification given the places he's been and the people he's met.  Late last year he said we should scrap the whole damn charitable contribution deduction.  Years ago, and more recently, he told us that what the Mormon church does with its tithes and offerings was of no concern to the Service.  "This matter does not merit IRS sacrificing even a coffee break's worth of time, idiots!"  he sneered in Forbes interview.  I guess I agree, especially on Ensign Peak.  I keep saying it but nobody is listening:  Churches can do whatever the Hades they want with their tax exemption.  Forbes calls Streckfus an unusually gloomy gadfly who rails against government and alleged NYU annual philanthropy conference secrecy. After reporting about the time Harvey Dale said he acted with a "lack of integrity," Forbes notes that Dale is still an EO Journal subscriber.  That is sort of high backhanded praise.  EO Journal doesn't have enough pictures for my taste so I don't subscribe.   He should have courtesy subscriptions for tax professors who served with the Screaming Eagles anyway.  

Paul is still pretty gloomy as far as I can tell.  Here is what he had to say about the TE/GE Division:

I’m sorry to say that things have gotten worse in the division. When I was there, it was kind of “the Golden Age.” The Tax Reform Act of 1969 brought in the Chapter 42 foundation provisions and it also brought in more funding for the EO Division. Not long after, we had the Pension Protection Act of 1974 and that also brought more attention to the EO area. But unfortunately, that was the high-water mark. By 1980, things were going downhill, let’s say slowly for the next 20 years, but since 2000, it’s been a really rapid descent, unfortunately, in terms of resources, etc.

 He has lots of fans, though.  And he seems to have convinced them all that its all just a big con game, why even bother?  Exempt Organization supervision and regulation I mean.  And then he said professors like me are basically irrelevant:

A number of professors have addressed some of the EO issues. Of course, even professors admit no one in power pays much attention to their articles. At least they help them get tenure. If you’re interested, there are a number of articles that are on various EO problem areas, but nothing ever gets done. Some, of course, say that’s good.

He and my mother really have no filters.  My articles and this blog, Stretchfeet, are read by Congress and the Service as often as any other law professor's work.  I admit no such contrary thing!  I am not so sure about his observation that only charities that get most of their revenues from donations -- rather than from the sale of goods or services -- and who give away most of what is entrusted to them on an annual basis -- rather than sitting on wealth for decades -- deserve tax exemption.  He might be right though.  

And here is what he said to Philanthropy Daily about social welfare organizations:

With the (c)(4)s, it . . . it’s completely out of control, but both political parties and their supporters are now guilty of playing loose with the rules. We mentioned the FEC. They’re not playing any role. Since the IRS got its head cut off with the so-called tea party scandal, Commissioner [Charles] Rettig is not going to tell his people, let’s audit (c)(3)s and (c)(4)s and have Congress chop us into pieces, so the IRS has retreated from the field of battle.

"The horror . . . the horror."  Must be pretty interesting at Thanksgiving with a poet and a nonprofit curmudgeon sitting around watching football.  Peter praising the wonderful tradition of Detroit playing every thanksgiving and Paul condemning the NFL for whatever it does to keep Detroit losing games every damn year.  

darryll jones

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