Today's Papers

I’d Like To Buy the World Bank a Coke

The New York Times leads with a study showing that last year, for the first time, the IRS was more likely to audit the poor than the rich. The Washington Post goes with a FAA-led review of the rudder system of the Boeing 737 jet. The Los Angeles Times goes local with a story about the prospect of year-round high school but also fronts the tax news.

The IRS stories detail a new Syracuse University study showing that audit rates for those making $100,000 or more have fallen 90 percent over the past decade, from 11.4 percent to 1.15 percent. Meanwhile, audit rates for those making less than $25,000 have crept up by a third, from 1.03 percent to 1.36 percent. The pattern is mirrored on the corporate side, with a greater portion of small businesses being audited than large ones. Audits of individuals fell for the right reasons: because more of their pay is fully reported by employers, and because Congress has eliminated the widest loopholes for individual filers. But audits of corporations and the self-employed fell for the wrong ones: because Congress has stiffed the IRS of the resources necessary to do its job. The Times (the online edition, at least) helpfully refers readers to the study itself, posted here.

A NYT front-pager on the CIA’s secret history of its covert 1953 attempt to topple the Iranian government reads like an excerpt from a John le Carré thriller. In its first successful overthrow of a foreign government, the CIA (working in partnership with Britain) managed to overthrow Iran’s nationalist prime minister and return the shah to power. This coup, says the Times, led directly to the 1979 Islamic revolution, sparked rabid anti-Americanism in Iran, and served as the blueprint for other interventionist efforts by the CIA. The Times got the story from a classified CIA-written history of the coup, provided by a former official who kept a copy. The basic outlines of the CIA’s involvement have been known for some time, but the document’s details and frankness are still bracing. See for yourself: The Times has posted parts of the classified document on its Web site, complete with blurry mimeographed type. Today’s Papers must pause to ask: Will posting source documents on the Web become standard operating procedure for newspapers printing investigative stories?

The WP leads with the Federal Aviation Administration’s advisement of a redesign of the rudder system on the Boeing 737, the most popular aircraft currently on the runways. The current configuration, it turns out, could be vulnerable to unexpected movement. The risk is tiny, though–so tiny that no immediate mechanical fixes were deemed necessary. Here the story gets confusing, though: The 737 rudder is being examined because the recent US Air and United crashes in Pittsburgh and Colorado Springs both involved sharp rolls and dives, which might have resulted from faulty rudder movements.  The Post suggests another reason for the new measures: because Boeing is currently competing against Airbus for primacy in the market for single-aisle, twin-engine planes.

Hillary Clinton may be a carpetbagger, but a NYT front-pager demonstrates that many of her opponents are also out-of-staters. About half of Rudolph Giuliani’s current $19 million cash horde comes from beyond New York’s borders. Much of it seems to come from rabid Hillary-haters, who see her as–in one contributor’s words–“a devious, self-promoting, selfish woman.”

All three papers front previews to Sunday’s protests against the World Bank. The Times piece finds IMF and WTO officials defensive and fearful, and says that both institutions are feeling pressure to do less private-style lending and more humanitarian work. Staffers from both organizations are horrified to see themselves portrayed as perpetuators of inequality; many, says one insider, “10 years ago would have been more likely to be on the outside of the barricades, and then decided they could get more done inside.” The WP reports that as of Saturday evening, the D.C. police had already arrested hundreds of protestors, stormed the central organizing center, and confiscated and then returned puppets depicting President Clinton as a corporate, um, puppet. (Click here for David Plotz’s colorful dispatch from the scene.) Amid the chaos, the Post finds a college-age protester shelling out $2 for a Coke, and asks him why he’s patronizing a company thought to epitomize the forces of globalization. “Uh, yeah,” he admits. “But there’s a limited selection here, and I’m dying of thirst.”