Category Archives: Economy

Conspiracy Theory

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It must be a conspiracy. The stock market lost all its gains for the year this past week. So naturally as I post this the markets are soaring.

Ben Bernanke’s Money

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What good is quantitative easing if Ben Bernanke can’t get a loan? The former Fed chairman confided last week that he was unable to refinance his $850,000 home mortgage. It’s true he’s out of a job but ex-government swells are never out of the money. Bernanke is still making the stuff from thin air (or hot air) by cranking out speeches at more than $200,000 a pop.

Helicopter Ben Bernanke

IBD notes that even Barney Frank now lays some blame on the government for the 2008 banking crisis. It forced banks to lend to risky home buyers and now Dodd Frank is overcorrecting by putting the clamps on the banking industry. Banks have been forced to close branches to pay penalties. They’re sitting on piles of free money but they’re reluctant to lend, even to Helicopter Ben.

In that same speech he also discussed how the government can always avoid deflation by printing more dollars and referred to a statement made by Milton Friedman, a Nobel Prize winning economist, about using a helicopter drop of money to fight deflation. Since then, Bernanke has had the nickname of “Helicopter Ben.”

 

 

Scotland Yes or NO

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The clock is ticking down for a yes or no vote on Scotland’s break with Britain, and things are getting ugly. Hope the clock’s not attached to a bomb. English politicians are pulling out all the stops in Scotland to buy no votes.

Keeping the Scotch in Scotland

Even Bill Clinton got into the act to say a yes vote could be financially risky. Big banks and businesses have threatened to leave Scotland if the yes voters win. On the bright side, that’s not an option for Scotch makers.

Economic Patriotism

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President Obama’s favorite billionaire is making a run for the border. Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway will finance Burger King’s purchase of Canadian donut dynamo, Tim Hortons.

Economic Patriotism

As a Canadian operation, Burger King will still have to pay US corporate taxes on earnings inside the United States. But earnings outside the US will only be taxed at the rate of the country where they occur. US companies have to pay taxes in the countries where they operate and also must pay IRS the difference between those rates and the US rate. The Obama administration calls this economic patriotism.

Burger King’s move is called a tax “inversion”. Matt Levine gives a great explanation in this Bloomberg article.

The US corporate rate, including state and local taxes comes to about 40%. That’s the highest in the world outside the Islamic State jizya. Roberto A. Ferdman provides a nice chart in the Washington Post showing the tax rates of the 34 OECD countries.

The nominal corporate tax rate in the U.S., which combines national, state, and city-level tax rates, is nearly 40 percent—the highest across all 34 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. Canada’s, by comparison, is just over 26 percent.

James Foley

140822 james foleyThe New York Times reported that ISIS wanted $130,000,000 ransom for James Foley. European countries have paid ransom in the past. It’s a major source of income for ISIS. The US policy is not to pay ransom for hostages, on the theory it encourages more hostage taking.

The same theory doesn’t seem to apply when it comes to swapping terrorists for American hostages. We gave up five of GITMO’s worst bad asses to bring home alleged deserter Private Bergdahl.

Bergdahl’s parents were flown in from Idaho to celebrate the joyous occasion with President Obama in the White House Rose Garden.

James Foley

James Foley met his grim fate with courage. His parents showed the source of that fortitude in their meeting with the media to discuss their son on the day of  his death.

Obama played golf.