- Iceland Unleashes Confiscatory “Exit Tax” On Wealth Deposits (ZeroHedge, Dec 10, 2014):
While on the one hand, Iceland’s decision to inch towards lifting its capital controls is a positive step, it appears what they give with one hand they are taking with another. Just as we predicted three years ago, the muddle-through has failed and there are only hard choices left and sure enough BCG’s envisioned ‘wealth tax’ appears to be rearing its ugly head once more. As Morgunbladid reports, Iceland plans to impose an exit tax as part of removing capital controls, anticipating all bank assets will be subject to the levy, regardless of whether assets are held in local (ISK) or foreign exchange.
As Bloomberg reports,
Iceland’s plan to impose an exit tax as part of removing capital controls anticipates all bank assets will be subject to levy, regardless of whether assets are held in ISK or FX, Morgunbladid reports without saying how it obtained the information.
Part of program may also include forcing foreign holders of ISK assets to swap ISK at discount to a 30-yr FX bond; bond to carry interest rate less than 3%: Morgunbladid Continue reading »
Chinese Kids Driving Supercars: Inside the Secret Southern California Meet-up
Nov 18, 2014
China’s ultra-rich are growing in number and in wealth – and are sending billions of dollars out of the country. Much of it is landing up in the U.S. where many children of the wealthy elite are sent to get an American college education — and they’re living large. Vocativ found a sub-culture of these Chinese students in California. They drive luxury cars like Maseratis and Ferraris and flaunt their wealth at discreet private parties and in online groups, like “Super Cars in America”.
A decision by UK charity Save the Children to give Tony Blair its annual Global Legacy Award has unleashed a torrent of criticism highlighting the former PM’s role in Britain’s 2003 Iraq war and his controversial business dealings in the Middle East.
The former Labour leader, who is currently a key focus of a public inquiry into Britain’s invasion of Iraq, received the honor on Wednesday night at a star-studded gala hosted by the charity in New York.
Save the Children’s decision to offer Blair the award has provoked outrage across the UK, with critics insisting the move utterly discredits the charity.
With half the nation covered in snow, according to ABC, nowhere appears to have had it worse (or more suddenly) than upstate New York. As images pour in from lake-effect snow, to The Buffalo Bills stadium, and from scenes caught in a snow storm to pandas playing, we thought the following stunning drone’s-eye-view over Erie County was both incredible in its beauty and cruel in its GDP-destroying reality.
A Drone’s eye view of the beauty (and GDP cruelty) of a snow-buried upstate New York
For the second morning in a row, Jacksonville, Florida, dropped to a new record low.
With nasty cold fronts thrusting an icy and early winter across the continental U.S. — along with last winter described by USA Today as “one of the snowiest, coldest, most miserable on record” — climatologist John L. Casey thinks the weather pattern is here to stay for decades to come.
In fact, Casey, a former space shuttle engineer and NASA consultant, is out with the provocative book “Dark Winter: How the Sun Is Causing a 30-Year Cold Spell,” which warns that a radical shift in global climate is underway, and that Al Gore and other environmentalists have it completely wrong.
The earth, he says, is cooling, and cooling fast.
And yes, you read that one right:
Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank, a toppling marvel of ingenuity during the Financial Crisis that was bailed out by ever dutiful if unenthusiastic taxpayers, will now reward these very folks with what Germans have come to look forward to: the Wrath of Draghi.
It started with Deutsche Skatbank, a division of VR-Bank Altenburger Land. The small bank was the trial balloon in imposing the Wrath of Draghi on savers and businesses. Effective November 1, those with over €500,000 on deposit earn a “negative interest rate” of 0.25%. In less euphemistic terms, they get to pay 0.25% per year on those deposits for the privilege of giving their money to the bank.
“Punishment interest” is what Germans call this with Teutonic precision.
The squat, wheeled machines move stocked shelves to workers
In its latest bid to boost productivity and speed delivery, Amazon.com Inc. is deploying a robot army.
The Seattle online retailer has outfitted several U.S. warehouses with squat, orange, wheeled robots that move stocked shelves to workers, instead of having employees seek items amid long aisles of merchandise, according to people familiar with the matter. At a 1.2-million-square-foot warehouse in Tracy, Calif., about 60 miles east of San Francisco, Amazon this summer replaced four floors of fixed shelving with the robots, the people said.
Now, “pickers” at the facility stand in one place and wait for robots to bring four-foot-by-six-foot shelving units to them, sparing them what amounted to as much as 20 miles a day of walking through the warehouse. Employees at some robot-equipped warehouses are expected to pick and scan at least 300 items an hour, compared with 100 under the old system, current and former workers said.
The robots are the fruits of Amazon’s 2012 purchase of Kiva Systems Inc. for $775 million. In May, Amazon Chief Executive Jeff Bezos told investors at Amazon’s annual meeting that he planned to deploy 10,000 Kiva robots by year-end, up from 1,400 at the time.
One really just can’t make this up. Perhaps the Fed inspector general, when he is done “fixing” the corruption at the NY Fed will be so kind to take a look at the Goldman takeover of the US judicial system next.
And the saddest thing: it cost the banks (and their lawyer lackeys) under a million to buy America’s judicial system off: American justice is not only for sale, it goes at firesale prices!
The most shocking, if already completely buried, news of the day was that – in yet another confirmation that Goldman Sachs is in charge of the New York Fed – a NY Fed staffer was colluding and leaking confidential, material information to a 29-year-old Goldman vice president, himself a former Federal Reserve employee. This only happened because on the day Carmen Segarra disclosed her 47 hours of “secret Goldman tapes” on This American Life, Goldman executives asked the former Fed staffer where he had gotten what appeared to be confidential information from. To nobody’s surprise the answer was: The New York Fed. So as the latter, also known as the biggest hedge fund of the western world with $2.7 trillion in AUM, is scrambling to once again prove it is shocked, shocked, that it has become merely the latest subsidiary of Goldman Sachs, Inc., it released the following statement explaining what “really” happened.
Two months ago, to much fanfare by the progressive community, HHS, if not Dr. Jonathan Gruber, were delighted to report that as of August 15, Obamacare enrollment had hit 7.3 million sign ups, well above the 7.0 million goal. Then a week ago we learned that “projection mistakes were made” after the “Obama administration revised its estimate for Obamacare enrollment, now saying – with the bruising midterms safely in the rearview mirror – that it expects some 9.9 million people to have coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s insurance exchanges in 2015, millions fewer than outside experts predicted.” Fast forward to today when moments ago Bloomberg reported, that “the Obama administration included as many as 400,000 dental plans in a number it reported for enrollments under the Affordable Care Act, an unpublicized detail that helped surpass a goal for 7 million sign-ups.“
The Dutch government has refused to reveal details of a secret pact between members of the Joint Investigation Team examining the downed Flight MH17. If the participants, including Ukraine, don’t want information to be released, it will be kept secret.
“While the general population is aware something is seriously wrong, people remain extremely confused about the root of the problem. This is because what’s happening all around us isn’t socialism and it isn’t free market capitalism. It is actually a return to something much more ancient and much more oppressive. It is a return to serfdom, neo-fedualism and oligarchy.”
A sinkhole 20 by 30 meters (65 by 98 feet) in size has been found near a Uralkali mine in Russia’s Perm region. While the company says the development is of no further threat, locals fear the whole nearby town could go underground.
— Насонов Кирилл (@nasonovkirill) November 20, 2014
The topic of ‘currency war’ has been bantered about in financial circles since at least the term was first used by Brazilian Finance Minister Guido Mantega in September 2010. Recently, the currency war has escalated, and a ‘sanctions war’ against Russia has broken out. History suggests that financial assets are highly unlikely to preserve investors’ real purchasing power in this inhospitable international environment, due in part to the associated currency crises, which will catalyse at least a partial international remonetisation of gold. Vladimir Putin, under pressure from economic sanctions, may calculate that now is the time to play his ‘gold card’.
A BRIEF HISTORY OF THE CURRENCY WAR
RUSSIA, NATO AND THE ‘SANCTIONS WAR’
SO, WILL PUTIN PLAY THE ‘GOLD CARD’?
Why is there this huge discrepancy between the value of gold and silver reported recovered, and the value reported to have been stored in the vaults? There are a number of possible explanations, from outright theft using the attack as cover, to insurance fraud. Until there is a genuine investigation that probes all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the attack, we can only speculate.
For the first time since it began collecting data in 1994, Kantar Worldpanel, the market researcher, reported a decline in UK grocery sales by value, as The FT reports the biggest UK grocers were “losing market share hand over fist,” as analysts warn “there are phoney price wars, and there are real price wars. This is a real price war.” This comes on the heels of Goldman report claiming 20% of British grocers are surplus to requirements. But it’s not just Britain… in the the cleanest dirty shirt world-economic-growth supporting decoupled economy of the USA, Reuters reports Dollar General may need to divest more than 4,000 stores to win approval from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for its acquisition of Family Dollar.
Autonomous “Robocop”-style robots, equipped with microphones, speakers, cameras, laser scanners and sensors, have started to guard Silicon Valley.
The security robots, called Knightscope K5 Autonomous Data Machines, were designed by a robotics company, Knightscope, located in Mountain View, California.
The robots are programmed to notice unusual behavior and alert controllers. It also has odor and heat detectors, and can monitor pollution in carpets as well. Last but not least: with cameras, the Robocops can remember up to 300 number plates a minute, monitoring traffic.
This problem extends into the oligarchy of globalists, who adore the theories expressed in Plato’s “The Republic,” in which an elite cadre of “philosopher kings,” men who have achieved a heightened level of academic knowledge, are exalted as the most qualified leaders. However, leadership requires more than knowledge, even if that knowledge is profound. Leadership also requires compassion and informed consent, two things for which the elites have no regard.
The Internal Revenue Service reportedly wants London Mayor Boris Johnson to write a check for taxes he owes to the United States government, but the UK politician says he isn’t paying.
Those ‘brilliant’ Japanese ‘visionaries’ never heard of Fukushima:
Will people ever live in underwater cities? Japanese construction firm says it is possible by 2030. The visionaries revealed a $25 billion deep-sea eco-city plan called Ocean Spiral for 5,000 people that will produce energy from sea resources.
Many have pondered the idea of living under the sea while sci-fi film directors such as George Lucas tempted our imagination with stunning images of underwater cities. Such was the Gungan city consisting of a mass of hydrostatic bubbles shown in the first part of the “Star wars” epic space film series.
Now a Japanese construction firm Shimizu Corp. says that building an underwater residential area is not a fantasy and aims to build one by 2030 – in just 15 years.
The head of the National Security Agency warned Congress on Thursday that China and “one or two” other nations currently possess the capability of crippling the American power grid through cyberattacks.
It has become quite clear that the Fed neither has the intention, nor the market mechanism to do any of that, and certainly not in a 3-6 month timeframe. Which may explain the Fed’s hawkish words on any potential surge in market vol. After all, if the nearly $3 trillion in excess reserves remain on bank balance sheets for another year, then the only reason why vol could surge is if the Fed lose the faith of the markets terminally. At that point the last worry anyone will have is whether and how the Fed will tighten monetary policy.
It is still far too early to call a turn in the long-term trend of initial jobless claims but this is the 5th week that new lows have not been made, 4th miss in a row, and (despite last week’s upward revision) claims sit at 2-month highs. Initial claims printed 291k (against 284k expectations) down very slightly from an upwardly revised 293k last week. However, continuing claims continue to tumble to fresh cycle lows at 2.33 million (below expectations and well down from last week’s jump).
Ugly data in Asia, Europe, and US PMI meant US equities opened gap-down… that was unacceptable to ‘someone’ and so the “most shorted” names were squeezed. However, after 10 minutes the ramp started to fade… and so the big boys ‘fat-fingered’ VIX and that rescued the dip. That would be fine… but it happened again at 958ET when stocks started to fade again and suddenly VIX was lit up and zoom… stock momentum was ignited and all was well in the world… Broken record? Yes! But clearly someone has to take note of this rigging…
“I’ve seen ice like this or even worse, but it’s usually not until the middle of December,” says lockmaster.
Game 9 – 2014 World Chess Championship – Magnus Carlsen vs Viswanathan Anand
WTF: A Night With Japan’s Highest Paid Male Gigolo
Tags: Amazon, Banking, Barack Obama, Boris Johnson, Chess, Children, China, Climate Change, Collapse, Commerzbank, Economy, Environment, EU, Europe, Fed, Federal Reserve, Germany, Global Cooling, Global News, Global Warming, Goldman Sachs, Government, Health, Japan, Magnus Carlsen, New York Fed, Obama administration, Obamacare, Politics, Science, Society, Stock Market, Taxes, Technology, Tony Blair, U.K., U.S., Viswanathan Anand, Wall Street, World Chess Championship
- Why Tax Just Soda? Why Not Tax Sugar? (Of Two Minds, Nov 4, 2014):
A recent revenue-enhancement fad in local government is to levy a tax on soft drinks. The tax is marketed to voters as a means of reducing soda consumption, which is presumed to be a contributor to the explosive rise in Type II diabetes, and more broadly, metabolic syndrome or diabesity.
While the intake of sugar/high fructose and sweetened beverages is certainly detrimental to health (see links below), it seems taxing sodas is more a topical excuse for skimming a new revenue stream than a meaningful way to reduce obesity/diabesity.
I have covered America’s declining health and fitness and the dramatic impact of high-sugar diets for many years:
- ‘Unprecedented mobilization’: Hundred-thousand rise against Irish water tax (Common Dreams, Nov 1, 2014):
Over 100 demonstrations held across Ireland protesting austerity scheme to tax, privatize water supply
Update 2:20 EST:
Protest organizers Right 2 Water estimate that over 150,000 people came out to protest the water charge scheme. In a statement released Saturday afternoon, they wrote: “Despite torrential rain, our expectations have been massively exceeded, with well over 150,000 people coming out in every neighbourhood, town and village to send a clear message to the Government: water is a human right, and we demand the abolition of domestic water charges.”
Earlier: Continue reading »
- The Many Ways the State Taxes the Poor (Ludwig Mises Institute, Oct 27, 2014):
Most defenders of the state assume that government services help the poor. And, sometimes, some poor people do benefit financially from government programs. But there’s a hidden cost: taxation and mandatory programs (Social Security, for instance) that hurt the needy by restricting their choices. Government taxes away income that low-income households could invest in improving their lives. At the same time, state-sponsored benefits create incentives that keep the poor trapped in poverty.
Many assume that government barely taxes the poor, but the reality is otherwise. The poorest fifth of Americans pay 16 percent of their incomes in taxes (including federal, state, and local). One in six dollars they earn goes straight to the government. For a family living at the margin, those taxes can be the difference between food on the table and hungry children. Continue reading »
- An Appalling Practice Used In Only Two Nations, Of Which The US Is One (Doug Casey’s International Man):
It’s sort of an obscure story, but it’s also incredibly instructive.
That’s the story of how Eritrea—a tiny, mostly unheard-of country in East Africa—taxes its citizens who live abroad.
Eritrea is one of only two countries in the entire world that taxes its nonresident citizens on their global income. Specifically, Eritrea levies a flat 2% tax on the income of its citizens who reside abroad.
Nearly every other country in the world bases its tax system on residency rather than citizenship. Continue reading »
Mar 25, 2013
“Where do multinationals pay taxes and how much?” Gaining insight from international tax experts, Backlight director Marije Meerman (‘Quants’ & ‘Money & Speed’), takes a look at tax havens, the people who live there and the routes along which tax is avoided globally.
Those routes go by resounding names like ‘Cayman Special’, ‘Double Irish’, and ‘Dutch Sandwich’. A financial world operates in the shadows surrounded by a high level of secrecy. A place where sizeable capital streams travel the world at the speed of light and avoid paying tax. The Tax Free Tour is an economic thriller mapping the systemic risk for governments and citizens alike. Is this the price we have to pay for globalised capitalism?
At the same time, the free online game “Taxodus” by Femke Herregraven is launched. In the game, the player can select the profile of a multinational and look for the global route to pay as little tax as possible.
research: William de Bruijn
camera: Jean Counet
montage: Bart van den Broek
geluid: Tim van Peppen, Benny Jansen, Joris van Ballegoijen
productie: Marie Schutgens
animaties: Bitcaves & Motoko
International Sales for this documentary are handled by NPO Sales: http://www.nposales.com/?s=backlight
- Corporations Join Droves Renouncing US Citizenship (Casey Research, Aug 29, 2014):
Don’t be surprised to lose if you don’t make an effort at being competitive.
And if you go out of your way to make yourself less competitive, expect to lose.
If that sounds like simple common sense, that’s because it is.
But it’s also exactly what the US has been doing for years—enacting tax policies that sabotage its global economic competitiveness. Continue reading »
- “Tax Me More” Buffett To Finance Burger King’s Tax Inversion Deal (ZeroHedge, Aug 26, 2014):
President Obama would have proudly proclaimed Warren Buffett a true patriot in his bailing out of the banking system with expensive loans and his ‘realization’ that those earning more than $1 million should be tax-tax-taxed. However, the “Buffett Rule” appears to have one caveat… if you are making over a $1 billion, you’re good to go with tax-avoidance strategies. In one of his career’s most hypocritical moves Warren “tax-me-more” Buffett has decided that putting his money where his mouth is no longer makes sense.. and is funding $3billion of Burger King’s “tax-inversion” takeover of Canada-based Tim Hortons. Somewhere on a golf course, a Presidential Putter is being snapped across a knee…
- Breathing The Air In Venezuela? Prepare To Pay (ZeroHedge; July 15, 2014):
There is something to be said about every socialist paradise in the history of socialist paradises: they always run out of other people’s money. And when they do, stuff like this happens: the biggest international airport in Venezuela is charging a fee for the right to inhale clean air.
As BBC correctly notes, we’re used to a seemingly endless range of taxes and surcharges when we fly – passenger taxes, departure taxes, fuel levies. But Maiquetia International Airport in Caracas has taken this a step further – passengers flying out now have to pay 127 bolivars tax ($20) for the air they breathe. Continue reading »
- Christine Lagarde – The Most Dangerous Woman in the World – IMF Advocates Taking Pensions & Extending Maturities of Gov’t Debt to Prevent Redemption (Armstrong Economics, June 28, 2014):
I have gone on record that the most dangerous organization is the now French led IMF with Christine Lagarde at the helm, which has presented a concept report that debt cuts for over-indebted states are uncompromising and are to be performed more effectively in the future by defaulting on retirement accounts held in life insurance, mutual funds and other types of pension schemes, or arbitrarily extending debt perpetually so you cannot redeem. Yes you read correctly, The new IMF paper is described in great detail exactly how to now allow the private sector, which has invested in government bonds, to be expropriated to pay for the national debts of the socialist governments.
I have been warning that there is an idea that has been running around behind the curtain that the national debt of the USA could be settled by usurping all pension funds in the country. Here is a remarkable blueprint that throws all previous considerations concerning the purchase of government bonds over the cliff. The IMF working paper from December 2013 states boldly:
“The distinction between external debt and domestic debt can be quite important. Domestic debt issued in domestic currency typically offers a far wider range of partial default options than does foreign currency–denominated external debt. Financial repression has already been mentioned; governments can stuff debt into local pension funds and insurance companies, forcing them through regulation to accept far lower rates of return than they might otherwise demand.”
id/Page 8 (IMF-Sovereign-Debt-Crisis)
Already in October 2013, the International Monetary Fund (IMF), suggested the Euro Crisis should be handled by raising taxes. The IMF lobbied for a property tax in Europe that should be imposed where there are no such taxes. The IMF has advocated for a general “debt tax” in the amount of 10 percent for each household in the Eurozone, which also has only modest savings. Continue reading »
- NIRP Strikes: Spain To Create Tax On Bank Deposits (ZeroHedge, June 26, 2014):
It was a little over a year ago, just as the Cyprus deposit confiscation aka “bail in” was taking place, when we asked, rhetorically, if “Spain is preparing for its own deposit levy” when an announcement by Spain’s Finance Minister, Montoro, hinted at the imminent arrival of just that.
Specifically we said: Continue reading »
- Internet Freedom’s Expiration Date (Wall Street Journal, May 13, 2014):
Sales taxers are holding hostage the renewal of a rare bipartisan success.
The idea of taxing email is no more popular today than when President Bill Clinton signed the Internet Tax Freedom Act into law. But a dedicated congressional minority now wants to allow states and localities to tax email—unless these governments are given new powers to collect sales taxes on e-commerce.
On Nov. 1—three days before Election Day—the Internet Tax Freedom Act is due to expire. In place since 1998 and renewed three times, it wisely prohibits taxes that discriminate against the Internet. State and local governments can’t impose burdens online that don’t exist offline. And multiple jurisdictions can’t tax the same online transaction—a critical consumer protection in a country with more than 9,600 taxing authorities. The law also bans email taxes and new taxes on Internet access services. Continue reading »
- Cameron, Confiscation, And “What’s Yours Ain’t Yours!” (Armstrong Economics,, May 10, 2014):
David Cameron has come out and argued that taxes will rise unless he can raid bank accounts in the UK. Cameron argues he will “have to put up taxes” unless tax officials are given draconian powers to raid people’s bank accounts if they think they even owe money. Trust me – all politicians share ideas. Obama is already conniving a way to do the same thing – you can bet on that.
There is no elite private conspiracy of some dominating group. That implies some comprehension of what is even possible. I have sat in the room with such people and these conspiracy stories give these people way too much credit for being intelligent. Nobody smart enough to handle the job ever seeks such positions. Governments are run by lawyer-politicians who think they need only decree some law that solves the problem. They understand nothing. Why should people keep money in a bank in the UK after Cameron makes such a statement? He is way too stupid to realize people act in anticipation. Continue reading »
- Americans revoke citizenship over tax law (PressTV, April 27, 2014):
The number of American expatriates giving up their citizenship has recently surged because of a controversial tax law, a report says.
Federal officials have increased pursuit of what they refer to as potential tax evaders in recent years, the Associated Press reports.
In 2013, the US government reported a record 2,999 people renounced citizenship or terminated permanent residency.
- Apple, Microsoft hoard cash – US taxpayers pay the bill (The Bureau of Investigative Journalism, March 17, 2014):
In recent years, America’s technology giants have increased profits to epic levels. So you’d think this good fortune would prove a boon to the fragile American economy.
In theory, a river of tax dollars from America’s cash-rich technology firms ought to contribute towards a significant reduction of the US $17.5 trillion debt mountain.
Only it hasn’t quite worked out that way.
Today, the 1,067 biggest non-financial firms in the United States, according to Moody’s the credit rating agency, have amassed cash and liquid investments totalling $1.48 trillion – a sum equivalent to the entire economy of Spain.
Of this $1.48tn corporate cash mountain, 22% is held by just four companies. Combined; Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco Systems retain $331bn in cash, with $255bn held in foreign subsidiaries sheltered from US tax.
But instead of this cash sitting idly in a Bermudan bank vault, new research by the Bureau shows that a substantial amount of the tech giants’ offshore cash is in fact lent to the US government.‘US taxpayers pay interest to tech giants on their offshore cash held there for tax reduction purposes
- A List Of 97 Taxes Americans Pay Every Year (Economic Collapse, March 24, 2014):
If you are like most Americans, paying taxes is one of your pet peeves. The deadline to file your federal taxes is coming up, and this year Americans will spend more than 7 billion hours preparing their taxes and will hand over more than four trillion dollars to federal, state and local governments. Americans will fork over nearly 30 percent of what they earn to pay their income taxes, but that is only a small part of the story. As you will see below, there are dozens of other taxes that Americans pay every year. Of course not everyone pays all of these taxes, but without a doubt we are all being taxed into oblivion. It is like death by a thousand paper cuts. Our politicians have become extremely creative in finding ways to extract money from all of us, and most Americans don’t even realize what is being done to them. By the time it is all said and done, a significant portion of the population ends up paying more than half of what they earn to the government. That is fundamentally wrong, but nothing will be done about it until people start demanding change.
The following is a list of 97 taxes Americans pay every year: Continue reading »