While not quite as draconian as the soda ban which former NYC billionaire mayor Michael Bloomberg tried (and failed) to pass in New York in 2014, moments ago the the Philadelphia City Council approved a 1.5-cent-per-ounce tax on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, the first such tax imposed in a major U.S. city. The reason? The Council is looking to raise about $91 million for an expansion of early childhood education. Instead, the money will most likely be siphoned off into various underground ventures (and bank accounts) or outright embezzled.
— PHLCouncil (@PHLCouncil) June 16, 2016
As a reminder, three years ago Michael Bloomberg pushed to ban oversize sodas in New York, a campaign which was ultimately rejected by the New York Court of appeals. The Philadelphia approach was less terminal, and ultimately promised revenues to the city, which is why it passed in a 13-4 vote this afternoon. The vote put to bed months of speculation and at-times tense negotiations, but also ensured the national spotlight will stay turned to Philadelphia for months, if not years, to come.
In a bizarre story disclosed over the weekend, we learned that Belgium’s Princess Astrid was robbed by two assailants on a motorbike.
The thieves apparently approached her while she was sitting in traffic, smashed in her window, snatched the Royal Handbag, and sped off with over 2,000 euros in cash.
I have no doubt that was a harrowing experience for the princess, as it would be for anyone.
But as I researched a bit more, I learned that Belgium’s royal family is lavishly paid, particularly for a small country of just 11 million people.
British citizens seeking yet another reason to vote Brexit, have one in spades.
The roots of this reason go back to last year when European Commission president Jean Claude Juncker hatched a 3-year plan to leverage €20 billion in seed capital to produce a €300 billion gain in Eurozone investment.
As one might expected, the results are nonexistent even though Juncker has already used up the €20 billion in seed capital.
We don’t really need higher taxes for any purpose though. We don’t have a balanced budget. So “there’s only so much money to go around” is a false proposition.
There’s no money to help the poor because there’s no political incentive to help the poor.
The availability of money is not the problem.
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The fallacy in this assumption is that homeowners’ incomes do not automatically rise along with housing valuations.
In my recent entry Dear Homeowner: If You’re Paying $260,000 in Property Taxes Over 20 Years, What Exactly Do You “Own”?, I questioned the consequences of high property taxes. Some readers wondered if I was saying all property taxes should be abolished. The short answer is no–what I was questioning is local government reliance on property taxes to the point that owning a home no longer makes financial sense because the property taxes consume any appreciation other than the transitory “wealth” generated by a housing bubble.
It is tax day again.
Chances are, you’re done with the dirty business this year, or laying low in hopes that you aren’t audited or flat out persecuted. If not, the clock is quickly ticking.
But it is worth pointing out once again the many ways in which the federal tax scheme in the United States is illegal.
The 50 biggest US companies have more money stashed offshore than the entire GDP of Spain, Mexico or Australia, collectively keeping about $1.3trn (£0.91trn) in territories where the money does not count towards US tax, according to a new report by Oxfam.
The revelations come after the European Commission announced plans to make big companies more transparent about where they pay tax.
At this time of the year, millions of Americans are rushing to file their taxes at the last minute, and we are once again reminded just how nightmarish our system of taxation has become. I studied tax law when I was in law school, and it is one of the most mind-numbing areas of study that you could possibly imagine. At this point, the U.S. tax code is somewhere around 4 million words long, which is more than four times longer than all of William Shakespeare’s works put together. And even if you could somehow read the entire tax code, it is constantly changing, and so those that prepare taxes for a living are constantly relearning the rules. It has been said that Americans spend more than 6 billion hours preparing their taxes each year, and Politifact has rated this claim as true. We have a system that is as ridiculous as it is absurd, and the truth is that we don’t even need it. In fact, the greatest period of economic growth in all of U.S. history was when there was no income tax at all. Why anyone would want to perpetuate this tortuous system is beyond me, and yet we keep sending politicians to Washington D.C. that just keep making this system even more complicated and even more burdensome.
Solar tax to delay solar a desperate money making move, says solarcity CEO
Auckland, 6 April 2016 – New Zealand’s leading solar energy services provider, solarcity, has condemned Trustpower’s support of a residential solar tax as a “desperate move to squeeze every last dollar out of a dying business model”.
Last week Hawke’s Bay electricity lines operator, Unison Networks, announced it was introducing a tax of up to 26% on solar power and batteries. (1) Yesterday Trustpower community services manager Graeme Purches came out in support of the tax saying it was “completely understandable”.
(INTELLIHUB) — According to statistical data researched and compiled by TaxFoundation.org, Americans will spend more in 2016 on taxes than they will on housing, food and clothing combined.
Americans will pay “$3.3 trillion in federal taxes and $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes for a total of $4.9 trillion,” according to the chart.
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By now, not even CNBC’s cheerleading permabulls can deny that the US is in a manufacturing recession: in fact, it is so bad that even the staunchest defenders of Keynesian dogma admit what we said in late 2014, namely that crashing oil is bad for the economy.
And yet, the “services” part of the US economy continues to hum right along, leading to such surprising outcomes as a stronger than expected print in Personal Consumption Expenditures. How can this be?
Simple: one look at the chart below should explain not only how the “services” half of the US economy continues to grow, but just which tax, because that is how the Supreme Court defined Obamacare, is responsible for healthcare “spending” amounting to a quarter of the growth in US personal consumption expenditures, almost 100% higher than the second highest spending category which was… Recreational goods and vehicles?
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you convert a tax into a source of economic progress.
I never liked the saying: “We are the 99%.” While admittedly catchy and effective as a slogan, I think it is ultimately divisive and counterproductive. The reason I say this is because the statement itself alienates much needed allies for no good reason.
In a country with a population of 320 million, the 1% represents 3.2 million people, which is a pretty big number. While the 1% certainly have far superior material lives compared to the 99%, that doesn’t mean a particularly large percentage of them are thieves, cronies or oligarchs. In fact, it behooves people interested in transitioning to another paradigm to court as many of them as possible to the cause. It is very useful to have well meaning people with resources and connections on your side. To blithely assume there aren’t plenty of potential allies from a pool of 3.2 million is committing strategic suicide.
Much of my focus throughout 2015 was on the pernicious influence of the 0.01%, i.e., the American oligarchy. Indeed, nothing would please oligarchs more than to define a struggle as the 99% vs. the 1% in order to shift attention away from the real root of the problem, themselves.
Earlier this year, quite a few members of the American electorate were distressed to learn that the Clinton Foundation had apparently suffered what we called a “Geithner Moment.”
For those who might have missed the story, when a Reuters investigation revealed discrepancies, the charity decided to refile five years worth of tax returns and review filings dating back as far as fifteen years. At issue were disclosures around contributions from US and foreign governments which Reuters claimed totaled “tens of millions” of dollars in a typical year but which mysteriously disappeared altogether from the organization’s 990s starting in 2010. As we noted at the time, the Foundation was quick to point out that when it comes to charities, it is exemplary in terms of being forthright, but the missing disclosures will likely serve to fan the flames for Republicans who claim Clinton’s ties to the charities could make her susceptible to the influence of outside interests.
“The new levy raised the estimated cumulative income tax on Wal-Mart Puerto Rico Inc. to an astonishing and unsustainable 91.5% of its net income!”
Sometimes you just have to stand in awe at the level of corruption and incompetence in government.
Case in point, the new highway bill in the Land of the Free. And, trust me, you’ll love this.
The latest version of the highway bill is called the “Developing a Reliable and Innovative Vision for the Economy Act.”
When independent traders in a small Welsh town discovered the loopholes used by multinational giants to avoid paying UK tax, they didn’t just get mad.
Now local businesses in Crickhowell are turning the tables on the likes of Google and Starbucks by employing the same accountancy practices used by the world’s biggest companies, to move their entire town “offshore”.