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How the burrito became a sandwich

NPR's Planet Money explains the history of the sales tax in the United States by tracing what kinds of sandwiches get taxed and why: How the Burrito Became a Sandwich. Bonus: In-N-Out Burger history in the podcast.
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Jul 22, 2014 - 154 comments

Evenly distribute the future: Issuing more bio-survival tickets

VC for the people - "It's just that people who have options are much more likely to actually find success than people who don't." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2014 - 20 comments

Aggregate Demand Management: "pass a law allowing the Fed to cut checks"

Free Money for Everyone - "A wacky-sounding idea with surprisingly conservative roots may be our best hope for escaping endless, grinding economic stagnation." (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 16, 2014 - 19 comments

offshore companies for everyone!

Want to get away with not paying taxes but don't have the money to make your own offshore company in the Cayman Islands? Fret not - you can hijack an existing offshore company starting from the low low price of 99 cents! [more inside]
posted by divabat on Jan 25, 2014 - 10 comments

listen to the wealthy scream

The return of "patrimonial capitalism": review of Thomas Piketty's Capital in the 21st century (pdf) - "Thomas Piketty's 'Capital in the 21st century' may be one of the most important recent economics books. It jointly treats theory of growth, functional distribution of income, and interpersonal income inequality. It envisages a future of relatively slow growth with the rising share of capital incomes, and widening income inequality. This tendency could be checked only by worldwide taxation of capital." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 12, 2014 - 39 comments

Miami Tax Vice

Beware of Gangsters Filing Tax Returns. Florida gangbangers have found a new path to illicit riches: tax refund fraud.
posted by gottabefunky on Jan 10, 2014 - 25 comments

A GRAT Idea Whose Time Has Come

Grantor retained annuity trusts are a method that the ultra rich use to avoid gift taxes. Many lawyers insist that these trusts are a cornerstone of any sound estate plan.
posted by reenum on Dec 19, 2013 - 22 comments

America's New Masters

This shift in how companies are governed and raise money is bringing with it a structural change in American capitalism. That should be a matter of great debate. Are these new businesses, with their ability to circumvent rules that apply to conventional public companies, merely adroit exploiters of loopholes for the benefit of a plutocratic few? Or do they reflect the adaptability on which America’s vitality has always been based? - Rise of the distorporation - how changes in the way companies are financed and managed is changing the wealth distribution of America.
posted by Artw on Nov 2, 2013 - 23 comments

When To Start Caring About the Powerball Jackpot

Walter Hickey at Business Insider looks at when you should buy a Powerball ticket and whether to take the lump sum or annuity if you win.
posted by reenum on Sep 28, 2013 - 50 comments

Game behind gamed: your narrative programming for the day

How The Economic Machine Works by Ray Dalio[1] actually makes a case against austerity[2] and for redistribution, but also for money printing (and, arguably, for bailouts), while stressing the need to keep making productivity-improving public and private investments. However, it could be equally entitled: How The Industrial Age Political-Economy Doesn't Work Anymore, viz. Surviving Progress (2011)... [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Sep 25, 2013 - 28 comments

TIFs explained with sharpies

Curious city: explaining TIFs with sharpies
posted by garlic on Sep 5, 2013 - 16 comments

BART's tax shelters

How transit agencies pay for corporate tax shelters so they can pay their own bills. [more inside]
posted by latkes on Aug 4, 2013 - 17 comments

"Government was created in this equal footing for men and women."

"The country has cheaper medical care, smarter children, happier moms, better working conditions, less-anxious unemployed people, and lower student loan rates than we do. And that probably will never change." In The Atlantic, a comparison of some of the socio-economic aspects of Finland and the USA. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Jul 11, 2013 - 55 comments

Seriously, What's The Matter With Kansas?

Rogue State: How Far-Right Fanatics Hijacked Kansas
posted by reenum on Jun 12, 2013 - 40 comments

Apple's Web of Tax Shelters

How Apple Used Shell Companies to Save $44 Billion in Taxes [more inside]
posted by Elementary Penguin on May 21, 2013 - 205 comments

Who Audits The Auditors?

On Friday afternoon, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) apologized to conservative non-profit 501(c)4 groups for singling them out for heightened scrutiny during the 2012 campaign season. While the abuses were initially blamed on "low-level" workers in the agency's Cincinnati office, new questions were raised Saturday with a report that senior IRS officials were aware of the practice as early as 2011. That senior IRS officials knew of the politically-selective practices "seemingly contradicts public statements by the IRS commissioner." [more inside]
posted by BobbyVan on May 11, 2013 - 366 comments

It's just a one-time fee that you pay annually

As the tax deadline approaches in the United States, ProPublica investigates why the promise of free and simple tax filing has yet to be fulfilled.
posted by antonymous on Mar 26, 2013 - 61 comments

Incommensurable values

Economists and the theory of politics - "why unions were often well worth any deadweight cost" [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Mar 25, 2013 - 27 comments

There were four in the bed and the little one said "squeeze up"

From April 2013 all working-age housing benefit claimants will experience a reduction in their benefit if their home has what is termed a 'spare bedroom'. Some people have a problem with this, and it is believed it will plunge 95,000 Britons into poverty. Prime Minister David Cameron has defended the tax saying it is important to "get control of housing benefit". Some who voted for the tax claim to have never heard of it, even though there are some high profile cases in the media detailing how people will suffer. The Bedroom Tax might be targeting the poor, but there may be a Mansion Tax in the planning stages to help balance the scales -- or not. It's a modern Window Tax!
posted by Mezentian on Feb 3, 2013 - 121 comments

I don't always deploy Django, but when I do I use Heroku

An explanation of how hard it is to boycott Amazon, even when you are an organisation calling for the boycott of corporations like Amazon While the organisation UK Uncut is calling for the boycotting of organisations that don't pay their fair share of tax, even they are using Amazon (though Amazon is not a company currently listed on their website, it is one of the most talked about in the UK for not paying corporation tax) The first linked article goes beyond the technical aspects of Amazon and cloud hosting and talks about a re-analysis of capitalism.
posted by Megami on Jan 3, 2013 - 28 comments

The holidays are over!

So you make less than $250,000 $450,000 and think the fiscal cliff deal doesn't affect you? Think again: the payroll tax holiday has been allowed to expire. Here's a helpful table outlining how much more you'll be paying this year. (Previously)
posted by exhilaration on Jan 2, 2013 - 245 comments

A tax time bomb, slowly ticking away

Income based repayment is touted as a solution to rapidly rising college costs in the US. But there is a hefty tax bill looming for people who take advantage of this program.
posted by reenum on Dec 18, 2012 - 134 comments

Let's Eliminate Sports Welfare

Let's Eliminate Sports Welfare
posted by no regrets, coyote on Dec 12, 2012 - 85 comments

The New York Times - Complaints Aside, Most Face Lower Tax Burden Than in 1980

The New York Times examines how American taxes have changed since 1980
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Nov 30, 2012 - 105 comments

The Corporatization Of Higher Education

In 2003, only two colleges charged more than $40,000 a year for tuition, fees, room, and board. Six years later more than two hundred colleges charged that amount. What happened between 2003 and 2009 was the start of the recession. By driving down endowments and giving tax-starved states a reason to cut back their support for higher education, the recession put new pressure on colleges and universities to raise their price. When our current period of slow economic growth will end is anybody’s guess, but even when it does end, colleges and universities will certainly not be rolling back their prices. These days, it is not just the economic climate in which our colleges and universities find themselves that determines what they charge and how they operate; it is their increasing corporatization. If corporatization meant only that colleges and universities were finding ways to be less wasteful, it would be a welcome turn of events. But an altogether different process is going on
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Nov 14, 2012 - 69 comments

Yes, its all very funny, but now its time for the money

"The head of HM Revenue and Customs is to be grilled by MPs over revelations hundreds of tax evaders are to avoid prosecution and being named publicly after striking immunity deals with the taxman." [more inside]
posted by marienbad on Nov 2, 2012 - 27 comments

You can't eat scenery

The governments of the United Kingdom and Scotland agree on a framework for the latter to vote on independence. Other reporting in the Telegraph, Guardian and the Scottish Sun. The referendum, for this nation of 5.25 million people and a unicorn as its national animal, will be held before the end of 2014. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Oct 15, 2012 - 109 comments

The iEconomy

The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing. Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System and Fighters in the Patent War. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Oct 8, 2012 - 16 comments

HE'S A SOCIALIST!

A society where the lucky few reap prodigious financial rewards is one where many will fall short of their dreams through no fault of their own. We must insure all people against disability, against sickness, against hunger, and against homelessness. I realize that these things cost money. I believe that the costs of building and maintaining a great country should be shared by all of us, beginning with the people who benefit the most from our society. I believe that people like me (and people who are far wealthier) should pay more in taxes.

So-called "job creator" acknowledges that he lives in a society and owes a debt to it, as a response to (seemingly in agreement with) a satirical Job Creator Manifesto published in the Washington Post. [more inside]
posted by univac on Oct 6, 2012 - 40 comments

Taxes and inequality

The comparative experience thus suggests that for inequality reduction, it is the quantity of taxes rather than the progressivity of the tax system that matters most. Affluent countries that achieve substantial inequality reduction do so with tax systems that are large but no more progressive than ours [America's]. [more inside]
posted by mattn on Aug 13, 2012 - 31 comments

Chocolate cake and taxes

Tax avoidance isn't a left or right issue, it's a cancer eating our democracy - but why do people cheat in the first place?
posted by Zarkonnen on Jun 24, 2012 - 126 comments

sovereignty and taxation

David Graeber: Of Flying Cars and the Declining Rate of Profit (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jun 8, 2012 - 85 comments

A modest tax proposal.

Kansas passes Tax Act meaning that business owners are not taxed at all on income derived from business profits. "Who will still be paying Kansas income tax? Only three groups: 1) employees, 2) some retirees and 3) individuals whose investments are so modest that they cannot afford to create a trust or partnership to shelter their investment income." The $3.7bn pa cost of the tax cuts is said to create the risk of a $2.5bn pa deficit by 2018.
posted by jaduncan on May 27, 2012 - 114 comments

Pasty Gate

Following an amendment in the recent Conservative Party budget, VAT on 'Baked Goods' will be re-instated. In response, the question of whether or not David Cameron once ate a Greggs pasty infects the British press. The Telegraph have a live blog covering what has been termed by some Pasty Gate
posted by 0bvious on Mar 28, 2012 - 61 comments

The goldfish is fine! In fact he is tweeting!

Though no longer a Republican presidential candidate, Herman Cain has resumed publicizing his bold, marginally practical flat-tax plan (previously). Cain Connections has released several new videos including: "9-9-9 The Movie: Slaying the Tax Monster," [YT] a 5-minute animation, and "This is the Economy on Stimulus," a bleak, child-narrated criticism of the stimulus. [more inside]
posted by obscurator on Mar 12, 2012 - 113 comments

Romney's tax returns

Inside Romney's Tax Returns: A Reading Guide. From ProPublica.
posted by russilwvong on Feb 2, 2012 - 76 comments

This is why Jakob Ander won't hire you

This is why I don't give you a job. Hungarian blogger Jakab Andor breaks down the numbers and explains why taxes and regulations make it highly unappealing for him to start a small business employing people in Hungary. He also argues that these same factors make women and older people particularly unappealing prospects. His comments generated quite a bit of controversy (warning: most comments in Hungarian), to which he responded with an offer.
posted by shivohum on Jan 13, 2012 - 96 comments

Luxury Tax

Let us tax Gwyneth Paltrow's infected brain. Via zunguzungu.
posted by latkes on Dec 28, 2011 - 51 comments

(That's 9% Income Tax, 9% Sales Tax, 9% Corporate VAT)

Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on Oct 20, 2011 - 283 comments

Pay Poor Tax: $12

If you're occupying a financial center, you might want to pass the time with a game of Monopoly. Though Hasbro gives ahighly contested "official history" asserting that the game was invented by an unemployed Philadelphia man, it actually originated 30 years earlier as The Landlord's Game, an anti-capitalist protest against the movement of wealth from poor to rich via real estate profiteering. Designed and patented by a Georgist Quaker woman, Elizabeth Maggie, in 1904, it was published by her Economic Game Company, but also spread far and wide - including in circles of socialist-leaning academic economists like Scott Nearing - as a hand-drawn and independently printed folk game. [more inside]
posted by Miko on Oct 13, 2011 - 24 comments

Tax bracket thinking errors

A few weeks ago the USA Weekend, an insert to USA Today, published some very bad advice on rejecting pay raises in order to avoid a higher tax bracket, eagerly confusing average taxes for marginal tax rates. Corrections were made. Meanwhile, worries over pay raises may reflect a more common fear based on a widespread misconception of progressive tax rates.
posted by Brian B. on Sep 25, 2011 - 97 comments

Tax Soda, Subsidize Veggies

Subsidizing Healthy Foods by Taxing Unhealthy Foods. Mark Bitman proposes a "national program that would make progress on a half-dozen problems at once — disease, budget, health care, environment, food access and more — while paying for itself." [NYT] [more inside]
posted by modernnomad on Jul 24, 2011 - 103 comments

Carbon trading for Australia

Clean Energy Future. Australia has embarked on a tradeable carbon permit system, covering about 60% of emissions, beginning on 1 July 2012, and mixing in substantial progressive tax reform, putting a line under a very long debate on this matter indeed.
posted by wilful on Jul 11, 2011 - 100 comments

Taxes today are lower than they were under President Reagan.

Ten Charts that Prove the United States Is a Low-Tax Country from the Center for American Progress.
posted by blue_beetle on Jun 11, 2011 - 70 comments

Public Schools Charge Kids for Basics, Frills

In the wake of ever deeper budget cuts, public schools have begun charging students for basics, such as registering for honors or elective classes.
posted by reenum on May 26, 2011 - 100 comments

Bubbles and Public Facts

The Destruction of Economic Facts - "Renowned Peruvian economist Hernando de Soto argues that the financial crisis wasn't just about finance—it was about a staggering lack of knowledge" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on May 23, 2011 - 35 comments

Tax Facts Hardly Anyone Knows

9 Things The Rich Don't Want You To Know About Taxes - "4. Many of the very richest pay no current income taxes at all: Paulson made himself $9 billion in fees in just two years. His current tax bill on that $9 billion? Zero... 9. Other countries do it better: no one in Germany or the rest of the modern world goes broke because of accident or illness" (via) [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Apr 18, 2011 - 191 comments

Secrets of the Tax-Prep Business

"Customers wanting a RAL paid Jackson Hewitt a $24 application fee, a $25 processing fee, and a $2 electronic-filing fee, plus 4 percent of the loan amount. On a $2,000 refund, that meant $131 in charges—equivalent to an annual interest rate of about 170 percent—not to mention the few hundred bucks you might spend for tax preparation."
posted by vidur on Apr 14, 2011 - 71 comments

The Brisk, Shady Sale of ‘Loosies’

With the crackdown on smoking and higher cigarette taxes in New York City, people who sell individual cigarettes, also known as loosies, are rapidly gaining new customers.
posted by reenum on Apr 5, 2011 - 69 comments

Why Not a Negative Income Tax?

Why Not a Negative Income Tax? "What kind of program could help protect every citizen from destitution without granting excessive power to bureaucrats, creating disincentives to work, and clogging up the free-market economy, as the modern welfare state has done? [Nobel-prize winning economist Milton] Friedman’s answer was the negative income tax, or NIT."
posted by shivohum on Mar 14, 2011 - 106 comments

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