This Is What's the Matter With Kansas
: Sam Brownback tried to create a conservative utopia. He created a conservative hell instead. [more inside]
"International fast food behemoth Burger King Worldwide Inc. confirmed Tuesday that it will pay about $11 billion to buy Canadian chain Tim Hortons Inc.
, which sells coffee, donuts, and other breakfast food fare. The deal would merge America's second-largest burger chain, which is valued at nearly $10 billion, with the Canadian equivalent to Dunkin' Donuts, which is valued at more than $8 billion. It would also move the new company's headquarters to Canada, where corporate taxes are significantly lower." [more inside]
Advice on how to survive late capitalism
: "Your life is sold to serve an economy that does not serve your life. You don’t seem to be entertained, Bank-robbin’; your white-hot rage festers. It probably doesn’t help that you live in Brooklyn—this place where in the last ten years rent has spiked 77 percent while real median income has dropped, where the rich (the top 10 percent of earners who, as is well known, control 80 percent of the wealth) and their children live right on top of some of the worst poverty known to this country, while 20 percent of Brooklynites survive somehow below the poverty level, such that the widening income and wealth gap becomes achingly visible here. I could advise you to leave Brooklyn. But I don’t want you to leave Brooklyn."
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.
After moving two years ago
poorer and more crime-ridden
neighborhood of Belle Haven, Facebook has simply
given the city $600,000 to open a police substation
located one block from its headquarters.
Using food-stamps as a way for corporations to subsidize their payroll, keep people at minimum wage, and profit from tax-payer funded low-income support programs, has become an increasingly well documented phenomena
. But how much would it cost companies like Walmart (the largest that takes in food-stamps from their workers) to just pay their employees a living wage, and what impact would that have on the prices
? [via] [more inside]
NPR reporter John Burnett and investigator Samantha Sunne examine the finances
of Christian TV network Daystar
At NPR's request, the Trinity Foundation, a watchdog group in Dallas that monitors Christian broadcasters, compiled a list of the nation's 30 leading evangelist broadcasters. Twenty-two of them are designated churches, meaning they don't have to report anything to anybody. Of those, two-thirds have churches, while a third of them — including Daystar — hold no regular services.
Estonia, with a population of 1.3 million, might just have the most technologically forward-thinking government around
Beware of Gangsters Filing Tax Returns
. Florida gangbangers have found a new path to illicit riches: tax refund fraud.
State conservative groups plan US-wide assault on education, health and tax.
The policy goals are contained in a set of funding proposals obtained by the Guardian. The proposals were co-ordinated by the State Policy Network, an alliance of groups that act as incubators of conservative strategy at state level.
Seven Things Not to Learn from Sleepy Hollow
, a "delightful but completely unreliable source of historical information". The show, which is already writen by Fringe alumni Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman
just gained John Noble as a recuring character "The Sin Eater"
Everybody's got to start somewhere, right? So why not enjoy Charity Scanvenger Hunt organizer
and Supernatural star Misha Collins' excruciatingly earnest acting debut in the 1999 educational film NO BRAINERS ON TAXES.
John Green: "Why Are Americans Health Care Costs So High?
" A quick, handy little overview of common misconceptions on the US healthcare system. (SLYT)
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]
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
In America, a politician should not appear too literate; in France, he should not appear overly interested in sums. A sort of spiritual innumeracy is required to prove that he is a serious person. “Economics is considered an obstacle to ideology, a constraint politicians prefer to avoid if they can,” Chamboredon said. Politicians in France speak to “citizens,” not to “taxpayers.”
- The New Yorker: France’s anxiety about the budget crisis has fuelled resentment of the country’s most renowned tax exile.
The Wall Street Journal put together this helpful infographic
showing how recent tax changes will affect the typical American tax payer.
Should A Church Be Treated Differently By The IRS From Other Non-Profits? The Freedom from Religion Foundation
has sued the IRS claiming unequal treatment. Secular non-profit companies must file numerous and costly forms and reports to maintain their non-profit status. Religious companies
even those that duplicate the functions of the secular non-profit are exempt from such requirements. The FFRF asks
(pdf) that the laws be applied equally. Previously
There's been a lot of talk in the US media about the "Fiscal Cliff" and the "Grand Bargain
" What are they?
The "fiscal cliff" is a confluence of three legal changes taking effect Jan. 1: the expiration of a payroll-tax cut, the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, and the advent of mandatory spending cuts known as "sequestration." Fiscal Cliff 101: 5 Basic Questions Answered
. What's Happening: Fiscal Cliff Explained [more inside]
The New York Times examines
how American taxes have changed since 1980
Five years ago today
Jeff Bezos’ Amazon.com released the Amazon Kindle
, a move that would revolutionize
the publishing industry. While often controversial
, most recently for its international tax avoidance schemes
, Amazon has been very successful and has made millions for its founder. What has Bezos done with some of his tax-free millions? Well for one, he launched and landed a rocket vertically, and posted the video to YouTube, just yesterday
. [more inside]
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010
: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority
, undermined Obama's mandate
, set the terms of the sequestration fight
, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade
. It's not a new problem
. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act
, it could get a whole lot worse
. And the electoral college may
. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
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]
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]
How Apple uses a Nevada based investment fund to (legally) avoid paying corporate tax
on some of its massive profit.
"Liberals have not always been very good at communicating why liberalism works. There’s many reasons for this, but part of it is that it can be hard to defend the obvious from an absurd and deceptive attack. For half a century you had to be a crank to oppose what Roosevelt accomplished; liberals got out of the habit of arguing for their beliefs.
I hope this page will help. Liberals don’t need to apologize for their vision of how American society should work. Liberalism saved American capitalism and democracy, defeated Naziism, created a prosperous middle class, and benefited every sector of society, from the back streets to Wall Street. " Mefi's own Zompist (previously
) on Why Liberalism Works.
As internal leaks from the Romney camp suggest a campaign in serious disarray,
and poll-of-polls meta-analyses show him with little time to recover his position before November, Mother Jones has acquired video from a private Romney fundraiser
at which the candidate said of Obama supporters: There are 47 percent of the people who will vote for the president no matter what. All right, there are 47 percent who are with him, who are dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them, who believe that they are entitled to health care, to food, to housing, to you-name-it.
Ezra Klein puts aside the political ramifications
and crunches the numbers
about who does and doesn't pay income tax in America. The Romney camp responds to the leak.
"Gawker has obtained
a large cache of confidential internal financial documents from more than 20 secretive hedge funds and other investment vehicles in which Mitt Romney has stashed his considerable wealth."
Ongoing attempts to digest and analyze the dense contents are here
“We’re getting a lot of calls from high earners who are asking whether they should get out of France,” said Mr. Grandil... “Even young, dynamic people pulling in 200,000 euros are wondering whether to remain in a country where making money is not considered a good thing.” French president François Hollande's plan to tax income above a million euros ($1.24 million) a year at 75% is alarming some.
...But most of all
, I am emerging from this drama with a renewed appreciation for the value of my taxpayer-supported public services. The Berkeley Fire Department did right by me — not only by saving most of my house from burning to the ground, but also by demonstrating real human kindness and connection in the middle of fire and chaos. In the rubble, I found magic. And in a strange way, I feel like I deserved it. In Berkeley, we are addicted to high taxes — in the 25 years I’ve lived here, I can’t even count how many times I and my fellow citizens have said a resounding yes to yet another tax hike or bond measure. Two weeks ago, I got my money’s worth. [more inside]
Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin has renounced his U.S. citizenship
ahead of the company's IPO so as to avoid paying capital gains taxes on his shares, which could be worth as much as $3.84 billion. [more inside]
Stephen King on taxing the ultra-rich... including himself.
An engaging -and colorful- discussion on taxes for the ultra rich.
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
Congressional Republicans favor
letting the payroll tax increase
at year's end. Jeb Hensarling
claims this is because "not all tax relief is created equal for the purposes of helping to get the economy moving again." However, his logic may
Poverty may be miserable. But being able to feel a bit better-off than someone else makes it a bit more bearable.
Economists from the National Bureau of Economic Research suggest that people near the bottom end of financial inequity are less likely to be in favour of programs that will help increase their income if those programs will also help those lower on the scale than they are.
...the authors of the new paper argue that people don’t like to be at the bottom. One paradoxical consequence of this “last-place aversion” is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions. The authors ran a series of experiments where students were randomly allotted sums of money, separated by $1, and informed about the “income distribution” that resulted. They were then given another $2, which they could give either to the person directly above or below them in the distribution. The people who were a spot away from the bottom were the most likely to give the money to the person above them..
This may also explain why Warren Buffet's cry to stop coddling the rich (previously
) will continue to fall on deaf ears.
Stop coddling the super-rich,
an opinion piece by Warren Buffet.
Where Federal taxes are raised and spent.
"Some American states receive more in federal spending than they pay in federal taxes; others receive less. Over twenty years these fiscal transfers can add up to a sizeable sum."
A graph of the United States, color-coded to indicate surplus or deficit.
Over the past three weeks, Israel has experienced
what may perhaps be the largest, spontaneous / grass roots social protest of the secular middle class that it has witnessed in decades
. Thousands of demonstrators in cities and towns throughout the country have been protesting
cuts in government funding to health care and education, and massive, exorbitant rises in taxes and housing costs
-- and demanding change
. Tent cities
have sprung up
in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and in public gardens and parks throughout the country. And they may not be going anywhere: polls indicate Israeli support is "exceptionally high"
. [more inside]
Worst. Congress. Ever.
"With the debt ceiling impasse and legislative gridlock sucking all the air out of Washington, Foreign Policy asked the experts: Is this really the worst Congress ever?
60 percent of Americans using a prominent tax deduction believe they get nothing from "government social programs."
Cornell professor Suzanne Mettler
describes what she calls the "submerged state
," in which tens of millions of Americans benefit from $1 trillion of federal subsidies to private activities while believing they receive no benefits from the government. [more inside]
U2 lead singer Bono is well-known for his charitable works
. The band however seems a bit more mercenary in their business affairs, moving
from low tax Ireland
to lower-tax Netherlands in 2006
accuse the band of hypocrisy, and have attempted
at the Glastonbury
The Growth Ponzi Scheme
, a series of five blog posts on the financial underpinnings (or lack thereof) of the American post-war development pattern. 1: The Mechanisms of Growth
- Trading near-term cash for long-term obligations. 2: Case studies
that show how our places do not create, but destroy, our wealth. 3: The Ponzi scheme revealed
- How new development is used to pay for old development. 4: How we've sustained the unsustainable
by going "all in" on the suburban pattern of development. 5: Responses
that are rational and responses that are irrational.