Friday, 16 November 2012
At the end of the payment aisle at one of my local supermarkets the other week. Not near any other magazines. Not part of a general magazine area. Just a place where they put some magazines to give them as high a profile as they could have anywhere in the ship. I mean shop. OR DO I? Was it Iceland? I am near an Iceland. Was it Sainsbury's? I am quite near a Sainsbury's. Was it Waitrose? Which? Guess!
I presume I am the thousand billionth person to use today's headlinepun. Anyway, in case you didn't read how Chuck Klosterman - a quite famous American my English readers will very likely never have heard of - got accidentally involved in the Petreaus kerfuffle, it's a really fun read. Highlight / spoiler: he learned nothing useful from his experience.
On the subject of tax: you don't need my help to make up your mind about tax. Politics is faith now, right? It's a holy war?
Still, I find tax incredibly interesting, and here are some things:
1. This American Life did a cracking podcast where they got politically-disagreeing economists to do a blue sky platform on things they ALL agreed with.
2. The platform was politically unviable. Partly because you can't tell the middle class that they are benefiting from massive hidden tax breaks (mortgage allowances and health insurance) which are very regressive because they benefit the richest the most. Partly because you'd have to implement them properly and all at once.
A great explanation of real world problems comes from one of those very economists, saying why he was worried to have his name associated with the idea of eliminating corporate income tax.
3. TAX IS INTERESTING. This is a great, very clear account of the mess Amazon, Starbucks et al made of trying to explain their obviously dodgy tax dealings. For e.g.:
Google tried harder but they had created one insurmountable obstacle for themselves. Their argument was profits should be taxed where they are earned and they said US technology drove their European profits. But for their admission that the payments made from Europe for that technology never reach the USA and instead get parked in tax-free Bermuda ended whatever shred of credibility they’d tried to create.