Friday, October 24, 2014

EU to UK: UO Nous

But Perfidious Albion prefers to pay less, not more;
British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday vehemently dismissed a request from the European Union for an additional 2.1-billion-euro payment into the bloc's coffers after a revision of official data showed the United Kingdom's economy was doing well.
"We are not suddenly going to get our checkbook and write a check for 2 billion euros. It's not going to happen," Cameron said on the second day of an EU summit in Brussels, adding that the surcharge was an unfair way to treat one of the bloc's biggest contributors
"I'm not against readjustments … but this is completely unacceptable," he said.
From each according to his ability...to Germany and France;
Another source of contention was the fact that France and Germany, the eurozone's most powerful and prosperous economies, will both receive rebates from the EU as their economies falter.

Now, one that runs on ethanol would be a different matter

But an electric car in Iowa?  Get a horse;
Iowa’s transportation department is telling Tesla Motors to stop offering test drives in the state because doing so is illegal, reports the Des Moines Register. Iowa’s DOT apparently said the test drives–conducted by Tesla in West Des Moines earlier this month–were illegal because Tesla isn’t a licensed auto dealer in Iowa, and that state law bans auto manufacturers from selling vehicles directly to consumers.
And the members of the Iowa legislature--as do politicians almost everywhere--like the campaign contributions that come from its state's auto dealers.  Which might dry up if Tesla isn't prevented from competing with those dealers.

All in the name of protecting Iowa's consumers, of course.

NY, NY: A helluva storm

And after two years the politicians are getting around to cleaning up and repairing Sandy's devastation;
A program to help New York City homeowners with [Oct 29, 2012's] Superstorm Sandy home-repair efforts has made progress following an overhaul, and is aiming to count up to 1,000 construction starts and 1,500 reimbursement checks by the end of the year, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Oct. 20.
De Blasio said there have been 727 construction starts and 878 reimbursement checks through the Build it Back program so far this year. That’s compared to none at the start of the year, when he took office.
Heckuva job, Blassy. That only leaves 19,000 families hanging;
A report earlier this month from the city’s Department of Investigation found that about 20,000 households applied after the program was created in June 2013. But eight months later, no repairs or reimbursements had been made, and some of those who had initially applied stopped taking part.

Your tax refund is in the mail

Well, eventually anyway;
The coming tax-filing season could be the most complicated ever for the Internal Revenue Service, IRS Commissioner John Koskinen said in an interview with the nonprofit publisher Tax Analysts that was published this week.
Congress has yet to reinstate dozens of tax provisions that expired at the beginning of 2014, he noted. In past years, late action by Congress on such provisions created problems for the IRS and sometimes delays that affected taxpayers.
But there's another reason. The IRS is busy illegally paying Obamacare subsidies to people enrolled in health insurance schemes for which congress didn't authorize them. As the IRS commissioner admits;
Moreover, “the difference this year compared to the past is we are having to implement the Affordable Care Act and Fatca,” he said.
Fatca being another ingenious policy of the Obama Administration. One that the IRS has, in the past, denied was complicating things;
In a statement on its website, Robert Stack, deputy assistant secretary for international tax affairs, rebuts certain "myths".
"Fatca provisions impose no new obligations on US citizens living abroad... US taxpayers, including US citizens living abroad, are required to comply with US tax laws," he says​.
The Supreme Court is soon going to have to decide if the IRS is also required to comply with US tax laws.

Choosing from the Chinese menu

Is pretty much the same as elsewhere. The Laws of Supply and Demand spoil the broth every time;
While China instituted a minimum wage system in 1994, enforcement of compliance with the law was significantly tightened only in 2004; the results described below are based on post-2004 data.
So what does the evidence show? On average across all firms, we find that an increase in the minimum wage leads to a small decline in employment: a 10% percent increase in the minimum wage lowers employment by a little over 1% percent.
The impact differs across firms, being greater in low-wage firms than in high-wage firms.
No kidding!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

There is nothing good or bad...

Only the thinking makes it so, said Hamlet, who would have appreciated this BBC piece;


In his book The Swastika: Symbol Beyond Redemption? US graphic design writer Steven Heller shows how it was enthusiastically adopted in the West as an architectural motif, on advertising and product design.
"Coca-Cola used it. Carlsberg used it on their beer bottles. The Boy Scouts adopted it and the Girls' Club of America called their magazine Swastika. They would even send out swastika badges to their young readers as a prize for selling copies of the magazine," he says.
It was used by American military units during World War One and it could be seen on RAF planes as late as 1939. Most of these benign uses came to a halt in the 1930s as the Nazis rose to power in Germany.
In fact, its use goes back thousands of years before Adolph Hitler was even born.
Single swastikas began to appear in the Neolithic Vinca culture across south-eastern Europe around 7,000 years ago. But it's in the Bronze Age that they became more widespread across the whole of Europe. In the [Ukrainian National History] Museum's collection there are clay pots with single swastikas encircling their upper half which date back to around 4,000 years ago. When the Nazis occupied Kiev in World War Two they were so convinced that these pots were evidence of their own Aryan ancestors that they took them back to Germany. (They were returned after the war.) 

If you can make it here

It'll probably be because it's more cost effective, all things considered, says the Boston Consulting Group (they get paid to tell businessmen this?);

U.S. manufacturers are increasingly considering factors other than direct costs such as labor when they devise their production strategies. More than 70 percent cited better access to skilled talent as a reason for moving operations to the U.S.—more than four times as many respondents as those who cited access to talent as a reason for relocating production outside the U.S. For goods that would be sold in the United States, around 80 percent cited logistical reasons such as shorter supply chains and lower shipping costs as primary reasons for moving operations to the U.S. from other countries. 

“We have long advised companies to look at the total cost of manufacturing in the U.S. and to consider the entire supply chain—not just the obvious factors such as wages,” said Michael Zinser, a BCG partner who leads the firm’s manufacturing practice in the Americas. “When companies take a holistic view, the U.S. increasingly comes out ahead, particularly if those products are to be consumed in the U.S.”
Which they did many years ago and concluded it made sense to move their manufacturing overseas. Now things have changed...as they have always done....

Unless you're Thomas Piketty, you knew that.