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Why I’m not buying an iPhone 7

Like millions of you, I’m not buying the New iPhone 7 because: a) they told me the iPhone 6s was the greatest phone ever and could not be beaten, and I beliveed them – still do!; b) the new cameras are so clear they force you see your own life as it really is; c) something about tax and stuff.

In the Guardian, you can read one man’s reasons for opting out:

….because they had pulled the Double Irish, the European commission has ruled, Apple deprived the EU of $14.5bn over the last 10 years. The EU ordered Apple to pay the taxes with interest at the end of August, a decision whose logic the company refutes.

No. The EU does not set tax rates.

This is hardly surprising: Apple is a massive multinational, and behaves like one despite its sanitized image. It has a long track record of looking the other way on suppliers’ human rights abuses, documented by the New York Times and other outlets. And it pays a tax rate lower than that of 99.99% of the human beings reading this story right now – and they clearly work harder at that profit margin and squeezing their supply chain now than they do on their actual technology. And in the last few years it is beginning to show.

d) They’re expensive.

Posted: 8th, September 2016 | In: Money, News, Technology | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dear Guardian readers, Ede & Ravenscorft is not for investment bankers

Former BBC journalist Paul Mason offers guidance to Guardian readers: “How to blag a job in finance: buy some black shoes and talk like an aristocrat.”

Big news any of my friends who worked on the LIFFE floor – including ‘The Professor’, so nicknamed because he had two A-levels (grades C and D) -, no, it wasn’t sarcastic – and those from very non-aristo backgrounds (hard to fake being a toff if you’re Jewish, black or Asian) working throughout the money markets.

Mason, however, has honed in on investment banking:

There’s supposed to be a war for talent. If so, it became pretty clear last week why Britain’s investment banks are losing it. The recruitment filter, revealed in a report from the Social Mobility Commission, works like this: you can only join the customer-facing part of an investment bank if you went to one of four public schools; got a first from one of five universities; and possess “sheen”.

Yes, sheen. And polish. No matter how good you are, if your tie is not right or your suit does not fit like a glove, you are destined to take your excellence somewhere else.

Big news: people with lots of money prefer dealing with people who grow up at ease with lots of money and who succeed in academic studies. But the best part of this article in the picture used to illustrate the unfairness of it all.

 

paul mason

 

The label on the shirt says “EDE & RAVENSCROFT”. Who are they? Well;

We provide ceremonial robes for all occasions, dress the judiciary (including providing handmade wigs) and ensure that graduates from all over the world look their best at graduation ceremonies.

You don’t wear brown in town. And you don’t wear an Ede & Ravenscorft shirt in investment banking. Of course, had the Guardian’s picture editor gone to the right school, they’d have known that.

Spotter: Tim Worstall

PS : jobs at The Guardian, this way!

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Of course Adidas and Nike discriminate against disabled athletes

Are Nike and Adidas prejudiced against disabled athletes? Yes. Is that prejudice immoral or illegal? Surely not. The Guardian reports on Hannah Cockroft, a British paralympian who accuses sportswear companies of discrimination.

Cockroft, who is expected to be one of the stars of the Paralympic Games in Rio after winning two golds at London 2012 and three in last year’s world championships, is the dominant figure in her sport but said Adidas and Nike have cited her inability to use their footwear in competition as a justification for not sponsoring her.

That seems reasonable. Nike and Adidas are most renowned for making trainers. If you are not known for wearing trainers, sponsorship would be waste of their endorsement cash.

 

nike

 

Cockcroft says:

“The real reason? I have been told it’s because I don’t wear shoes when I compete. What do I do with that? I wear a shirt, I wear trousers, I wear shoes on the podium when I’m collecting a gold medal. But apparently because that’s not when I’m competing that’s not enough. I’ve been told this by Nike, Adidas, all the big brands. I told them it was discrimination. It is discrimination.”

Yes. It is discrimination. Of course it is. But it’s about her not it.

Adidas also rejected Cockroft’s claims, pointing out it has designed ParalympicsGB’s kit for the Games. “As a sports brand we have partnerships with teams, including ParalympicsGB, and individuals across both apparel and footwear,” a spokesperson said. “Whilst we will not discuss negotiations with specific athletes we can say we sponsor a number of athletes who don’t wear footwear to compete.”

So why has no big brand sponsored her?

Cockroft has had talks about kit sponsorship in the past but it is understood the companies’ offers have fallen below expectations.

She wants more money.

As for shoes:

Zoal Budd ran barefoot, but was sponsored by running shoe companies. One of the best known barefoot runners in history, Budd has actually been sponsored by a couple of shoe companies during her career – firstly Brooks and then Newton in more recent years.

Maybe Cockcroft is looking at the wrong brands?

Posted: 7th, September 2016 | In: Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Queen has no crown on Australia’s new high-tech bank notes

 

In the UK:

 

5-pound-note-series-e-1990-front

 

But New Zealand wins. It’s five-dollar note was named the International Bank Note Society’s banknote of the year for 2015.

Her Majesty is much changed:

 

New Zealand money

Posted: 5th, September 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Premier League is worth the money and Manchester United’s Wayne Roony is no role model

Lovely article by Matt Dickinson the Times about the “obscene” sums of money in the Premier League.

It is slightly curious, this looking to football for a moral lead, which the Premier League counters by citing the total tax contribution of £2.4 billion to the UK Exchequer in the 2013-14 season, including £891 million paid directly by players. Equivalent to the pay of 90 per cent of all constables in England and Wales, so it says.

The vast sums paid to players and clubs is, as Dickinson suggests, “probably all part of the attraction”. And as for football taking the nation’s moral lead, well, I loathe the phrase “role model” when applied to a Premier League footballer whose not your dad or big brother.

Lamentably after so much sense, the Times also wrote: “Who is a good role model for young footballers?” The answer is none. But The article invites people to tell the Times who their footballing role model is and isn’t.

Wayne Rooney is an enormous talent but I’m not sure he has matured enough to be a “great role model”.

Ask his kids. They look up to him, most likely. Others wade in:

Rooney is a shocking role model…

Young Mr. Rooney is a disgrace to professional football and to society in general…

A much more suitable role model would be Steven Gerrard, Michael Owen or even John Terry, whose own rehabilitation now appears complete after a few difficult years…

I think Zinedine Zidane is a true footballing icon and should be a role-model for every aspiring footballer…

Danny Shittu, the Queens Park rangers defender, is an excellent role model for young people…

No footballer signed up to a “role model”. Is the Prime Minister a role model? Are other public figures, like MPs, there to offer you moral guidance? Is Prince Harry Baseball Cap your life coach? Is your first thought when confronted with model dilemma to muse, “I wonder what Richard Branson would do?” If it is, seek help. Now.

Posted: 3rd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Money, Sports | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Crystal Palace chairman bemoans the money game but Premier League wages are of the clubs’ making

With the football Transfer Window, Crystal Palace chairman Steve Parish assesses the scene in the Times:

There is one price for a club and there is another price for a Premier League club. But it isn’t just the increase in transfer fees we’ve seen. You now have a massive wage escalation, too.

Palace were in for Arsenal’s Jack Wilshere but, reportedly, baulked at paying all of his £90,000-a-week wages. They did, however, spend big, agreeing permanent deals for: Christian Benteke (Liverpool, £32m), Andros Townsend (Newcastle United, £13m), James Tomkins (West Ham United, £10m)  and Steve Mandanda (Marseille £1.5m). Palace also took Loic Remy on loan from Chelsea, with an option to buy him for £10.3 million.

Palace pay big fees and big wages. Johan Cabaye, reportedly, signed a £100,000-a-week deal on his move to Selhurst Park. With so much money flying around, it’s odd that Palace didn’t stump up for a rare talent like Wilshere, who would have thrived behind Remy, Benteke and Townsend.

 

Parish adds:

The problem is that we’re paying players amounts of money that only our league can afford. I think to myself: ‘Where are these players going to go?’

Answer: China or, like Bastian Schweinsteiger, who refused to leave Manchester United, nowhere.

 

Former Birmingham City footballer Trevor Francis with his wife, Helen, and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough at the City Ground Nottingham after becoming Britain's most expensive player.   Date: 09/02/1979

Former Birmingham City footballer Trevor Francis with his wife, Helen, and Nottingham Forest manager Brian Clough at the City Ground Nottingham after becoming Britain’s most expensive player.
Date: 09/02/1979

 

Most Premier League players will be earning £25,000-£30,000 per week. And that is just your entry level for a good solid pro, so if your top, top wage in the Championship — apart from the parachute clubs — is around £10,000, where do they go? There is no European market. That is the problem.

Isn’t the problem with the clubs who offer these wages?

We don’t get value for money, really. You have to buy assets that you can recycle. A club like us, you have to accept that you need to create assets and you have to reinvent, as Southampton have done brilliantly over the past three or four years.

Dan Jones, who works at Deloitte, adds a few words:

If you look around Europe, you will see Real Madrid, Barcelona, Juventus and Bayern Munich making big-money signings. But you won’t see that from the mid-table clubs and those involved in relegation battles because they don’t have the money and that is because the TV deals in those countries aren’t as big and aren’t shared equally.

England has the most equal model about how they distribute that money. That means if you are a mid-ranking Premier League club you can compete with all but the biggest clubs in Europe, so it puts you in a pretty strong position.

Precisely. The money goes up when a Premier League club calls because the PL has the most cash. But the team has to woo the player with wages. Do they have to be bigger? Why do they want more?

Geraint Anderson, 38, who was earning a base salary of £120,000 and a bonus of £500,000 by the time he left investment banking after 12 years in the City, took a view:

“It’s like a gilded cage. They earn huge amounts but they have the massive mortgage, they have the high-maintenance trophy wife, they have the kids at Harrow – then they wake up on their 50th birthday and think, ‘What a waste of a life.’ They get into this culture where their worth is valued by how much they earn, so they work ridiculous hours. I’d rather earn £25,000, have the kids at a local school and not owe anyone anything.”

Can we blame the clubs for fomenting the money game?

Posted: 2nd, September 2016 | In: Back pages, Key Posts, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Gawker: power and money smash free speech and the right to offend

Sorry to see Gawker go? Here are a few words on what they said about the US site:

John Loyd (Reuters):

Denton’s self-starting staff crossed two rich and angry men. One was the wrestler Hulk Hogan, incensed when Gawker published part of a video showing him having sex with a friend’s wife. Hogan took Gawker Media to court and won a total of $140 million in March. Hogan’s suit was bankrolled by Peter Thiel, a billionaire whom Gawker had outed as gay in 2007. At last month’s GOP convention, Thiel told the audience that, “I’m proud to be gay. I’m proud to be a Republican.” Gawker, for its part, went proudly bankrupt.

Mick Hume (Spiked):

Gawker, the muck-raking, dirt-digging, mud-slinging internet magazine, has just been forcibly closed down. It was not found guilty of threatening America’s national security, or corrupting the nation’s youth. Instead, Gawker was put out of business for publishing true stories that some people found offensive. One of those offended people happened to be a Silicon Valley billionaire, who used his wealth and power to shut Gawker’s irreverent mouth as surely as if he had been a Third World tyrant sending the cops to close a dissident newspaper.

But this is more than an outrageous tale of a thin-skinned rich boy. Gawker’s demise is only the headline in a bigger story about a campaign to tame press freedom, online as well as in print, and to sanitise the news media. It is a campaign being led on both sides of the Atlantic, not by old-fashioned censors, but by a new alliance of illiberal-liberal prigs who want to ‘ethically cleanse’ the media of whatever is not to their refined taste.

Nick Denton (Gawker publisher):

Peter Thiel has achieved his objectives. His proxy, Terry Bollea, also known as Hulk Hogan, has a claim on the company and my personal assets after winning a $140 million trial court judgment in his Florida privacy case. Even if that decision is reversed or reduced on appeal, it is too late for Gawker itself. Its former editor, who wrote the story about Hogan, has a $230 million hold on his checking account. The flagship site, a magnet for most of the lawsuits marshaled by Peter Thiel’s lawyer, has for most media companies become simply too dangerous to own.

Peter Thiel has gotten away with what would otherwise be viewed as an act of petty revenge by reframing the debate on his terms. Having spent years on a secret scheme to punish Gawker’s parent company and writers for all manner of stories, Thiel has now cast himself as a billionaire privacy advocate, helping others whose intimate lives have been exposed by the press. It is canny positioning against a site that touted the salutary effects of gossip and an organization that practiced radical transparency.

As former Gawker developer Dustin Curtis says, “Though I find the result abhorrent, this is one of the most beautiful checkmates of all time by Peter Thiel.”

Lili Loofbourow:

That crisis and the editorial changes that followed it did almost as much as the Peter Thiel-funded Hulk Hogan lawsuit to illustrate that what made Gawker great also made it vulnerable. In a word: money. (And an internet that’s become increasingly responsive to it.) Gawker was able to be what it was because it existed at the whim of an eccentric millionaire, not beholden to corporate interests, who was interested in what journalism could be. It was only a matter of time, perhaps, before other eccentric billionaires (like Peter Thiel and Frank VanderSloot) would come along who were more interested in what it couldn’t.

That Thiel succeeded in destroying Gawker by secretly funding Hulk Hogan’s lawsuit is a serious sign in a media landscape that’s already lost most of its biodiversity. But Gawker’s closure is a loss for its own sake. And ours.

NBC:

Until the news broke that tech billionaire Peter Thiel was funding former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan’s suit against (now-defunct) gossip blog Gawker for outing him as gay nearly a decade ago, most people were unaware that third parties — traditionally, hedge funds — could bankroll a lawsuit against a person or business

As a result, start-ups in the field of litigation-finance investment have gained prominence, with a simple pitch to investors: Put up as little as $5,000 to fund lawsuits, and make money.

What price free speech?

Posted: 1st, September 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Liverpool for sale: China courts the Reds and the media plays ball

When the Sun led with news that Liverpool’s American owners had rebuffed Chinese attempts to buy the club we enjoyed the headline “You’ll Never Wok Alone”.

Readers were told that “Liverpool chiefs will reject moves from the Far East to buy a stake in the club”.

It all looked an exercise in PR. Liverpool’s foreign chiefs are much more in tune with the Reds than other foreigners who want to be chiefs. The club is in safe hands.

The Chinese are a “state-backed group called Everbright”, who “value the club at £700m”. Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, part of the Fenway Sports Group, says the club would work with the right partner and offers are made “just for the publicity”.

Today the Times has more.

Liverpool, or Liwupu as it is rendered in Chinese, has received admiring glances in China. Over the weekend it emerged that China Everbright, a state-backed investment company, was looking into making a bid with Amanda Staveley’s PCP Capital Partners.

You wonder how these things emerge?

The club has also caught the attention of Fosun and Dalian Wanda, Reuters reported yesterday. Both are Chinese conglomerates with a proven taste for western consumer brands with Chinese cachet, counting Club Med and a Hollywood studio among their most recent deals.

How depressing to have your beloved football club bracketed with Club Med and cinema chains.

Liverpool’s owners, Fenway Sports Group, insist that the club is not for sale despite the £800 million approach said to be in the works. However, leading figures have indicated that they would take a proposal for a minority stake seriously from investors who could open doors for the club commercially.

£700million has now become £800m. That figure could go up and up.

Nick Davis, chief executive of Memery Crystal, a law firm that advised on the sale earlier this month of West Bromwich Albion to Yunyi Guokai, said that Chinese interest in Liverpool was part of a trend established at the top of the Chinese hierarchy. Xi Jinping, the president of China who last year posed for a selfie with Sergio Aguero, the Manchester City striker, has said he wants China to become a “world football superpower” that could win the World Cup by 2050.

China buys Liverpool. China picks the Liverpool team?

David Shambaugh, a China expert at George Washington University, said that the explanation was partly domestic. “China has so much pent-up money looking to be invested abroad and the Premier League is a very sound financial investment,” he said. “It also offers excellent opportunities to expand China’s ‘brand’ abroad.”

An £800 million valuation for Liverpool compares with the £300 million paid by Fenway Group in 2010.

Kerching!

And what is China’s brand? Well, Amnesty International says:

A series of new laws with a national security focus were drafted or enacted that presented grave dangers to human rights. The government launched a massive nationwide crackdown against human rights lawyers. Other activists and human rights defenders continued to be systematically subjected to harassment and intimidation. Five women’s rights activists were detained for planning to mark International Women’s Day with a campaign against sexual harassment. Authorities stepped up their controls over the internet, mass media and academia. Televised “confessions” of critics detained for investigation multiplied. Freedom of religion continued to be systematically stifled. The government continued its campaign to demolish churches and take down Christian crosses in Zhejiang province. In the predominantly Muslim Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region, the regional government enacted new regulations to more tightly control religious affairs and ban all unauthorized religious practice. The government maintained extensive controls over Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. The UN Committee against Torture regretted that previous recommendations had not been implemented.

All very fit and proper.

 

Posted: 23rd, August 2016 | In: Back pages, Liverpool, Money, News, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The higher education bubble: graduates earn below average wage

The higher education bubble needs pricking:

One in four graduates in work a decade after leaving university in 2004 is earning only around £20,000 a year, according to a new study.

Well, so says the Guardian. The average wage in Britain is around £26,500. It’s time to end the higher education push. The only people to benefit are those graduates who went into full-time education – as teachers, administrators and student debt pedlars.

 

 

Posted: 15th, August 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The Duke of Westminster left his son very little (but the trust got loadsa tax-free money)

The Duke of Westminster has died. There will be no land grab for his vast estates in London’s Mayfair and Belgravia. Chinese and Russian investors can stable the horses.  The Duke, whose family gained their estates thanks to an ancestor’s friendship with William the Conqueror, who took charge of the land after a successful invasion, has left the spoils of war to this heirs. The Guardian is upset that the State won’t get their chunk of change:

…the sixth duke is said to have left an estate worth £9.9bn upon his death this week to his son and yet, despite the fact that inheritance tax is supposedly payable on all estates on death worth more than £325,000, it has been widely reported that very little tax will be due in this case.

He did? No. He left the estate to a trust managed by his son. As the departed Duke said:

I’d rather not have been born wealthy, but I never think of giving it up. I can’t sell. It doesn’t belong to me.”

It belongs to the trust. Indeed, the Guardian adds:

The English legal concept of a trust is believed to have been developed during that era, when knights departing the country with no certainty of returning wanted to ensure that their land passed to those who they thought to be their rightful heirs without interference from the Crown. Trusts achieved that goal and the concept has remained in existence ever since, representing the continual struggle of those with wealth to subvert the rule of law that may apply to others but that they believe should not apply to them.

No. They are using the rule of law to stay legal.

The late Duke had this advice for his heir: “He’s been born with the longest silver spoon anyone can have, but he can’t go through life sucking on it.. He has to see himself as a caretaker, keeping the estates in good shape in his lifetime. It took me ten years just to understand what I had inherited.”

 

Posted: 13th, August 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Sports Direct: human rights and Mike Ashley’s legal redress

Former BBC staffer Paul Mason is making some sort of point about Sports Direct and Newcastle United FC tycoon Mike Ashley and his underlings:

What is striking, when you consider the modern reality of precarious work and coercive management, is how the concept of human rights stops at the factory gate.

Human rights?

 

Paul Mason sports direct

 

The workers of Georgian England had no democratic rights or access to law. But the 21st century is supposed to be an age of universal rights. Every one of the practices described at Sports Direct appears to not just have broken employment law, but also violated the human right of the citizen not to be bullied, shamed, endangered or sexually harassed.

So things are better now because there are laws and human rights. Sports Direct’s working practises can be tested in a court of law. The workers have redress. Things are much improved. So what exactly is Mason’s point?

Spotter: Guardian

Posted: 26th, July 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Starbucks offers a fat-free degree for transgender student

To America, where Maximo Cortez has been working part-time in Starbucks in Houston, Texas “on and off over the last eight years, first while in school and now to save up some money.”

Cortez, a transgender man, is trying to accumulate enough to afford top surgery, something that will cost him $10,000. Meanwhile, he also needs to pay back student loans, pay his car expenses, and try to afford his apartment.

“Giving everyone a 5 percent wage increase, from barista to management, that’s a great step forward,” he said. But for him, currently making $8 an hour, that increase won’t mean much. “It won’t even be a dollar,” he noted.

Mr Cortez has a degree he paid for. He works in Starbucks part-time. Join the dots.

 

Posted: 16th, July 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


All the facts on Graziano Pelle’s move to Shandong Luneng

How much is Italian footballer Graziano Pelle earning at Shandong Luneng, the Chinese club that just bought him from Southampton?

The Times says the 31-year-old* is on £120,000-a-week.

The Mirror: “Graziano Pelle offered £125,000 a week by Chinese Super League”

Metro: “Graziano Pelle has become the sixth highest paid player in the world after his transfer to the Chinese Super League. The 30-year-old… has signed a contract worth £260,000 per week.

The Mail says: “It is understood Pelle will earn £260,000 per week in China, making him the joint-fifth highest paid player in the world.”

The Guardian: “He is expected to earn £34m over the next two-and-a-half years.”

Such are the facts.

*Pelle is 30.

 

Posted: 12th, July 2016 | In: Back pages, Money, Sports | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


The animated Crisis of Capitalism

How does an economic crisis work? David Harvey reasons that crisis is an intrinsic part of capitalism itself. Harvey discussed his views in a talk at the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.

You can watch the video in full here.

Posted: 6th, July 2016 | In: Money | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Understanding Financial Markets – a must-see video

How well dow you understand financial markets? In the post-Brexit haze, lots of Remain voters are citing the falling pound and the volatile FTSE index as signs of disaster. Is the UK in the mire? Are they right? Helping you make sense of it all is Robert Shiller. He was one of the few voices who foresaw the housing bubble burst 2008. This is the first lecture from his series of talks at Yale University.

It’s a worthwhile watch:

 


Spotter: Yale

Posted: 6th, July 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Mind The Bollocks: Richard Branson backs Theresa May to scupper Brexit

The post-Brexit UK was, as the Daily Mirror put it with a front-page photo of a large black hole, a leap into the unknown. Where the Mirror saw danger, chaos and, if the country voted Leave and thereby fell into that hole, death for all, others saw adventure and opportunity. Who embodies the spirt of rosy-fingered dawns over new horizons better than Sir Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin brand and the man who signed the Sex Pistols – those working-class dupe-proof advocates for Anarchy in the UK and a rejection of the tired, old Establishment.

Branson opines axiomatically on his company’s website, “In order to think outside the box, avoid getting into one. There is no need to accept accepted thinking. Remember, it was once accepted that the world was flat.”

 

richard branson brexit

 

There’s more:

“If you don’t let anybody build a box around you, then you will never have to think outside of the box. Basically, in order to think outside the box, avoid getting into one.

“But if you do find yourself getting boxed in, think to yourself: I will only think outside the box when the box is empty. Get everything you can out of a situation, but keep an eye out for the next opportunity.”

The box was the European Union. The vote to get out of it was a vote for a bigger planet view that doesn’t end where the EU border lies. But Branson is scared. He is not eyeing the next opportunity. Sky News reports that this knight of the realm “has held secret talks with Theresa May in an effort to boost his plea for a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).”

In a blog-post published on 27 June, Sir Richard wrote:

“The vast majority of MPs voted in by the electorate want the UK to stay part of Europe. In light of the misrepresentations of the Leave campaign, Parliament should reject the results of this non-binding referendum as Nicola Sturgeon has announced she will do in Scotland’s Parliament.”

How’s that for thinking outside the box? Ignore the anti-Establishment risk-takers, the people who voted for change, and side with the elite who want to snuff out democracy. ‘Safety-first,’ says box-ticking bureaucratic Branson. Big business must take priority over independence and “screwing it, just doing it”, something he advises we do in one of his “lessons for life”. Richard is now of the “screw you, the multi-nationals and connected are in charge”.

To paraphrase the Sex Pistols, We Do Mind the Bollocks. We voted against it.

Posted: 5th, July 2016 | In: Celebrities, Key Posts, Money, News, Politicians | Comments (2) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Man named Mr Gambles has won lottery for the second time using the same numbers

Mr Gambles lotteryTo Chicago in search of nominative determinism. We find Larry Gambles. Mr Gambles just won a $1,050,000 Lucky Day Lotto jackpot prize. He says: “Nine years ago, I won $50,000 playing the numbers from the jerseys of my high school basketball team. I’ve been playing the same numbers ever since. I can’t believe they paid off again.”

Mr S. Tony Broke will be in touch.

 

Posted: 25th, June 2016 | In: Money, News, Strange But True | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Dentistry beats women’s studies

Wondering what to study at college to earn a living when they spit you out? Mark J Perry has news on how to use your time:

a. A 2-year degree from the Community College of Denver in Dental Hygiene has an ROI of $612,991, which are the additional earnings a graduate can expect to earn over 20 years compared to a high school graduate. Average first-year wages are about $61,000 and the cost of the degree is less than $16,000.

b. A 4-year degree from the University of Colorado-Boulder in Women’s Studies has an ROI of only $173,545, at a cost of more than $92,000 and estimated first-year earnings of only $23,461.

Both degrees give you a career. But four years in college over 2 years is surely 2 years too many.

 

Posted: 23rd, June 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


No, John Oliver did not give away nearly $15 million of medical debt

john oliver debt

 

John Oliver is the news king of talk telly. But unlike Oprah, he’s not giving  away free cars – he’s burning cash! The host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight is a hero:

“Any idiot can get into it, and I can prove that to you, because I’m an idiot and I started a debt buying company and it was disturbingly easy,” Oliver said. John Oliver forgave nearly $15 million of medical debt with a tap of a giant red button on Sunday night.

 

John Oliver debt

The Indy says it was #15m

 

No. Wrong. It was cracking TV. But he did not do as CNN said he did. He purchased his lot on the secondary market at a huge discount.

Last Week Tonight spent about $50 to create a debt-acquisition company in Mississippi. The corporation’s name is Central Asset Recovery Professionals Inc – also known as Carp. According to Oliver, soon after its creation, Carp was offered a portfolio of medical debt worth $14,922,261.76 at a cost of “less than half a cent on a dollar, which is less than $60,000”.

Not $15m, then. And at $60,000 it was a marketing and PR bargain.

Posted: 7th, June 2016 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, TV & Radio | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Kerching: Kelvin MacKenzie uses Sun column to promote aspokesmansaid.com

Writing in the Sun, Kelvin MacKenzie praises the readers who saved money on their household insurance with a website called aspokesmansaid.com.

 

kelvin mackenzie

 

MacKenzie goes into some detail on how the savings were made.

 

kelvin mackenzie aspokesmansaid.com

 

At no point in the story does Kelvin Mackenzie tell readers that the site was founded by one…Kelvin MacKenzie.

 

aspokesmansaid.com kelvin

kelvin mackenzie aspokesmansaid.com

 

For reasons of space, Kelvin is unable to mention other money-saving websites in this week’s column.

Such are the facts.

 

 

Posted: 6th, June 2016 | In: Key Posts, Money, Tabloids | Comment (1) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea image rights in detail

In March 2005 Chelsea secured the legal rights to Jose Mourinho’s trademark for 20 years. This means that should Manchester United hire Mourinho, a move that seems as certain as Katie Price sleeping on her back, the Red Devils will be unable to stick their new manager’s name on such items as teddy bears, aftershave, computer games and all manner of tat. But how important is the Jose moniker?

In an “exclusive”, the Times says Chelsea’s ownership of the Mourinho trademark “will not delay his appointment at Old Trafford”.

 

Jose image rights Manchester United Times Chelsea

 

Or as the Mirror puts it: “Jose Mourinho’s appointment as Manchester Untied  manager is being delayed because Chelsea still own his signature.”

Not so, say the Times, which states: “Until recently Mourinho’s former employers [Chelsea] also owned the rights to reproduce his signature, but that ten-year trademark expired earlier this year…”

The Mirror then says United “face a six-figure bill to secure the rights to his signature and name”.

The Times says Chelsea could demand “several million pounds”.

The Sun says United will have to “£1million -plus” to use the name Jose Mourinho on merchandise.

 

Jose image rights Manchester United Mirror Chelsea

The Mirror – not an exclusive but not all correct, either

 

The Mail says the 20-year licence Jose signed with Chelsea in 2005 expires in, er, 2013. That Mail says it’s between 2013 and 2015. The Times says it’s 2025.

 

Jose image rights Manchester United Mail Chelsea

The Mail wonders about timing

 

Such are the facts.

Posted: 26th, May 2016 | In: Back pages, Broadsheets, Chelsea, manchester united, Money, Sports, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Is Oxfam’s tax planning just tax avoidance?

When Oxfam began to bemoan ‘tax avoidance’, it was inevitable some would cast their eyes on the charity’s tax affairs. Oxfam is hot on everyone paying there ‘fair share’, having published such articles as:

EU Anti-Tax Avoidance package will fail to end the era of tax havens, warns Oxfam – Despite EU intentions to crack down on tax avoidance, the European Commission’s Anti-Tax Avoidance Package does not do what it says on the tin, warns Oxfam, and developing countries will feel the EU’s failure most.

Large-scale tax avoidance by Starbucks & Fiat: European Union must now act on tax dodging

Oxfam applauds the European Parliament’s hard fought victory for transparency in the extractives sector

Oxfam reaction to EU leaders’ timid ambition to clamp down on tax dodging

You get the idea.

As does the Institute of Economic Affairs’ Richard Teacher, who writes:

While it is commonly assumed that charities are exempt from tax, that is not actually the case. Although they are exempt from tax on certain types of income (from donations, rent or investments), the profits they make on business or “trading” operations are taxable, except in specific circumstances. By setting out the very limited circumstances in which trading profits are exempt (see section 524 of the Income Taxes Act 2007), Parliament made it very clear that it intends charities’ other business income to be taxable.
The reaction of Oxfam, and most of the other charities, has been to run their business operations through a separate company. That company would be taxable on its profits, but it donates all its profits to its parent charity through the “Gift Aid” scheme, which exempts them from tax.

This fits the standard definition of tax avoidance – an artificial structure (separating out some of the charity’s activities into a separate legal entity) that gives it a tax advantage.
Of course I do not think there is anything wrong with Oxfam doing this; like all good tax avoidance it is perfectly legal and it is an ingenious way to escape a tax liability. But should Oxfam really be criticising other businesses for avoiding taxes when it does just that with its own?

That question might well be rhetorical.

 

Posted: 20th, May 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Student debt rises as students invest in their own education

On Yahoo! news (via Press release) of student loans and student debt:

Eight in 10 U.S. adults with student loans (81 percent) say they made financial or personal sacrifices because of the amount of their loans. Half (50 percent) say they delayed contributions to retirement accounts, a 22 percent jump from 2013, when 41 percent delayed saving for retirement. An increasing number of Americans are working a second job as a result of their monthly loan payments, with 46 percent in the current survey saying they’re moonlighting, a 48 percent increase from the 31 percent who did so in 2013. These are among the latest findings of a new telephone survey of 1,005 U.S. adults conducted in March by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Institute of CPAs.

As Tim Worstall, often of this site, puts it: “Presumably it would be better if everyone had to struggle with their tax bills to pay for the university educations of other people?”

 

Posted: 13th, May 2016 | In: Money, News | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Daily Mail relocates Cliff Richards Atlantic winery

Let’s bemoan the state of education that allows the Daily Mail’s Julian Robinson to miss up his seas:

A luxury Mediterranean winery that produces Sir Cliff Richard’s own brand of plonk has been put on the market – for more than £7.5million. Quinta do Miradouro and neighbouring winery Adega do Cantor in Albufeira in Portugal’s Algarve are up for grabs after 15 years of producing the singer’s wine, Vida and Onda Nova.

Anyone keen on inspecting the place should now that The Algarve is on the Atlantic Ocean.

 

Quinta do Miradouro Adega do Cantor in Albufeira

 

 

Posted: 14th, April 2016 | In: Celebrities, Money, News, Tabloids | Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0


Oxfam finds $1.4tn tax cash ‘hidden’ in plain sight

=hidden tax oxfam

 

More financial illiteracy in the Guardian. The headline tells us:

US corporations have $1.4tn hidden in tax havens, claims Oxfam report

Some work there by Oxfam’s investigations arm to find such a gigantic stash of “hidden” cash.

The charity’s analysis of the financial affairs of the 50 biggest US corporations comes amid intense scrutiny of tax havens following the leak of the Panama Papers.

And the charity said its report, entitled Broken at the Top was a further illustration of “massive systematic abuse” of the global tax system.

In 2012, said Oxfam, US firms reported $80bn of profit in Bermuda…

Not hidden at all, then. The billions were all laid on in the companies’ accounts.

Now whose for a game of hide and seek, Oxfam style?

 

hide and seek oxfam tax

Posted: 14th, April 2016 | In: Broadsheets, Money, News | Comments (3) | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed:RSS 2.0