Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
THE Robin Hood Tax people are all ever so excited. Half the countries over in the eurozone have now been given permission to have one and it looks like France will get one around the end of 2014. The argument is thus that because they’re all getting such a lovely financial transactions tax therefore we should immediately run off and do the same thing.
However, the correct argument would be, well, seeing as they’re doing this experiemtn why don’t we wait and see what the results are? You know, just check that all hte claims being made about such a tax are in fact correct?
”Afternoon Alan - I’m a member of Guardian staff, posting anonymously.
As you know, it’s a tough time for your journalists at the moment – especially for those of us way down the food chain: the production grunts, the desk-bound, the ones who actually produce the content.
We’re working harder and harder (because we love the papers), coping with dwindling resources and morale, we’re badly mismanaged, and trying to cope with the life-changing threat of compulsory redundancies – all a result of the company’s long-term financial illiteracy and lavish excess at the top.
So I just want to say thanks for the series of articles – three now, isn’t it? – about learning to play your Fazioli piano. They’re brilliantly timed, and I know they’ll lift spirits. We always wondered how you filled your days, how you spent your fortune. Now we know.”
BORED in your job? Don’t worry. Someone in China will do it for less. This man outsourced his own job:
It’s a worst-case scenario for most employees: There’s someone in China who can do your job quickly, efficiently and for about one-fifth of your salary, and your boss absolutely loves his work.
But one U.S. software developer turned this nightmare on its head and actually benefited from outsourcing, a report says. That’s because, unbeknownst to his bosses, he hired a Chinese developer to do his job, allowing him to take home impeccable performance reviews while actually spending the day watching cat videos and shopping on EBay.
According to Andrew Valentine, who works on the Verizon Risk Team investigating data breaches, the employee, who Valentine calls Bob, had pulled off the stunt for some time, allowing him to relax and earn a good salary while someone in China did his job for him. . . . Suffice it to say, Bob is no longer working for the company. It’s possible that he is missed, though. His performance reviews were impeccable, and his company considered him the best developer in the building.
THERE really are loons out there. Here’s a case in point. The argument is that energy is getting more expensive. This puts some people into “fuel poverty” where they are spending more than 10% of their incomes on fuel. Hmm.
So, what might we do to address this situation? Hey, why don’t we put a tax on fuel to make it more expensive! That’ll work, right?
WHY did Randall H. Hubatch, 49, of Madison, dress up to rob a bank? To pay his student loan debt:
A man who wore a three-dimensional Bucky Badger hat when he allegedly robbed an East Side credit union last week told police that he wants to go to prison and needed the money because he has $250,000 in student debt…
An online UW-Madison directory lists Hubatch as a lead custodian at Union South on the UW-Madison campus. University spokesman John Lucas said Hubatch is not a current student but earned a bachelor’s in English in 1998 and a law degree in 2004.
Goldman Sachs was accused of a ‘lack of sensitivity’ last night after handing out average pay and perks of £250,000 – a rise of 5 per cent.
ABOVE is the graphic the Wall Street Times published to illustrate its story about rising taxes in the US.
WHAT has neoliberalism done for us. So asks George Monbiot this morning. All this pandering to the rich, allowing offshoring, the hollowing out of all that was good and wondrous in the British economy. What good has it done he asks us:
The policies that made the global monarchs so rich are the policies squeezing everyone else. This is not what the theory predicted. Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman and their disciples – in a thousand business schools, the IMF, the World Bank, the OECD and just about every modern government – have argued that the less governments tax the rich, defend workers and redistribute wealth, the more prosperous everyone will be. Any attempt to reduce inequality would damage the efficiency of the market, impeding the rising tide that lifts all boats. The apostles have conducted a 30-year global experiment, and the results are now in. Total failure.
Total failure eh? Rather depends where you look really.
DAVID Thompson nails them:
For some, professions of egalitarianism and socialist belly fire are a kind of rhetorical chaff – a way to elevate oneself as More Compassionate Than Thou, while deflecting envy from below. (“Please don’t hate me for being richer than you. Look, over there – they have even more, or almost as much – let’s all hiss at them!”) Vicarious philanthropy – giving away freely other people’s earnings – is a remarkably effective ruse, so much so it seems to encourage a certain disregard for dissonance, as demonstrated, for example, by the Guardian’s editor Alan Rusbridger in this comical exchange with Piers Morgan. And by the Guardian’s imperious class warrior Polly Toynbee, whose rhetoric was contrasted with her actual lifestyle and was promptly reduced to indignant spluttering on national television. Similar obliviousness is also displayed by the millionaire actor Jeremy Irons, who denounces consumerism and asks, “How many clothes do people need?” All while owning no fewer than seven houses, one of which is a peach-coloured castle. No, you’re not allowed to laugh. Because his wife is also very Green and “deeply socialist.”
IT has to be the Mail reporting this, doesn’t it? But here it is, the shocking news that UK cereals contain more sugar than US cereals.
Breakfast cereals sold in Britain contain as much as 30 per cent more sugar than the same products in the United States.
In [the Midde Ages], when the question of where to keep money arose, people didn’t typically have the option of a local bank. Instead, the answer oftentimes involved keeping their valuables in a vessel made of pygg.
What was pygg, exactly? Pygg, a word with Old English origins, was a type of dense orange clay, popular in Western Europe for its use in the creation of a wide variety of containers, jars, and cups. The common name for these containers was “pygg jars.” As the pygg jars were fairly ubiquitous, they were used for storing a variety of items, including money.
Pigs and banking fits, doen’t it?
THEY’RE whining again. They’re very important people doncha know, these Members of Parliament. And as they’re very important people they should be paid lots more of our money:
Seven in 10 MPs said they were underpaid on £65,738 a year, according to a survey by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (Ipsa). On average, MPs said they deserved salaries of £86,250 — a 32 per cent rise.
Environmental campaigners sparked a 9pc dive in the share price of Australian miner Whitehaven Coal after issuing a fake press release regarding a multi-million dollar funding facility.
NOT that you’d need to be all that intelligent to grasp this particular point.
You’ll have heard it said that the UK has the most expensive childcare in Europe. Heck, the World, Galaxy, Milky Way. This leading inevitably to the conclusion that more money must be ripped off people without children to be spent on caring for the snotbreeders of others.
WHAT does the Guardian think of unpaid internships?
‘Join the fight against unpaid internships’ – Unless students refuse to work for free, employers will continue to exploit them, argues campaigner Libby Page
DO you compost? Do you process your own excrement? Do you want to mark down your bowel movements on a calendar? Take a gander at the Ladies of Manure:
Fertile Earth Foundation is an environmental nonprofit based in Miami mostly known for our composting initiatives. We’ve been teaching people to rethink their waste for over 4 years. For those of you who don’t know what composting is, it’s basically turning organic waste into rich fertile soil. Organic waste is stuff like kitchen scraps, newspaper, yard trimmings, manure, even your very own poop! Anything that is not plastic, metal, or glass can be composted
During a Fertile Earth Workshop last year, one of our volunteers asked, “How did we get so far removed from our poop?” And it got us thinking… How many people think about their poop as often as we do? How often do you ponder your #2? It tells us a lot about our health and what we need to eat, if we are dehydrated and so on. Plus, did you know there are safe ways to turn even our waste into Humanure? Yes, that is composted human poop! Your poop could be turned into to super rich black gold! Ok, maybe we’re grossing you out. Let’s change the subject. How often do you think about sex? Or beautiful women? This project is a tasteful synergy of those 2 things: The Ladies of Manure 2013 Calendar.
ONE of the stories you might start hearing about soon enough is the American trillion dollar (yes, trillion, that’s one thousand billion) platinum coin. It;s actually possible that they might go ahead and mint one.
Bit difficult to get change for it but….yet still, here is your handy cut out and keep guide to what is going on.
Yes, the US government has a large debt. It is also running a large deficit: so that debt is getting bigger all the time. So far so damn like every other country at present. However, in the US they also have something called the “debt ceiling”. This is the maximum amount that congress has said that the Federal Government can borrow.
Now, they can raise this number whenever they want: as they have done multiple times in the past. But there’s always a certain amount of haggling when they do so. Various Senators who might vote against it are promised new defense plants for their states, that sort of thing.
I’VE never really understood what the wowsers have been trying to do with this minimum alcohol pricing lark. If you want booze to be more expensive then put the taxes up. At least that way you’ll get some tax revenue. Why you’d want minimum pricing instead I cannot understand: all that does is increase the manufacturers’ profits.
I’m also not really sure why the price has to go up. Boozing has been falling gently for a decade or so, binge drinking is declining. There doesn’t seem to be any emergency that needs a solution.
CHINA is coming.
Frank Dikötter notes:
From the copper mines of the Democratic Republic of Congo to the natural gas holdings of Turkmenistan, a giant octopus extends its tentacles, trading finished products for natural resources. In South America 90 per cent of exports to China are unprocessed or barely processed natural resources. The proportion is about the same for Africa. China not only extracts, it also constructs. In what the authors call ‘stadium diplomacy’, dozens of ‘friendship stadiums’ are presented as gifts to countries around the world. Critics characterise them as Trojan horses used to conquer local markets.
WILLOUGHBY Cooke explains why celebrity chefs stop working in kitchens:
[My] career has spanned eleven years, during which I’ve worked as a prep cook, fry cook, pantry cook, grill cook, pastry chef, and baker. The least I’ve made was $7.50 per hour; the most was $13.50. To be a line cook and eventually a chef you must submit to the hell that is the professional kitchen: long hours, low pay, no breaks, no respect. As you advance up the line, the work gets harder and the responsibility increases while the pay does not. An entry level line cook job starts at as low as $8 an hour and tops out at around $15. (In 2011, the national median wage for line cooks was $10.61, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)
GUIDO’S claiming an exclusive, that Jean Michel Jarre is going to be the next Frenchman fleeing from the 75% tax rate.
I’m not entirely sure about that: not all of Guido’s exclusives have turned out to be entirely and wholly true over the years.
PAUL from Clerkenwell calls Julia Hartley-Brewer on LBC to talk about benefit cards:
HOW goes the Cultural Revolution is go-ahead China? The rise of the Princelings can be traced back to Mao Zedong’s “eight immortals”. It’s the Great Grasp Forward:
Opportunities for the princelings surged in the 1990s after Deng kick-started another wave of economic changes. They jumped into booming industries including commodities and real estate as new factories and expanding cities transformed China’s landscape.
Two of Deng’s children — Deng Rong, 62, and her brother, Deng Zhifang — were among the first to enter real estate, even before new rules in 1998 commercialized the mainland’s mass housing market. Two years after Deng Rong accompanied her father on his famous 1992 tour of southern China to showcase the success of emerging export center Shenzhen, she was in Hong Kong to promote a new development she headed in Shenzhen.
Some apartments in the 32-story complex were priced at about $240,000 each, according to a front-page story in the South China Morning Post. Corporate records show that by the late 1990s half of the company was owned by two people with the same names as Deng Rong’s sister-in-law, Liu Xiaoyuan, and the granddaughter of Wang Zhen, Wang Jingjing.
Deng Rong and Deng Zhifang didn’t respond to questions sent by fax to their respective offices in Beijing. Liu couldn’t be reached for comment through one of the companies with which she’s associated. Wang Jingjing didn’t respond to questions couriered to her office in the Chinese capital and a reporter who visited on two occasions was told she wasn’t there.
THE Mail has a piece on investment scams. The usual list of people trying to sell you over-priced opportunities to lose money. Hard pressure sales tactics, you should invest now, don’t miss out on immediate profits. Yes, we’ve all heard these sorts of things before.
SADLY, governments have numerous ways of stealing our money. The most obvious one is simply to take it: and they do that often enough these days. Get found with more than $10,000 in cash on you in the US these days and the police will just take it. You then have to prove that it’s not drug money: yes, you have to prove that it isn’t.