Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay
THE usual suspects have got all outraged at the fact that Amazon doesn’t seem to pay very much tax in the UK:
Amazon.co.uk, Britain’s biggest online retailer, generated sales of more than £3.3bn in the country last year but paid no corporation tax on any of the profits from that income – and is under investigation by the UK tax authorities.
Regulatory filings by parent company Amazon.com with the US securities and exchange commission (SEC) show the tax inquiry into the UK operation, which sells nearly one in four books sold in Britain, focuses on a period when ownership of the British business was transferred to a Luxembourg company.
Well, yes, the clue is in tat last part there, it’sd not a UK company so of course it doesn’t pay corporation tax in the UK. It’s a Luxembourg company and so it pays tax in Luxembourg. This is all part of the great EU project. You pays your corporation tax where your company is, where the head office is, and then you can sell anywahere in the EU. To change that you’d have to change the basic design of the EU.
YOU may or may not be lucky enough to see posters around the place arguing that all cigarettes should be sold in plain packages. This, it is said, will reduce smoking and thus thousands of faerie folk will frolic in our woodlands. That it will do nothing of the sort is only a trivial point.
The background is that at present the government is carrying out a “consultation exercise”. This is where they pretend to listen to people and then decide whether to do whatever it is. Now, if people wish to influence this consultation exercise they’ve every right to do so. This is a democracy with free speech after all.v This is actually what we’re supposed to do, tell the fuckers who rule us how we want to be ruled.
JAPAN is to ban bananas! This fuss over the radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster is really getting just a touch out of hand. For they’ve just passed a law which seems to mean that bananas will be banned.
Under the new rules, the limit for general foodstuffs such as fruit, vegetables, rice, seafood and meat is 100 becquerels of radiation per kilogram, down from 500 prior to April 1. The limit for milk, baby food and infant formula is 50 becquerels per kilogram. For drinking water and tea leaves, it is 10 becquerels per kilogram.
Bananas are about 130 Bq a kilo you see. Meaning of course that we’re all now dead from the mashed nana we had for tea when toddlers.
SO there was this great big campaign, with petitions and plays and online sign ups and the usual ignorant outrage displayed on Twitter and Facebook about how appalling the working conditions and pay were at Foxconn. You know, the giant seris of factories in China that make everything for Apple and HP and Microsoft and all.
We’ve now got the results from an in depth investigation into those working conditions and pay.
The general finding is that poor people work long hours for not much money. Well, yes, that’s true, that’s what being poor means, working long hours for not much money. Shrug, that’s what poor people in poor countires do, that’s why we describe them as poor and that’s why we’d like them to carry on having an industrial revolution so they can become rich like us.
GIVEN that The Guardian has already given us the screaming hysterics article about this dynamic scoring of tax changes perhaps it’s about time someone explained what is really going on?
OK, starting right at the beginning, the most important thing to know about economics is that incentives matter. Changes in tax rates are changes in incentives so they matter.
When we do static analysis of tax changes we just assume that no one changes their behaviour in response to these changes in incentives. YUoiu know, like everyone would keep smoking the same mount if ciggies went up by another £5 a pack tomorrow? And there definitely wouldn’t be any smuggling in from the Continent, no Siree!
MUCH fun and games as Georgie Osborne has to defend his pasty tax. As one wag has pointed out whether a pasty which has cooled to 21 oC needs to pay the tax will depend upon whther the ambient temperature is 22 o or 19 o.
However, there is a real reason that he’s changed these rules. Fully described here but in essence it’s the EU again.
As we all may or may not know hot takeaway food pays VAT, cold doesn’t. Until just recently no one was very worried about those things that may or may not be hot: as long as we were getting the VAT on the fish and chips and not on the salads we were fine.
WE’VE been screamed at for years that there was this gender pay gap thing and told how appalling it was. Thing is, the gap seems to be disappearing:
Although overall the gender pay gap remains, with women earning 9.1 per cent less than men, in part-time work the trend is reversed.
Data from the Office for National Statistics show that since 1998, median hourly earnings excluding overtime pay have been higher for female employees.
I KNOW, we don’t think of it as cheap when we look at the £100 billion a year and rising in taxes that we have to pay to fund it. But by international standards the NHS really is quite cheap: 9 or 10% of GDP (GDP is all the money we have each year) as opposed to 11 or 12% in France and 18 % in the US.
Some will argue, some do argue, that this is all down to the fact that we’ve got this planned by lovely politicians and thus there are no greedy hucksters making profits from it. Could even be true but that’s not the only possible reason. One that we know very well is true is that those politicians doing the planning simply deny certain medical treatments to certain people:
Thousands of elderly people are dying unnecessarily early because ‘despicable’ age discrimination in the NHS is denying them treatment for cancer, a charity has warned.
GEORGE Osborne doesn’t pay the top rate of tax. Sounds about right.
His salary puts him close to it, yes. And then on top he’s got rental income plus possible dividends from shares in the family company (which, amusingly, I was offered a job in years ago).
The rental income will be pretty much offset by the mortgage interest relief he gets. No, you don’t get this on buying your own house any more, not if you live in it. But it’s obviously a business if you’re renting it out so you do indeed get to count the interest paid as a cost of doing business. There’s also the maintenance allowance. If I remember my own tax returns that’s 2% of capital value or something like that.
SMOKING does not cost the NHS money: nor does obesity. Nor even does booze. So we can tell the health wowsers to bugger off the next time they use that argument upon us.
Now it is true that all three impose costs upon the people that do it. Shorter lives for a start. But it’s also true that something that people do voluntarily must also provide benefits to them: and it’s up to each individual to decide which risks they want to take for which benefit.
And it’s that thing about shorter lives which is why the booze, tabs and rolls of sweaty fat don’t increase costs to the NHS. It’s the healthy people who live long enough to spend 5 years drooling into their bibs as they fade away from Alzheimers:
“Until age 56 annual health expenditure was highest for obese people. At older ages, smokers incurred higher costs. Because of differences in life expectancy, however, lifetime health expenditure was highest among healthy-living people and lowest for smokers. Obese individuals held an intermediate position. Alternative values of epidemiologic parameters and cost definitions did not alter these conclusions.”
The lifetime costs were in Euros:
OUR tale for the day comes from New York City, but the same basic principle applies. Budget Day is when the political class tell us how much of our money they’re going to take and how: the Autumn Statement is the description of how they’re going to piss it away.
And here is how the bureaucracy, the part that gargles in that golden shower of our money, actually operates:
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s food police have struck again!
Outlawed are food donations to homeless shelters because the city can’t assess their salt, fat and fiber content, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.
ALLEN Samuels has a plan to restore the USA to greatness. Samuels, of Newark, N.J., is a casino host in Atlantic City. Samuela is 55 years young. He;s want to rap the solution. Allen Samuels wold be the world’s greatest rapper – if RAED would only let him…
Livin De Life:
THERE’S a good piece here about the life and business of a parallel drug importer. Nice Austrian lad getting rich by buying drugs in cheap places (yes, we’re talking about prescription drugs, not the fun ones) and selling them on in expensive places.
This all happens because we have free trade across the European Union. Good thing to have too, people, products, capital and companies can all move as they wish.
However, we’ve also got a system of national, taxpayer funded in the main, health care services. And as always when governments are uying things there’s a temptation for them to fix the prices at which they buy them….and buyers tend not to fix those prices too high now, do they?
This might even be true and no doubt there are going to be all sorts of people coming out of the woodwork shouting “Told You So!”.
It’s what happens next that is going to be interesting. For there will undoubtedly be some who say this shows why more regulation of bastard bankers is required and really, wouldn’t it all be better of they were just nationalised or shot?
THE advert on Gumtree states that no Irish need apply for the job:
“Bricklayer needed ASAP. $250 a day, no part-time workers and NO IRISH”
Hats off to the employer, we thought, for doing his bit to change stereotypes. Other ads might go on to call for only Jewish tarmac engineers, Polish bankers, Native American action heroes, Buddhist riot police and German clowns. But , sadly, the ad was just steeped in alleged prejudice.
Simon, the man who placed the ad, said:
“I have no trouble with Irish people. But I’ve had to fire a number of people. I’ve had lots of Irish people say they have experience bricklaying but come over and have no clue how to lay bricks. I’m very busy and don’t have time to be watching over them.”
IPADS… Me, personally, I think they’re a waste of space and money but obviously that’s just me. I mean, OK, something without a keyboard is useless, isn’t it, but apparently there are some hundreds of millions out there who disagree with me.
And how we know it’s here to stay is the following:
Tablet computers such as Apple’s iPad and Samsung’s Galaxy Tab have been added to the basket of goods and services used to calculate inflation rates
AMERICAN lawyers are threatening The Hobbit, a pub in Portswood, Southampton pub. The suits say the pub has committed copyright infringement by way of its name and Hobbit-themed signs.
The Saul Zaentz Company (SZC) of California owns the rights to lots of Hobbitt writer JRR Tolkien’s stuff. The pub has been called The Hobbit for the past 20 years. And that will no do.
We can only boggle at how much damage the boozer has done to the brand, but our expert says, “Depends how much money the American lawyers think you’ve got.”
APOLOGIES, but it really does seem that we’re being ruled by entire cretins. The current government has decided to repeat all of the damn fool mistakes that the Americans made before their housing crash with a new buy housing plan:
£500,000 mortgages backed by the taxpayer as NewBuy Guarantee scheme launched
Up to 100,000 people will get Government support to buy new homes worth up to £500,000 in a Coalition move to revive the middle-class dream of home ownership, ministers will announce.
You what? Has someone been serving magic ‘shrooms in Cabinet or something?
IT’S usually the other way around, that it’s the Coimission suing Ryanair.
Mr O’Leary has made an official complaint to the independent watchdog that oversees the EC’s spending.
The complaint comes after the colourful entrepreneur was told at the end of last year that the commission’s travel agency could not book him on to a Ryanair flight to speak at a conference on innovation in Brussels.
YES, yes, we know, they’re really only Tory Bastards intent on grinding the faces of the poor into the dirt. However, this process of grindingthefacesofthepoorintothedirtbycuttingbenefits does in fact work.
It reduces unemployment, you see?
It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention that the registered unemployment rate is pretty meaningless these days. So many people have been offered the slightly better terms of early retirement, incapacity benefit and the like that the number sitting around doing fuck all and waiting for the cheque from the taxpayers is a multiple of those we call “unemployed”.
GEORGE Monbiot goes all over Ayn Rand and Alan Greenspan this morning:
It has a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced. Selfishness, it contends, is good, altruism evil, empathy and compassion are irrational and destructive. The poor deserve to die; the rich deserve unmediated power. It has already been tested, and has failed spectacularly and catastrophically. Yet the belief system constructed by Ayn Rand, who died 30 years ago today, has never been more popular or influential.
I dunno really: Maoism killed 60 million people after 1949, Pol Potism a third of Cambodia’s population.Compared with that inspiring the Tea Party seems pretty minor. And on Alan Greenspan:
Once in government, Greenspan applied his guru’s philosophy to the letter, cutting taxes for the rich, repealing the laws constraining banks, refusing to regulate the predatory lending and the derivatives trading which eventually brought the system down.
SARAH Jane Smith, 41, made up ten children to claim benefits. The Sun leads with the woman who “invented” ten children. Smith has two real children, and pretended they were disabled to earn child tax credits.
You can imagine the two children getting into character, each given five new personas and a limp. Mrs Smith also pretended she was disabled. In total, her acting and fiction writing skills earned her £42,000.
You might be outraged. The Sun wants you to be. Smith is the lead story in its Beat The Cheat campaign “to tackle benefit fraud — which costs taxpayers £1.2billion a year”.
Smith, of Salford, was given a six-month jail term suspended for 18 months, plus 120 hours of community service.
AS a fully paid up neoliberal myself it does irritate immensely when we get blamed for things that are absolutely none of our fault. It’s just fine to blame us for things we did fuck up (the design of British Rail’s privatisation for example) But getting shouted at because people are doing absolutely the opposite of what we Green Lizards controlling humanit recommend is going a bit too far.
The slow death of Greece was a political project from the start, with politicians accepting the prescriptions of neoliberal economics.
TO be fair to Zoe Williams in The Guardian this morning she does say that she doesn’t know very much about economics. But then she comes out with this statement:
Real wages in this country have been falling since 1968.
That’s insane. The idea that real wages (that is, wages after inflation) are lower today than they were 44 years ago isn’t just not knowing very much about economics it’s going entirely fucking doolally.
It’s true that the labour share of income is lower than it was: the peak was in 1975. But that’s a measure of how much of the pie goes in wages to labour, not a measure of the absolute amount of money that is going in wages.
APPLE is worth more than Poland?! Gaaah. This is the sort of thing that annoys. Nonsense, rubbish, ignorance…
Following an email announcing the iPad 3 launch, Apple’s share value hit an unprecedented $500bn in pre-marketing trading this morning, making the company worth more than Poland and many other things.
OK, so this is all terribly geeky but it just isn’t true to say that because Apple is worth $500 billion and the GDP of Poland is $500 billion then Apple is worth the same as Poland.