Money | Anorak - Part 33

Money Category

Money in the news and how you are going to pay and pay and pay

How China’s Eight Immortals carved up the country’s wealth

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

The latest investment scam: rare earth metals

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

They’ve got more than one way of stealing your money you know

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 29th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Where do Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks millions go?

JULIAN Assange is still housed in the Ecuador embassy, London. The BBC reports:

In November, Mr Assange told journalists that a move by credit card companies to block the processing of donations to Wikileaks had cost the organisation more than £30m and had resulted in a 40% pay cut for staff.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The coming economic boom will be based on new technology

THERE’S going to be the most God Almighty economic boom in a few years time. Yes, yes, I know, you think I’ve really lost it now. What with climate change, resource exhaustion and the current dismal times I’m obviously entirely barking.

However, there’s a good historical precedent for this. The 1930s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 18th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

How the Government has decided to throttle shale gas

SO. We’ve had the big announcement that drilling for shale gas can go ahead in the UK. Hurrah!

But, as ever, the devil is in the details. And here’s the corker of a detail:

This is a defeat for environmentalist activists and the powerful renewables lobby – but they have a valuable consolation prize few have noticed. Under the proposed regulatory regime, during the fracking process any tremors that measure 0.5 or higher on the Richter scale may trigger an automatic halt to operations under a “traffic light” scheme outlined by the Lib Dem energy minister Ed Davey.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 17th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Why economic growth is so crap: the New York taxi cab app.

THERE’S two different ways to look at this economic growth thing. One is in the short term: all that Keynesian stuff about unemployment, fiscal stimulus and so on. And that’s fine as far as it goes, looking at the short term.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 14th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The reason we’ve got a PAYE tax system: because we don’t notice them taking it

THERE is a good reason why we’ve got a tax system that hoovers the cash out before you see it. No, it’s not because it’s convenient. It’s because we don’t really notice how much it is:

Cabral and Hoxby find that when property taxes are less salient, people tend to be less aware of the amount they pay and when people are less aware, property tax rates tend to be higher.

How do they get variation in salience? By looking at the percentage of people who pay their property taxes with tax escrow, that is, bundled with their mortgage payments. Check out their Figure 7 (page 55 in the ungated version) for a striking graph. The standard deviation of the difference between the property tax reported in surveys and actual tax paid was $2215 for people who used tax escrow and only $781 for people who did not.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 12th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Even after all the tax dodges Starbucks still doesn’t owe any tax!

THIS is just great I think. FT’s Alphaville has gone through the accounts for Starbucks after this stuff we’ve had about how the dodge taxes. It’s here.

And the final conclusion? Even if we cancel all of the tax dodges they still don’t owe tax in the UK. Because they’re not making a profit in the UK.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 11th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

1931: State Superintendent closes American Union Bank New York

FLASHBACK: Depositors gather outside the closed doors of the American Union Bank in New York City, Aug. 5, 1931. It is one of the smaller city banks which experienced a depreciation of their assets and were closed by order of the state superintendent of banks. (AP Photo)

Posted: 10th, December 2012 | In: Flashback, Money | Comment

You can’t do nothing: both tax the banks more and get them lending more

ONE of these little problems this universe presents is that sometimes we want two mutually incompatible things. As in our current attitude to the banks. Firstly, we want the bastards to pay for the damage they did. But we also want them to lend much more money so we can get out of this damn recession.

Unfortunately, we can’t actually do both: the more we tax them the less capital they have which they can underwrite lending with:

The Government’s levy on banks may be sucking £15bn of credit for small and medium-sized businesses out of the UK economy, tax experts warned.

If the £2.5bn the tax is expected to bring to the Treasury’s coffers annually was left on banks’ balance sheets, that could open the door to additional lending, according to Ernst & Young’s financial services tax team.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 10th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

Department for Work and Pensions’ advertises for ‘internet babe chat’

ON the Department for Work and Pensions’ DirectGov site a job advert for “Females Presenters required for home internet work for internet babe chat”. No. David Cameron’s webcam isn’t offering a SamCam after-hours service. This add is for something called Loaded TV. It’s your big break into “Broadcasting, music, and film”:

Pay is dependant on how much you work and how well you do. You set the rates and your in control of the hours you do.

Is Loaded TV an equal opportunities employer?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 10th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The taxpayers should get what they ask for: good and hard

AN interesting idea from the US. OK, so there’s a fight going on over how to deal with the deficit. Some want to raise taxes to close it, others want to cut spending. Shrug, up to you which method you prefer.

But let’s just run through this for the UK for a moment. The deficit is some ghastly number over £125 billion a year. One side says we can’t cut spending at all, every single penny currently spent is vital. Mebbe: but let’s have a look at what that actually means for taxes. How much do we have to raise taxes then to pay for all of this?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 7th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

ArcelorMittal: Another majestic French misunderstanding of economics

SO. The French are threatening to nationalise a steel plant to stop the eeeevil capitalist bastards closing it down. And even I would agree that there are times that governments should prevent capitalists from doing certain things. But it would help if the government understood even the first thing about what it is doing: something which isn’t true for the French government in this case:

Francois Hollande has threatened to nationalise a plant owned by steelmaker ArcelorMittal in an increasingly heated dispute in which a minister has said the multinational is no longer welcome in the country.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 7th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Denmark is world’s least corrupt country

ACCORDING to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, the most corrupt nation of planet Earth is…Franc… (opens brown envelope; examines cash)….is…Somalia. Any multinationals looking to relocate their global HQs should reconsider Somalia. The least corrupt nation is a tie between Denmark, New Zealand and Finland. Other notables: Canada (9); UK (17), US (19) and France (22). Iraq (169) is less corrupt than Afghanistan (174).

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 6th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

The right pain in the bum that is fiscal drag

A LITTLE bit from Chancellor George Osborne’s autumn announcements that might get overlooked:

A record 4.5million workers could be paying higher-rate tax by the end of this Parliament.

The number in the 40 per cent band is expected to rise from 3.8million today by another 400,000 over the next three years, the Treasury said yesterday.

However, experts predicted the number dragged into the higher rate could be an additional 300,000 – which would in total account for nearly one in six taxpayers.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 6th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Papers react to George Osborne’s Autumn Statement

SO. How was Chancellor George Osborne’s Autumn Statement for you?


Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 6th, December 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Watch, as a man wins $588m

WINNING the lottery is something most of us have idly dreamed of at some point, but imagine for a second if it actually came true AND the moment you found out was captured on film.

Most of us would run wildly around, defecating and sobbing into strangers bosoms. One man in America could barely conceal his delight in Maryland when he found out he’d scooped the $588m Powerball jackpot!

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 3rd, December 2012 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

Powerball winners Cindy and Mark Hill collect $293,750,000.00 (photos)

POWERBALL winners Mark and Cindy Hill are presented a check by a Missouri Lottery official during the announcement of Powerball winners in Dearborn, Mo., Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. They won over 293 million dollars. Mark Hill is a ruggedly handsom 52-year-old mechanic who works at a meat processing plan. Cindy Hill is a natural blonde with an agelic smile, svelte hips, a real lover of the United Kingdom, a generous heart, a deep secret we will not divulge if she contacts us on 0800NIGERIA411 etc…

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 30th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment

Those payday loans really are such terribly bad deals, aren’t they?

PAYDAY loans are rip-off. Well, so we’re told, endlessly and at length. Companies charging 4,000 percent APRs to lock the poor into a cycle of debt: why, the bastards.

Which brings me to a number of points.

1) APR: it’s a howlingly stupid method of measuring an interest rate over the short term. By definition a payday loan is only taken out for a short period of time.  why you’d try to measure that short term loan as if it was being taken out for a year is beyond me.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 28th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comments (4)

EU farmers push for faster spoiling milk (photos)

TO Belgium for the Europe Milk Demonstration, in which the versatility of milk is showcased by farmers with hoses. The famers, upset by what they see as unfair milk prices, squirt milk at the European parliament and police. The farmers also set barrels of hay and a pile of tyres on fire, sending plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky. They plan to stay put outside parliament until Tuesday afternoon.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 26th, November 2012 | In: Money | Comment (1)

On Dublin’s anti-austerity march with The Girl Against Fluoride (photos)

TO Dublin for the March against austerity. We spotted Aisling Fitzgibbon, aka ‘The Girl Against Fluoride’, strip off outside Leinster House to highlight the cost of the addition of chemicals including fluoride to the water supply. She and her associates have beautiful smiles. Well, fluoride does make you stupid. You can read how here


Picture 1 of 14

Activists supporting Aisling Fitzgibbon aka 'The Girl Against Fluoride' strip off outside Leinster House to highlight the cost of the addition of chemicals including fluoride to the water supply as trade union members march through Dublin City Centre in opposition to Austerity. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday November 24, 2012. Photo credit should read: Niall Carson/PA Wire


Posted: 24th, November 2012 | In: Money, Reviews | Comment

How to save on that grocery bill: eat less food

THIS somewhat surprises me. Unilever, which sells lots of food, is trying to tell people to buy and waste less food. Seems pretty odd really: killing your own business even.

You can see the advice here: all pretty standard stuff, plan your meals, only buy what you need, eat it before it goes off etc. The one and only bit that actually seems useful is this:

Remember to keep your fridge temperature below 5oC. Research shows that up to 30pc of our fridges are too warm, meaning food won’t last as long as it could. Milk goes off much quicker if the fridge is just a few degrees too warm.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 23rd, November 2012 | In: Money, The Consumer | Comment

More Google tax dodging: and this time the might actually get done

WE’VE had all sorts of people whining about how Google doesn’t pay enough tax, from MPs down to the fools at UK Uncut. There’s a problem with the complaints they are making, quite an obvious one. But here’s a story where Google might actually be forced to cough up:

Australia released draft revisions to tax laws on Thursday, which it said were designed to stop big firms, including the local arm of Google, from shifting their income to countries such as Holland or Ireland where the tax rates are lower.

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 22nd, November 2012 | In: Money | Comments (3)

Can we call Margaret Hodge a tax avoider now?

MARGARET Hodge is the Labour MP who currently chairs the Public Accounts Committee in the Commons. Yes, I know, dreary minutiae only a politics geek could enjoy.

Except, except….it’s Mrs. Hodge who last week was lambasting Google, Amazon and Starbucks for their tax avoidance. Even, at one point, going so far as to say that of course no one thought it was illegal but was it immoral?

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: 20th, November 2012 | In: Money, Politicians | Comment