Three Tax Laws That Should Be Changed Immediately

Wednesday, 17 December 2008 02:13 by The Lunatic
  Tax reform is coming - again (and again, and again!)  It seems that every few years, the government realizes that the tax code is broken and they make a bunch of changes to "fix" it. More precisely, they usually ADD a bunch of new laws, making the labyrinth of regulations so complex that not even the trustiest and experienced of tax advisors can really say what's what anymore. There are three tax laws that, in my opinion, should be first on the chopping block: The Alternative Minimum Tax This is one of the least popular (if ANY tax law can be considered "popular") regulations on the books.  It came about in 1970 as a way to make sure that the wealthy paid some minimum tax, no matter how More...
Categories:   Economics | Politics
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Unions. I really hate em.

Friday, 21 November 2008 02:25 by The Lunatic
  GM has been in trouble a long time, no doubt about it. It's easy to blame management for their slow change to smaller cars, corporate inefficiency, etc.  But face it: it's the unions that are mostly to blame for GM's downfall.  Or, if you prefer, it's managements fault that they didn't have a backbone - and they let the unions walk all over them. I have many issues with the whole philosophy of unions. Yes, there have been times when they've been helpful - when working conditions were abysmal, unsafe, the pay was equivalent to slave labor, and there weren't any other options for workers. But for the most part those times are long past. Let's look at unions from a couple of different angles. I have absolutely no compassion for any company that mistreats employees, but I don't consider providing only a basic health plan as "mistreating" anyone.  Many of the benefits More...
Categories:   Economics | Social Issues
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Death and Taxes. Ok, just taxes.

Thursday, 20 November 2008 04:22 by The Lunatic
  Americans are spoiled. We want to have a semi-socialist government that provides entitlements and health care, but no one wants higher taxes to pay for it. We want high wages, but then we complain when everyone buys cheap foreign made goods. We're straddled with trillions of dollars of debt, and no one wants to raise taxes to pay for it. We want it all, and we don't want to pay for it.  Spoiled. Something has to give! Believe me, I think our taxes are too high as it is and I don't want to pay any more - especially when the money is being spent on an idiotic war that has no end in sight, on a bailout which has very little chance of saving our debt driven economy, and social programs that give freebies to people that really don't contribute much in return. But let's be realistic. For 150 years, we've gone More...
Categories:   Economics | Politics
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Are there any stable currencies left?

Wednesday, 19 November 2008 00:06 by The Lunatic
  There was a report a few weeks ago talking about the inflation in Zimbabwe.  The "Official" rate of inflation is 230 MILLION PERCENT, while some analysts put the number in the billions. The full story is here: http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/africa/11/03/zimbabwe.money/index.html They can't seem to print money fast enough to keep up.  Previously, the largest bill was 50,000 Zimbabwe dollars, and now the new bill is Z$1,000,000, and they're still expecting currency shortages! I remember when South American countries were all in an economic free-fall back in the 90's.  If you ate at a restaurant in Argentina, you needed to pay for your meal when you ordered, because if you waited until after you finished, the price will have doubled.  And that's with an inflation rate of "only" a few thousand percent. How in the heck do you keep things "synchronized" from store to store with a 230 million percent inflation rate?  It's ludicrous! Of course, this leads to the question of More...
Categories:   Economics
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RIP Lehman Brothers

Saturday, 8 November 2008 23:54 by The Lunatic
  I guess I'm still in shock at how fast Lehman Brothers went down the drain.  What's most amazing to me is one of their biggest consulting service offerings was risk management.  These guys were supposed to be the BEST in the world - if you wanted some help on how to protect your company against new competition, economic changes, currency fluctuations, or how manage your growth, you would pay Lehman Brothers all sorts of money and they would help you formulate a plan.  So if they were so good, why couldn't they come up with a plan to save THEMSELVES? Historically, merchant bankers like Lehman primarily acted as deal makers.  They would put together huge financial packages for governments and large multi-national companies, and the commissions they received fueled their growth for 150 years.  But in the early 90's the rules were changes to allow merchant bankers to trade for their own accounts - ever since that change, three major investment banks have failed. Also, commercial banks are limited to a leverage of 13:1 of investments to deposits, but no such limit is imposed on investment banking. I haven't seen an official number, but some reports have stated that Lehman was leveraged well over More...
Categories:   Economics
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How the Economic Crisis is affecting Japan

Friday, 7 November 2008 00:22 by The Lunatic
  A friend sent this to me  a few weeks ago - I'm not sure who the original author is ... ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------  Following the problems in the financial sector in the US, uncertainty has now hit Japan. In the last 7 days the Origami Bank has folded, the Sumo Bank has gone belly up after an “overweight” rating by analysts, and the Bonsai Bank announced plans to cut some of its branches.  Yesterday, it was announced that the Karaoke Bank is up for sale and will likely go for a song, while today’s shares in the Kamikaze Bank were in a sharp nose-dive. While Samurai Bank is soldiering on following sharp cuts, the Ninja Bank is reported to have taken a hit but they remain in the black. Furthermore, 500 staff at Karate Bank got the chop and analysts report that there is something fishy going on at the Sushi Bank where it is feared that customers may get a raw deal. More...
Categories:   Economics
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The role that our national debt has played in the financial crisis

Thursday, 6 November 2008 04:02 by The Lunatic
  I wrote this article a month ago and submitted it to about 20 publications.  One "top ten" weekly news magazine expressed some interest, but decided to pass.  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Get Off The Track – The Train Is Coming!By David WorkmanOctober 15, 2008 The financial crisis?  Everyone saw it coming.  Many people wrote about it and some even outlined how it would play out with a fair degree of accuracy. You are not alone if you were one of the ones screaming from the rooftop that our economy is in trouble, and our debt is killing us – even if you were saying it before the real estate bubble burst and housing prices were climbing ever higher. The question is: what did you really do about it?  What can you say that you did to protect yourself – or better yet, what did we do as a country to avoid it? It’s like we’ve been standing on a train track staring at an oncoming freight train – and we’re too paralyzed with fear to jump off the track! There’s really only one reason why we are in the middle of this current financial crisis More...
Categories:   Economics
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