Tag Archives | Economy

Treasure Islands: The Murky World Of Offshore Tax Shelters

3446025121_072700607fNew Left Project sits down with author Nicholas Shaxson to talk tax havens — a mammoth system of quasi-legal money-laundering which has a far wider impact than we realize, with a large role in the global drug trade and financial crisis. As it turns out, the biggest “treasure islands” are not the Caymans or Monaco, but places such as the City of London and the U.S. state of Delaware:

There is no common definition of what a tax haven is. Everybody has a slightly different definition. Ultimately what a tax haven provides is escape from the rules and the laws of jurisdictions. Tax havens are also about ‘elsewhere’ – the laws of the Cayman Islands are not designed for the benefit of the 50,000-odd population of the Cayman Islands.

The traditional view is…palm-fringed tropical islands in the Caribbean, Monaco, Switzerland, Liechtenstein. Small states. But if you do the analysis of what a tax haven is and what they are selling, you will find that these small islands are generally sideshows to the big event.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

March Madness And The Class War

The term class war has been extricated from the archives of another era, while divisions over the future of the economy have become a battleground in which the adversaries yell at each other, but rarely engage in any discourse with each other in a shared language.

The worse things get, the harder it is for people to agree on what to do.

This is a month known in the USA for the “March madness” college basketball finals, but the madness seems now to be oozing from sports arenas to political capitols.

MARCH MADNESS

In the Middle East, all the political turmoil will ultimately impact on a regional economy build on the flow and price of oil, contends author/historian Michael Klare:

“Whatever the outcome of the protests, uprisings, and rebellions now sweeping the Middle East, one thing is guaranteed: the world of oil will be permanently transformed.  Consider everything that’s now happening as just the first tremor of an oilquake that will shake our world to its core.”

Back in the once thought of as  “stable” United States, the economic crisis has finally spurred a confrontation between right and left with noisy protests following threatened crackdowns on union rights to collective bargaining, and cutbacks on social programs.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

U.S. Government Admits To Massive Waste Of Taxpayers’ Money

Just to get you even more excited about paying your taxes next month, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reports that billions of those tax dollars are wasted every year. Damian Paletta reports for the Wall Street Journal:
The U.S. government has 15 different agencies overseeing food-safety laws, more than 20 separate programs to help the homeless and 80 programs for economic development. These are a few of the findings in a massive study of overlapping and duplicative programs that cost taxpayers billions of dollars each year, according to the Government Accountability Office. A report from the nonpartisan GAO, to be released Tuesday, compiles a list of redundant and potentially ineffective federal programs...
Continue Reading

Obama’s Change: More Tyranny and Oppression

Has anyone seen a change for the good? Or just more of the same … changes that will only leave us with less rights and money in our pockets. From Nathan Janes of PUPAGANDA.com:

In January of 2009, as the American economy teetered on the brink of economic collapse, the most prominent story within the mainstream media, called “the greatest mystery since Watergate,” was the selection of the Obama family pet. With the election of Barak Obama, many Americans, relieved that “change” was on the way, focused their attention on such trivial matters as the Presidential dog rather than the state of continual economic decline within our country. This phenomenon came on the heels of a successful election campaign where Americans were sold the Obama brand through terrific marketing and public relations. Everyone was buying “hope” and “change” with not only their votes but with their time and energy. The Obama campaign recruited well over 2 million volunteers, a number unprecedented by any other election campaign within US history.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The United States Economy: One Massive Ponzi Scheme?

Bernard Madoff

Bernard Madoff

Thank you, Bernie, for breaking your silence – even if you are still clinging to that cover-up mode you adopted since you took the entirety of the blame for your crimes.

What is clear is that ripping off the rich is punished far more severely than ripping off the poor. The lengthy sentence you were given spared countless other greedsters and goniffs from facing the music – what music there is.

In an interview – with a reporter from The New York Times who is writing a book to cash in on a man who has already cashed out – we learn, in the vaguest terms, that Mr M believes the banks he did his crooked business with “should have known” his figures did not figure. Keeping with the deceit that has served him well over the years, he names no names.

That said, how right he may be. There were many who should have known and done something about it.… Read the rest

Continue Reading

Is The New ‘Normal’ Unemployment Rate Above 5%?

Unemployed Man - Exhibitor at APExpo 2010 012The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, in its Economic Letter entitled “What Is the New Normal Unemployment Rate?” states:

“Recent labor markets developments, including mismatches in the skills of workers and jobs, extended unemployment benefits, and very high rates of long-term joblessness, may be impeding the return to “normal” unemployment rates of around 5%. An examination of alternative measures of labor market conditions suggests that the “normal” unemployment rate may have risen as much as 1.7 percentage points to about 6.7%, although much of this increase is likely to prove temporary. Even with such an increase, sizable labor market slack is expected to persist for years.”

Their conclusion? “As the recovery proceeds, we should develop a clearer picture of the new normal rate of unemployment.”

The question becomes, what happens to that ‘extra’ 1.7% of US population? Are they unjustifiably unemployed, if we assume that 5% is truly normal for a super-rich society like our own?… Read the rest

Continue Reading

2010 Financial and Commodity Markets and Productivity: WTF?

I could go on and on about the way speculative finance is utterly divorced from the real economy, sapping 80 cents out of the economy for each dollar it touches*, etc., etc..  But why bother when the following chart says it all? Compiled from the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics release.
Financial and Commodity Markets in 2010 - WTF[1]
See underlying analysis, along with links to original source data, within this workbook.

P.S.  I would like to offer a ‘special’ TBA prize to the first Dystopia Diaries reader who detects the even more disturbing trend vis-a-vis crude oil prices and CPU within the workook data.  Hint:  Can you say “Peak Oil?”

Footnote
*Yeah, it’s true.  By giving yet another extraordinary tax cut to the finance-addled trust fund brats, Obama and the Republican’ts are throwing away 80% of those dollars’ productivity.  See the analytical graph and supporting details here.

Contributed from Dystopia Diaries

Read the rest

Continue Reading

The Real State Of The Union – From President Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Dwight D. Eisenhower

The columnists at MarketWatch must have misread the memo from Murdoch about being staunchly Republican and pro-business no matter the cost. Following Paul Farrell’s rant about the conspiracy of the super rich, now Brett Arends reminds us of Dwight Eisenhower’s warning of a military-industrial complex taking over the United States — and shows us that it’s already happened:

Forget the posturing you’re going to hear tonight. Do you want to hear the real state of the union? Just ask Ike: President Dwight Eisenhower.

As fund manager Jeremy Grantham notes, it was 50 years ago this month that the old general delivered his famous farewell address to the nation after a lifetime of service that few will ever match.

Less well-remembered: His warning against hocking ourselves up to the eyeballs as the easy way out of any problem.

“We… must avoid the impulse to live only for today, plundering, for our own ease and convenience, the precious resources of tomorrow,” he said.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Still Think Financial Markets = Financial Investment?

For those STILL too gullible to believe that we will never recover until we stop the irresponsible hoarding and gambling behaviours of Wall Street through a property tax on large securities holdings, I present the following:

Dow vs. Employment Chart Our economy doesn’t need to print more money.  The economy must have had about $1.5 TRILLION more money at the end of 2010 than it started with.  What we need to do is make the banksters and uber-rich pay their fair share and stop glomming off old age pensioners.

Details available upon request.  Or check it out for yourself here.

If you liked this, or better yet, if you hated this, check out my ‘Policy Directions‘ page at Dystopia Diaries.

Read the rest

Continue Reading

2010 Was The Year Of ‘The Crumble’

Happy New Year 2011 banner 1The tenth year of the 21st Century has left us behind, and it can’t be too soon.

It was a year of the crumble.

The economy continued to crumble for ordinary people with little hope for a quick turnaround even as some markets surged. The hopes of the jobless for employment crumbled. The faith of the so many homeowners that they will find a way to stay in their homes facing foreclosure crumbled.

And so have the hopes of so many of us that our new Change Is Coming president would fight for us, would end the wars, would close Gitmo, would abandon torture, would make healthcare more affordable, would give us a government we could believe in; that, too, has crumbled.

Look back at the devastation of the year gone by its ugly election, bought and paid for by US Supreme Court sanctioned special interests, oil spilled by the Gulf-ful, wars escalated, climate change unabated, and Wall Street unchecked and we have to scratch our heads and wonder who is crazier, them or us.… Read the rest

Continue Reading