Africa and the War on Offshore Finance

While not condoning the hiding of accounts by dictators and criminals, I have to say that the US trying to stake out a moral high ground in this is laughable. Attempting to influence the US to pursue the dictators’ money through somehow attacking their accounts is naive. . . . → Read More: Africa and the War on Offshore Finance

Catch-22: Americans abroad have problems with local bank accounts

In an absurd manner the Obama administration has chosen with the passing of FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Comliance Act) to penalize almost ALL US Citizens living abroad while trying to close loopholes for tax cheats. This will of course have a profound long term negative effect on US export competitiveness, but the administration does not care. The penalties and the reporting requirements are . . . → Read More: Catch-22: Americans abroad have problems with local bank accounts

A Nixon for Tax Increases?

As it took Nixon, with clear anti-communist credentials to stop the Vietnam war (even with secret bombing of Cambodia, and CIA shenanigans all over Southeast Asia, Kissinger, etc.); unfortunately it looks like it will take a Republican President with tax reduction and deficit reduction credibility in 2012 or in 2016 to finally say to the American people that the honest way out of . . . → Read More: A Nixon for Tax Increases?

Pritchard Alabama stops paying its pensioners

This is one of the saddest Christmas stories I have read recently. A small Alabama town has stopped paying its pensions to the town’s retirees. The New York Times writes:

This struggling small city on the outskirts of Mobile was warned for years that if it did nothing, its pension fund would run out of money by 2009. Right on schedule, its fund . . . → Read More: Pritchard Alabama stops paying its pensioners

What’s happened to wages?

Measured in 2009 dollars, total wages fell to just above $5.9 trillion, down $215 billion from the previous year. Compared with 2007, when the economy peaked, total wages were down $313 billion or 5 percent in real terms. The number of Americans with any wages in 2009 fell by more than 4.5 million compared with the previous year. Because the population grew by about 1 percent, the number of idle hands and minds grew by 6 million. This means a real under- and unemployment rate of more than 22 percent. . . . → Read More: What’s happened to wages?

Taxcut haircut

President Obama has twisted the arms of the Senate Republicans so much that they are going to give him exactly what they want: extension of the Bush tax cuts for two years. Ezra Klein at the Wall Street Journal reported on Mark Zandi‘s thoughts:

I also asked him about the Bush tax cuts. His own figures say they’re a horrible deal on stimulus . . . → Read More: Taxcut haircut

Bank Sarasin (Geneva) shorts America

As we postulated, the IRS continues to aid the US trade imbalance by motivating investors to flee American stocks and bonds. Today Sarasin Bank announced, as covered by Le Temps Geneva (in French – my translation) that it had written its customers that it is suspending all trading in American companies equities, in addition is counsels its customers to do the same (!) . . . → Read More: Bank Sarasin (Geneva) shorts America

American Empire: your citizens are bailing

U.S. expatriations in the Second Quarter of 2010 at highest level since 1997. For those who live overseas, this comes as no big surprise. The U.S. Government during the last two years has unleashed some of the most harsh, expensive and legally dangerous new rules and regulations for overseas Americans in the private sector that we have ever seen, and from recent articles in the press, it would appear that some of the leaders of the forthcoming 112th Congress have plans to make things even worse next year. No other major trading nation in the world has ever treated its private sector overseas citizens as badly as the United States does today. And it is hardly a coincidence that the United States has today the world’s largest and most chronic trade deficit too, currently accumulating at a rate in excess of $1 billion per day. . . . → Read More: American Empire: your citizens are bailing

Foreclosure-gate is a ‘cancer’

This is a great video by Christopher Whalen on Bloomberg. He is saying some of the things which are going to be working out over the next few years in the slow motion of foreclosures. The knock on effects will work out as a long downward pressure on asset classes, not a single Lehman like event: You guys in in the media have a very tough time. You’re looking for events. You’re trying to cover the news minute by minute. This is cancer. . . . → Read More: Foreclosure-gate is a ‘cancer’

Wake up: Jobs and exports are related to tax policy

In the mid 1970s when the US was the world’s #1 exporter with a positive world trade balance for 95 out of the previous 100 years, Sen. William Proxmire (D,WI), proclaimed that Americans living and working abroad served no useful purpose in creating American jobs by selling American exports. To him they were “…swathed in mink spending their tax evasion dollars at the gambling tables of Monte Carlo” and mounted a campaign to exterminate them by also subjecting US citizens living, working and taxed abroad to the same US taxation on their world-wide income as if they had never left our shores. . . . → Read More: Wake up: Jobs and exports are related to tax policy