Welcome to the end of the week and another edition of Happy Hour! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy your end of the week roundup of all things interesting in the land of money.
Apple Tax Hearing
Misdirection is used to deceive an audience by focusing their attention on one thing in order to distract it from something else. Magicians use it all the time. So do politicians.
Apple’s tax practices were dragged through the mud this week in a lame attempt to shift blame for the abysmal tax code our elected officials voted into law. The idea that Apple or any company is somehow skirting their duty by not paying taxes is ridiculous. It’s still in the best interest of shareholders to maximize profits, right? That still includes using legal means to lower the tax bill. If you’re an Apple shareholder you should be applauding all the way to the bank.
The government accusation amounts to Apple’s tax gimmickry somehow hurting taxpayers. Any sane person knows Apple isn’t at fault for the government’s problems. Nor are any other companies. But politicians need someone to blame for their ineptitude.
Sorry Apple, you’re it.
You can get caught up with the video or live blog of the hearings. Notice that tax evasion is never mentioned during the hearing. Instead these bozo’s don’t like the outcome that their tax code created so they blame the companies. Even the name of the hearing, “Offshore Profit Shifting and the U.S. Tax Code”, makes it sound insidious and…shifty.
We shouldn’t forget that tax avoidance is a national pastime in this country. We spend the first four months of every year trying to pay as little taxes as possible. Everyone does it, some better than others. We use loopholes. We celebrate tax refunds. The only complaints are from those who owe money. Yet somehow Apple is bad for paying $6 billion in taxes last year.
If our congressmen and women are so appalled by the current tax codes, the tax code they created, then they should fix it. When you create a favorable tax system for corporations don’t get mad if corporations decide to use it.
Blaming corporations for their own mess is the epitome of the “dog ate my homework” excuse. It’s even sadder to think this is who we have charged to make decisions and run this country. How did these clowns get elected? Right, enough people were focusing on something else.
Natural gas drilling hit a major setback in Germany. It introduced the best argument against fracking ever with the fear that groundwater contamination would taint their beer.
The Germans are very proud of their beer heritage. Understandably so. They went out of their way to craft very specific laws to protect it. So back in 1516, that was 497 years ago, the German Beer Purity Law created a strict brewing standard – only water, hops, and malt could be used to make beer. That was changed in 1993, by the Provisional German Beer Law allowing for more ingredients.
It’s safe to say, German’s hate skunky beer.
- Challenge What You Think You Know – insightful look at confirmation bias and understanding both sides of an argument with your investments.
- The Portfolio Manager Strategy Cycle – seems the pros deal with the same emotions as average investors but use fancier terms than fear and greed.
- The Ridiculous Nature Of Asset-Based Fees – something to think about if you’re in the market for a financial advisor.
- Can Two Senators End ‘Too Big To Fail’? – worth watching for the bipartisanship and anti bank sentiment. But would be bad for big banks and good for regional and small community banks.
- Notes from the PIMCO Investment Summit with Mohamed El-Erian – great notes worth reading through from the PIMCO Summit.