Category Archives: Taxes

Unintentional Tax Humor on the Inversion Scam at Forbes

While you’ve all been busy being distracted by the strife in Gaza and Ukraine, or perhaps more sensibly decided to tune out and enjoy the summer, various not so pretty developments have been moving forward with alacrity in the US. One is a spate of so-called “inversion” deals, in which corporations use acquisitions to move their headquarters overseas, which allows them to arrange their affairs so as to greatly lower their tax bills. The latest group of companies to try this ruse are in the health care industry, brandishing the excuse that if they fail to follow this dodgy practice, they won’t be competitive.

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Senate Report: Hedge Funds Used Basket Options to Save Billions in Taxes

The Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations released a report today that found that hedge funds have been using basket options to save billion in taxes. And when we say “billions,” the report indicates it’s more like tens of billions, since the paper estimates that the tax reduction achieved at one hedge fund, Renaissance Technology, operated by the famed James Simons, was $6.8 billion.

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Randy Wray: “Debt-Free Money” – A Non Sequitur in Search of a Policy

Yves here. I must confess that I am at a loss to understand the deep emotional reactions some readers have to MMT. It’s like raging at a thermometer because it shows you your body temperature. Virtually all of the complaints about MMT are based on a failure to understand what it says about how money works. MMT is descriptive of our current system, and it also has a message that progressives (the real kind, not the Democratic fauxgressive kind) ought to welcome, that the Federal government as a sovereign does not need to run a balance budget, and that a balanced budget is in fact destructive when the economy is as slack as it is now. That means the government not only can but should spend more, which is in contrast to all those barmy arguments about how we can’t spend to [fill in your priorities, have national health care, improve our infrastructure, feed low income kids in school, etc.]. If you don’t like the Federal government directing that much spending, there’s a remedy for that too: revenue sharing, which was instituted under that great liberal Richard Nixon, who though the Federal government raised revenues more efficiently than state and local governments, but state and local government were better at setting spending priorities.

MMT provides a basis for rejecting neoliberalism and austerity, and people who ought to embrace it are instead being told falsehoods about it and are becoming skeptical. That assures that the current crop of looters can continue their work unperturbed.

However, MMT does require that you turn the conventional stories about money inside-out. It takes some mental rewiring to understand it, and that degree of reorientation seems to be a big reason for the heated reactions.

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Don Quijones: Mini Tax Havens – How Europe’s 1% Gets to Pay Only 1%

If you thought tax havens were limited to tax haven destinations like Switzerland and the Caymans and the Isle of Man, think again. European governments happily accommodate tax schemes that allow the wealthy to shift funds into super low tax vehicles. Yet at the very same time, ordinary citizens are being broken on the rack of austerity.

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Why the Rich Aren’t Job Creators

This is a short talk by venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, who among other things, was the first non-family investor in Amazon. Hanauer in very simple and effective terms debunks the “rich are job creators” myth. Even though the video is going viral (now at over 1 million views on YouTube, it is important enough that I wanted to make sure NC readers saw it and circulated it.

Hanauer’s remarks illustrates the degree to which propaganda has overcome commercial common sense.

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How Private Equity Investors Signed Up for Tax Trouble

How did supposedly sophisticated investors sign up for investments that have tax liability bombs in them? The seemingly arcane but actually important tax problem of UBTI, or “unrelated business taxable income,” illustrates how utterly outmatched private equity limited partners are by the general partners and their top-tier hired guns.

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Why a Carbon Tax is Better Than Obama’s Cap and Trade

This weekend, former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson weighed in at the New York Times abouyt the need for more urgent action on the climate front, and described how various indicators of how quickly climate change is taking place, such as the speed of Arctic and Antarctic ice melt, are moving much faster than models had predicted.

Paulson, who has long been an ardent conservationist (and in contrast to his alpha Wall Street male standing, lives modestly), made a forceful pitch for carbon taxes. The irony of this proposal is that we have a Republican showing what a right-winger Obama really is.

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The Private Equity Limited Partnership Agreement Release: The Industry’s Snowden Moment

We’ve published 12 private equity limited partnership agreements, including the KKR limited partnership agreement that was key to an important Wall Street Journal story. The source documents have been removed from the Pennsylvania Treasury’s website, so our document trove has now become the best source for these records.

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Randy Wray: Forget Taxes for Redistribution – What to do About Inequality

Yves here. A lot of people argue for redistributive taxes, contending that they were very successful in the golden age of the American middle class, from the end of World War II through the Reagan era, in constraining the concentration of income and wealth at the top. However, that tax structure reflected a broad social consensus in favor of fostering prosperity for ordinary Americans, in no small measure to keep Communist impulses at bay.

In Yankee terms, Wray’s argument against using taxes to create a more egalitarian distribution of income is “You can’t get there from here”.

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