Mar 28 2011

Lower Corporate Taxes=Higher Returns?

Lower Corp. Taxes=Higher Returns?
I saw this earlier today on CNBC.  Interesting tidbit after last night’s 60 Minutes story on companies domiciling overseas for tax reasons, like Transocean in Switzerland.

Companies in the S&P 500 paid about 20% versus the statutory rate of 35%.  About 1/3 of the 500 companies paid higher than the 35%.  Guess who those companies are?  Some of the highest tax payers?  Exxon Mobil and ConocoPhillips both paid more than 40% in taxes.  So much for all those allegedly ridiculous tax breaks the oil companies get.  Whirlpool hasn’t paid taxes in three years.  AT&T paid nothing.  GE paid nothing.

Look at the chart based on CBO numbers for 2008.  Only 12% of federal tax revenue came from corporate taxes.  I recently heard on NPR the number for 2010 was 8%, if I remember correctly, in the wake of the Great Recession.  Two seconds looking at that chart will reveal to anyone with common sense what we need to do to solve our budgetary issues.  Forget tinkering with corporate taxation.  Set it at 20%, eliminate loopholes, and forget about it.  We need to increase the wages of common folk, which will increase the payroll tax piece of the pie and thus get us on the road to keeping Medicare and Social Security solvent, and we need to redistribute the income tax burden to be more fair based on wealth.

Ignoring deductions, etc. it’s ridiculous that a single person making $106,800 a year pays 22% versus a single person making 200% MORE at $320,400 a year pays only 6% more at 28%.  Now let’s throw in the payroll tax that gets capped at $106,800.  Forgetting the 2% reduction in 2011, the $107k employee pays an additional 6.2% in FICA, thus the $107k employee pays 28% to the federal government.  How about the $320k employee?  That person pays the same FICA, of course, and thus in total only pays 2% more at 30% to the federal government. The first person has about $77k to live on and the other person has $224k to live on.  I haven’t even touched the subject of taxation on the ultra-wealthy who “live off of” dividends and long-term capital gains.  What about retirees, you ask, and dividends, etc.?  Simple, exempt below a comfortable level such as $52k (median household income level).  If someone is making hundreds of thousands of dollars or millions a year by selling off portions of a huge estate, it’s totally ridiculous they only pay 15% capital gains.  Warren Buffett has repeatedly pointed this out, that his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does for this reason.

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/lower-corporate-taxeshigher-returns/

Jan 02 2011

Deindustrialization of America is a National Crisis?

I recently received a forwarded email bemoaning the “deindustrialization of America is a national crisis.” I usually do not give much thought to forwarded emails, but since this one was full of red herrings and questionable facts / statistics and questionable use of the same, I thought I would reply since the email pushed some of my conspiracy-despising buttons. The content of the email can mostly be found here. Or, simply Google “19 Facts About The Deindustrialization Of America” and you’ll see the blogosphere is littered with copy-and-paste posts referring to this list.

As the great art rock singer and lyricist David Byrne of the Talking Heads sang three decades ago in “Crosseyed & Painless:”

Facts are simple and facts are straight
Facts are lazy and facts are late
Facts all come with points of view
Facts don’t do what I want them to
Facts just twist the truth around
Facts are living turned inside out
Facts are getting the best of them

Please allow me to “twist the truth around” some more. My response follows (snippets of original email in bold).


Claiming “deindustrialization” as a “national crisis” and thus impying “reindustrialization” as a solution to unemployment, poverty, etc. is a red herring.  The United States is still the world’s largest manufacturer with more manufacturing output than China, India, and Brazil combined, while the U.S. has just 11% the population of those three countries.
________________________________
Sent: Sun, January 2, 2011 5:48:06 PM
Subject: Bottom of Hole–Stop Digging

This is a lot of food for thought, interesting–some disgusting.
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How many millions more Americans are going to become unemployed before we all admit that we have a very, very serious problem on our hands?

What’s the “very, very serious problem on our hands?” Unemployment? Poverty? Losing wealth? And “whose” hands are we talking about? The USA need not worry about “losing wealth” when it is still by far the wealthiest country on this planet.  If the problems at stake are unemployment and poverty, then let’s reorient our priorities to educate our children better than every other country on earth so we can increase the US’s share of high-paying “service” jobs like engineers, computer programmers, financial services, professional scientists, medical technicians, doctors, nurses, and so on …  The answer to unemployment is “reindustrialization?” The forces of global capitalism are only going to bring back manufacturing jobs if the wages are low enough.  Is that what “we” want?  Paying minimum wage to people to manufacture T-shirts for Walmart and toys for McDonald’s Happy Meals?

How many more trillions of dollars are going to leave the country before we realize that we are losing wealth at a pace that is killing our economy?

Total red herring. US GDP has remained fairly consistent for 40 years at around 27% of global GDP and retains the highest per capita GDP of the populous countries, some 30% higher than #2 among the populous countries, Germany, and SEVEN TIMES the productivity of China.

How many once great manufacturing cities are going to become rotting war zones like Detroit before we understand that we are committing national economic suicide?

We must first recognize the latent racism in this question since more than 80% of the city of Detroit is black (e.g. Buffalo, NY, has a comparably high total crime rate to Detroit, a similar history of “deindustrialization,” though 80% of Buffalo is white; why not use Buffalo as the example?). Second, we must recognize the fallacy of correlation with causation when talking about cities as “rotting war zones,” i.e. places of higher than average violent crime rates; even the libertarian, free-marketeer Thomas Sowell recognizes this fallacy in his book, Economic Facts and Fallacies. Third, violent crime in Detroit has actually decreased in the last three years during the Great Recession. Fourth, while it’s true that a significant chunk of the manufacturing base of the U.S. has left the country, before the globalization trend picked up there was the redistribution of manufacturing capacity from cities to rural areas and collar counties where corporations got tax incentives, access to more land, and where wages were lower. Why not bemoan the deindustrialization of rural America as leading to the surge of meth labs, pot farms, drug addiction, alcoholism, suicide, and depression?

The deindustrialization of America is a national crisis. It needs to be treated like one.

Got it … though “deindustrialization” is still a red herring crisis.

If you disagree with this article, I have a direct challenge for you.  Can anyone explain how a deindustrialized, mortgaged America has any kind of viable economic future?

Anyone?  Sure. How about history’s most successful allocator of capital?  Warren Buffett: “This country will solve its problems. We’re not so good at avoiding problems but we’re pretty good at solving problems. In the early ’80s we thought Germany and Japan would be eating our lunch and we’d all just be working at McDonald’s and cutting hair to keep busy. We’ve added tens of millions of jobs. We do come up with things you can’t predict; we’ll have a software industry or a great aircraft industry; those things come along. To the world right now 12% of our GDP is going to export and 35 years ago only 5% was. So we’re making make things the world wants. I agree with you, governor [Ed Rendell], you’ve really got–you’ve got to count on the potential of people that you and I don’t even know coming up with new things to do that the world wants. Historically we’ve been very good at that and I think we’ll be good at it in the future.”

America is in deep, deep trouble folks.  It is time to wake up.  Do you have the courage to do something/anything about it?

Yes. Stop whining about massive shifts in global capitalism and do something to make the system work better for everyone. In the end, it’s entirely possible robots will manufacture everything, so then what will we humans do? What happens to the massive energy sector when humans create viable commercial fusion reactors with Helium-3 from the moon, thus displacing countless millions of workers employed in jobs related to the processing of fossil fuels for energy? If we need to “wake up” to realize anything we need to wake up and realize we need to stimulate societal valuation and esteem of “humanitarian” jobs in the arts, social services, education, health care, hospitality, etc.

Who would have thought just twelve years ago that a feisty little start up in a Bay-area garage would today be a $200 billion juggernaut–Google–that does not manufacture anything!  Recently a private equity deal values Facebook at $50 billion.  What does Facebook manufacture? Nothing! Disney is a $73 billion company. What do they manufacture? Answer: essentially nothing but “dreams” and “happiness.”

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/deindustrialization-america-national-crisis/

Dec 24 2010

Download Adobe Reader X Standalone Installer

If you don’t like the idea to go through the Adobe Download Manger to download Adobe Reader X (10), then you want the offline standalone Installer which lets you download the latest Adobe Reader version right away on your computer without downloading other junk first! In this tutorial I am going to show you how to get the direct links to download Adobe Reader X Standalone and how to always be updated with the latest Adobe Reader version by gaining access to Adobe FTP  page which contains  all its PDF Readers products!

Here are all the Adobe PDF Reader version directly available for free download.


Adobe Reader X Standalone for Windows Operating Systems

Adobe Reader X Standalone for Mac Operating Systems

If you wish to always stay updated and never miss the latest Adobe Reader version, here is a little trick for you.

As soon as Adobe releases the latest PDF reader it will put it online right away on its public (bu rather unknown) FTP server. Here you will be able to find all PDF Reader version for any kind of OS including UNIX, LINUX etc.

(cross post from webtlk.com)

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Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/download-adobe-reader-standalone-installer/

Dec 13 2010

Manually Delete DNN Module

Ever install a DNN module and then your whole site goes down?  If after you install a DNN module and then get a .NET error like “Required permissions cannot be acquired” (turn “Off” customErrors in your web.config file to see full error), then you can manually delete the module files you uploaded (in the “DesktopModule” and “Bin” folders) to get your DNN site back up. Once your site is working again, login and uninstall the module in the “Host / Module Definitions” interface.

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Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/manually-delete-dnn-module/

Oct 27 2010

Ryuichi Sakamoto, “Playing the Piano,” at The Vic in Chicago

Well, while I am very happy to have seen Ryuichi Sakamoto at The Vic last night, I don’t think Sakamoto fans missed much if you did not go (you can see many pieces on Sakamoto’s YouTube Channel and elsewhere on YouTube). He started late, played about one hour, which ended with “Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence,” and then he did three songs as encore, all from the “olden days”: “Tibetan Dance” from Ongakuzukan, “Happy End” from BGM, and “Thousand Knives.” I had read some reviews, and the set list was exactly the same as everywhere else.

There’s no denying the genius of his musicality and virtuosity, both of which are classically trained and delicately poetic. The volume was too low for my liking, especially when his piano had to compete with the occasional Excel XLERATOR hand dryer in the bathrooms in the back of the theater and down one level. At first I thought someone was running a vacuum or something in the bar areas and then realized after the show when I went to the bathroom the sound was coming from the hand dryers. Totally annoying. Three-to-four people went to the bathroom during the show and used the hand dryers. It’s not their fault. I fault The Vic. They need to rip those outta there and put in paper and deal with the cost and clean up. For these quieter, artsy performances the hand dryers are a total buzz kill. And then there were the few people coming and/or going from the theater and letting the doors bounce closed. Argh!

There weren’t many people there, and there were only general admission seats, i.e. folding chairs on the main floor. The balcony was closed. The cool thing about his performance was the set up of two Yamaha grand pianos. Most of the pieces were just him playing the grand with periodic, deeply low-pitched, rumbling, pink noise-ish, wave-like sound effects, barely audible, that served as atmospheric connective tissue among all of the pieces. He was also accompanied by minimalist, abstract video run from an iMac. There were two pieces, IIRC, that he played as a “duet” with the other grand controlled by a digital Disklavier, which played Sakamoto’s pre-recorded performance including all of his nuanced pedaling and key pressure, i.e. the other grand was a very sophisticated player piano. In a very real sense he played duets with himself. All three encore pieces were duets using this method.

Permanent link to this article: http://eunhyeandchris.com/ryuichi-sakamoto-the-vic-chicago/

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