Welcome to the weekly roundup of great articles, facts and figures. These are the weekly finds that made our eyes pop.
Leaked AT&T Document Proves T-Mobile Merger to Reduce Competition
Everyday we see, ad nauseum, smart phone advertising, saturating the airwaves. Do ya ever think... hmmmm, you want $10 for 1GB of data over 2GB and are charging $15 to $30 bucks for 2G Bytes data? Seems Verizon and AT&T's pricing models are more about how stupid people are and how much hype they will buy. If you watch one HD movie over 4G, you will go over 2GB of data. Don't let them fool ya, there are a lot of different bitrates for video and quality is dramatically affected, display size also can come into the mix. Surprise surprise. With that, see how the leaked internal AT&T document shows the buyout of T-Mobile is all about destroying competition in order to monopolize the market. Remember the days of $500 dollar long distance bills?
I'm Mad As Hell
In case you missed it...
Obama's Latest Fed Picks
Ezra Klein has dug into a few research papers of Obama Federal Reserve potential picks. Recall Republican Senator Shelby blocked a noble prize winning economist earlier.
Economists Starting to Call Out GOP Economic Fiction
Real Target is the Same - Out to Destroy Social Safety Nets
Matt Stoller is pointing to S&P being in cahoots with the never ending agenda to destroy Social Security and Medicare at all costs:
In the early 1990s, according to Canadian investigative journalist Linda McQuaig, Canadian corporate executives encouraged ratings agencies to threaten a downgrade of their nation’s credit as an inducement for cutting social spending and lowering high-end tax rates. It worked.
And today we are seeing that Republicans use ratings agencies to support their conservative agenda: that the government can’t spend so much on entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security. Benefits of public employee unions must also be slashed, public assets privatized and the disruptive power of unions countered.
The government, this argument insists, needs to be run like a business — and rated like one. That would make sense to S&P, whose parent company is run by Terry McGraw, who moonlights as a leader of the Washington corporate powerhouse, the Business Roundtable.
S&P’s downgrade may ultimately provide cover for the Democrats leadership, as well. They now have the excuse that can justify to supporters why they have no choice but to break promises made to senior citizens, unions and the public. For example, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer has been giving speeches for years advocating entitlement cuts.
Why Is So Much Trade Fiction Published as Fact?
It is disturbing the economic fiction that is touted about trade agreements. What is it about the trade deficit and lost jobs these people do not understand?
We have more fiction coming from the Brookings Institution, which Public Citizen dutifully calls out.
Like the Obama administration, the policy brief incorrectly cites the U.S. International Trade Commission's (USITC) predictions for the change in exports to Colombia under the Colombia FTA as the increase in U.S. exports ($1,060 million), rather that prediction for the change in total U.S. exports under the FTA ($654 million). Moreover, the brief does not discuss the jobs implications of the fact that U.S. imports will increase more than exports under the Korea and Colombia trade deals. Since imports will increase more than exports, net job losses will likely result.
Free Money Through Moving Money Around the Globe
David Cay Johnston is explaining how tax gateways allow multinational corporations to pay no taxes.
Companies and rich investors use gateway countries so they can earn profits in such places as India, China and Indonesia. Favorable tax treaties let them send dividends and other payments to such places as Mauritius and Singapore while paying little or no tax. The United States can even provide such benefits under some of its tax treaties.
These treaties are sold to the public as vital to avoiding double taxation of the same money and thus encouraging cross-border investments. Countries with tax treaties that enable lightly taxed or tax-free profits can benefit if their rules require local work by accountants, bankers, executives, investment bankers and lawyers, who earn high pay and require little in government services.
But just as tax laws can be drafted to fashion loopholes, so too can tax treaties.
One of the biggest loopholes involves what is commonly known as “black money” and a circular movement of capital known as “round tripping.”
Black money refers to capital that is being hidden, sometimes from the tax authorities and sometimes from partners, litigants, estranged spouses or even criminals such as loan sharks or drug dealers.
The more complex a topic is, the more you can bet it's a rats maze to hide ill-gotten free money in. Such is the corporate tax code of the United States.