Saturday, February 28, 2015

KFC to Serve Edible Coffee Cups

Sometimes free markets are crazy.



KFC is about to launch an edible coffee cup.

The heat-resistant chocolate coated cookie biscuit cup called "Scoff-ee Cup" are currently on trial at KFC locations in the UK for a limited time. It will soon be launched across KFC restaurants in the UK.

According to the company, "KFC's 'Scoff-ee Cup' is a 100 percent edible coffee cup that are infused with a variety of mood improving aromas such as coconut sun cream, freshly cut grass and wild flowers."

Not my cup of coffee. (But I thought the same thing the first time I saw a vendor selling an ice cream cookie sandwich in NYC)

 --RW

The Net Neutrality Crack-Up

By Holman W. Jenkins Jr.

Generations of high-school students have chuckled over the line, in Henry George’s 19th century book “Progress and Poverty,” that “If a man build a ship we make him pay for his temerity, as though he had done an injury to the state; if a railroad be opened, down comes the tax-collector upon it, as though it were a public nuisance.”

That’s the cable industry, which invested to create the nation’s high-speed broadband platform and now is being punished for it. Cable invested when, for regulatory reasons, the phone companies wouldn’t. Now the Obama administration says we need strict regulation because there’s not enough competition for the fast broadband option that only a lightly regulated cable industry was willing to build.

To dispense with one justifying myth, utility regulation is being imposed under a false flag, to solve a net-neut problem that, as even the FCC has acknowledged, has long since vanished from the marketplace. This week James Dolan of Cablevision announced falling TV numbers and told investors, “Connectivity has surpassed video as the primary product for a company like ours.” By “connectivity,” he means giving Web customers access to whatever they want.

Here’s another truth: Most of the big tech names like Google , Apple, Facebook and Microsoft have kept quiet as net neutrality morphed into a Title II utility-regulation agenda because they didn’t want to be attacked by left-wing groups, and because they trusted Tom Wheeler and Mr. Obama not to screw up an Internet that was working well. They’ve been blindsided, if not cheated, by the Obama administration. Only Netflix among the biggies went a different way for its own peculiar and dishonorable reasons, somehow inveigling the FCC into treating interconnection and peering as a net-neutrality issue, which it previously wasn’t.

Read the rest here.

The First Nobel Prize in Economics to Sell at Auction Just Fetched $390,848

The first Nobel Prize medal in economics to ever go up for auction sold for $390,848 Thursday night, according to seller Nate D. Sanders Auctions, reports WSJ.

That’s more than for prizes in physics, but far from the million-plus payouts for prizes for medicine or peace.

The prize had been awarded to the economist Simon Kuznets in 1971 for his work on growth.

Prices for the medals have been skyrocketing in price (Thank you Janet Yellen).



What I would really like to see is a head-to-head auction of Paul Krugman's medal versus that of Friedrich Hayek's.

Hayek would blow Krugman away, and sell for well over a $1,000,000.

--RW


"They Are All a Bunch of Money Printers"

A group of "conservative" economists met with Fed chair Janet Yellen, on Friday. As Ludwig von Mises might say, "They are all a bunch of money printers."

They didn't discuss the distortions to the capital-consumption structure caused by Fed money printing.  They only discussed, degrees of Fed money printing, different methods of Fed money printing and the level at which the Fed should distort interest rates.

CNN reports:
Steve Lonegan, the director of monetary policy at the American Principles in Action who organized the meeting, told CNN after the conclusion of the meeting. "I would like to hope that what we established with Chair Yellen was respect."...

In addition to discussing the potential harm of keeping interest rates low for too long, some participants also shared their wish to see the central bank take a more "rules-based" approach in its policy decisions, according to several attendees...

Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association, told Yellen and Brainard that record low interest rates coupled with rising cost of living are hurting the country's seniors.

"A Federal Reserve policy that eases restrictions on interest rates, allowing struggling seniors to earn even a few extra dollars from their savings and investments would be a true God send," Martin said, according to prepared remarks shared with CNN. "To the elderly, such a policy could be the difference in their very survival."
--RW

Google is Planning a New Headquarters with MOVEABLE Buildings!!

Bloomberg explains:
Google is planning an ambitious new expansion of its Silicon Valley headquarters, including movable buildings and structures that trade windows and roofs for translucent canopies.
The tech giant today detailed its plans to drastically "rethink" its main campus in Mountain View, Calif., where it's been based for 15 years. It's the first time the company will design and build its offices from scratch. The master plan is a collaboration between Bjarke Ingels, a Danish architect with a reputation for wild designs, and Thomas Heatherwick, a London designer known for even wilder bridges. 
The campus will have "lightweight block-like structures which can be moved around easily," the company says. In theory, a section housing a team could be picked up and moved elsewhere on the campus depending on what other teams it is working with. Translucent canopies will cover each site, allowing plenty of natural light. The canopies, Google says, will also liberate the buildings from "traditional architectural limitations like walls, windows and roofs."


Warren Buffett's Shareholder Letter is Out

Warren Buffett is out with his annual letter where he discuses his holding company Berkshire Hathaway operations and his investment philosophy. This is the 50th consecutive letter.

Between 1964 and 2014, according to his letter, Berkshire stock climbed in value by 1,826,163%.

Of note, Buffett may be the top beneficiary in the world of Federal Reserve money pumping into the bankster the world. Among his top holdings, he controls stocks or options in 5 bankster operations,.




Here's Buffett on venture deals etc. which is why you don't see him involved in the current insanity in Silicon Valley:
Charlie and I frequently get approached about acquisitions that don’t come close to meeting our tests: We’ve found that if you. advertise an interest in buying collies, a lot of people will call hoping to sell you their cocker spaniels. A line from a country song expresses our feeling about new ventures, turnarounds, or auction-like sales: “When the phone don’t ring, you’ll know it’s me.”
And here's Buffett on the infamous Jimmy Ling of yesteryear, which reminds me of a lot of many current SV operators (who don't even have the sales Ling put together!):
Through a lot of corporate razzle-dazzle, Ling had taken LTV from sales of only $36 million in 1965 to number 14 on the Fortune 500 list just two years later. Ling, it should be noted, had never displayed any managerial skills. But Charlie told me long ago to never underestimate the man who overestimates himself. And Ling had no peer in that respect.
The entire Buffett letter is here.

--RW

The Rothbardian Theory of Taxes

Friday, February 27, 2015

Google Pays $25 Million for ‘.app’ Domain

Google, with a $25 million bid, beat Amazon and others to control the top-level web domain ending “.app”.

The company won an auction Wednesday on ICANN, the nonprofit that oversees the Internet. The $25 million sum is the most paid ever in an ICANN auction, according to a spokesperson.

Elon Musk Calls for a Carbon Tax

Nick Badalamenti emails:
Crony central planner Musk calls for a carbon tax....at 15:00 min in, he calls for it...and makes a huge series of fallacious statements at the same time.


ISIS in Cash Crunch; Begins Imposing Austerity Measures

Wars are expensive, they get bureaucratic and the enemy will attempt to destroy your income streams. FT reports:
Once smokers were flogged in Syrian territory ruled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, now they are fined about $65. Local rulers dismantle old state facilities to sell for parts. And shopkeepers complain Isis fighters no longer spend so freely.
The world’s richest jihadi group is not as flush as it once was, say Syrians who live under its rule. It has cut spending on fuel and bread subsidies, while increasingly shaking down locals for cash. Fighters themselves may be feeling the squeeze, too.
“Isis took some kind of financial hit . . . Some fighters’ salaries were cut, including my nephew,” said a man in the eastern city of Mayadeen, who says an apparent drop in the group’s revenues is making it difficult to cover the cost of its expansion in territory and membership since its lightning offensive last year...
Since the coalition began targeting the makeshift refineries and fuel convoys, Isis passed the refinery business on to local allies and now relies solely on crude extraction and sales of about $20 a barrel.
“Without selling the fuel, and only relying on crude, they lose about half of what their oil revenues once were,” said a gas plant worker from eastern Deir Ezzor province..
Opportunities to loot and kidnap for ransom, which Mr Soltvedt said earned Isis around $20m last year and the FATF put at anything up to $45m, have also become rare as the coalition campaign slows Isis’ territorial gains.
Isis, which has lost hundreds of fighters since the coalition strikes, also pays families 900,000 Syrian pounds (nearly $4,000) for each son killed, Raqqa residents say. With over a thousand believed killed in the battle for the border town of Kobani alone, such payments could be an added financial burden.
The group has also seen a string of high profile commanders and emirs, or local rulers, fleeing — often with hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of dollars. In the past two months, at least five Isis officials have been executed for trying to abscond with large sums of money, according to locals and reports by the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitoring group.

AND IT BEGINS: Moody's Downgrades Chicago


Moody's Investors Service has downgraded Chicago's debt rating, citing its overwhelming pension burden. Moody's dropped the city's rating to  Baa2.

A rating of Baa2 is eight notches below the highest debt rating of Aaa.

Moody's said in its statement its outlook for the city remains negative. A drop of two more notches would make mean the city's bonds would become“junk” bonds.

"We strongly disagree with Moody's decision to reduce the city's credit rating and would note that Moody's has been consistently and substantially out of step with the other rating agencies, ignoring the progress that has been achieved," a spokeswoman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Kelley Quinn, said in a statement.

Chicago has more than $8 billion in taxpayer-backed general obligation debt, as well as roughly $800 million in additional bonds backed by sales tax and motor fuel tax revenues.

Wow, Fortune is Running this Video That Sure Isn't Going to Make Germans Happy...

and Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis is no Greek hero. All indications are that he is going to cave to the banksters. But aside from being totally inaccurate and tasteless, I can see why Fortune posted this. I wonder if they would run a similar video, but accurate, about the black caucus and food stamps.

These 22 Conservatives Are Meeting With Janet Yellen Today

David Weigel reports these are the attendees:
Sean Fieler, president of American Principles in Action (APIA)
Steve Lonegan, director of monetary policy at APIA
Ralph Benko, economic advisor at APIA
John Allison, Cato Institute president
Steve Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation
Peter Sepp, president of the National Taxpayers Union
Sue Ann Penna, president of Citizens for Limited Government
Norbert Michel, Heritage Foundation economist
Judy Shelton, Atlas Network economist
Brian Domitrovic, history professor, Sam Houston University
Marc Miles, economist at Global Economic Solutions
Phil Kerpen, president of American Commitment
Jim Martin, chairman of the 60 Plus Association
Deneen Borelli, outreach director at FreedomWorks
Rich Lowrie, senior advisor at Put Growth First
Matthew DeVries, chairman of Liberty Iowa
Jiesi Zhao, director of the center for entrepreneurship at the Young America's Foundation
It doesn't look like it is the type of group that is going to tell Fed Chair Yellen what I would tell her.

(ht Felix Bronstein)

New Head of CBO is Former Mercatus Center Fellow

When you get too close to D.C., you get swallowed by D.C.

Dr. Keith Hall has been appointed to serve as the next Director of the Congressional Budget Office.

Hall was a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Koch-funded Mercatus Center and as a professor at GMU,

 Hall’s term as CBO Director will begin April 1, 2015.

According to the Mercatus web site:
The Mercatus Center at George Mason University is the world’s premier university source for market-oriented ideas—bridging the gap between academic ideas and real-world problems.

A university-based research center, the Mercatus Center advances knowledge about how markets work to improve people’s lives by training graduate students, conducting research, and applying economics to offer solutions to society’s most pressing problems.

Our mission is to generate knowledge and understanding of the institutions that affect the freedom to prosper, and to find sustainable solutions that overcome the barriers preventing individuals from living free, prosperous, and peaceful live.
It is really difficult to square this view with the work that is done at the CBO, which is essentially to analyze the supposed costs and benefits of government interventions in the economy,

If Hall was serious about his task and expressed them from a free market perspective, he would simply send back to Congress this analysis on every piece of legislation the CBO was tasked with analyzing:
Government programs always interfere with free market operations. This legislation is no different. The economists Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard taught us that cost benefit analysis can not be conducted on government bureaucratic programs, since there are no consumer signals when programs  are initiated via central planning and coercion.

To reach an optimum economy, the program envisioned by this program should be canceled and the funds returned to taxpayers.

"On the free market there prevails an irresistible tendency to employ every factor of production for the best possible satisfaction of the most urgent needs of the consumers. If the government interferes with the process, it can only impair satisfaction; it can never improve it." -- Ludwig von Mises 
--RW

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Robert De Niro Nailed with $6.4 Million Tax Lien

It doesn't look like Robert DeNiro is a big fan of paying taxes

The IRS has filed aa $6.4 million tax lien against him, reports NyPo..

DeNiro has an estimated worth of over $200 million, and has major ownership stakes in properties in LA, London, and throughout Tribeca, including Nobu, TriBeCa Grill, The Greenwich Hotel and TriBeCa Productions.

The lien was assessed in November with the city Department of Finance.

Kick-The-Can Has Morphed Into A Blatant Farce

By David Stockman

Kick-the-can has morphed into a blatant farce. Everywhere in the world central banks and financial officialdom are engaging in desperate, juvenile maneuvers to buy time—–amounting to hardly a few weeks at a go. Never before has the debt-saturated, speculation-ridden global casino rested upon such a precarious foundation.

This week, for instance, Janet Yellen will again waste two days of Congressional hearings in forked-tongue equivocations about an absolutely stupid issue. Namely, the exact date when money market interest rates will be permitted to blip upward from the zero bound by even 25 basis points.
But this “lift-off” drama is flat-out surreal. How could it possibly matter whether ZIRP will have been in place by 80 months or 83 months from its inception point way back in December 2008? There is not a single household or business on main street America which will change its behavior in the slightest during the next year regardless of whether the federal funds rate is 5 bps, 30 bps or 130 bps.

The whole Kabuki dance in the Eccles Building is about

The Truth From Paul Krugman about Republican 'Fiscal Hawks'

I look really hard to find truth from Paul Krugman, and once and awhile I find it:
Gail Collins has a characteristically hilarious piece about Chris Christie, who went around bellowing about his fiscal responsibleness, then, as soon as the question arose about how to pay for something he agreed to, welshed on the deal.
But in any case, there’s a larger point: the Christie affair is yet another demonstration that there are no true fiscal hawks on the right, only deficit peacocks who strut around and preen themselves on their supposed fiscal virtue, but never show themselves willing to make any sacrifices for the cause...
The fading of Chris Christie will lower the decibel level, but nothing else will change.

It's Official: Ukraine is Currently Experiencing Hyperinflation

This is what you get when a country focuses on war, rather than economic production. And has leaders, sponsored by the US btw, who attempt to print money as a way to finance the war.

Steve Hanke writes:
I estimate Ukraine’s current.... monthly inflation rate to be 64.5 percent. This rate exceeds the 50 percent per month threshold required to qualify for hyperinflation. So, if Ukraine sustains its current monthly rate of inflation for several more months, it will enter the record books as the world’s 57th hyperinflation episode. 




--RW

The Net Neutrality Scam; Fixing a Problem That Doesn't Exist

By Ryan McMaken

Yet again, the government wants to fix a problem that doesn’t exist. According to the Obama administration and the FCC, it is necessary to regulate internet service providers so that they don’t interfere with people’s access to the web. The claim immediately prompts one to ask:

Charles Koch Working on Business Book

Billionaire businessman Charles Koch is working on a book in which he offers advice on management and entrepreneurship.

Crown Business announced Thursday that Koch's "Good Profit: How Creating Value for Others Built One of the World's Most Successful Companies" will be published in October.

According to Crown, a Penguin Random House imprint, the book will detail Koch's "management principles and business philosophy."

From the blurb:
In 1967, Charles Koch took the reins of his father’s company and began the process of growing it from a $21 million start-up into a $110 billion global corporation – one of the largest private companies in the world today, with value growth exceeding that of the S&P 500 by 30-fold.

So how did this MIT engineer manage to increase Koch Industries’ value by 5,000 times over the last five decades? Through his unique five-dimensional management process and system called Market-Based Management. Based on five decades of cross-disciplinary studies, experimental discovery, and practical implementation across Koch companies and their 100,000 employees worldwide, the core objective of Market-Based Management’s framework is as simple as it is effective:  to generate good profit.

What is good profit? Good profit results when a company creates value for customers in a way that helps them improve their lives. Good profit is the result of innovations that customers freely vote for with their own dollars; it’s the result of business decisions that create  long term value for everyone--customers, employees, shareholders, and society.

While you won't find the Koch Industries name on your home’s stain-resistant carpet, your baby’s more comfortable but absorbent diapers  your stretch denim jeans, or your television with a better clarity screen, MBM™ drove these innovations and many more.

 Here, drawing on revealing, honest stories from his five decades in business – the company’s many successes as well as its stumbles – Koch walks the reader step-by-step through the five dimensions of Market-Based Management to show stockholders, entrepreneurs, leaders, students --  and innovators, supervisors and employees of all kinds, in any field --how to apply the principles to generate Good Profit in their organizations, companies, and lives.

Caught in the Act: Janet Yellen Falsely Denying that the Fed is Paying Banks above Market Interest Rates



Justine Underhill, who is now an associate producer for Yahoo Finance's morning update show (the one Lauren Lyster used to host), caught what is surely one of the more important exchanges during Fed chair Janet Yellen's testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday.

Underhill shows that although Yellen denied it in her testimony, the Fed is actually paying banks who can deposit funds at the Fed an interest rate significantly above market rates.

Underhill writes:
During the hearing Tuesday, Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) probed Yellen about the central bank's plan to increase interest on excess reserves, as part of its process to normalize monetary policy. Yellen responded, “Well, remember that first of all, we will be paying banks rates that are comparable to those that they can earn in the marketplace, so those payments don't involve subsidies to banks.”

However, the Fed pays banks well above market rates, as measured by a closely-watched benchmark.

Banks yield a return of 25 basis points (0.25%) to keep their excess cash balances overnight at the Fed.  This is called interest on excess reserves (IOER). The General Collateral (GC) Repo rate is a comparable overnight “market” rate, and it is currently well below 25 basis points, according to data from DTCC Solutions.



Underhill concludes:
The chart above demonstrates that IOER is a multiple of the historical GC Repo rate, and as of Monday it was more than 4 times as high....

Keeping money at the Fed is deemed to be risk-free, and this safe storage usually comes at a premium. However, in the case of interest on excess reserves, the Fed pays a higher rate despite being the safest name in town...

Yellen is not the first Fed chairperson to give this response to the Senate. In February 2013, Ben Bernanke responded to Senator Bob Corker’s (R-TN) assertion that the Fed is subsidizing banks with its payments of IOER. Bernanke said (emphasis ours), “We’ll be paying market rates. We’ll be paying exactly what they would be getting in the repo market, the commercial paper market. There’s no subsidy involved.”
  --RW

Scott Sumner Takes On Tyler Cowen on Money Supply and the Boom Phase of the Business Cycle

Now that Scott Sumner has become a member of Team Mercatus, he appears to be paying more attention to the writing of  Tyler Cowen, who is  chairman and general director of the Mercatus Center.

This might be fun.

In a post on Wednesday that Sumner titles, The Dog That Didn't Bark, he takes Cowen to task for stating that monetary policy doesn't have much to do with the recovery phase following a downturn in the economy:
I take issue with this claim [of Cowen's]:
4. During the upward phase of the recovery, monetary policy just doesn’t matter that much.
I  can’t even imagine what a model would look like where that claim was true.  To see why it is not true, compare the post mid-2009 recoveries in the US and Europe. If monetary policy in the US and Europe did not matter very much during the recovery, then the tightening of monetary policy in mid-2011 in the eurozone ought to have had little effect.  What does it look like to you?


Ouch. Of course, one piece of empirical evidence doesn't make a theory, but Sumner is on to something.  Austrian School Business Cycle Theory  explains quite clearly that a boom, where a central bank is active manipulating the economy, is all about  monetary policy, specifically accelerating money printing.

Sumner isn't an Austrian school economist, so he may not even recognize the up phase a part of a new business cycle, but he does look at the data and knows the new up move appears to be driven by money supply, and so he can have some fun with Cowen, who has apparently wandered far, far from his Austrian roots.

Robert Wenzel is Editor & Publisher at EconomicPolicyJournal.com and at Target Liberty. He is also author of The Fed Flunks: My Speech at the New York Federal Reserve Bank. Follow him on twitter:@wenzeleconomics

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Ukraine's Economy Collapsing

Ukraine ’s central bank said it has banned banks from buying foreign currency for their clients until the end of the week, as businesses attempt to move their cash out of the Ukrainian currency, the hryvnia. Specifically, the National Bank introduced a three-day ban on foreign-exchange purchases by companies through banks, and limited the banks’ purchases to 0.5% of their capital.

Hours after the measure was announced, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk called for an emergency session of parliament to pass economic and financial measures designed to secure financing from the International Monetary Fund.

Yatsenyuk slammed the central bank for making the decision “without any consultation,” saying that he’d found out about the measure from the Internet. “It clearly doesn’t add to the stability of the national currency that the National Bank is responsible for,” he said.

The Ukranian currency has already lost more than  half its value, relative to the dollar, since the start of the year.



On another front in the country's deteriorating economic situation, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Moscow may halt natural gas supplies.

Earlier this week, Russian state gas company OAO Gazprom warned that supplies to the EU were at “serious risk,” after it said Ukraine had failed to make a payment for new shipments. Gazprom said that the remaining volumes that have already been prepaid would last for just two days.

The EU is trying to convene a three-way meeting with the Ukrainian and Russian energy ministers to resolve the conflict.

This is going to be one expensive mistress that the US has decided to jump into bed with.

 --RW

(reports via WSJ,  chart via XE.com)

The Anti-Tax Mentality of the Greeks

WSJ explains:
Of all the challenges Greece has faced in recent years, prodding its citizens to pay their taxes has been one of the most difficult.

At the end of 2014, Greeks owed their government about €76 billion ($86 billion) in unpaid taxes accrued over decades; the government says only €9 billion of that can be recovered, with most of the rest lost to insolvency.

Billions more in taxes are owed on never-reported revenue from Greece’s vast underground economy, which was estimated before the crisis to equal more than a quarter of the country’s gross domestic product.

The International Monetary Fund and Greece’s other creditors have argued for years that the country’s debt crisis could be largely resolved if the government just cracked down on tax evasion. Tax debts in Greece equal about 90% of annual tax revenue, the highest shortfall among industrialized nations, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Greece’s new government, scrambling to secure another tranche of short-term funding, agreed on Tuesday to make tax collection a top priority on a long list of measures. Yet previous governments have made similar promises, only to fall short.

Tax rates in Greece are broadly in line with those elsewhere in Europe. But Greeks have a widespread aversion to paying what they owe the state, an attitude often blamed on a combination of cultural and historical forces. During the country’s centurieslong occupation by the Ottomans, avoiding taxes was a sign of patriotism. Today, that distrust is focused on the government, which many Greeks see as corrupt, inefficient and unreliable.

“Greeks consider taxes as theft,” said Aristides Hatzis, an associate professor of law and economics at the University of Athens. “Normally taxes are considered the price you have to pay for a just state, but this is not accepted by the Greek mentality.”

INSANITY Obamacare Requires Government Door-to-Door Vending Machine Checks

By Diana Furchtgott-Roth
It’s bad enough that the Affordable Care Act is raising premiums and deductibles—and perhaps lowering your tax refund. In addition, the ACA has given the Food and Drug Administration the power to go after your favorite vending machine.  By the end of next year, according to a new FDA rule, most snack machines must have calorie counts prominently displayed, or risk removal. 
Any sort of vending machines, from mixed nut machines to gumball machines, are subject to this new rule, if the operator owns twenty or more machines. The calorie declarations must be clear, conspicuous, and placed prominently on a sign in, on, or adjacent to the vending machine.
This rule would not only cost the FDA millions of dollars to implement, money that could be better spent on speeding new drugs to market or returned to the taxpayer, but it could drive many small vending machine companies out of business with little real benefit to consumers. 
While the FDA claims that this new regulation will lower health care costs, it also concedes that it has “not estimated the actual benefits associated with proposed requirements.” In other words, no study was conducted or true consumer behavior tested. The regulation simply assumes that, given more information, consumers would choose to eat less, and obesity would decline. 
The FDA claims that the regulation will decrease healthcare costs by $7.5 billion over the next 20 years. The supposed benefit of these assumed lower obesity levels would be healthier Americans, who would need fewer visits to the doctor and diminished spending for Medicare and Medicaid. But, before implementing a program that will have a definite effect on small businesses, it should have at least attempted to empirically find out whether the regulation will be effective. 
Studies have shown that displaying calories in restaurants does not affect the calorie intake of customers. After a 2008 law mandating the display of calorie counts in chain restaurants was implemented in New York, calorie intake did not decrease, according to a joint study led by Julie Downs of Carnegie Mellon in 2012. 
While the benefit of this program is dubious, expected annual spending on governmental door-to-door compliance checks is estimated to be $38 million a year over twenty years. By 2036, this program will have cost the government over $400 million. 
The cost to the vending machine industry is similarly high...

One of the Biggest Countries in the World Just Caved on FATCA (And who will now need a tax attorney)

By Mark Nestmann
I’ve written frequently about FATCA, the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. This one-sided law forces other countries to enforce US tax laws. If they fail to do so, they’re effectively locked out of US markets and the US dollar – the world’s reserve currency (at least for now).
FATCA imposes a 30% withholding tax on interest, dividends, rents, and similar payments leaving the US. The only way to avoid the tax is for foreign financial institutions (FFIs) to act as unpaid IRS informants. Withholding came into effect last July, although the IRS postponed it for FFIs making a bona fide effort to comply with the law.
Entire countries are labeled “compliant” if they sign what the IRS calls a “Model 1” FATCA agreement. This requires that banks in those countries send the information demanded by the IRS to their own tax authorities to subsequently be sent to the IRS. Other countries, like Switzerland, have signed “Model 2” FATCA agreements. These agreements leave it up to financial institutions in that country to come to an agreement with the IRS.
But there are still some big gaps in the list of countries that have signed FATCA agreements. And the biggest gap of all is the world’s

Government Threatens to Seize Brokerage Account Over 'Too Little' Activity

By Simon Black

This is a great example of ‘sovereign risk’:

One of my close friends here in Singapore opened a brokerage account last year with Interactive Brokers.

If you’re not familiar, Interactive Brokers is a leading securities broker based in Greenwich, Connecticut. You can trade stocks, currencies, options... all that stuff.

Now, my friend is not a US resident (he lives here in Singapore), nor is he a US citizen.

He opened his account through their

Why is Russian Billionaire Roman Abramovich Investing in Texas in a New Fracking Technology?

By James Stafford

Are the Russians coming to Texas riding the tailwinds of fracking? That depends on who you ask, as some believe Russian forces were behind the anti-fracking vote in Denton, while a $15 million investment in new Texas fracking technology by Roman Abramovich perhaps tells another story. 

When the anti-fracking campaign started to heat up late last year in Denton, Texas—the heart of the shale revolution—conspiracy theories were spread from

New Ron Paul Liberty Report: Janet Yellen Goes to Capitol Hill

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

The U.S. Government’s Stupid Tax War on Expatriates

By Brett Arends

The U.S. government’s stupid, hateful and dishonest war on Americans living abroad claimed its latest scalp this week.

London Mayor Boris Johnson, a dual British and American national, says he will join the growing lines of Americans overseas who are now being driven to renounce their U.S. citizenship by the federal government for no good reason.

Johnson, a possible future British prime minister, was born to British parents in New York. His case is not important individually, but it is illustrative. A record number of Americans abroad renounced their citizenship last year, and the numbers are escalating fast. That’s in response to a growing set of U.S. financial laws that make it nearly impossible for them to keep two passports.

Most people don’t understand the government’s war on U.S. expats and dual nationals, so they buy the official spin that it is just “cracking down” on “rich tax cheats.” It is doing no such thing, and it knows that it is doing no such thing.

Indeed some of its most onerous financial rules, while “cracking down” on overseas grandmas with a $30,000 retirement account, specifically and deliberately exempt billionaires with money in hedge funds and private-equity funds.

Even National Taxpayer Advocate Nina Olson has pointed out in her official reports to Congress that the war on expats often punishes ordinary middle-class and even poor Americans abroad far more severely than it does the rich.

Olson is appointed to her role by the Congress, but she says that when she called up the Treasury to discuss some of the problems, they didn’t bother to respond.

Read the rest here.

Steve Jobs Held Billions of Dollars Offshore. Was He "Unpatriotic"?

By Simon Black

At the end of September 2011, just days before his passing, the company that Steve Jobs founded had a $25 billion cash hoard. Nearly half of this was stashed overseas.

What’s more, Apple was running billions in profit through multiple Irish subsidiaries, neither of which were taxable by the US government.

Steve Jobs departed this life owning 5.5 million shares of Apple (and another 138 million shares of Disney, which employed similar offshore practices).

So his personal share of the untaxed offshore booty was

Phil Gramm Proposes Obamacare "Freedom Option"

Phil Gramm, the former Republican senator from Texas, writes in WSJ:
Republicans need a strategy that is easy to understand, broadly popular and difficult to oppose. It must unite Republicans and divide congressional Democrats, while empowering Republican governors and legislators to resist administration pressure. I believe that strategy is what I would call “the freedom option.” Every American should have the right to decide not to participate in ObamaCare: If you like ObamaCare and its subsidies, you can keep it. If you don’t, you are free to buy the health insurance that fits your needs.

The freedom option would fulfill the commitment the president made over and over again about ObamaCare: If you like your health insurance you can keep it. If Republicans crafted a simple bill that guarantees the right of individuals and businesses to opt out of ObamaCare, buy the health insurance they choose from any willing seller (with risk pools completely separate from ObamaCare), millions of Americans would rejoice and exercise this freedom. Such a proposal would be easy for Republicans to articulate and defend. And it would be very difficult for Democrats to attack...Of all potential Republican proposals, the freedom option seems the most likely to garner the six Democratic votes in the Senate needed to break a filibuster, pass the bill and put it on the president’s desk. If the freedom option were combined with a provision that allowed federal-exchange subsidies or state actions setting up state exchanges, existing providers and recipients of subsidies would not be threatened.

The opposition would come solely from those who understand that ObamaCare is built on coercion—and that unless young, healthy Americans are forced into the program to be exploited with above-market insurance rates, the subsidies will prove unaffordable. That will be an exceedingly difficult case to make to the public.

By extinguishing coercion, the freedom option would put ObamaCare on the path to extinction. Without the ability to exploit the young and healthy, the Affordable Care Act will collapse under its own funding weight, all but guaranteeing a 2017 revision of the entire law.
Putting Obamacare on the path to extinction is a very good thing and I like Gramm's proposal for that reason, but why is he talking about a revision in 2017?  There is no legitimate reason for government to be involved in the healthcare sector at all.

 --RW

Millennials Prefer Print Books Over Ebooks?

So says WaPo:
Textbook makers, bookstore owners and college student surveys all say millennials still strongly prefer print for pleasure and learning, a bias that surprises reading experts given the same group’s proclivity to consume most other content digitally. A University of Washington pilot study of digital textbooks found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks that they were given for free.

“These are people who aren’t supposed to remember what it’s like to even smell books,” said Naomi S. Baron, an American University linguist who studies digital communication. “It’s quite astounding.”

Earlier this month, Baron published “Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World,” a book (hardcover and electronic) that examines university students’ preferences for print and explains the science of why dead-tree versions are often superior to digital. Readers tend to skim on screens, distraction is inevitable and comprehension suffers.

In years of surveys, Baron asked students what they liked least about reading in print. Her favorite response: “It takes me longer because I read more carefully.”

The preference for print over digital can be found at independent bookstores such as the Curious Iguana in downtown Frederick, Md., where owner Marlene England said millennials regularly tell her they prefer print because it’s “easier to follow stories.” Pew studies show the highest print readership rates are among those ages 18 to 29, and the same age group is still using public libraries in large numbers...

 it can be seen most prominently on college campuses, where students still lug backpacks stuffed with books, even as they increasingly take notes (or check Facebook) on laptops during class. At American, Cooper Nordquist, a junior studying political science, is even willing to schlep around Alexis de Tocqueville’s 900-plus-page “Democracy in America.”

“I can’t imagine reading Tocqueville or understanding him electronically,” Nordquist said in between classes while checking his e-mail. “That would just be awful.”

Janet Yellen Takes the Alan Greenspan Approach to Congressional Testimomny


Read in to what she says anyway you like. Take your pick:

WSJ Headline: Fed Chief Janet Yellen: Rate Increases Draw Nearer as Economy Strengthens

NYT Headline: Janet Yellen Says Fed Is in No Hurry to Raise Rates

MarketWatch Headline: Yellen readies the markets for a less-patient Fed

DONE Bankster-Socialist 4 Month Greek Deal Approved

Greece has secured a four-month extension of its ongoing bailout operation. Euro zone partners approved a reform plan that promotes both banksterism and socialism.

This is not about the new Greek government pulling the wool over the eyes of the banksters. It is the banksters and the new Greek government, slicing up and dicing the Greek people.

--RW

The Greek Deal: A Combination of the Worst Parts of Banksterism and Socialism

The new Greek government has submitted its economic reform plan to European lenders late Monday.

It will make banksters happy as the plan calls for curbing tax evasion and reforming pension policy (Read cutting pensions). Thus, the bankster squeeze will be on.

The new socialist government also gets to squeeze and suffocate the economy with pledges to increase the minimum wage and social spending for the poor.

What a mess. If I was young and living in Greece, I would move.

--RW

DOJ Investigating Bank Gold Manipulation

The U.S. Justice Department is investigating whether the world’s biggest banks manipulated prices of precious metals such as silver and gold, according to people with knowledge of the matter, reports Bloomberg.

At least 10 banks, including Barclays Plc, JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Deutsche Bank AG are being probed by the Justice Department’s antitrust division, said one of the people.

The investigation is in its early stages, says Bloom.

There isn't a commodity in the world where someone hasn't attempted to manipulate the price. That said, you can't manipulate major markets on a long term basis. If I see some odd trading in a market, where a stock or commodity is trading lower for no clear reason, I thank the bankster manipulators for the discount price and buy aggressively.

For the most part, gold, silver, etc. prices are exactly where they should be, though news of this investigation will no doubt cause gold draped drama queens to scream "manipulation," after every gold price downtick (But never after any uptick)..

Ignore them all, the drama queens and the DOJ. Gold and silver are going much higher and there isn't a damn thing Jamie Dimon or Janet Yellen can do about it.

--RW

Is Oil Returning To $100 Or Dropping To $10?

By Martin Tiller

If you have been following the price of oil over the last few months, the chances are you're a little confused. On the one hand you have the likes of A. Gary Shilling who, in this Bloomberg article, loudly trumpets the prospect of oil at $10/Barrel, and on the other there is T. Boone Pickens, who, at the end of last year was predicting a return to $100 within 12-18 months. Pickens prediction has moderated somewhat as WTI and Brent crude have continued to fall, but in January he was still saying that oil would return to $70 or $80/barrel in the near future. So, who is correct 

The answer is neither one. As with most things in life it is unlikely that the truth lies at either extreme. Pickens, and Shilling and other commentators suggesting that oil will fall to levels not seen since 1998, purport to have sound reasons for saying what they do, but the real reasons for such comments are most likely the two oldest human motivations in the book, greed and hubris. “Talking your book” is nothing new in financial markets and, while Pickens has an insider's knowledge of the oil business, he also has a massive stake in driving oil higher however he can. Shilling is in the business of garnering eyeballs and clicks, hence the competition for the most outrageous prediction among the bears. 

I know it isn't sexy and it probably breaks some unwritten rule of internet hackery to say it, but the most likely scenario is that WTI futures will bounce around current levels for a while before gradually recovering to the $60-$70/Barrel level. It could even reach Pickens' revised $70 or $80 level before too long, but we are unlikely to see $100 in the near future without some major external influences. 

Now that the dust has settled somewhat, the reasons for the big drop are becoming clearer, and it is clear that supply was not the only factor. It was obvious for a while that as fracking unlocked oil deposits in shale and sand that had previously been thought unreachable, supply, particularly in the U.S. would grow considerably. That wasn't seen as too much of a problem by the market, though, until questions about slowing global economic growth and a rapidly appreciating Dollar were added to the mix in the middle of last year. Once that happened and OPEC made it clear that they would not immediately cut supply and hand power to the upstart U.S. shale producers, the collapse began. 

The drop halted at a logical level. In 2008 and 2009 when a complete global economic collapse looked on the cards oil was trading in the mid $40s and that is where support was eventually found. According to EIA data, global oil production in 2008 was an average 74.016 million barrels per day and in the first 10 months of 2014 averaged 77.427 million barrels, an increase of around 5%. Consumption in 2008 was 86.045 million barrels per day and in 2014 was 92.13 million, an increase of 1.2%. 

Put simply, supply has increased faster than demand, so a rapid return to oil over $100/Barrel looks extremely unlikely. That said though, in order to believe that the price will fall much further you have to believe that the economic outlook today is worse than it was at the beginning of the deepest recession since 1929. That too seems like a bit of a stretch. 

The only logical conclusion then is that in the near term oil will trade in an approximate range of $50-$70. Incidentally, the bottom end of that range represents the inflation adjusted 100 year average price, according to one Morgan Stanley analyst quoted in another Bloomberg article. We shouldn't, therefore, be shocked that oil is here any more than we should be shocked that publicity hungry columnists and heavily invested oilmen are predicting further wild swings. 


The above originally appeared at OilPrice.com.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Are the Ruling Elites in China Now More Pro-Market than the Ruling Elites in the USA?

By Robert Higgs

The current issue of the Cato Policy Report (January/February 2015) contains a short article about a book by Zhang Weiying called The Logic of the Market: An Insider’s View of Chinese Economic Reform, which was originally published in Chinese (and said to be a best-seller in China in that form) and was recently translated into English. The author is the director of Peking University’s Center for Market and Network Economy and is described as a leader among pro-market economists in China, a description that accords well with the quotations given from his writings. In the article, a quotation from a recent Wall Street Journal interview with him states: “He [Zhang] says that when he recently wrote an article praising the late Austrian economist Murray Rothbard, the Communist Party secretary of Shanghai—a fairly high-level apparatchik—told him he liked it.”
I ask you: Has anyone high in the U.S. government ever praised any writing that lauds Rothbard’s views, not to mention Rothbard’s writings themselves? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so. Moreover, is anyone in U.S. academia with a position comparable to Zhang’s position in Chinese academia likely to praise Rothbard’s views? To me it is inconceivable that any such figure would do so.
Once upon a time, the Chinese were the enemies of private property rights and free markets, and the Americans were the enemies of the Chinese and purported to cherish the institutions that the Chinese hated. Today no such clear-cut difference exists. If anything, today’s Chinese in high places seem to be more inclined to say kind words about private property rights and the free market than are comparably placed Americans. And when such Americans do speak favorably of these institutions, they do not really mean what they say, as their actions consistently attest.

The above originally appeared at the Mises Institute.

Ludwig von Mises - A Primer

Thank You Janet Yellen: Boston Red Sox Give 19-Year Old Amateur a $30 Million Signing Bonus

 Yoan Moncada
I am a member of Red Sox Nation*, so if Fed money printing has to go on, this is as good a place as any for it to end up, but wow.

This is actually going to cost the Red Sox $60 million, read on.

MLB.com reports that the Red Sox signed 19-year-old Cuban infielder Yoan Moncada to an estimated $30 million bonus that sets a record for an amateur international player.

Major League Baseball’s highest previous bonus handed to an amateur player from outside the U.S. was $8.27 million, which the Arizona Diamondbacks gave to 21-year-old Cuban pitcher Yoan Lopez last month, MLB.com said.

Because the Red Sox have already exceeded their bonus pool for international signings, they’ll be taxed 100 percent on Moncada’s bonus, taking the cost of the deal to approximately $60 million.

As a side note, Moncada was not represented by a sports agent. Instead he's chose a CPA from St. Petersburg who has never negotiated a baseball contract before.

--RW

* Note, I do not consider anyone a legitimate member of Red Sox Nation unless they can name the starting line up for the 1967 Red Sox (Before and after Tony Conigliaro was beaned).

Consumers' Sovereignty and Natural vs. Contrived Scarcities

Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

I have a new article on the news and commentary website, "Epictimes," on "Consumers' Sovereignty and Natural vs. Contrived Scarcities."

In the free market, the guiding principle is voluntary exchange. Consumers make their free choices concerning goods and services to buy, and producers, to earn the income that enables them to be consumers in turn, must serve the ends and interests of their fellow market participants.

Hence, as consumer we are the "masters" of the market process, and as producer we are the "servants" of others. Consumers are the "sovereign" commanders of the market and its outcomes.

But this sovereignty may be undermined by government intervention. In place of the inescapable "natural scarcities" from the fact that means available are insufficient to fulfill all of our desired ends, government superimposes "contrived scarcities" by limiting competition, reducing supplies of desired goods, and making them more costly to buy.

Getting our fellow citizens understand that such "contrived scarcities" are not the result of the free market is essential to free "capitalism" from the charge of "injustice" and greater poverty in society.

 http://www.epictimes.com/richardebeling/2015/02/consumers-sovereignty-and-natural-vs-contrived-scarcities/

Best,
Richard

HILARIOUS The Grexit Battle in One Rap Song

Not entirely accurate, Putin is not going to "save" Greece, for example, but still very funny.

Nein! Nein! Nein! Nien!

If the reports are accurate as to what Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis is about to submit in the way of an "economic reforms" package to the banksters, Germany is about to explode.

From Zero Hedge:
For those keeping tabs on the Greek tragicomedy, now in its 5th season, today before midnight Yanis Varoufakis will submit a list of "reform measures" it plans to undertake to the Troika, pardon, Institutions. But while we patiently await the reveal of the full list of proposed Greek reforms, we can fast forward to the German reaction, because we already know what it will be:

NIEN! NIEN! NIEN! NIEN! NIEN!

Why? Because as Bloomberg reported earlier today, citing government spokesman Gabriel Sakellaridis says in interview broadcast live on Skai TV today, the Greek government will implement legislation allowing taxpayers to repay overdue taxes in 100 installments. This not new: in fact, it was proposed back in November, when Greek Enikos said "the country's international lenders are not pleased with the new law voted by the government, which allows tax payers to pay off their debts towards the State in 100 installments."


So while the Troika will ask why nothing has been done on this until now, Greece will have no retort but instead will say that the easier repayment terms for overdue taxes will boost liquidity in state coffers especially since the cash situation “is not easy.”...

But what is sure to make Schauble go berserk with rage is that Greece is now openly tearing apart the "existing programme" with its firm demand that the protection of primary residences from foreclosure will be upheld, saying that it creates no burden for banking system or the state budget: a state budget which as a reminder will be out of cash some time this week!

Needless to say Germany will cross this proposal out with a very bright, very red pen.... as well as then next: "Minimum wage will be raised gradually until 2016, to allow businesses to adapt to labor cost increase."...

At this point Germany will point out the deflationary vortex in which Greece has been stuck in the past 5 years and say "what labor cost increases", and cross that "reform" as well.

We also learn the Greek government plans to restore labor relations, labor law, collective bargaining saying the current regime resembles “dark age" (it does - thank the common currency for putting you there) which is incompatible with European labor culture, and will assesses proposals to secure liquidity of pension system, aim is not to cut pensions further. The German response to the latter? You guessed it.

The punchline: "Red lines still apply and government will respect popular mandate.

And... cue Germany's reply:

NIEN! NIEN! NIEN! NIEN! NIEN!

What will then be the result? Here's ZH again:
 tomorrow's "emergency" Eurogroup meeting is assured, in which the Troika throws back the proposal in Greece's face and demands that it strip all its "reforms" to comply with whatever was in the original memorandum, in the process making the Tsipras government nothing more than an extension of the hated Samaras administration.

Because Greece bluffed... and lost, and now it no longer has any leverage in negotiations with Europe...
A few notes of caution with regard to this scenario outlined by ZH. First, these are just leaks as to the Yaroufakis package and they might not be accurate, Second, Greece may just see the submitting of this proposal as a further negotiating step, in the hopes of getting some of what they want in tomorrow's emergency meeting, if indeed there is one.

Finally, there is a minor possibility that Greece is prepared now to leave the euro and return to the drachma--and stiff the banksters, but there is no indication Greece has been planning for this scenario. Thus, the German hammer is likely what we indeed are about to see.

--RW

BREAKING Anti-Euro Party in Germany Causes S&P to Issue Extraordinary Alert

Is this the first sign the euro will become a relic before Bitcoin?

Ambrose Evans-Pritchard informs:

Standard & Poor’s has issued an extraordinary credit alert on the eurozone, one that deserves close attention.
It warns that the rise of Germany's AfD anti-euro party calls into question the euro bail-out machinery and queries the pitch for any form of QE, stimulus that has already been pocketed and spent in advance by the markets.
It will force Angela Merkel to take a tougher line on Europe, and further complicates the management of the (already dysfunctional) currency bloc.
The rating agency said it will henceforth monitor any sign that Germany is digging in its heels on EMU matters as it seeks to head off this rising political threat. The report is written by Moritz Kraemer, head of sovereign ratings in Europe. He is German. This is not an Anglo-Saxon analysis.
Alternative für Deutschland is blowing across Germany like a tornado. The party won 12.6pc in Brandenburg and 10.6pc in Thuringia a week ago, following its success in Saxony. It has now broken into three regional parliaments. The free market FDP is being systematically destroyed. Now AfD is ripping into the Left-wing base of Die Linke as well...
 These are serious men. Attempts to dismiss them as fringe romantics, and lately far-Right rabble-rousers, are unlikely to work. AfD has for the first time given disaffected Germans a way to protest without stigma.
 --RW

The Tech Jobs Boom in NYC

NYT reports:
Since Google Inc. moved into Chelsea circa 2006, other tech companies have followed. In the past 12 months, Amazon.com Inc. opened an office across 34th street from the Empire State Building, bringing 500 jobs, Buzzfeed Inc. signed a new lease and promised to add 475 jobs in the next five years, according to the New York Department of Labor. Facebook Inc. is boosting its 100,000 square feet of office space by 60,000 square feet.

From Internet to Obamanet

L. Gordon Crovitz writes at WSJ:
The permissionless Internet, which allows anyone to introduce a website, app or device without government review, ends this week. On Thursday the three Democrats among the five commissioners on the Federal Communications Commission will vote to regulate the Internet under rules written for monopoly utilities.

No one, including the bullied FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, thought the agency would go this far. The big politicization came when President Obama in November demanded that the supposedly independent FCC apply the agency’s most extreme regulation to the Internet...

The more than 300 pages of new regulations are secret, but Mr. Wheeler says they will subject the Internet to the key provisions of Title II of the Communications Act of 1934, under which the FCC oversaw Ma Bell.

Title II authorizes the commission to decide what “charges” and “practices” are “just and reasonable”—an enormous amount of discretion. Former FCC Commissioner Robert McDowell has found 290 federal appeals court opinions on this section and more than 1,700 FCC administrative interpretations....

AT&T has decades of experience leveraging FCC regulations to stop competition. Last week AT&T announced a high-speed broadband plan that charges an extra $29 a month to people who don’t want to be tracked for online advertising. New competitor Google Fiber can offer low-cost broadband only because it also earns revenues from online advertising. In other words, AT&T has already built a case against Google Fiber that Google’s cross-subsidization from advertising is not “just and reasonable.”...

Unless Congress or the courts block Obamanet, it will be the end of the Internet as we know it.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Volume 16 of The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek is Out

Volume 16: Hayek on Mill: The Mill-Taylor Friendship and Related Writings

From the blurb:
Best known for reviving the tradition of classical liberalism, F. A. Hayek was also a prominent scholar of the philosopher John Stuart Mill. One of his greatest undertakings was a collection of Mill’s extensive correspondence with his longstanding friend and later companion and wife, Harriet Taylor-Mill. Hayek first published the Mill-Taylor correspondence in 1951, and his edition soon became required reading for any study of the nineteenth-century foundations of liberalism.
         
This latest addition to the University of Chicago Press’s Collected Works of F. A. Hayek series showcases the fascinating intersections between two of the most prominent thinkers from two successive centuries. Hayek situates Mill within the complex social and intellectual milieu of nineteenth-century Europe—as well as within twentieth-century debates on socialism and planning—and uncovers the influence of Taylor-Mill on Mill’s political economy. The volume features the Mill-Taylor correspondence and brings together for the first time Hayek’s related writings, which were widely credited with beginning a new era of Mill scholarship.

Here's the table of contents;

 Part I. John Stuart Mill and Harriet Taylor: Their Friendship and Subsequent Marriage

Acknowledgements
Abbreviations and Symbols Used

Introduction

One                 Harriet Taylor and Her Circle (1830)
Two                 Acquaintance and Early Crises (1830–1833)
Three               On Marriage and Divorce (about 1832)
Four                 Friends and Gossip (1834–1842)
Five                 The Years of Friendship (1834–1847)
Six                   A Joint Production (1847–1849)
Seven              John Taylor’s Illness and Death (1849)
Eight               Marriage and Break with Mill’s Family (1851)
Nine                Illness (1851–1854)
Ten                  Italy and Sicily (1854–1855)
Eleven             Greece (1855)
Twelve            Last Years and Death of Mrs. Mill (1856–1858)
Appendix I      Poems by Harriet Taylor
Appendix II    An Early Essay by Harriet Taylor
Appendix III   Family Trees

Part II. Related Writings

Thirteen           John Stuart Mill at the Age of Twenty-Five
Fourteen          J. S. Mill’s Correspondence
Fifteen             The Dispersal of the Books and Papers of John Stuart Mill
Sixteen            J. S. Mill, Mrs. Taylor, and Socialism
Seventeen        Portraits of J. S. Mill
Eighteen          Preface to The Life of John Stuart Mill
Nineteen          Review of Mill and His Early Critics
Twenty            Review of John Mill’s Boyhood Visit to France
Twenty-One    Introduction to Considerations on Representative Government
Twenty-Two   Introduction to The Earlier Letters of John Stuart Mill, 1812–1848
Twenty-Three  Related Correspondence
Index of Names
Index of Subjects


Weekend Quiz: How Much in Total Ticket Revenue Did StubHub Generate Last Year?



Answer: $3 billion

(via Bloomberg)

When is Janet Yellen Going to Stop Printing?: $8 Million Condo in Minnesota

$8,000,000
2-story penthouse with private elevator, 8 parking spaces
3 bedroom, 5 bath
11777 square feet

222 2nd Street
Minneapolis
MN 55414

At least this one looks like it is worth maybe $2-3 million.



(via Matt Yglesias)

This is How You Name Drop (And Apologize for Being Late Simultaneously)

Eric Margolis on Arnaud de Borchgrave, who died last week:
The hostess of our elegant Georgetown dinner party was breathing fire. We had been waiting for over an hour for the guest of honor, renowned journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave.

Suddenly, the door burst open and a modestly sized man with a deep tan bowed to our enraged hostess and proclaimed, “a thousand pardons!  I was on the phone to Paris with President Chirac, and I had Henry Kissinger on hold.”