Tuesday, October 31, 2017

House GOP Leaders Delay Tax Plan Release

House Republicans have delayed the release of their tax reform proposal.

LOL, some powerful lobbyist or major donor got wind of some tax in the proposal and it got killed at the last minute. Now, GOP members need to find another direction from which to tax to keep the shell game intact.

The details originally were to be unveiled on Wednesday, but that was delayed until Thursday, a senior GOP aide told AP Tuesday night.

 -RW

(ht Felix Bronstein)

BASTARDS: State and Local Tax Deductions to be Eliminated in Tax Reform

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady 
In a radio interview, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told commentator Hugh Hewitt that the House tax "reform" plan will eliminate tax deductions for state and local taxes paid, essentially implementing a tax on taxes. But, he said, it would keep a deduction for property taxes.

As I have stated before, Trump tax "reform" is a shell game, with some points of taxation lowered but other points of taxation either increased or newly created.

In the end, I expect taxes to be increased in one form or another for the majority of tax paying Americans. The elimination of the state and local deductions is just one example of the scam.

 -RW

The Trumpista Pickpockets


By Robert Higgs
Since NAFTA went into effect in 1994, U.S. imports of goods from Mexico have grown from about $4 billion per year to about $28 billion (annual rate as of March 2017). Americans have also purchased a lot more services, not counted in this measure, from Mexicans during the past two decades (e.g., tourist services such as entertainment, transportation, and the occupancy of hotel rooms for Americans visiting Mexico). These are goods and services that Americans wanted enough to voluntarily pay for them. These imports represent what trade is for—namely, getting possession of goods and services that foreigners offer for sale on relatively attractive terms. Much of the growth in the volume of imports from Mexico can be attributed to reductions in trade restrictions embedded in NAFTA, which the U.S. government is now trying to scrap or drastically revamp. If NAFTA were such a bad deal, why did Americans voluntarily agree to pay Mexicans for more and more of these goods?
Yes, I know, in some cases these transactions occurred because

Attention Jamie Dimon: Rename Your Bank "The Blockchain JPMorgan Chase"


A British company that has been investing in internet and information businesses had its best day on record last Friday.

On-line Plc jumped as much as 394 percent after announcing plans to change its name to On-line Blockchain Plc, following an initial climb of 19 percent on Thursday when it first announced the news. It’s the biggest one-day gain for the small-cap company since its December 1996 listing. The trading volume that reached 2.9 million shares by early afternoon in London is equal to more than 16 times the entire year’s trading before the last two days.

Yup, it sure looks like shrewd analytical money is flowing into this sector.

 -RW

(ht Phil Brown)

Monday, October 30, 2017

Wall Street: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Mark your calendar. Murray Sabrin emails to report:

Wall Street: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

A Speech by

William D. Cohan 

with an introduction by

Murray Sabrin


November 1, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. in the Trustees Pavilion
Refreshments and Registration 7 p.m.

Please RSVP to msabrin@ramapo.edu or call 201.684.7373.

William D. Cohan, a former senior Wall Street M&A investment banker for 17 years at Lazard Frères & Co., Merrill Lynch and JPMorganChase, is the New York Times bestselling author of three non-fiction narratives about Wall Street: Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule the World; House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street; and, The Last Tycoons: The Secret History of Lazard Frères & Co., the winner of the 2007 FT/Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award. His book, The Price of Silence, about the Duke lacrosse scandal was published in April 2014 and was also a New York Times bestseller. His new book, Why Wall Street Matters, was published by Random House in February 2017. He is a special correspondent at Vanity Fair and a columnist for the DealBook section of the New York Times. He also writes for The Financial Times, The New York Times, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Atlantic, The Nation, Fortune, and Politico. He previously wrote a bi-weekly opinion column for The New York Times and an opinion column for BloombergView. He also appears regularly on CNN, on Bloomberg TV, where he is a contributing editor, on MSNBC and the BBC-TV. He has also appeared three times as a guest on the Daily Show, with Jon Stewart, The NewsHour, The Charlie Rose Show, The Tavis Smiley Show, and CBS This Morning as well as on numerous NPR, BBC and Bloomberg radio programs. He is a graduate of Phillips Academy, Duke University, Columbia University School of Journalism and the Columbia University Graduate School of Business. He grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and now lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.
This event has been made possible by The Sabrin Center for Free Enterprise.

RW Note: Cohan should not be considered Austrian school in terms of his thinking. But he is an excellent reporter with strong connections and he should provide interesting insights.
His speech will be live streamed here.

Capitalism and the Free Society, Part I



Richard Ebeling emails:

Dear Bob,

My new article on the website of the Future of Freedom Foundation is on, “Capitalism and the Free Society, Part I.”

For well over a century, many intellectuals and ideologues and political vote getters have labeled “Capitalism” as the cause of most of the social misfortunes plaguing the world, with various forms of collectivism advocated as alternatives.

But in reality, capitalism stands

Trump Expected to Nominate Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve Chairman



Multiple news outlets indicate that President Trump is expected Thursday to nominate Jerome "Jay" Powell to head the Federal Reserve.

Powell is currently a Fed governor. Prior to joining the Fed, from 1997 to 2005, Powell was a partner at The Carlyle Group.

Powell appears to be the preferred choice of Goldman Sachs as, former Goldman Sachs partner and current Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin has been pushing for a Powell nomination.

 It is expected that Powell would maintain the slow rate hike policy of current Fed chair Janet Yellen.

If confirmed by the Senate, Powell would replace Yellen, when her term ends on February 3, 2018.

 -RW

Trump Tax Reform Scam Explodes


OMG, the House is now considering a five-year phase-in for the corporate tax cut part of Trump's tax reform.

House tax writers are discussing a gradual phase-in for the corporate tax-rate cut that President Donald Trump and Republican leaders want -- a schedule that would have the rate reach 20 percent in 2022, reports Bloomberg.

First, it was messing with personal taxes, now they are even messing with the corporate tax cut side.

The House Ways and Means panel plans to release the text of a bill on Wednesday.

 -RW

Trump Plans to Announce Fed Chair Nominee on Thursday



President Donald Trump plans to announce his choice for the next Fed chairman on Thursday, the day before he departs for a trip to Asia, a White House official said according to Bloomberg.

Multiple reports indicate the president is leaning toward picking Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell . Other candidates on his shortlist include current Fed Chair Janet Yellen, Stanford University economist John Taylor and former Fed governor Kevin Warsh.

 -RW

Free Trade is Not Founded on Religion


A Don Boudreaux open letter to a commenter:

Mr. Villanueva:
Commenting on this blog post, you attribute my support for free trade to “religious zeal.”  With respect, this charge is as trumped up as it is old and feeble.  The economic case for free trade rests not on faith or dogma but on reason and evidence.
For two and a half centuries economists have

Behind the Friedman-Rothbard Irreparable Split

Friedman at the South Royalton conference.

By Joseph T. Salerno


As a follow-up to Peter Klein’s post, I want to suggest that Rothbard and Friedman’s relationship may have definitively fractured at the famous Austrian economics conference in South Royalton Vermont in June 1974. 
In the May 1974 issue of the Libertarian Forum, Rothbard published an article entitled “Uncle Miltie Rides Again,” in which he criticized Mllton Friedman for advocating indexation for the U.S. economy, which was then suffering from a painful combination of recession and high inflation.    Indexing both government taxes and business, including labor, contracts, Friedman had argued, would reduce both the government’s incentive to inflate and the iniquities and pain wreaked on the public by inflation.   Among other criticisms, Rothbard argued that

Sunday, October 29, 2017

New York Times Columnist: Donald Trump Wants to Raise Your Taxes



David Leonhardt writes:
[T]here is also a major difference between the current plan and George W. Bush’s tax cut or Ronald Reagan’s. Trump’s plan would not actually cut taxes for many middle-class families. It would raise them....
He then provides this chart:

VIDEO Larry Summers Blasts Baghdad Hassett Fake Claim that Tax Reform Will Mean 4k to 9k Income Gain Per Family

Only President Trump and CEA adviser Kevin Hassett could make former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers sound reasonable as an economic analyst.



 -RW

Man In Michigan Prosecuted For Selling Bitcoin


According to local news media reports, a Michigan man named Bradley Anthony Stetkiw has been charged by local authorities for operating an unlicensed money transmitting business. The charges have been filed in US District Court.

Per the report, Stetkiw had been brokering Bitcoin transactions worth hundreds of thousands of dollars without the proper licensing required for monetary brokering. He had been using the website LocalBitcoins, and would meet his would-be clients at Tim Horton’s restaurant, going by the moniker ‘SaltandPepper.’

As part of a sting operation, federal agents met the trader and purchased more than $55,000 in Bitcoin over the course of a number of meetings, with Stetkiw even brokering deals with out of state sellers.

The government is not going to allow non-trackable Bitcoin transactions. There is no privacy advantage with bitcoin.

 -RW

(via Jon Buck at CoinTelegraph)

This NYC Chess Hustler Makes $400 a Day


By Melkorka Licea

Six years ago, Ambakisye Osayaba made his big move — he quit his part-time city job cleaning Central Park and began playing chess full-time.

Now he earns up to $400 a day, taking on all comers from a 2-by-2-foot fold-out table, chairs and chess board he rolls in a metal shopping granny cart every morning to the southwest strip of Union Square Park.


“It’s the best living I’ve ever made,” said Osayaba, 59, known by the initials T.C., which stand for “teaches chess.”

Osayaba may be the top earner of the dozen players in

More Crazy Trump Protectionism Announced


The U.S. Commerce Department said on Friday it made a preliminary finding that China dumped aluminum foil on the U.S. market and imposed duties ranging from 97 percent to 162 percent.

The Commerce Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection to collect cash deposits from

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION CRONYISM: This is the "Headquarters" of a Company That Got a $300 Million Dollar No Bid Contract

If you can gain influence at the center of power, the good times will roll.

The center of power, that is government influence over the economy, must be shrunk and then shrunk again.

 -RW

UPDATE

UPDATE 2

Via The Washington Post:
 
Puerto Rico's utility cancels controversial $300 million contract with Montana firm hired to repair electrical grid.

The announcement by the territory's state-owned utility came hours after Puerto Rico Gov. Ricardo Rossello called for the contract with Whitefish Energy to be canceled.








Saturday, October 28, 2017

THERE GOES ONE THEORY: Trump Unlikely to Name Fed Chair and Vice-Chair at the Same Time



President Trump, who has several spots to fill at the Federal Reserve, is expected to nominate its next chairman this coming week but is unlikely to simultaneously tap a vice chairman at the same time, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Saturday, reports The New York Times.

“I think for the moment we’re

Thomas Sowell on Intellectuals and Race






 -RW

Inside Ivory Coast's Hidden Gold Rush

Notice toward the end, the reports of a gold pit shut down by the government because government wasn't getting its shakedown cut. The shutdown justified in the clip by a well-dressed crony politician.



 -RW

Bannon Wants Big Tech Companies to Be Regulated Like Utilities



President Trump's former top adviser and current Breitbart News executive chairman, Steve Bannon, is the worst type of economic nationalist.

In his view, it is all about planning trade, planning free market immigration, and even planning high-tech companies.

John Carney writes at Breitbart:
Bannon has said that some of the big tech companies should be regulated like utilities. Others in the economic nationalist movement would go further and

A Socialist Candidate for Minneapolis City Council Breaks Fundraising Records

Ginger Jentzen
In the era of Trump, socialists are gaining in popularity.

The average donation to first-time socialist candidate for Minneapolis City Council Ginger Jentzen is $25, and she accepts no corporate money. She's running on a platform of citizen oversight of the police, rent controls, and a $15 minimum wage. She's outraised any other candidate in Minneapolis history, reports BoingBoing.

Jentzen cites Kshama Sawant, the socialist member of Seattle city council who successfully introduced a $15 minimum wage to the city, as her inspiration for getting involved in city politics.

The kids mistakenly view the crony populist, mercantilist Trump as simply a capitalist and hold the confused simple-minded view that the only alternative is socialism.

 -RW

Wall Street Journal Blasts Adding a Fourth Tax Bracket: A Socialist Gimmick



The Wall Street Journal editorial board writes:
House Speaker Paul Ryan has said tax reform will include a fourth tax bracket for millionaires above the top rate of 35% in the GOP framework, and now we hear it could be as high as 42%-44%. This bow to the lords of political envy would be a

Friday, October 27, 2017

BREAKING Trump Issues Video Statement on His Choice to Head the Fed

He says he will make the announcement next week.

This is like a movie trailer issued before a movie comes out.

Welcome to Trump World.

The video is here.

 -RW

Larry Summers Getting Ready to Bash New White House Paper on GDP and Corporate Tax Cuts



Of course, as I have explained, all this analysis is nonsense if government spending isn't reduced. SEE: Laughing at the Laffer Curve: The Trump Tax Reform Con.

 -RW

STOCKMAN: Watch Out Below as the Era of Fed Balance Sheet Shrinkage Gets Underway


By David Stockman
There is about to be a changing of the guard in the Eccles Building. That comes straight from the tweeter-in-chief, who actually verbalized his thoughts on the matter during interviews yesterday:
I tell you what, she was in my office three days ago. She was very impressive. I like her a lot. I mean, it’s somebody that I am thinking about......(but) I have to say you’d like to make your own mark....  
We'll take the bolded phrase as gold watch time for Janet Yellen upon expiration of her term in February. And with a full measure of Trumpian gusto, we'd also say:

Thank You, Janet Yellen: The Watch Paul Newman Once Gave Away Sells for $18 Million

The Washington Post reports:
Steve McQueen had his motorcycle. James Dean had his red jacket. And Paul Newman had his Rolex.

Fans of Newman began noticing the Rolex Daytona watch wrapped around his wrist in the late 1960s, just as he began his car racing career under the moniker P.L. Newman.

It was a work of beauty, a human-crafted wonder. Three black dials decorated its cream-colored face, encased in

REPORT: Trump Leaning Toward Powell as His Fed Choice



President Donald Trump is leaning toward appointing Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell to be the next chairman of the Fed, according to three people familiar with the matter, reports Bloomberg.

But this is Trump so nothing is final until an announcement is made. At this point, in Trump's mind, Marc Faber is probably in the race.

But when the crony adults in the room nudge Trump, it will probably be in the direction of Powell.

Certainly, Powell is the current preferred choice of Goldman Sachs.

 -RW

This is Probably the Only Person in the World that Would Find Hyper-Inflation Beautiful

Watch it through to the end.



When it comes to human valuation, everything is subjective.

 -RW

WALL STREET JOURNAL WARNS: Don't Invest in Bitcoin


Here's the current headline in a special member-only section of the Wall Street Journal:
Should Individuals Invest in Bitcoin? In a Word, No.
Financial advisers say that despite the temptation, the market and regulatory risks are too great
The Journal article reported:
 “While the potential upside is alluring, the significant risk of loss is incompatible with prudent investing for long-term goals like college savings, buying a home or retirement,” says Julie Ford, founder of Ford Financial Solutions in New York.

Ms. Ford says she had a 45-year-old client recently come to her with a plan to liquidate a majority of her retirement savings and invest the proceeds, after taxes and penalties, in bitcoin.

Risking anything above a trivial amount in cryptocurrencies isn’t advisable, she says.
I am aware of one Silicon Valley techie who recently put all his savings, $990,000, into Bitcoin.

At this point, Bitcoin has to be considered part of the Federal Reserve money pump bubble. Once these techies lose their jobs in the next bust, they will never all be able to get out of Bitcoin at the same time.

  -RW

Brent Crude Hits Two-Year High



Oil is trading higher overseas with Brent crude up 0.2 per cent at $59.42 a barrel.

The international benchmark settled on Thursday in New York at a 27-month high of $59.30, up 1.5 per cent on the day.

Don't for a minute think that price inflation can't explode upward. It can, and it is very likely we are already in the early stages of the climb.

 -RW

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Now The Trump Administration is Considering Raising the Gas Tax



These clowns don't stop.

Top White House economic advisor Gary Cohn reportedly raised the prospect of hiking the federal gasoline, reports CNBC.

Cohn, the director of the National Economic Council, told a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans they would have the opportunity to vote to increase the gas tax when Congress considers an infrastructure package early next year, Politico reports.

The U.S. government currently applies a charge of 18.4 cents per gallon on retail gasoline.

In May, Trump said he was open to raising the gas tax in order to underwrite improvements to the nation's infrastructure.

 -RW

‘Fair Wage’ Pizza Parlor Touting ‘Economic Justice’ Shuts Down


A “fair wage” pizza shop in Boston touting “economic justice” will close its doors after failing to make a profit.

The Boston Globe reports that Dudley Dough, which is billed as a pizza parlor “with a purpose,” will close in a few months after two years in business because the shop could not make any money after paying its employees above-market wages.

“The challenge for Dudley Dough was to support itself,” said Bing Broderick, executive director of the nonprofit Haley House, which oversees the shop.
Note to the laid-off employees of Dudley Dough, there is no such thing as a “fair wage," there are market wages that is all.
This what happens when you attempt to overrule Mother Nature. It's like making pizza with plastic bags.

 -RW
(via Breitbart)

Rand Paul: "I favor the biggest, boldest tax cut that Congress can pass."


In his latest op-ed for The Hill, U.S. Senator Rand Paul reiterated his support for the “biggest, boldest tax cut that Congress can pass” to give taxpayers back more of their own money and create greater opportunity for American businesses to thrive here at home. Rand also discussed his efforts to ensure the plan does not raise taxes on the middle class.

“I have been and will continue to be a loud voice for across-the-board tax cuts for everyone – rich, poor, and middle class,” Rand stated in the article.

Go Rand!

 -RW

It's Time to Eliminate the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau



By K. Lloyd Billingsley

Corey Lewandowski, an outside advisor to Donald Trump, wants the president to fire federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau boss Richard Cordray. Lewandowski doesn’t like CFBP rules that make it easier to sue finance companies, but firing Cordray will not be easy. He can only be fired for cause, and that entails a burden of proof. Like the boss, the CFPB itself enjoys special protection.
As a federal agency, it should be funded by Congress, but it isn’t. The CFPB is funded by the Federal Reserve, which is obviously improper. The CFPB has no

BREAKING Trump Will Not Renominate Janet Yellen to Head the Fed



Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen is out of the race for the top spot at the Federal Reserve after her current term ends on February 3, 2018, according to two reports this morning.

A Washington Post report, citing three people, said that President Donald Trump has narrowed his search to Fed governor Jerome Powell or Stanford University economist John Taylor.

Politico reports that one of its sources who talks regularly to Trump said Powell and Taylor were the only finalists.


 -RW

Wacko Mercantilism in Britain

As you will see from the below clip, the Brixton is simply a receipt for the pound sterling.

Promoting "local" purchases ignores the basics of the division of labor and free trade.

They should put the portraits of Peter Navarro and Trump on their receipts. They are the most aggressive modern-day policy makers promoting the idiocy.

I wonder if the creators of the Brixton printed up a few extra receipts for themselves.

Audit the Brixton!

 -RW

Trump's Anti-Trade Adviser Won't Be Travelling With Trump on His Asia Trip


Politico reports:
[Trump trade adviser Peter] Navarro, according to two administration officials and two outside advisers to the president, isn’t currently slated to go on the trip. Navarro’s grounding has incensed

A Potential Alliance Between Socialists and Libertarians Over Puerto Rican Government Debt



Last week, a picket, staged in Boston and organized by the International Socialist Organization and co-sponsored by Boston Democratic Socialists of America and the Green-Rainbow Party, called for the cancellation of Puerto Rico's debt.

The debt in question is debt run up irresponsibly by

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Baghdad Hassett: It Could Take Up To 10 Years for the Middle Class to Benefit From Trump Tax Reform


What a clown.

Kevin Hassett, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, has made the absurd claim that slashing the corporate tax rate would boost middle class incomes by somewhere around $4,000.

Now, he is adding this cautionary note as to win this benefit could occur. He told the Yahoo Finance All-Markets Summit:
This is the disappointing answer in terms of timing, If you go to the optimistic side of the literature, it could take 3 to 5 years. If you go to the pessimistic side, it would about double that.
Of course, since there will be no cut in government spending there will be no benefit. It is a scam. See: Laughing at the Laffer Curve: The Trump Tax Reform Con.

 -RW

Trump Contradicts His Own Tweet, Now Says 401(k)s Could Be in Play as Part of Tax Reform



President Donald Trump said Wednesday that changes to Americans' retirement savings accounts could still be included in the forthcoming Republican tax reform plan, reports Business Insider.

Trump was asked about comments from Rep. Kevin Brady, chair of the House Ways and Means Committee and an author of the forthcoming GOP tax bill, that there could be changes to retirement accounts like 401(k)s in the plan.

Trump said 401(k)s are

BREAKING Gary Cohn Out of Consideration to Head the Fed




President Donald Trump does not intend to appoint National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn to lead the Federal Reserve, three people familiar with the matter said, Bloomberg News reports.

Trump said in at least one private meeting last week that Cohn has no chance of being Fed chair, according to a person present for the remark.

This shouldn't come as a major surprise. Cohn chances nosedived after he failed to back Trump on his Charlottesville comments.

The top candidates appear to be John Taylor, Jerome Powell and possibly Kevin Warsh.

Trump is expected to name his choice to run the Fed before November 3.

With Cohn out of the race, Powell should now be considered the preferred choice of Goldman Sachs.

 -RW

UPDATE

(via Bloomberg)

Cohn is likely to leave the White House soon after Congress disposes with the tax plan, two people said.

GOP House Tax Chief: Trump is Full of It, Changes to 401(k) Are Still on the Table

Kevin Brady, tax shell game hsutler

Rep. Kevin Brady, (R., Texas), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee says many aspects of the tax code are in play, days after President Trump tweeted that the retirement savings program would be unchanged, reports The Wall Street Journal.

“There will be NO change to your 401(k),” the president said on Twitter.

Asked about Trump’s tweet, Brady said,

A Disdain for the Lack of Humor of the Typical College Student



By Don Boudreaux

Among the gravest offenses today in modern America is to talk or to write as if certain stereotypes contain even the smallest sliver of truth.  I share with many conservatives and libertarians a disdain for the remorseless lack of humor with which the typical academic, the typical college student, and the typical “Progressive” today processes even the most innocent of jokes and comments.  Even more do I share the disgust that

Rand Paul: Both Parties are Guilty of Spending Taxpayer Money ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow’



Go Rand Paul!

In a speech on Tuesday on the U.S. Senate floor,  Senator Rand Paul condemned the

Trump Took Straw Poll: Should Taylor or Powell Be Head of the Federal Reservef?


President Donald Trump on Tuesday asked Republican senators for a show-of-hands poll on two candidates he is considering to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve, reports The Wall Street Journal.

The president, who was on Capitol Hill at a Senate GOP caucus lunch, asked the group which

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

GOP Senator Brings Popcorn to Lunch With Trump



This is good.

Sen. Thom Tillis attended a lunch with President Trump and Republican lawmakers carrying a bag of popcorn, reports CNN.

A reporter asked the North Carolina Republican if the popcorn was for the fight between Senator Corker and Trump, which escalated after Trump accused Corker on Twitter of fighting against his plans for tax reform.

Tillis affirmed that the popcorn was in preparation for the lunch that will include both Trump and Corker, and tweeted a picture of himself at a popcorn machine with the caption, "Ready for lunch with POTUS and @SenateGOP."

Trump's tax "reform" is horrific, it should be sabotaged. Good for Corker. I hope others join him.

 -RW

The New Populism Isn't About Economics



I think Tyler Cowen is on to something when he writes:
It’s time to admit that the nationalist turn in global politics isn’t mainly about economics or economic failures. Instead,

THIS FISH SMELLS SUPER CRONY: Whitefish Energy Website Goes Dark After Getting $300 Million Contract to Rebuild Puerto Rico



The Washington Post reported this morning:
For the sprawling effort to restore Puerto Rico’s crippled electrical grid, the territory’s state-owned utility has turned to a two-year-old company from Montana that had just two full-time employees on the day Hurricane

Puerto Rico Story Has Echoes of Early Iraq



Interesting observations from Paul Krugman:

US Companies’ Foreign Profits are Not ‘Trapped Offshore'



Martin Sandbu correctly observes for the Financial Times:
 One analysis puts the amount stashed offshore by the 1,000 biggest US-listed companies at more than $2.6tn.

This, for sure, is an anomaly. But not for the reason most commonly believed. To listen to the

Theresa May Described as 'Despondent' with 'Rings Under Her Eyes' in Leaked Account of Brexit Meeting



Jean-Claude Juncker claimed Theresa May “begged” him for help during a private Brexit dinner in which she appeared “tormented” with “rings under her eyes”, according to reports in the German press.

In the account of last Monday’s dinner, May was said to seem “anxious” and “discouraged”, as well as “despondent and discouraged” with progress so far. according to German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

“She indicated that back home friend and foe are at her back plotting to bring her down. May said she had no room left to maneuver.

“The Europeans have to create it for her. May's face and appearance spoke volumes," Juncker is said to have later told his colleagues.

Juncker’s chief of staff Martin Selmayr has been accused of leaking the unflattering account.

 -RW

(via The Telegraph)

Monday, October 23, 2017

"WTF: An Economic History of the Weird"



Peter T. Leeson,WTF: An Economic History of the Weird, CA: Stanford University Press, 2017. xiv + 246 Pages. $27.95 (paperback).

Reviewed by Mark Koyama.

Pete Leeson is not your everyday economist. And WTF is not anordinary economics book. Leeson describes WTFas an economic tour of

Prince Alwaleed Says Bitcoin Will Implode: 'Enron in the Making'



Saudi billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal told CNBC this morning that bitcoin will "implode" one day.

"I just don't believe in this bitcoin thing. I think it's just going to implode one day. I think this is Enron in the making," Alwaleed said.

Alwaleed runs Kingdom Holding, a massive conglomerate whose investments include Citigroup, Apple and Twitter. The company is based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.


 -RW

LOL, Trump Should Read the Book Written By Baghdad Hassett When He Predicted Dow 36,000


Tom Braithwaite writes at The Financial Times:
With hindsight, it is easy to mock Dow 36,000. But that’s no reason not to do it. Especially since co-author Kevin Hassett now sits in the White House, as chief economic adviser to a US president who loves to cheer stock market milestones.

Published in October 1999, the book argued that stocks should triple in about

‘Wolf of Wall Street’ Warns ICOs are ‘Biggest Scam Ever’



Jordan Belfort, the former penny-stock broker whose penny stock scamming was the focus of the film, The Wolf of Wall Street, has dismissed the current craze for initial coin offerings as “the biggest scam ever” that is bound to “blow up in . . . people’s faces,” reports The Financial Times.

So far this year, 202 ICOs have raised just over $3bn, according to Coinschedule.com

Belfort, who spent 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to securities fraud and money-laundering, drew parallels to the fashion for “blind pools” in the 1970s and 80s, when companies raised funds from investors without

Trump Says He May Have to Institute a New Higher Top Tax Rate for Wealthy




President  Trump on Sunday said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox News that he would prefer not to have what he referred to as a fifth tax bracket but said he wanted “to make sure the middle class gets taken care of” even if that required another category for the "rich."

"If I feel that the middle class is

PELOSI: Trump’s Tax Bill Is ‘Armageddon’



Sunday on MSNBC’s “AM Joy,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said President Donald Trump’s tax plan was “armageddon.”

Pelosi said, “This tax bill is armageddon. This is it. This hurts the middle class.”

Only Donald Trump could make Pelosi sound reasonable but she is correct Trump's tax "reform" bill will hurt many in the middle class.

Tax reform is almost always a scam. SEE: The Myth of Tax "Reform"

 -RW


Sunday, October 22, 2017

"One of the Most Dramatic Increases in the Standard of Living in the World, Ever"



My favorite economic policymaker is Ludwig Erhard, but not far behind is Sir John Cowperthwaite, who was the Financial Secretary of Hong Kong from 1961 to 1971.

He can be credited with managing Hong Kong as a free market colony, which allowed it to grow in spectacular fashion. The current Hong Kong Financial Secretary calls it,

The Horrific Bitcoin Trackability Factor



At the post, The Government Attack on Bitcoin Has Begun, The NAPster writes:
Robert, I don't follow your logic: "Governments can always require that merchants who accept Bitcoin (and other private e-currencies) record the name of the users. There goes the privacy value of Bitcoin. Under such circumstances, Bitcoin is much more trackable than cash---or gold." 
Why couldn't such governments also require merchants who accept cash to record the name of buyers? How is this a particular defect of Bitcoin compared with cash?
There is an old Swiss saying,

Zimbabwe's Madman Leader Mugabe Named WHO 'Goodwill Ambassador'



Zimbabwe's president, Robert Mugabe, has been named the World Health Organization's "goodwill ambassador."

 He is the first African to be named a WHO leader.

Mugabe through his crony dictatorship has ruined the country. It was once a prosperous country, especially when it was a self-governing British colony known as Southern Rhodesia.

 It has been something of a shock to the world community that Mugabe (93) was named the WHO ambassador.

Two dozen organizations — including the World Heart Federation and Cancer Research U.K. — released a

Wall Street Furious Over Tax Reform Proposal to Slash 401(k) Contributions



Did I mention tax reform is a shell game con?

The New York Post reports:
Wall Street pushed back hard on Friday against a report that