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Showing posts from July 24, 2014

This Eye-Popping Chart Of Ex-US Companies Shows Why People Are Freaking Out About 'Tax Inversions'

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[This shows that corporations would happily strip the United States bare if given the opportunity. *RON*]
Myles Udland, Business Insider, 24 July 2014

We keep hearing about "tax inversions."

A tax inversion is a corporate merger strategy that involves a company based in one country, say the U.S., acquires another company based somewhere else, say the U.K., and following the deal moves its tax base to enjoy a lower corporate tax rate.

This year, some notable tax inversions, or proposed tax inversions, include Minnesota-based Medtronic's $43 billion deal to acquire Covidien and move its tax base to Ireland; Illinois-based AbbVie's $53 billion deal to acquire Shire and move its tax base to Jersey, an island in the English Channel; and New York-based Pfizer's failed attempt to acquire U.K.-based AstraZeneca.

Pfizer's deal to acquire AstraZeneca, which was withdrawn in May, would've been the biggest of these mergers, with t…

The Sudden Departure Of Wal-Mart's U.S. CEO Is A Troubling Sign For The Economy

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[WalMart is reaping what it has sown, economically. *RON*]
Ashley Lutz, Business Insider, 24 July 2014

Wal-Mart's top American executive, Bill Simon, is leaving the company.

Simon's sudden departure comes at a "very, very odd time," and speaks to larger trends in the economy, said Brian Sozzi, chief equities strategist at Belus Capital Advisors.

"A decision to replace a high-ranking leader of a major retailer BEFORE back to school and BEFORE holidays is no laughing matter, and speaks volumes as to the current trends in the U.S. business," Sozzi said in a note to clients.

Bill Simon will be replaced by Gregory Faran, who currently runs the retail business in Asia.

Earlier this month, Simon told Reuters that the U.S. job rebound wasn't translating to better sales at Wal-Mart.

"It's really hard to see in our business today that it's gotten any better," Simon told Reuters.

"We’ve reached a point…

This Could Be The Beginning Of A Revolt Against Hedge Funds

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[Outsized fees charged for lacklustre returns are beginning to turn some of the largest pension funds away from hedge funds. *RON*]

Linette Lopez, Business Insider, 24 July 2014

The California Public Employees' Retirement System (Calpers), one of the largest pension funds in the United States, has decided to drop its investment in hedge funds by 40% (or down to $3 billion) this year, says the WSJ.

The "why?" here is pretty simple — these pension funds think hedge fund fees are too expensive.

And it isn't just Calpers. The School Employees Retirement System of Ohio decided to lower its hedge fund investment from 15% to 10% in 2015; New Jersey's State Investment Council lowered its investment from 12.25% to 12%; and San Francisco Employees' Retirement System is debating a cut as well.

For now it's just trickle compared to hedge fund inflows, but these allocation decisions matter — especially from pensions like Calpers,…

Bigger Government Doesn’t Always Mean Less Entrepreneurship

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[Once you factor out corporate welfare, government spending has no net effect on the level of entrepreneurship in the economy. "Some spending might help, some might hurt, but creating a dynamic, entrepreneurial economy isn’t just a matter of government getting out of the way." *RON*]

by Walter Frick, Harvard Business Review Blogs, July 24, 2014

Conventional wisdom holds that there is a tradeoff between an expansive welfare state and the dynamism of a country’s economy. Bigger government gets in the way of entrepreneurship, the thinking goes, thereby holding back innovation and job creation.

There is data that seems to bear this out; research has found a negative correlation between a country’s level of government spending and its rate of new business creation. But a new paper from a researcher at The World Bank adds some much-needed nuance to the conversation, making the point that not all government spending is equal.

It’s intuitive that …

When Harper Killed the Census He Robbed Canadians

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[Canada, the land of Freedom From Information, where ideology rules. *RON*]

Murtaza Haider, Associate Professor of Management (Ryerson University), Huffington Post, 24 July 2014


An ad in the Globe and Mail reveals the extent of harm the Harper Conservatives have inflicted on Statistics Canada. Because of poor quality, Statistics Canada is not releasing data at finer spatial scales because the Harper Conservatives killed the mandatory long-form Census and replaced it with a voluntary survey of dubious quality.

The Conservatives' attack on the Census not only cost Canadians their most valuable source of information, it also led to the departure of Canada's leading civil servant, Dr. Munir Sheikh, who in July 2010 resigned his position as Canada's chief statistician to protect the integrity of the institution he led.

It happened exactly four years ago with the government's decision to eliminate the long-form Census that collected infor…

B.C. Carbon Tax Doesn't Hurt Agricultural Sector: Study

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["This tax is killing us," "this is putting our livelihood and thousands of jobs in danger." Research shows that the carbon tax didn't hurt the agricultural industry at all; in fact, the $25 million in relief they demanded wasn't even needed. *RON*]

James Glave, Communications Director, Clean Energy Canada, Huffington Post, 23 July 2014



Despite industry claims to the contrary, British Columbia's carbon tax has not hurt the province's agricultural sector, a new Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions study concludes. Further, the study suggests that the more than $25 million worth of competitive "relief" that the provincial government has granted the industry in recent years may not have been necessary.

"When we look back at the first five years of the carbon tax, the claims were it was decimating agricultural producers, that they were unable to compete with Mexico and California," said Nicho…

Underemployed immigrants a loss for Revenue Canada

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[Internationally trained professionals keep landing in survival and entry-level jobs, or in positions not related to their field of expertise. The consequences of this phenomenon go beyond the individual frustration. The economy as a whole is impacted. *RON*]
Valentina Ruiz Leotaud, Vancouver Observer, Jul 23rd, 2014

When you look like a foreigner--as I do--you get to listen to many stories from immigrants who feel cheated by “the land of opportunity” they thought Canada would be. For example:

A chef with eight years of experience in the Philippines and the Middle East who now has to juggle five jobs as a line cook.

An award-winning architect from Mexico who now has to take stock every morning from 5:00 a.m. at a convenience store.

A psychologist from Serbia who had to clean floors for several years in Canada to earn money to reclaim her former career.

A dentist from Tanzania, with a PhD he earned in Japan, who settled for a post-doctoral fellowship…

Jobs and social security needed as income inequality widens, UNDP warns

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[The UN's Human Development Index reports are well worth a look. "While economic inequality has eased in some countries, the report points out that the combined wealth of the world's 85 richest people equals that of the 3.5 billion poorest, or half the Earth's population." The opposite of austerity is needed as the pace of development slows, according to human development report 2014, and conflict and natural disasters take their toll. *RON*]

Mark Andersontheguardian.com, 24 July 2014
More investment in jobs and social security, and the introduction of laws that offer vulnerable people greater protection, are required to halt the slowing of human development caused by income inequality, fluctuations in food prices, natural disasters and conflict.

The universal provision of basic social services and targeted support for disadvantaged groups, such as women, people with disabilities, older people and minority groups, is a key …