Eating their own, eating their own…..

New York’s attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, abruptly resigned on Monday night following accusations published in the New Yorker that he physically assaulted four women he was romantically involved with.

Schneiderman rose to national prominence as a foe of the Trump administration and a high-profile figure in the #MeToo movement against sexual harassment.

“In the last several hours, serious allegations, which I strongly contest, have been made against me,” Schneiderman said in a statement Monday night.

“While these allegations are unrelated to my professional conduct or the operations of the office, they will effectively prevent me from leading the office’s work at this critical time. I therefore resign my office, effective at the close of business on May 8, 2018.”

Oh Aye?

Women are backing out of divorce cases because settlements are becoming less generous, experts have said.

Fewer wives are being awarded income for life and they are increasingly having their divorce settlement limited to a few years.

This is making some of them back off from going through with a split, law firms say.

Incentives matter, do they?

Of course the Senior Lecturer’s right, IP is only bout tax dodging

Some will recall the contortions the Professor at Islington Technical College went through to insist that Starbucks really was dodging taxes. Despite their actually, you know, losing money? Losing money even after we reversed everything they were supposed to be doing that was tax dodging.

One such contortion was that there should be no royalty paid. For, of course, intellectual property is only just a tax dodge, it has no economic reality at all:

Switzerland’s Nestlé is paying $7.15bn to market Starbucks’ out-of-shop products as the world’s largest food and drinks group ramps up its US and global coffee expansion plans.

Dunno about you bit I’d call that 7,150,000,000 bits of economic reality myself.

Ritchie’s tax gap is wrong

Well, we know that of course, it’s just that we’ve another reason to know so:

Tax dodging is less rife than previously thought as HM Revenue and Customs has unexpectedly discovered that Britons typically err on the side of caution, inadvertently overpaying on their self-assessment forms.

Contrary to the expectation that taxpayers play down their incomes as much as possible – or, as in recent high-profile cases, evade taxes – a trialled new system revealed the opposite to be more commonly true. An automated system that used existing data to pre-write a taxpayer’s income found that it reduced the income declared more often than not.

Jon Thompson, chief executive of HMRC, revealed the discovery in a letter to MPs. This “had a small net negative impact on overall tax receipts due to improved accuracy of self-assessment returns”, Mr Thompson wrote. He added: “Decreases in overpayments outweighed the reductions in small ­underpayments.”

That’s my job at Islington Technical College screwed then

So, there’s a letter from 1,100 economist floating around. Insisting that trade agreements have made the world much richer blah, blah, blah. So, I was going to write a typically Worstallian piece. Nah, it’s not trade agreements, it’s lower transport costs. Agreements are nice, useful, make us richer etc, but transport hugely outweighs tariffs etc.

And, you know, all economists would agree when this is pointed out, it’s just we don’t normally bother to do so.

Just before I charge off thought I’d just check the drop in transport costs. I know absolutely it’s true for late 19th century, let’s just check it is for post-war 20th.

It ain’t. Ad valorem shipping rates have been pretty constant actually. Complicated stuff – what gets shipped has changed etc, times are much shorter, smaller load can be shipped, less theft – but my thesis isn’t, really, very true at all.

So, not writing a piece on that claim then.

But that is my application to teach at Islington Technical College screwed then isn’t it? Altering stuff on the basis of facts?

Just to make it worse, then looked up a bit of trade theory to see why I disagreed with it. Turns out I misunderstood it. Ho hum….


These caveats aside, the clear conclusion is that we’re really, really, getting our GDP numbers wrong. Or to be more precise, the numbers might be accurate, but they are a horrible guide to what we’re really trying to measure. What we want to know is ‘how rich are we? How close with popping with the pleasure of it all are we, being alive in this very digital dawn?’.

In economic terms the best we can do here is to estimate the value we get to consume. As a proxy for that – and we really must note that it’s a proxy – we measure GDP, which is value created at market prices. This is a problem when there’s no direct market value for something. As Google’s chief economist Hal Varian has said, GDP has a problem with free.

I fear the Senior Lecturer misunderstands private property and warrants

If HMRC need a little crowd funding so that they can afford a £75 warrant I suspect we could arrange it

I’m sure we could, yes.

So, HMRC won’t issues warrants to search for evidence or relevant documents in these case because the costs and hassle are too great.

Gosh, really?

Richard then researched the costs. They are here, and don’t look to be beyond the wit of the average law enforcement officer to me, which is of course, the intended case. But the cost issue is also well worth noting.

Which is where the £75 comes from.

And just for the record, if the JP is satisfied that it is necessary to authorise multiple entries in order to meet the purpose of the warrant, they may specify that the warrant is for an unlimited number of entries or limited to a maximum number of entries. Despite this HMRC apparently have been unable to fork out this extortionate sum to gain entry to Amazon’s premises to seize the goods of those partaking in a multi billion pound fraud (I stress, that is billion).

I do wonder if they can’t afford the cost whether we should do a crowdfunding to help them out? them? 20p a shot, anyone?

You really could not make arguments this ludicrous up.

Hmm, well. Hands up everyone who thinks that HMRC can get just the one warrant and then have a rootle through Amazon’s warehouses?

Instead of needing a warrant to search for goods to be seized – that warrant being about the person who owns the goods to be seized?

In this case, VAT fraud on imports being sold through Amazon. Note through, not by. So, we need a warrant to seize the goods of Mr. Wat Da Fuck which might be in the Amazon warehouse. And we need another one for those of Mr Who Da Fuck which might also be in that same warehouse.

We need £75 for each trader suspected, not one warrant for a warehouse or for Amazon.

And the amount of VAT to be collected from each trader is? As opposed to the costs of those warrants, it’s worth it is it?

No, I don’t know either but that is the calculation HMRC will have done and which the Senior Lecturer hasn’t.

This is an interesting claim

I get bored by hearing this nonsense. There is not the slightest evidence that anyone has ever been subject to kidnap, extortion or any other crime after criminals spent hours pouring over company records.

Let me be clear: I am not saying that people do not live without the fear of these crimes. I know they do. But how will the victims be identified? I suggest that lifestyles of conspicuous consumption might be the best indicators to criminals of their potential victims.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I am not saying anyone should be a victim of crime because they conspicuously consume. That is utterly unacceptable.

All I am saying is that to suggest that offshore secrecy prevents crime of this sort is absurd. It simply does not. It does nothing of the sort. And I am bored by the apologists for offshore tax havens making these wild and wholly unjustified claims aimed at base human emotions, like fear, that have no credibility at all. Those of us opposing tax haven secrecy are not siding with criminals. We’re opposing a system widely abused by criminals. And I think those making these ridiculous excuses know that.

I know someone who was extorted as a result of having opened a bank account.


I opened a corporate back account in Russia one day. Three days later, the information having been passed along, the local mob turned up and demanded their bit. It’s all known as krisha.

I fear that the Egregious Professor doesn’t understand quite what the world out there is like….

About time for this again, isn’t it?

The reason being:

MAY 2018 • 5:57PM
Only four of Germany’s 128 Eurofighter aircraft are operational and ready for combat in the event of a crisis, it was claimed yesterday (WED), in revelations that will deepen pressure on Germany to live up to its defence commitments.

The remaining aircraft have been grounded by technical problems and a shortage of combat missiles, according to a report in Spiegel magazine.


From our ever popular series questions in headlines we can answer

What did we learn from TSB bosses’ grilling by MPs?

We would have learnt something if we’d actually had the following conversation:

“Why the cock up?”

“Because it’s very difficult”

“Why did you do it then?”

“Because every bank is going to have to do it”

“What, every bank?”



“Because banking IT systems are shit held together by sealing wax and string. Complete replacement will have to happen.”

That’s not the conversation we did get and that’s why we learnt nothing.

Reporters today, eh?

Inheritance tax should be scrapped and replaced by a system that is fairer and harder to avoid, an economic think tank has said.

Death duty is a “failed” and “unfixable” tax which does not keep up with modern society, according to the Resolution Foundation.

Adam Corlett, Senior Economic Analyst at the think tank, said inheritance tax “manages the uniquely bad twin feat of being both wildly unpopular and raising very little revenue.”

The taxman collected £5.2m from inheritance tax in 2017-2018, a 53% rise in four years, figures from HM Revenue & Customs show

m is just so close to b on the keyboard, isn’t it?

The young people of today, eh?

Highly-addictive video games risk having a “damaging” impact on children’s lives, the Culture Secretary has warned after parents raised concerns about a hugely popular multi-player “survival shooter”.

Fortnite, a video game which pits 100 players against each other and is free to play on mobile phones and games consoles, has proved hugely popular with children and teenagers.

The game has been downloaded more than 40 million times since its launch in July 2017 and been endorsed by a raft of celebrities, including Premier League footballers and chart-topping US rappers.

What would a Culture Secretary have to do all day if it weren’t for the repeated insistences of apres moi la deluge?

Well, no, not really

Why it matters: This family has been on the national stage for 26 years — all or most of the lifetime of anyone under 50. Chelsea Clinton, now 38, was 11 when her father, Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, announced his entry into the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in October 1991. He was 45 then; is 71 now.

There’s an “adult” missing before the lifetime, isn’t there?


Now it would appear that the New Zealand immigration service has added “sex work” (as prostitution is increasingly described) to the list of “employment skills” for those wishing to migrate. According to information on Immigration NZ’s (INZ) website, prostitution appears on the “skilled employment” list, but not the “skill shortage” list.

A Heinlein point comes o mind. Only on Earth could there be a shortage of what every woman possess an infinite supply of.

Sir Pterry wrote documentaries, not fiction

In one sense of course this is true as he did rather illustrate the human condition. But in another sense too:

Mayhem. There are 200 or more guys crushed together, a bit like a rugby scrum, which is known as “the sway”. The idea is that you try to move the “hood” – a leather cylinder about 2ft long – to whichever of the village pubs you favour. I’ve seen hedges go down and cars moved out of the road by the weight of this mass of humanity. The steam that comes off them is incredible. It’s rough.

Would fit rather nicely into Unseen Academicals, wouldn’t it?

Industry experts?

Whisky shops in Berwick and Carlisle are preparing for Scottish drinkers on booze cruises after the introduction of minimum pricing.

Industry experts have warned the new rules will mean drinkers may cross the border in search of cheaper alcohol.

What sort of expertise, other than sentience, do you need to predict that?