Not that bad an idea

Notorious mobster’s daughter hawking Godfather coffee pods

The daughter of notorious Sicilian mob boss Totò Riina has begun selling coffee pods and olive oil in his memory, just weeks after his death.

An unrepentant antithesis to ethical coffee, the “Uncle Totò” capsules are named after the ferocious Corleone-based godfather responsible for dozens of murders who once ordered a 13-year-old boy to be strangled and dissolved in acid.

One of the less dangerous ways she could trade on the family name, no?

Eoin Clarke supports tax dodging!

So, Eoin Clarke’s old blog now tells you how to avoid estate taxes.

If anyone has ever been immortal they have kept it a well-guarded secret, because that just isn’t how the life cycle works. Part of this cycle includes taxes and death and it is inevitable. Having established the fact that you will die, it only makes sense to start preparing now, for unforeseen events and tragedies that can leave everyone devastated should you have an untimely death. Having adequate protection for those you love is protecting their welfare from the grave through an extensive estate plan. Without estate planning, your survivors could see strangers take what was meant for them and this is would be an especially sad day for your family and loved ones.

The guys over at Stone Sallus Law say that you

This is one of those pieces written to get a bit of cash from people looking for a better Google position.

Times must be hard in the Irish feminism business then, eh?

Spotter, RichardT

Pure bollocks again

Trump’s tax reforms – designed to enrich Apple by at least $47 billion

We can’t enrich a company. We can only enrich those who own it, buy from it, sell to it or work in it. Incidence.

Of course the Senior Lecturer will never admit this because that would then mean studying the incidence of who pays taxes.

That is a reasonable question to ask. That’s because this whole plan is premised on the idea that if rates are reduced then business will invest more, jobs will be created, and growth will follow. There is, however, implicit in that assumption another, even more implicit, assumption, which is that Americans pay the tax that they owe already.

No, it’s not implicit at all. But it gets better:

As they note, in the US just 81.7% of the taxes that are owed are actually paid. Admittedly not every tax is considered, but all the important ones are. The research covers individual income, corporation income, employment, estate, and excise taxes.

The amounts lost are staggering

Excellent, so reduce tax rates because humans do react to incentives. Lower taxes aren’t worth the risk of jail to avoid/evade so therefore fewer people will. The tax gap falls with lower tax rates. Lower tax rates will reduce the tax gap. Ritchie wants to reduce the tax gap – why isn’t Ritchie in favour of lower taxes?

Cheap food reduces war

This paper provides evidence of the long-run effects of a permanent increase in agricultural productivity on conflict. We construct a newly digitized and geo-referenced dataset of battles in Europe, the Near East and North Africa covering the period between 1400 and 1900 CE. For variation in permanent improvements in agricultural productivity, we exploit the introduction of potatoes from the Americas to the Old World after the Columbian Exchange. We find that the introduction of potatoes permanently reduced conflict for roughly two centuries. The results are driven by a reduction in civil conflicts.

As has been noted about Hitler’s Lebensraum. If German agricultural productivity had risen from 1920 to 1940 by the amount it did between 1950 and 1970 there would have been no point – no economic point at least – in invading eastwards, would there?

So, Greenies, arguing that we should all eat more expensive and land hungry organic food. Why is it that you want to invade Poland?

There’s a great truth here

Asked in later life if she was aware of the mesmerising power of her beauty as a 19-year-old, Keeler answered: “I don’t think young girls know they’re beautiful. Although I must admit there wasn’t much I couldn’t get or do if I wanted to then. I was a shy girl. I had rosy cheeks. I hated them. I blushed easily.”

Female beauty certainly eases the path through life. And it comes as something of a shock to many who were that this effect fades.

It explains a certain amount of the modern world that this is so…..

So, it’s not the sausages then

The humble sausage sandwich could contain nearly two-thirds of an adult’s maximum daily recommended intake of salt – more than a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries, a health group has warned.

Yes, of course these are the argle bargle targets which don’t mean anything anyway.

The survey found that the average salt content of sausages was 1.3g per 100g, or 1.16g per typical portion of two sausages – a figure that has remained relatively unchanged since 2011, exceeding the salt reduction targets in place at that time. The maximum daily recommended intake for an adult is 6g.

The saltiest sausages were Iceland’s Jumbo Pork range, at 1.28g each, but that went up to 3.78g including the ingredients for a sandwich, compared with 3.22g for a McDonald’s double cheeseburger and large fries.

Ah. There’s salt in bread, isn’t there? It’s not the damn sausages in the first place.

And I’m sorry, but really, that’s what they’ve done. A sausage sandwich (two sausages per serving) has in the sausages one sixth to one third of the daily recommended salt allowance.

BTW, who is it that tells us about salt in bread? Err, yes, the same people talking about these sausage sandwiches.

So, what state would be able to do something about this?

Simon died in his small house, waiting to go back into hospital to dry out. He grew up in a town with men who’d had to dig out children from the Aberfan mining disaster; he died the year Grenfell Tower burned down. When such obvious tragedies strike, the politicians and the press vow to tackle the social injustices that caused them. But Simon was just one man dying in plain sight of his neighbours, his family and state officials. Far easier to chalk up his death to a fatty liver and booze, rather than inequality and austerity and the false promises peddled by politicians from Thatcher to May. A dead man, a dying town: he spent his last days being told he’s fit for work in an economy that has next to no work.

What’s left is a younger brother beating himself up about what he should have done and angry at others for letting them both down.

Before we part, Dave asks: “Why wasn’t there someone who could step in and help? Is that naive of me? To think that a modern, 21st-century society could do that for people who need it?”

How much power would a state need in order to stop a middle aged man drinking himself to death?

Simon had always been a pub man. But now he’d get up in the morning and start on a glass of watered-down scotch and a sci-fi DVD. By the end of a day, he’d have finished the DVDs, his fags and an entire bottle of Scotch.

Having been one of Blair’s strivers, Simon was now one of George Osborne’s skivers. He was moved on to disability benefits, before the Department for Work and Pensions assessors declared him fit for work. His money would periodically stop until his GP contested the verdict. This spring, he was moved on to universal credit, which meant six weeks with barely a penny. Again and again, it was Dave who had to bail him out. It was Dave who suggested jobs Simon could apply for, small businesses he might start. The younger brother was filling in for the state, while Si lived in ripped clothes and ate junk. “The government was abusing a vulnerable man.”

What, exactly, should those powers be? And ho would want to live in a state which had such powers?

Worstall’s Fallacy in the wild

America’s homeless population has risen this year for the first time since the Great Recession, propelled by the housing crisis afflicting the west coast, according to a new federal study.

The study has found that 553,742 people were homeless on a single night this year, a 0.7% increase over last year.

No, really, no.

The bottom 10% of the US does about as well as the bottom 10% of certain generous European welfare states. The bottom 5% does rather worse (20 to 30% perhaps). Yes ,this is a reflection of that US welfare state, for that’s going to be a major determinant of the living standards of those at the bottom. And as it happens single able bodied people get very little help indeed. Well, you know, their gaff, their rules. They do very much better in pulling up children above their own rather different idea of a poverty line. Shrug.


The government mandates that cities and regions perform a homeless street count every two years, when volunteers fan out everywhere from frozen parks in Anchorage to palm-lined streets in Beverly Hills and enumerate people by hand. Those numbers are combined with the total staying in shelters and temporary housing.

What this is is a measure of those who would be without shelter if it were not for what that welfare state does to reduce the number of people without shelter. Which is Worstall’s Fallacy of course. In deciding what we should be doing we must look at the effects of what we’re already doing – so that we can decide if we should be doing more, doing something different. What we should not be doing is measuring the original size of the problem then deciding that more must be done – without evaluating the effects of what we already do.

As it happens I think the US could and should be doing rather more. Like, abolish very large parts of the zoning laws so that it’s possible to build cheap housing. But that’s still different from the facts about these numbers being presented.

If only there were an economist about

I confirm that they do just that. As I noted recently, corporate profits make up 67% of the GDP of the Isle of Man. For comparison, they make up 21% of the profit of the United Kingdom, which might reasonably be used as a benchmark.


Corporate profit as a % ge of GP is to be compared to corporate profit as a % ge of profit?


No doubt we’ll be told that corporate profits are 21% of UK GDP, it’s just a typo. But even that’s not true, that’s the capital share in the economy. Which isn’t, really isn’t, the same as the corporate profit share.

Paul Krugman is a card, isn’t he?


As foreigners have invested in the Czech Republic the gap between GNP and GDP has risen. That is, the amount the foreigners take out of the Czech Republic has risen as a portion of the Czech economy.


Therefore a burst of foreign investment does do all that well for the people:

You can see what this has meant for the Czech Republic in the figure. For what it’s worth, the lag of GNP behind GDP shown there is several times as large as most predictions of extra growth from U.S. tax cuts.

Now, I don’t believe this tax “reform” will produce anything like the capital inflow its defenders claim. But even if it does, Americans won’t see much of the benefits.

Back when Czechs got 100% of the local economy. Today they get 93%. That’s the complaint.

Hmm. Over the same period of time the Czech economy has doubled in real terms.

Czechs used to get 100% of X, they now get 186% of 2X.

This is a bad deal is it Professor?

Wibble, wibble, about Trump

Decisions to live this way would seem to offer insight into Trump’s ability to assess risk. In light of a nuclear standoff with North Korea, rapidly warming oceans, and a looming tax bill that would leave millions more Americans without health insurance, his approach to self-maintenance is not reassuring.

Yes, really, the fact that he eats Maccy D and KFC is evidence of his inability to deal with N Korea and so on.

Adam Smith Institute and Adam Smith International

Dirty tricks of aid barons paid millions of our money: RICHARD PENDLEBURY analyses the work of the Adam Smith Institute


Adam Smith International, the fattest of Britain’s foreign aid fat-cat contractors, remains defiant, if not entirely convincing.

AS International is an entirely different organisation from AS Institute.

There was a common origin but there’s been no connection for decades.

ASI, which has its headquarters close to Blackfriars bridge in central London, remains at the centre of this disquiet over ‘profiteering’ in the world’s trouble spots. The firm was founded in 1992, arising from, but unconnected to, the Right-of-Centre Adam Smith Institute think-tank.

Quite so. That headline needs to change a bit, no?

Ain’t this great?

A Labour-controlled council has been urged to invest part of its £250 million pension fund overseas because of “political risk” associated with Labour policies if Jeremy Corbyn becomes prime minister.

Camden council said that it had been advised by London CIV that it would be “imprudent” to expose London pension funds to infrastructure investments that were entirely UK-focused because of risk associated with a programme of renationalisation. Labour pledged in its manifesto this year that it would bring rail, mail and utilities back under public ownership.

That the Senior Lecturer gets ahold of your pension is a risk, isn’t it?

No, no, we really shouldn’t laugh

Lily Allen has sparked a furious Twitter backlash after claiming she is unable to move back to the London flat she owns because her tenants are claiming ‘diplomatic immunity’.
The row has seen the singer accused of ‘profiteering’ by renting out the property to wealthy foreigners instead of taking in refugees as she had previously pledged.
In the now-deleted tweet, Ms Allen wrote: ‘Meant to be moving back into my flat this week, but my tenants just dropped that they can’t find anywhere to go up to their standards.
‘Then they said they’re diplomats and have diplomatic immunity and there’s nothing I can do about it.

Unconvinced that diplomatic immunity works that way but still.

Polly’s command of statistics

There never is, was or can be a neat universal system. Besides, Beveridge planned for an all-male workforce when a man’s wage was enough: now median families need two earners.

If, as is true, the median family is two earner then the median family rather needs to be…..

It’s not that life has become more expensive. Rather, that the structure of the workforce has changed. You know, that female liberation stuff?