July 2016

Well done Sirrah!

HM Revenue & Customs has published new inheritance tax data today.

This chart shows the proportion of the total of this tax paid in the UK’s regions in 2013/14 which is the most recent for which there is data.


Isn’t it obvious why we need a policy for redistributing wealth in the UK?

What, like inheritance tax, capital gains tax, housing stamp duty and all the rest?

Interesting – selling sex exploits you?

A former Fox News employee told New York magazine that ousted chairman Roger Ailes had sexually exploited and “psychologically tortured” her for more than 20 years.

Laurie Luhn, in an extensive interview published Friday afternoon, detailed a coercive relationship that she said began in 1988 and involved Ailes paying her for sexual favors – with cash, mentoring, jobs and promotions.

Luhn signed a $3.15m settlement with Fox News in 2011 that barred her from speaking publicly but told the magazine that she was motivated to speak out by the recent spate of sexual harassment allegations against Ailes.

“He’s a predator,” she said.

No, obviously, you don’t want a boss doing this. However, it’s still interesting, the logi of her statement, isn’t it?

I sold sex to him for 20 years therefore he exploited me.

Watching the money flow we might think it the other way around.

I wonder if Facebook really did get this wrong

This is actually a simple argument:

Facebook could be liable to pay between $3 to $5bn in extra US tax after an extensive investigation by the US Internal Revenue Service (IRS) into the way the tech company transferred assets to Ireland.

The tax agency has been exploring whether Facebook deliberately deployed complex financial processes designed to minimize the amount of US tax it paid.

And it’s not that one either but then who expects The Guardian to get this stuff right?

Facebook transferred the international rights to exploit its IP offshore in 2010.

This is legal and not complex. The question is, what price?

For that IP must be transferred at market value. Uncle Sam gets tax on that transfer value, obviously.

So, what was the value of Facebook’s international IP in 2010? Opinions will differ, obviously. Private company although one with limited share transactions on Second Market. Total valuation that year anything between $10 billion and $50 billion. How much of that accrues to solely the foreign rights to the IP?

Piece of string?

But it would be fascinating to see that they’d got that valuation hugely wrong.

This will be lots of fun

Senior Labour rebels are so convinced that Jeremy Corbyn will win the leadership contest that they are planning to elect their own leader and launch a legal challenge for the party’s name.

Leading moderates have told The Telegraph they are looking at plans to set up their own “alternative Labour” in a “semi-split” of the party if Mr Corbyn remains in post.

The move would see them create their own shadow cabinet and even elect a leader within Parliament to rival Mr Corbyn’s front bench and take on the Tories.

Tee hee. The scramble for the front bench on the opposition side every day.

And what will actually matter is who keeps the red rosette, given how many will vote for dead donkeys wearing one.

Just how far in the tank the media is for the Democrats

Hillary Clinton was a modern suffragette in white for historic DNC speech

The Suffragettes wore white, Hills wore white, she’s a Suffragette.

Believe me, this shit is all over the place.

Melania Trump wore white but she’s just some bitch who wore a dress designed by a foreigner, a Slovene, whatever suburb of Europistan that is.

The British press is just as partial of course (cue Miliboy being intellectually bested by a bacon butty) but the American media is hugely proud of its impartiality. They even all do Masters degrees in how to be impartial. And then they pull this sort of crap?

Now that is a good political joke

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slams Trump by introducing himself as “Michael Jordan”: “I said that because I knew Donald couldn’t tell the difference”

I don’t say that it’s true or anything but it is a good political joke.

I always get the impression that Hillary would be a bit like Maggie.

Earlier, Peter Jay, the son-in-law of the then prime minister Jim Callaghan, had said that Callaghan saw himself as Moses, leading his people after long travails into the promised land. It was a silly thing to say, and Thatcher’s people seized on it. They wrote a line for her party conference speech: “My message to Moses is: ‘Keep taking the tablets.'” But she didn’t get the joke and tried to change it to “Keep taking the pills.” Only after it was carefully explained to her did she agree to the proper version.

Not just incapable of creating a good joke but not really understanding what one is.

You what?

The full amount of this tax would be borne by the financial industry, and not individual holders of stock or pension funds and other institutional investors. Evidence suggests that trading volume is elastic with respect to price, meaning that any drop in trading volume resulting from the tax would reduce costs for end users by a larger amount than the tax would increase them.

What the fuck has Dean Baker been smoking?

Trading volume falls, liquidity falls (same statement), bid ask spreads widen trading becomes more expensive.


Lovely typo

The second reason for concern is that I think that the whole fabric on which successful change in the UK political environment has been built has been the democratic process. To pout it bluntly nothing but political power secured through the ballot box has been able to challenge the power of capital. Those on the right who are open on this issue call this the tyranny of democracy. By this they mean that democracy has given a majority who own little capital the power to make claim on that capital through tax and regulation to make sure that some of it at least is used for social good.

No, that’s not what we call the tyranny of democracy.

However, pout is a pretty good description of Ritchie’s general attitudes, isn’t it?

So, so, Guardian

The American summer tradition of clearing out of cities for the beach every weekend is at odds with an equally strong tradition of avoiding inconvenience. But for some reason the beach always wins.

Six hours on the road with small children in the back? No problem. A two-hour tailback? Just part of the package. A three-hour journey out of Penn Station to East Hampton, on a train so crowded you have to stand the whole way? Deal with it.

I have, in my nine years in the US, done every one of these journeys multiple times and now approach the summer with a certain dread. Granted, unlike in Britain, where you can stand up for hours on a train to get to a beach that looks like a large mudflat, at least the sand on Long Island is pretty. The dunes are pristine, the weather is hot and, if you trudge far enough from the path, you don’t have to see another human for hours.

How fucking much does a place in the Hamptons cost?

The English equivalent of this is some Londoner whining about how long it takes to get to Rock on a summer weekend. It’s rather a 0.1% problem, isn’t it?

There are times when that urban intelligentsia really does have a tin ear.

Darling, darling Polly

She really has missed something important about the British left:

But presumably most people signing up to a political party actually want their party in power,

That part of the British left represented by Momentum and those further left aren’t concerned about power, no, not power as in Parliamentary power. They’re also not interested in this universe nor actual human beings. They’ve a vision in their heads and that’s what is important, clinging to that vision and nothing else. And it always has been that way too.

Still, at least this is an improvement on her welcoming of the last Labour leader but two, the one eyed Viking.

Julie Bindel on how we should treat false accusations of rape

Something like this fills with dread of course. How bad its the logic and argumentation going to be? And La Bindel doesn’t disappoint. Because she never does even coming lose to answering her own question:

The tragic case of Eleanor de Freitas has provided more questions than answers. What should be done about those few cases in which women make false allegations of rape?

It’s not actually that few though, is it?

Home Office-commissioned research on rape attrition from 2005 found that around 3% of reports of rape are false. The impression given by some sections of the media and men’s rights groups paints a very different picture.

From the report.

There are false allegations, and possibly slightly more than some researchers and
support agencies have suggested. However, at maximum they constitute nine per
cent and probably closer to three per cent of all re p o rted cases.

From memory in this field don’t we take “possibly up to” as being the absolute lower bound? But perhaps more importantly:

Twelve per cent of all reported cases, or 14 per cent of those where the outcome
is known, reached the trial stage.

I’ve forgotten what the conviction rate at trial is. But we are getting to the stage where the number of false reports, ones we know are absolutely outright simply made up, is around and about the same as the number of reports that we can and do prove to the standards of criminal justice. Myself I just wouldn’t be calling that “few” but then I’m male, aren’t I?

And as I say, La Bindel doesn’t disappoint in living down to expectations. Because the one thing she doesn’t even manage to broach is, well, what should be the punishment for someone who lies so as to destroy the life of another? I’d think a great deal more of her (and for all the jokes I do admire her tenacity if nothing else) if the answer was something along the lines of, well, come down like a holy terror on those who really do egregiously just flat out lie for some reason or personal gain but be very, very, careful about who we conclude that of. Or summat like that. But we don’t even get that, do we?

My word, this is fun

Stephen Hawking on the real meaning of wealth (which he gets rather wrong) in The Guardian.

So I would be the last person to decry the significance of money. However, although wealth has played an important practical role in my life, I have of course had a different relationship with it to most people. Paying for my care as a severely disabled man, and my work, is crucial; the acquisition of possessions is not. I don’t know what I would do with a racehorse, or indeed a Ferrari, even if I could afford one. So I have come to see money as a facilitator, as a means to an end – whether it is for ideas, or health, or security – but never as an end in itself.

Interestingly this attitude, for a long time seen as the predictable eccentricity of a Cambridge academic, is now more widely shared.

Err, no, not really, standard economic structure is that wealth is the ability to increase utility. How utility is increased is entirely up to the individual, as our utility functions differ.

Or, if you’d like to put it this way, wealth is a facilitator, something that facilitates us increasing our utility.

Not unusual this, someone looking at an economic question from basic principles, getting close to the right answer but not realising that economics got there a century or more before. A better try at it that Ritchie of course, who usually manages to glom onto something which has been disproven via the same logical route but…..

Anyway, what’s really fun about this is that’s it’s a PR puff piece for a new web site run by UBS. You know, the Swiss bank and wealth management people?

Oh yes, we need a national development fund, Ho Yus

According to lawsuits filed last week by the United States Department of Justice (DoJ), at least $3.5bn has been stolen from 1MDB. The purpose of the fund, which was set up by Malaysia’s prime minister, Najib Razak, in 2009, was to promote economic development in a country where the median income stands at approximately £300 per month. Instead, the DoJ alleged that stolen money from 1MDB found its way to numerous associates of Prime Minister Najib, who subsequently went on a lavish spending spree across the world. It also accused Najib of receiving $681m of cash from 1MDB – a claim he denied. Money from 1MDB, the US also claimed, helped to purchase luxury apartments in Manhattan, mansions in Los Angeles, paintings by Monet, a corporate jet, and even financed a major Hollywood movie.

Nothing like that would happen at all, Ho No.

I recognise these two

Nor do entry barriers guarantee quality. Indeed, many of the faults blogs are accused of apply as much to old media, where they played out in elephantine slow motion and with a tenured complacency symptomatic of a medium blessed with too much protection from competition. Some of the most questionable analysis I have ever read came dressed in academic clothing, and is all the more dangerous for that. One paper from Sheffield academics, for example, purported to prove that Britain doled out £93bn of corporate welfare and had Labour politicians hopping with excitement. Another I recall from 2009 was an analysis issuing from a “radical” think-tank, claiming to show that childcare workers generated £7 for every pound they are paid, while advertising executives destroyed £11.

That seond was described by Giles himself as “not economics frankly” and I was one of those who leapt in upon the first.