To Get Italy’s Foreign Debt Exposure Entirely Wrong

If we were to comment upon Italy’s debt exposure then it would be incumbent upon us, as the sort of responsible, no snark, people we are, to get it right about Italy’s debt exposure. Which is, of course, exactly what The Guardian manages not to do:

How much damage can the illusion of “taking back control” do to a country so dependent on international markets to finance its huge public debt?

Italy is less dependent than most countries upon foreigners to finance the public debt.…

See More

Exactly 14 People Believe UK Taxes Are Too Low, By Exactly £11,069

There are many people who tell us that taxation in the UK is too low. Just think of all the gorgeously bureaucratic things that could be done if only the government had more money! Then there’s the number of people who actually do pay more tax on the basis that they think the government should have more money. The second being a rather smaller number than the first.

Which does bring us to that basic point that economists do insist upon making.…

See More

That Inflation Thing – We’ve Never Had A Coin As Worthless As The One Penny Of Today

Spreadsheet Phil’s lot have decided to keep the 1 p and 2 p coins. Which prompted the BBC to do an interesting little bit of research. They’ve done that research the right way too, even with the correct little caveat. The answer being that we’ve never had a coin worth as little as the current 1 p. Not even the half farthing of some of Victoria’s years had so little purchasing power.

Which is an interesting illustration of the power of inflation, isn’t it?…

See More

That New Zealand Treasury Hacking – It Was The Site’s Search Function

We are all aware of what the selling point of technocratic, even social democratic, government is. Put all the bright people into government, give them access to our wallets and watch, amazed, as they solve our problems for us. We might even call this The Courageous State or the like.

Then we have the governments we do in fact have. With little evidence that we’ve attracted the very brightest to the calling.

The alleged “systematic” hack of New Zealand’s budget papers turns out to be nothing more sinister than a bit of internet searching.

See More

China Can’t Actually Dump Their Treasuries To Punish The US

We all know that the US owes $16 trillion and change to everyone else. Or at least their government does. We also know that China owns perhaps $1.1 trillion of this. So, if China got pissed they could just dump all of that and thereby cause problems for, punish, the US?

Well, no, that’s not really how it works with sovereigns and bonds’n’loans. It’s the sovereign who can tell the creditor to go away, not the other way around.…

See More

Lunacy from UK Treasury – Taxing the Tech Giants on Turnover

It’s normally true that the Treasury cannot see economic activity without desiring to tax it. Yet there are sensible ways to gain the revenue to run government and those not so very rational. Taxing a company upon turnover is one of those less rational ones. But that is what is being suggested.

Mel Stride, the financial secretary to the Treasury, said the tax system was not designed to cope with multinational digital businesses, and a revenue levy was the “potentially preferred option”.

See More