The Obvious Reason Most Americans Pay Taxes – Tax Rates Are Low

The Atlantic runs a piece of that gee, whizz, what could possibly explain this stuff idiocy. The subject under discussion being why Americans seem to pay their taxes – voluntarily, and with a higher rate of acceptance – than other countries. The clear and obvious point to consider being, well, do Americans have to pay less in tax than the people of other places?

The answer is yes, considerably less. That people know we need government, that we need taxes to pay for gubmint, we’re working with adults here so yes, everyone knows that.…

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US Citizens To Need EU Visas From 2021 – It’s America’s Fault, Sadly

Currently United States citizens visiting the European Union for under 90 days do not need a visa – this will change from 2021, all will need to gain a new type of visa. We could say this is all the Europeans being mean to Yanks but it’s not actually that at all. It’s that Uncle Sam has been mean to some Europeans and as a result Europe is to place these restrictions upon all Americans.

The point being that visa requirements are always reciprocal.…

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US Women’s Soccer – Team That Only Exists Because Gender Discrimination Demands Gender Equality

The Americans have a useful word – derived from Yiddish – to describe the actions of the US women’s soccer team there, chutzpah. If it were not for gender discrimination absolutely none of these women would be playing international soccer. They wouldn’t even be playing club games, nor even college. And yet the demand is that there must be gender parity.

Cake and eating it appearing to be a specialty here.

All 28 current members of the United States women’s soccer team have filed a lawsuit against their own governing body alleging years of “institutionalized gender discrimination”.

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India Loses US GSP Status – That’s What Happens To Growing Economies

President Trump has announced that India is to lose its special privileges on exports to the United States. The system is the Generalised System of Preferences and it means that certain goods from certain places pay lower import tariffs into the US. Losing that privilege could be seen as being bad news but in reality it isn’t, not particularly. In fact, dependent upon how it is lost it can be good news more generally.

The point being that the GSP is aimed at terribly poor places.…

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Bit Of A Problem – Gazprombank Confiscates Accounts of Venezuela’s PDVSA

In order to get out from under the American – therefore capitalist, sneaky and imperialist – sanctions placed upon Venezuela’s oil business they decided that they would go and bank at Gazprombank. Surely being under Putin’s wing would protect their money? As it turns out, no.

As in fact I predicted as this all started.

Russian lender Gazprombank has decided to freeze the accounts of Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA and halted transactions with the firm to reduce the risk of the bank falling under US sanctions, a Gazprombank source told Reuters on Sunday.

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Ghana’s US Visa Problem Explained – No New Ones Until You Take Back The Old Violators

Ghana has an unfortunate problem concerning visas to visit the United States – few new ones are being issued for Ghanaians to travel. This is all causing more than a little consternation but the reasoning is really pretty simple. It’s regarded as a privilege to allow foreigners into the country. This is an idea common to all governments, letting them in is something that we graciously allow, maybe. The issuance of visas thus becomes tied up in everything else that governments do.…

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Surprise! Fertility Varies By Race, Social Status And Income

This should not come as all that much of a surprise, fertility in the US varies across such selectors as income, race, social status and so on. It shouldn’t be that much of a surprise because the economic resources available to bear and raise children quite obviously vary by those same selectors. So, obviously enough, given that incentives matter, so does fertility. Still, interesting to see the detail. From The Conversation:

Falling U.S. fertility rates have been making headlines.…

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The US Economy Did Not Add 312,000 Jobs In December – It Was Far, Far More

The standard report is that the US economy added 312,000 jobs this past December. This is untrue even though it’s the official number – the true number of jobs added was far, far, larger. The trick to this, the secret, is seasonal adjustments. We know, for example, that Amazon hires tens of thousands to work in those warehouses to get the presents out for the holidays. The US Post Office does much the same, hires armies of temporary workers.…

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Sanjeev Gupta’s US Metals Float Might Work – Might Not Too, To Be Honest

Sanjeev Gupta has been buying up marginal and distressed metals assets for some time now. It’s something of a replay of Lakshmi Mittal’s work, work which made Mittal one of the world’s richest people. Whether this is going to happen to Gupta – well, people have tried the tactic a number of times and it hasn’t always worked. Buying distressed assets is easy enough, making them un-distressed rather more difficult.

We would wish him well of course.…

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Increased US Oil Production Means Cheap Oil Ain’t So Good No More

This is one of those obvious little things – as the US increases oil production from those unconventional, fracked, fields then the impact of lower oil pries on the US economy becomes less and less favourable. It always does catch people by surprise though when the background to economic decisions changes like this.

Take exports for example. The only time, even possibly, when the aim of trade is to increase exports is if you’re trying to defend a fixed exchange rate.…

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