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Chase Bank Limits Cash Withdrawals, Bans International... Before you read this report, remember to sign up to for 100% free stock alerts Chase Bank has moved to limit cash withdrawals while banning business customers from sending...

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Richemont chairman Johann Rupert to take 'grey gap... Billionaire 62-year-old to take 12 months off from Cartier and Montblanc luxury goods groupRichemont's chairman and founder Johann Rupert is to take a year off from September, leaving management of the...

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Cambodia: aftermath of fatal shoe factory collapse... Workers clear rubble following the collapse of a shoe factory in Kampong Speu, Cambodia, on Thursday

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Spate of recent shock departures by 50-something CEOs While the rising financial rewards of running a modern multinational have been well publicised, executive recruiters say the pressures of the job have also been ratcheted upOn approaching his 60th birthday...

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UK Uncut loses legal challenge over Goldman Sachs tax... While judge agreed the deal was 'not a glorious episode in the history of the Revenue', he ruled it was not unlawfulCampaign group UK Uncut Legal Action has lost its high court challenge over the legality...

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Economy: negative shock

Category : Business

Sub-zero interest rates are a trick which – in theory – could allow monetary policy to do something more effective in a depressed economy than, in the phrase, push on a piece of string

The suggestion of negative interest rates sounds like madness, and maybe it is. But if the credit crunch has taught us one thing, it is how rapidly ideas can go from far out to fact. Since queues formed round Northern Rock branches in 2007, in the first run on a British bank since the 1860s, we have witnessed interest rates plumbing unprecedented depths, the nationalisation of swaths of the financial sector, the Bank of England switching on electronic printing presses, and – most recently – the Treasury swiping the interest on the gilts the bank thereby acquired. In every case the unthinkable was scarcely thought before it came to pass, and so – in the light of Paul Tucker’s remarks on Tuesday – it is worth pausing to ask whether savings accounts could soon pay less than piggybanks.

In the extraordinary context of the triple-dip economic contraction, which new data confirmed yesterday, the deputy governor of the bank told MPs he had raised the setting of negative rates as a potential response. It was not a meticulously prepared intervention, and – with his fellow deputy, Charlie Bean, now damping it down – one might almost imagine Mr Tucker was stirring things up for Mark Carney, the Canadian who beat him for the top job. But that is too flippant; there was logic to his remarks. Like quantitative easing, sub-zero rates are a trick which – in theory – could allow monetary policy to do something more effective in a depressed economy than, in the phrase, push on a piece of string.

Regular rate-cutting hit its limit four years ago when borrowing costs first fell to 0.5%. QE was then unleashed to stuff the vaults of the banks with ready cash, in the hope this would make them lend. They didn’t, but instead too often preferred to squirrel their new funds at Threadneedle Street. Mr Tucker’s understandable thought is that if the bank could only force them to pay for the right to do that, by charging negative interest, then the money men might at last be persuaded to part with their dough, and lend it out to the real economy.

With nothing else working, novel suggestions ought not be dismissed. But there are formidable obstacles in the way of this particular scheme. First, at a practical level, there are all sorts of questions: can the authorities prevent individual banks responding by hoarding £50 notes in their own safes? Could commercial banks survive in a world where the official position was that saving didn’t pay? If not, would it matter, and what would replace them?

Secondly, there are the fraught politics of

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How the Mitt Romney video killed the American Dream | Naomi Wolf

Category : Business

Once, everyone believed they could succeed by hard work and gumption. Republicans no longer pretend to believe the myth

Is it time to rethink the American Dream? Tell us here

Mitt Romney’s historic gaffe caught on video – published, with great timing, by the left-leaning Mother Jones magazine – in which he said that his campaign was writing off 47% of American voters since they “depended on government” handouts, was committed in an equally significant manner, as he delivered the remarks to a closed group of potential major donors in Florida. GOP stalwart and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan is calling for an intervention in the campaign, and even some fellow Republicans are scampering to distance themselves from the inflammatory remarks.

But I find the remarks fascinating and important to deconstruct because they affirm – as insider discourse captured for the public often can – the fact that a new kind of narrative for America has taken over from one of our oldest and most cherished national myths. What Romney’s comments reveal is that the American Dream is dead, killed off by skepticism from the bottom up – by the 99% of lower-income and middle-class people who no longer believe in it – and by cynicism from the top down – by the 1%, top-earning people who don’t believe in it.

What, after all, is the narrative of “the American Dream”? It was a discourse formulated between the 1880s and the 1920s in the United States during the great waves of migration and expansion and reforms of the Progressive Era. Slogans, often used by political leaders who wished to court the aspirational, immigrant vote, invoked a promise that America was “the land of opportunity”, where hard work, gumption and a bit of luck could make any poor kid a millionaire.

This mythology, embodied over those decades in the Horatio Alger stories consumed particularly by upwardly mobile young men and in the phrase “to pull oneself up by one’s bootstraps”, consistently held out that American promise by equating hard work (along with other good Puritan values such as delayed gratification, temperance, saving and self-reliance) with economic success. As new waves of immigrants reached our shores after the second world war, the implicit pledge was elaborated into the idea for immigrants that even if their own hard work did not lift them into a new social class, it would elevate their children into the ever-growing ranks of the middle class.

The promise of the American Dream swept many presidents into power. Reagan offered a rightwing verison of it, with Bill Clinton – departing from leftwing orthodoxy – offering voters in 1992 a refreshingly-worded progressive version of the same promise: “work hard and play by the rules” and success will follow. Barack Obama, too, reprised the phrase in his 2008 campaign.

But now, the injunction to “work hard and play by the rules” is more likely to elicit a cynical cough of derision than a rush to the polling station. Post Tarp, post Libor scandal, post Madoff scheme, post justice department’s pass for Chase, post HSBC money-laundering, post Occupy, post the ever-widening income gap in this country, and post the evisceration of civil society and public institutions that protect the middle class, the entire underpinning of the American Dream has been uprooted. And everyone knows it.

It is not surprising that the 99% stopped using the language of the American Dream, but what is notable from Romney’s remarks is that even the wealthy have abandoned it. Notable because the premise – that their own hard work and ingenuity is what caused their wealth to aggregate – is a flattering and self-validating narrative. So, the fact that even the rich don’t buy a version of what is now self-delusion is striking.

What Romney’s remarks show is that the wealthy are handling the corruption of a system that benefits them by assigning blame for the destruction of the American Dream to the have-nots. In the Reagan years, only “welfare queens” and the small percentage of people actually on food stamps were targeted as drains on the system – needing “government handouts” and failing to “take responsibility for their lives”. Now, as Romney admits, the wealthy deem virtually half the voting public as irredeemably shiftless moochers. Notable, too, is Romney’s use of an Occupy-echoing phrase, “the 47%”, whom he feels free to objectify and dismiss.

Not especially shocking, though, is the fact that he is explaining to donors that he does not need that half of America. (Anyone who has worked on presidential campaigns knows that strategists all write off the 47% who will never vote for them; they just don’t tend to go on camera to do that disparaging.)

I have been noticing, with sadness, that politicians do not even bother invoking the American Dream anymore. They know that we know that everything is rigged against it now, and that the language no longer persuades even the most naive and idealistic; the best you’ll get from a politician is a pledge, playing to nostalgia, to restore its lost promise. But what is striking about Romney’s remarks is that they have replaced that commitment with a willingness to blame a vast swath of striving, middle-class Americans for their plight.

We thus see a turning-point in American conservative philosophy. This was the moment when the wealthy elite stopped believing its own PR, the self-affirming myth of that economic success can always be had for those who want it and are willing to work. Mitt Romney has told us that it’s now simply class war: a struggle to stop the other half getting what “we” have. Thank you for your candor, Mr Romney.

“It’s a hoodlum [Qihoo] versus a monopoly [Baidu], so who should we help? Participating in this war is really [expletive] stupid.,” says the CTO of Sohu (SOHU), whose Sogou search engine is China’s second-biggest. The remarks are particularly…

Category : Stocks

“It’s a hoodlum [Qihoo] versus a monopoly [Baidu], so who should we help? Participating in this war is really [expletive] stupid.,” says the CTO of Sohu (SOHU), whose Sogou search engine is China’s second-biggest. The remarks are particularly notable given Sohu’s CEO had earlier remarked Sogou “has to take part in this search war.” Qihoo nemesis

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Reading the tea leaves on Buffett’s muni trades

Category : Business, Stocks

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway has scaled back its bullish stance on municipal debt, but this shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have followed Buffett’s remarks.

Read more: Reading the tea leaves on Buffett’s muni trades

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Diplomatic disputes a blow for DPJ

Category : World News

Despite achieving his prized policy goal of raising the sales tax, Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda is facing a diplomatic double whammy of territorial disputes with China and South Korea that could deal a fatal blow to his party’s three-year rule.
While South Korean President Lee Myung Bak has made provocative remarks against Japan and controversially visited a group of islets in the Sea of Japan claimed by both Tokyo and Seoul, China has also rekindled the dispute over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

See the article here: Diplomatic disputes a blow for DPJ

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Paying a plumber cash in hand is morally wrong, says Tory minister

Category : Business

David Gauke, exchequer secretary, rails against cost to the UK of the hidden economy in which income tax is dodged

Paying a plumber cash in hand is morally wrong because it denies the revenue vital funds, a Treasury minister said on Monday as the government outlined new ways of cutting down on £5bn in tax avoidance.

David Gauke, the exchequer secretary to the Treasury, risked shining a spotlight on whether any of his government colleagues have ever made cash in hand payments to plumbers when he described the practice as a large part of Britain’s “hidden economy”.

The minister spoke out after delivering a speech on the next steps for tackling tax avoidance at the Policy Exchange thinktank.

“Getting a discount with your plumber by paying cash in hand is something that is a big cost to the revenue and means others must pay more in tax,” Gauke said.

Asked whether he disapproves of the practice, Gauke said: “Yes, I think it’s morally wrong. It is illegal for the plumber but it is pretty implicit in these circumstances that there is a reason why there is a discount for cash. That is a large part of the hidden economy.”

Revenue and Customs has raised £500m in the past year after launching campaigns focusing on particular areas such as plumbers and electricians. The revenue yesterday welcomed the jailing of a Surrey plumber who evaded £50,000 in income tax.

It is not, however, illegal to make a payment in cash or to be asked to be paid in cash. It is up to the trader to declare any tax, though the revenue expects customers to act as “good citizens”.

Gauke said that tax avoidance deprives the public purse of £5bn a year. “It is important to recognise the scale of the problem,” Gauke told Policy Exchange. “Last year HMRC collected £474bn in tax.

“The tax gap – the difference between what is owed and what is collected – is about £35bn. Tax avoidance (as opposed to tax evasion, the hidden economy, criminal attacks and other aspects of the tax gap) accounts for just 14% of this gap – around £5bn or about 1% of total liabilities.”

Gauke made his remarks as he announced plans to force “cowboy” financial firms to disclose the names of clients who use aggressive tax avoidance schemes. Firms will also be forced to disclose how tax avoidance schemes work.

“These kinds of schemes are where we are focusing our efforts, and they are all, to borrow a phrase from the chancellor, ‘morally repugnant’,” Gauke said.

“These schemes damage our ability to fund public services and provide support to those who need it. They harm businesses by distorting competition. They damage public confidence.

“And they undermine the actions of the vast majority of taxpayers, who pay more in tax as a consequence of others enjoying a free ride.”

Gauke also broke new ground for treasury ministers, who do not usually comment on the tax affairs of an individual or an individual company, when he indicated that the BBC may have been complicit in tax avoidance.

The corporation has been criticised for allowing some of its stars to be paid through companies rather than the usual PAYE payroll.

“You are not the first to mention the BBC,” he said when asked whether he had raised the issue of the BBC.

Personal service companies are not necessarily always there for tax avoidance purposes. But where arrangements are artificial, where they are contrived and designed for the purpose of reducing the national insurance contributions liability of the employer or the employee or both, then those artificial arrangements do constitute tax avoidance and that is something HMRC will and should take seriously.

“I don’t want to be drawn into individual cases as they depend on the individual circumstances. But tax avoidance is tax avoidance.”

The remarks by Gauke on plumbers may risk a rerun of the early days of Bill Clinton’s presidency when a series of nominees for cabinet posts had to turn down job offers after it emerged that they had failed to pay social security for domestic staff.

Gauke’s remarks may prompt enquiries into whether any ministers have avoided tax by paying plumbers cash in hand or failing to pay tax for nannies.

Zoë Baird, Clinton’s first nominee for attorney general, withdrew after it emerged that she had failed to pay social security to illegal immigrants she had hired as domestic staff.

Southern Baptists poised to elect New Orleans pastor first black president – The Guardian

Category : Stocks

The Guardian
Southern Baptists poised to elect New Orleans pastor first black president
The Guardian
The US's largest Protestant denomination is poised to elect the first black president in its 167-year history, just weeks after the predominantly white religious group reprimanded an official for making racially insensitive remarks.
Southern Baptists set to elect first black presidentChicago Tribune
Southern Baptists set to elect 1st black presidentFox News
Pastor to become first black leader of Southern BaptistsUSA TODAY

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Needham and UBS praise Maxim Integrated’s ([[MXIM]] +8.2%) after the company delivers an EPS beat and guides for FQ4 revenue of $590M-$620M and EPS of $0.34-$0.38 (consensus is for $601.9M and $0.34). Needham sees the analog chipmaker benefiting from…

Category : World News

Needham and UBS praise Maxim Integrated’s (MXIM +8.2%) after the company delivers an EPS beat and guides for FQ4 revenue of 620M and EPS of 0.38 (consensus is for $601.9M and $0.34). Needham sees the analog chipmaker benefiting from rising industrial orders and heavy smartphone exposure, while UBS is pleased with management’s remarks about the chip industry’s inventory correction having ended (noteworthy given prior cautiousness). Post your comment!

Visit link: Needham and UBS praise Maxim Integrated’s ([[MXIM]] +8.2%) after the company delivers an EPS beat and guides for FQ4 revenue of 620M and EPS of 0.38 (consensus is for $601.9M and $0.34). Needham sees the analog chipmaker benefiting from…

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The greenest government ever – or never? | Damian Carrington

Category : Business

David Cameron believes his pledge has been met: the public strongly disagrees. The reality is the foundations are laid, but the PM’s double-speak is preventing them being completed

David Cameron has met his pledge to lead the greenest government ever, the prime minister confidently stated on Thursday. A recent opinion poll found that a mere 2% of the public agreed with him. Neither are right.

The prime minister’s dilemma is that he knows most people want clean energy and cherish nature, hence his detoxification of the Conservative brand by hugging huskies and urging people to “vote blue, go green” before entering No10. But a significant section of Tory supporters despise action on climate change and environmental problems as expensive nonsense.

Nick Clegg represents the first group, and argues “going green has never made so much sense“, while George Osborne represents the second, railing against “saving the planet by putting our country out of business“.

The result was that Cameron’s long-awaited remarks ended up appealing to both sides at once. He warned sternly how expensive renewables are, like Osborne, but was simultaneously “passionate” about the vital importance of growing renewable energy, like Clegg.

This confusing double-speak is the crux, as it means nervous investors turn away from the UK and plough their money into countries whose green committment is not in doubt.

The case for this being the greenest government ever rests on the coalition’s impressive array of bold, if imperfect, policies. A green investment bank (that can’t borrow), the huge green deal energy efficiency scheme (which risks low take-up), major reform of the energy market (which is too skewed to nuclear power) and the world’s first scheme for low-carbon heating (delayed for homeowners).

But hundreds of billions of pounds of investment are needed to replace the nation’s dirty and ageing infrastructure with clean, sustainable power plants, homes and cars, fit for the 21st century. And the companies being asked to stump up need political certainty.

The case against this being the greenest government ever is this missing political certainty. One senior energy executive told me Osborne’s remarks drove his CEO to ask: “Does this mean we should not be investing in renewables in the UK?”

The CBI offered doubled-edged praise for Cameron’s attempt to address the issue: “It will help to repair investor confidence following recent policy uncertainty”. Virtually all other business and green groups slated it.

The prime minister’s cause was not helped by a baffling, last-minute downgrading of his words from a “major keynote speech” to seven minutes of introductory “remarks” at a clean energy summit. Before the general election he couldn’t stop talking green. After, we had to wait two years for him to break his green silence and if this was a “major” intervention, as one green quipped, I’d hate to see a minor one.

Even more baffling is this. If there is a single thing Cameron, Clegg and Osborne all crave more than anything else it is economic growth. Yet while the UK double-dips into recession, the green economy is expanding at 4% a year and already employs more people than teaching. But the prime minister’s failure to sing its praises with full voice and at every opportunity is stunting those precious green shoots.

This government has put the foundations in place to be the greenest ever, but while Cameron puts the interests of the Tory fringe ahead of the interests of the nation, it will be the greenest government never.

Media Advisory: Launch of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week

Category : Stocks, World News

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA–(Marketwire – April 20, 2012) - Kerry-Lynne D. Findlay, Q.C., M.P. for Delta-Richmond East and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Nicholson, P.C., Q.C., M.P. for Niagara Falls, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, will deliver remarks at the launch of the “Five with D.R.I.V.E.” cross-Canada walk from Vancouver to Toronto.

View original post here: Media Advisory: Launch of National Victims of Crime Awareness Week

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