Monday assorted links

by on November 6, 2017 at 1:15 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Redux of my post “Was it wrong to hack and leak the Panama Papers,” just sub in “Paradise Papers.”  p.s. yes, it was wrong, a violation of both law and privacy.  Recommended.

2. Speculations on Iran, Saudi, Lebanon, Israel, uh-oh.

3. Where cooking brings economics alive (videos, East Anglia).  In this video, the benefits of trade are explained through Hungarian goulash.

4. Brandeis calls off play about Lenny Bruce.

5. The Republican tax plan has “…a 20 percent excise tax on employee compensation above $1 million at all nonprofit entities.”  Nor would the college bonds remain tax exempt.

1 Ray Lopez November 6, 2017 at 1:23 pm

Paradise! More TC links just in time for lunch

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2 Ray Lopez November 6, 2017 at 1:34 pm

#1 – notice TC thanks me. I agree with TC. When I worked with lawyers they had sleazy clients, some of them mobsters, all the time, and nobody batted an eye. It’s called the ‘attorney-client privilege’ and nobody cares. That a paralegal or legal secretary is selling these secrets for a fee to journalists is the real crime IMO.

#2 – the Middle East is complicated, here’s why: “The logjam was only broken when Michel Aoun, a Christian ally of Hezbollah, ascended to the presidency” – got that? A Christian is an ally of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hezbollah being an Iranian terrorist organization who wants to wipe out Israel and establish sharia law (and do away with the Christians eventually).

#3 – “I’m Peter Ormosi from the University of East Anglia. Hope you’ll enjoy my attempt to popularise economics through an everyday activity, cooking” – what about “too many cooks spoil the broth”? Does this favor cathedrals over bazaars?

#4 – Uni PC movement: “The irony of a play based on a provocateur being canceled for being too provocative was not lost on some” – I actually like complacency, the status quo and snowflakes, as it helps our DC rental business (less competition). However, some snowflakes are so mechanically inept it’s pathetic how much hand holding they need, even men (boys).

#5 – tax the rich! Their elasticity of income is such they’ll work harder and just pay the higher taxes say some studies. But don’t you dare tax real estate Henry George style! That’s communism and un-American.

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3 apso November 6, 2017 at 4:31 pm

#5 My mind is spinning, is it un-American to tax a rich Communist? Purely hypothetical! DISCUSS!

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4 carlospln November 6, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Cowen is a whore for the rich.

What? Some of them are evading tax?

Privacy!

No’s 1) & 5) are mutually contradictory, Señor Lopez.

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5 Ray Lopez November 6, 2017 at 10:50 pm

@carlospin – hombre, #5 was meant to be ironic. Here in Norte America, there’s such a thing as “attorney client privilege” where the guilty are presumed innocent and allowed to tell dirty secrets to their lawyers, their bankers, without fear. Perhaps you live in a country where that’s not true. For example in Russia, the lawyers for the accused are often murdered. But that’s not the American way. For a while, until the US Supreme Court (our highest court) got involved with the matter, a famous law firm in the USA was threatened with bankruptcy because it was defending a crooked bank (Lincoln Savings) from the government (See: http://digitalcommons.law.yale.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2648&context=fss_papers for an unsympathetic account but gives good background). But this is un-American, carlospin, and not the way we do business in the USA. Here, if you are a scoundrel, a bad man, a crook, you are presumed innocent, allowed to communicate freely with your lawyers, bankers, priest, psychiatrist, and so forth, in a confidential manner. And especially your lawyer. If it was not that way, carlospin, lawyers would lose a lot of business and become more like a notary public, which is how lawyers act in most Spanish-speaking countries (just using their notary stamp to make money rather than making clever arguments and acting as middleman as in the USA). Comprende amigo?

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6 anonymous reply to Ray Lopez November 6, 2017 at 11:32 pm

Ray – comprendo… but ….. with all due respect to your efforts – our best and most famous judges, Holmes and Jackson and Brandeis, for example, were likeable mediocrities, at best (some of the less famous ones do not deserve to be called mediocrities, of course. But nobody cares. And, as Jonah Goldberg rigthty said, nothing will change.) Let us try and live in a better world! Comprendo, mi amigo, y quiero decir, Raimundo, que todos l*s leges de todos los pueblos son arena y arena y demasiado de arena – sed non oblivisceris – una dia la justicia sera lluvia fresco en nos manos – una vez en la vida – una vez solamente, amigo -una vez, suficiamente —- y por la justicia di hoy , mi pequeno amigo – memento etiam ad veritatem conservandam : se llueve todas las dias, se llueve sobre los justos y los injustos.

7 Nigel November 7, 2017 at 3:05 am

The analogy in Tyler’s linked article – “a group of criminal defines lawyers kept a database” is less persuasive when you consider that the activities which have been leaked mainly concern the exploitation of laws written, by the legislatures of jurisdictions of territories typically with populations numbered around 100,000, designedly to facilitate tax avoidance/evasion by individuals and companies situated in quite different territories, typically with populations two or three orders of magnitude larger in which the actual economic activity being taxed takes place.

I would think it might trouble an economist when the GDP figures of a substantial nation like the Republic of Ireland rise 25% in a single year, as a result of activity taking place elsewhere, purely to facilitate the avoidance of tax by a single large corporation ?

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8 Alistair November 7, 2017 at 5:08 am

Yes, yes. But then fix the laws/system that is broken. Don’t whine about people using them/exploiting the system. Whining about people acting rationally in line with their incentives is the most pointless activity. Doubly so on an Econ blog.

For what it’s worth you may not be able to fix the system either as the collective action problem bears hard upon you. But at least there is wisdom in stoic resignation.

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9 Nigel November 7, 2017 at 8:04 am

To fix the system you first need to know how it is being abused – which is why blanket condemnation of the leaks seems plain wrong to me. And why, of course, secrecy is the essence of these arrangements.
I’m neither whining nor stoical.

10 Roy LC November 7, 2017 at 5:57 am

#2 Aoun makes a lot more sense from a Lebanese perspective than may be apparent. Aoun is a falangist committed to preserving Maronite Christian rights in the tribal sense. Hezbollah has no majority in Lebanon just as their main local ally, Assad’s Syria has no majority in Syria. Aoun know just as Nasrullah does that neither is strong enough to fight Saudi backed Sunni alone even though collectively they outnumber them, and the other smaller groups Armenians, other Shia, etc… have no where else to go, and despite genuine mutual antipathy will tolerate a Shiite-Maronite coalition. Hezbollah is also the most effective fighting force in the Middle East that isn’t Israel and the Maronites through their own militias possess financial and technical assets they make them very valuable to Hezbollah.

Alliance with the Sunni dead ended twenty years ago and the Syrian War and the rise and fall of IS has destroyed any logic in such an alliance. To the Sunnis’ backers the Christians are expendable, to Hezbollah and Assad, they are useful and there is little prospect of that changing.

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11 Cody K November 6, 2017 at 1:57 pm

#5 is actually not about taxing the rich, so much as leveling the playing field across for-profit and non-profit institutions. Under Sec. 162(m), non-performance-based compensation in excess of $1 million may not be deducted against corporate taxable income. With nonzero business tax rates, the marginal burden on compensation for high-earning executives in for-profit organizations is thus much higher than the marginal burden on compensation if those same executives earned the same salaries working for non-profit organizations. The 20% excise tax thus levels the playing field for hiring CEOs and other executives.

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12 Meets November 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

+1

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13 Alistair November 7, 2017 at 5:09 am

+1

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14 byomtov November 7, 2017 at 1:49 pm

Which has led to a proliferation of essentially phony “performance-based” schemes. “The stock market went up! Here’s $10 million.”

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15 rayward November 6, 2017 at 2:06 pm

2. Saudi Arabia has been pushing Israel into war with Iran for years. Saudi Arabia knows they can’t defeat Iran, so they have been pushing both Israel and its ally the U.S. to do it. In the meantime, Saudis support Sunni extremists, including those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11, the Sunni insurgents who killed and maimed thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and the Sunni terrorists, including ISIS, who have been engaging in unspeakable acts of violence against Shia Muslims, Kurds, and Christians. Are Israel and the U.S. dumb enough to go to war with Iran on behalf of the Saudis? Moe Greene: “Yeah, let’s talk business, Mike. First of all, you’re all done. The Corleone Family don’t even have that kind of muscle anymore. The Godfather’s sick, right? You’re getting chased out of New York by Barzini and the other Families. What do you think is going on here? You think you can come to my hotel and take over? I talked to Barzini – I can make a deal with him, and still keep my hotel!”

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16 MMK November 6, 2017 at 3:53 pm

“Are Israel and the U.S. dumb enough to go to war with Iran on behalf of the Saudis?”

Israel isn’t, the US might be.

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17 This Statement Is False November 6, 2017 at 4:25 pm

“Saudi Arabia has been pushing Israel into war with Iran for years.”

An example of this pressure would be nice.

“In the meantime, Saudis support Sunni extremists, including those who attacked the U.S. on 9/11, the Sunni insurgents who killed and maimed thousands of U.S. soldiers in Iraq, and the Sunni terrorists, including ISIS, who have been engaging in unspeakable acts of violence against Shia Muslims, Kurds, and Christians.”

Ever since Trump’s photo op with King Salman they’ve been beating this horse to death, and it is true. Not sure what’s supposed to be done about it. So long as there are a bunch of Saudis who get sh*t rich off of oil revenue, there will be money flowing to foreign Islamist terrorists. With America’s alliance with Saudi Arabia we get the government to make a perfunctory effort to avoid that terrorism being directed against America. They aren’t that great a friend, but it’d still be worse to have them as an enemy.

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18 Bob from Ohio November 6, 2017 at 2:07 pm

#5 Excellent. Another example of playing the political game correctly: punish your enemies.

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19 Meets November 6, 2017 at 3:18 pm

Not even punishing, just taking away the privileges they have enjoyed

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20 This Statement Is False November 6, 2017 at 4:50 pm

That’s considered punishing by the Democrats.

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21 rayward November 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm
22 JWatts November 6, 2017 at 4:09 pm

I thought that when the Obama administration used the Justice Department to fund Left wing groups via large lawsuit settlements that would be a step to far. It wasn’t. I doubt this will be either. But yes, it is a continuation of a cycle of deepening partisan governance.

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23 JWatts November 6, 2017 at 4:27 pm

From the linked article:

“Republicans have also gone after the deduction for state and local taxes. As with the home-mortgage interest provision, they are not getting rid of it entirely. They limit it to property taxes, and cap it at $10,000. … it’s the right thing to do, .. It is effectively a transfer from low-tax states to high-tax ones. And given that the high-tax states tend to be richer than the low-tax ones, it is morally as well as economically indefensible.”

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24 PD Shaw November 6, 2017 at 4:36 pm

McArdle appears to approve of the economic justifications, but disapprove of beltway status lowering.

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25 JWatts November 6, 2017 at 5:19 pm

It’s a fair criticism that this kind of tit for tat legislation will lead to future tit for tat.

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26 So Much For Subtlety November 6, 2017 at 6:09 pm

Well OK but tit for tat has been going on for a long time. The Democrats tailor most of their policies to hit Republicans. Affirmative Action at colleges? Designed to reward Democratic voting communities and punish Republican ones. That is why Asian Americans get hit and Jewish Americans do not. Gun control? America does have a gun control problem. Too many Democratic voters are shooting other Democratic voters. So the Democrats want to punish rural Republicans.

These deductions are unjustifiable. They should be wound back. Democrats, if they believe their own nonsense, should support that

27 Jan November 6, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Asian Americans are Dems now, baby. Guess that politically motivated policy didn’t hurt them too much. 😉

Were the last three mass shootings perpetrated by Dems? Do you know if those poor churchgoers were Democrats? Or are you going to tell us about black people? Where do those boys get their guns, do you think?

28 So Much For Subtlety November 6, 2017 at 6:41 pm

Asian Americans do vote for the Democrats these days. And guess what? Suddenly everyone has discovered the unfairness of discriminating against Asians. The system will change soon I expect.

The last three politically motivated terrorist attacks have been by Democrat voters. Rand Paul has now been put in hospital with five broken ribs because of an unprovoked attack from a Democrat. He previously survived a Democrat-linked terrorist attack on a baseball game. One lucky libertarian. This Church attack was by a disgruntled atheist. So likely a Democrat voter. Let’s face it, it is time the Democratic party was named as the source of the hate speech that inspires most terrorism in America.

As for Black people, well, who knows where they get their guns from? As Democrat-run cities barely consider illegal possession a crime, why should I care?

29 Jan November 6, 2017 at 6:55 pm

Does lying about who commits these mass shootings help you cope? Don’t answer my questions. They are there to make you think. I don’t believe you’ve done so.

30 Brian Donohue November 7, 2017 at 1:53 am

It’s not tit for tat, though. Increasing taxes paid by people in ‘blue’ states is not at all the same thing as increasing taxes on Democrats. It is increasing taxes on people who make a lot of money in blues states, which is probably a fairly even mix of Dems and GOPs.

What the affected people have in common is that they make a lot of money, relatively speaking. McArdle et al may unconsciously be driven by a simpler motivation, to wit: “don’t tax me, don’t tax me, tax the man behind the tree.”

31 So Much For Subtlety November 7, 2017 at 4:37 am

Lying Jan? Really? This year we have had:

June: Bernie Bro shoots Congressmen at baseball practice
Sept: Refugee shoots church attendees in Tennessee
Oct: Registered Dem kills 60 at country music concert
Nov: Atheist kills 27 attending Baptist Church

The problem is with the Left and its incitement to violence. When are you going to stop?

32 Boonton November 7, 2017 at 10:46 am

Keep in mind the idea that people on the terrorist watch list should also not be allowed to buy guns was shot down (no pun intended).

Before talking about how ‘rural Americans’ are being punished by Democratic gun control, try to think about what a ‘rural American’ would have to do before his right to buy and own a gun encounters even a small infringement? Decorate your pickup truck with stickers saying there should be a ‘2nd amendment solution’ if Trump doesn’t win re-election? That’s free speech. Make ten appointments with ten different shrinks and let each one know you are convinced a conspiracy theory you read on the Internet about a DC pizza parlor being a front operation for traffic children to high profile Democratic pedophiles? Doctor patient confidentiality. Possibly if you beat your wife and she gets a protective order against you then you may encounter some ‘infringement’. But then the fact is there are very few ‘career criminals’ when it comes to violence. Most violent acts happen spur of the moment by people whose previous known history was either non-violent or had non-violent criminal histories (granted mob hit men do sort of exist and we have serial killers/rapists and other criminals who do a lot of violence until they get caught) so odds are most people who want to use a gun for the wrong reason will find little in their way.

33 mavery November 6, 2017 at 7:26 pm

More accurate to say that thinks that they don’t go far enough per the economics. The place at which they stop pinching things like state taxes and mortgage interest limits who it will impact to populations that largely vote D. It’s this choice that makes it bad policy. If they wanted to go whole-hog and axe the mortgage interest tax entirely, they’d have an economic case.

As it is, it’ll mostly just lower home prices in big, blue cities, making it easier for more people to live there.

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34 Boonton November 7, 2017 at 11:13 am

Here’s something to keep in mind, Trump didn’t win, he lost. Like Bush he lost the election but won the office. Just like you can win a football game with a field goal and some penalties called on the other team, you can win the office by losing the vote but it is very hard to lose the vote and not lose the office….just like if your football team is great with field goals but can’t make touchdowns, they can still win games but it’s going to be very rough.

With that fact in place is the optimal strategy for Republicans to double down on support among those who already support them or attempt to broaden their support beyond ‘Red States’? In other words, Trump almost certainly has to win over some Blue voters from the last election to win the next one.

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35 msgkings November 7, 2017 at 11:21 am

It helps if your opponent is the Cleveland Browns too. Trump won’t have such a lame competitor in 2020, if he even chooses to run (he may not, for that and many other reasons).

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36 Potato November 7, 2017 at 4:16 pm

The premise is absurd though. He’s terrible and stupid, yes. But he won. He didn’t “lose the election.”

As the parties morph over time it will be more likely that a candidate wins the election without a majority of votes. In fact neither candidate won a majority of votes. This isn’t said nearly enough. Neither candidate won a majority of votes. Hillary did not win a majority of votes. A majority of voters did not choose Hillary.

I would tentatively support an ammendment where a candidate that cannot win > 50% of eligible voters does not become president. It creates a run off. And if it fails again then a new election.

Either a bland election to turn out the most voters or an absence of the presidency and the legislature takes more power.

Win win.

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37 TMC November 7, 2017 at 11:29 am

Or something else to keep in mind, if you have a clue how US elections work, Trump won 304-227.

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38 SamChevre November 6, 2017 at 2:14 pm

#5 is a good start, but I’d prefer something much much stronger.

As I see it, non-profits pose two problems in society:
1) They can capture resources, and use them without the discipline that a for-profit imposes of “eventually, if you are sufficiently useless, you go out of business”
2) They can enrich insiders, if the insiders get residual earnings since there are no owners

I’d like to see a rule that non-profits must spend (X+Y)% of their endowments on qualified spending every year, where X% is a reasonable return on a safe portfolio and Y% is enough to exhaust assets in 25 years. This would mean that non-profits need to raise money to stay open, and so need to provide value to someone. And I’d define qualified spending to exclude compensation to members of one household greater than 3x the median household income, to eliminate the “insider-enrichment” problem.

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39 Art Deco November 6, 2017 at 4:15 pm

Philanthropies are commonly under a range of restrictions and reporting requirements. The problem here is that these do not include controls on compensation. Juxtaposed state and federal law (applying to philanthropies with employees in one state and to those with employees in multiple states respectively) might limit compensation by formula, something along these lines: [ln(1/f) / ln(.15)] x 1.78 x m where ‘f’ is the number of full-time-equivalent employees an organization has and ‘m’ is mean compensation-per-worker in the economy as a whole. You could then incorporate a dispensation for hospitals and clinics.

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40 Hoosier November 6, 2017 at 6:37 pm

Why do you care about how a non-profit conducts its business? Just stop giving money to them if you don’t like how they’re run.

Are you really upset about them not paying their fair share in taxes?

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41 Moo cow November 6, 2017 at 8:01 pm

Totally agree with you. YMCA’s put private clubs out of business. Televangelists fly around in private jets. Catholic hospitals are a monopoly in some areas. I think they need to compete on the merits and not on their non profit status.

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42 Art Deco November 6, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Catholic hospitals are a monopoly in some areas.

Name one.

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43 Moo cow November 7, 2017 at 1:44 am
44 TMC November 7, 2017 at 11:34 am

So eliminate the regulations that allow for these monopolies?

45 Art Deco November 7, 2017 at 3:11 pm

Strange is it may seem to you, a metropolitan region with a city of about 50,000 at its core does not support more than one hospital. Sometimes the hospital is foundationally Catholic. I gather you’d like to prohibit diocesan administrations and religious orders from offering services to anyone. Aren’t you sweet?

46 Enrique November 6, 2017 at 2:15 pm

#1.”Wrong,” huh?
Legally wrong or morally wrong?

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47 clockwork_prior November 6, 2017 at 2:24 pm

All kinds of wrong – we have to respect those individuals who do everything in their power to do things in secret when using their wealth to increase their wealth. Such as not paying taxes.

If only there was a delete button for the free press…..

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48 Anonymous November 6, 2017 at 7:17 pm

It is kind of funny to write a stern reminder to all of us who didn’t do it.

The question for us innocent observers is which wrongs deserve our attention.

We might decide not to like hackers, or cheaters of various other sorts.

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49 As November 6, 2017 at 2:42 pm

#1 The analogy in the original post seems flawed to me. It postulates that the public knows a crime has been committed and is aware of a potential suspect. In case of the paradise papers, the public is unaware of the tax avoidance. Leaking the information is the only way to show that such behaviour is widespread. Thus, a better analogy would be to argue that the leaks make it known that a crime had been committed, in which case they seem justified to me.

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50 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

This reminds me a bit of the Weinstein thing. Stuff that ‘everyone knows’ about (offshore tax avoidance, lecherous movie bigshots) gets outed and reaches a tipping point of outrage that actually makes things better going forward. I think there’s no doubt it’s happening re sexual harassment, let’s see who uses these leaks to crack down harder on tax avoidance, even if just through shaming.

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51 apso November 6, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Just responding to add domestic surveillance to your list. I thought everyone “knew” and was OK with it, but I was mistaken.

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52 This Statement Is False November 6, 2017 at 5:04 pm

” I think there’s no doubt it’s happening re sexual harassment”

I’ll doubt it. This is just the Outrage of the month, next month they’ll find something else to be Outraged about, maybe justifiably but probably not. Weinstein swam in an environment full of Lefty virtue signallers where sexual harassment was NOT OK and he even produced a movie called The Hunting Ground. In it, one producer solicited interviews with the email that the movie was “very much in the corner of advocacy for victims, so there would be no insensitive questions or the need to get the perpetrator’s side.” Yet he got away with it for decades. You know what they say about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result….

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53 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 5:35 pm

It’s different this time, and it has spread to many other bigshots, and not just ‘lefty’ ones. It used to be if you spoke up about it you’d get blackballed, now you are celebrated. Why would that reverse itself?

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54 So Much For Subtlety November 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Because Hollywood is still full of men who hold important jobs. And it is also full of young women who want to be stars. Whatever happens, sex is going to take place. There is no human law that can prevent that.

They will make a few token sacrifices – no one like Harvey anyway – and then it will be back to business as usual

55 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Nope. Sure plenty of gals will willingly trade sex for advancement, as some always have. But the predatory, unwanted advances are going to mostly stop. Because now you’re the next Weinstein if you try.

56 Anonymous November 6, 2017 at 7:24 pm

“It used to be if you spoke up about it you’d get blackballed, now you are celebrated. Why would that reverse itself?”

Perhaps. And perhaps the Catholic church has learned its lesson about pedophile priests. I’m skeptical. It was always to dogma to “believe the woman,” as was pointed out Weinstein himself helped to promote it. They are saying the exact same things they said for the last few decades, why should I assume their real views changed for real this time? But hey, believers gonna believe.

57 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 11:22 pm

@Anonymous: again, it’s a whole new ballgame. The priest thing is similar. Before, if Harvey or someone like him did his thing, you just kept quiet to keep your career. Today, with all the A-listers coming out about it, it’s no longer shameful or damaging to out the predators. In fact you get a ton of attagirls. It’s a sea change.

With priests molesting, everyone is pretty vigilant I would guess. Probably a lot more rules about leaving kids alone with priests etc. And now if a kid says something, are they going to be disbelieved like before or believed, maybe too much so?

58 So Much For Subtlety November 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm

Lynch mobs rarely make things better. The mere existence of a bank account in Panama or elsewhere does not prove, or even imply, tax avoidance. But by all means let’s whip up a twitter mob and see what rushed, poorly drafted and thought-out legislation gets passed.

It is different from the sexual harassment thing in several ways. One is that Trump is clearly driving the sexual harassment thing. The Left is desperate to bring him down and thought this was a good way to do it. Unfortunately so far they only have own goals as they take down dozens of friends of the Clintons. Everyone knew but as long as Weinstein kept those checks flowing, everyone was happy. Until Trump.

So far there is some evidence that the Left wants a fight over these papers but not much. Which suggests they know their friends will be involved and so they are exercising more self-restraint.

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59 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 6:21 pm

Another predictably incorrect and overly partisan word salad from you. The papers exposed plenty of friends of ‘the Right’ too, and plenty of ‘the Right’ are getting stung by the new intolerance of harassment: O’Reilly and Ailes to name the most obvious. Not everything is Left vs Right. Society changes, norms change. It’s a fact that the old way of the casting couch is now pretty much dead. And secretive tax havens are at greater risk of exposure than ever before. Sorry if that bothers you.

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60 So Much For Subtlety November 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Your ability to read has not picked up any. Of course the papers have mentioned some people on the Right – and people that the Left think are on the Right. But the Left has not gone on the attack over them. Which, as I said, suggests that they not only mention people the Left hates but the Left has a pretty good idea they mention their friends too. After all, even Noam Chomsky has an off shore tax minimization scheme to make sure he does not have to pay tax.

The Left also hates Fox and so went for O’Reily and Ailes. Pretty much what I said. What they did not see, as I also said, is that these attacks would rebound on their own. As they have. Everyone knew, but when it was not important to attack Trump, Weinstein et al got away with it.

Societies do change, but it is too early to say that the casting couch is dead. In fact it is absurd to say it is. Societies don’t change that much – and Anglo-America (which is not well represented in these complaints about Hollywood as others have mentioned) is about as good as it gets when it comes to abusing women. So as Anglo-America declines, the abuse of women will get worse and worse.

61 Jan November 6, 2017 at 7:01 pm

SMFS has trouble not seeing literally everything through the lens of left and right. Same with her inability to not include some spitting mad take attacking who she believes her enemies to be in each post.

62 Kevin E. November 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm

“Society changes, norms change. It’s a fact that the old way of the casting couch is now pretty much dead. ”

A bunch of people in Hollywood are accused of being sexual predators, and your response to this new data point is….the casting couch is dead. Makes sense if you don’t think about it.

63 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 11:24 pm

Kevin, I meant from now on. I guess I should have been more clear.

64 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Jan, yeah when the facts are as plain as they are here, she gets really incoherent. That post at 6:34PM was really insane.

65 albatross November 7, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Weinstein has this other fun game theory thing going on–while he was still powerful, denouncing him was extremely hazardous to your career and connections in Hollywood. But once he was no longer in a position to reward friends and punish enemies, there was no reason for anyone to hold back, so *lots* of people came forward. Probably even some that weren’t victimized by him, though it seems pretty clear he had a long line of genuine victims.

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66 rayward November 6, 2017 at 2:58 pm

5. David Swensen is paid over $4 million per year. Uh oh. Will the excise tax force exceptional people like Swensen to move to for profit companies? Is that the purpose of the tax? Of course, the worst abusers of not for profit status are religious organizations, but the amount of compensation paid to executives of religious organizations is difficult to determine, since much of it is in a form other than compensation.

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67 Taxman November 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Tax their souls!

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68 Art Deco November 6, 2017 at 3:58 pm

Of course, the worst abusers of not for profit status are religious organizations,

In your imagination.

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69 apso November 6, 2017 at 4:29 pm

Reminds me of my free assembly tax idea!

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70 Bob from Ohio November 6, 2017 at 4:01 pm

“amount of compensation …much of it is in a form other than compensation.”

What kind of compensation is in a form other than compensation?

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71 Joël November 6, 2017 at 3:16 pm

I am ashamed for #4.

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72 collin November 6, 2017 at 3:26 pm

1. Redux of my post “Was it wrong to hack and leak the Panama Papers,” just sub in “Paradise Papers.” p.s. yes, it was wrong, a violation of both law and privacy. Recommended.

Personally, I would the corporate rate to 15% and have the reduction of the military by $300B to cover this drop in revenue. Then, I would start closing down the foreign bases all over the globe and signal to foreign powers that the US will not protect the tax free havens anymore.

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73 8 November 6, 2017 at 4:26 pm

The U.S. should be the world’s tax haven with fully private banking.

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74 JWatts November 6, 2017 at 5:25 pm

The entire corporate tax only collects around $300 B. So for that amount you could set the corporate rate to 0%.

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75 Jan November 6, 2017 at 6:36 pm

Best case scenario we convert all to VAT. Those in power not even considering it.

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76 Harun November 6, 2017 at 9:07 pm

Why not? Because it would hit Democrats

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77 msgkings November 6, 2017 at 11:30 pm

Yeah the current bill shows just how unwilling they are to hit Democrats LOL

78 collin November 7, 2017 at 11:15 am

The entire corporate tax only collects around $300 B. So for that amount you could set the corporate rate to 0%.

Even Better!

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79 Leningrad Suburbia November 6, 2017 at 3:44 pm

#1 Tyler Cowen, writing about DNC hack (aka stolen emails) that also contained private information:

“Republicans (…) noting correctly that a) it released only true information (…)”

“(…) the main problem was with the American media and its ongoing insinuations of more sinister goings-on than turned up in the evidence”

Hmmmm.

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80 Axa November 6, 2017 at 4:18 pm

#1: Thank God there’s people who are mature enough to ponder between morals, justice, privacy and law…….Martin Woods, the whistleblower who uncovered the drug money laundering at HSBC on 2012. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/jt201314/jtselect/jtpcbs/27/27v_we107.htm

Of course, not all whistleblowers are “right”. But 1 day after the leak is too son to tell which will be the consequences.

Also, the SEC rewards whistleblowers with cold hard cash https://www.reuters.com/article/us-banking-whistleblower/bnp-case-spurs-calls-for-whistleblower-incentives-in-banking-idUSKBN0FQ1D720140721

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81 Hoosier November 6, 2017 at 6:34 pm

Is this the first time TC has come out and said something is just “wrong”? I can’t recall any statements to that effect regarding the numerous transgressions of our President?

I’m all for adding some appeals to morality in the opinions expressed on this blog, but surprised to see it start here.

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82 A Truth Seeker November 6, 2017 at 6:47 pm

So that is what America has become!

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83 Thor November 6, 2017 at 7:51 pm

Could you be more specific? We could say that about 1,3,4, and 5!

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84 A Truth Seeker November 6, 2017 at 8:53 pm

And everything else!

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85 Evans_KY November 6, 2017 at 6:57 pm

1. Both are wrong. Tax evasion is unethical and should warrant the label unAmerican. Where is Donald Duck when you need him? “Taxes will keep democracy on the march.” Seems like our democracy is having some technical difficulties.

5. Is anyone paying attention to these bozos anymore? Pomp and no circumstance.

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86 an absurdist in absurd times November 6, 2017 at 7:59 pm

2. every single discussion of Saudi Arabia MUST begin from the premise that the objective of neo-conservatives in the West is to prop up Israel by propping up Saudi Arabia. if there isn’t a false-flag, blamed on Iran, attack on Saudi (or Israeli) civilians by the end of the year it will be a miracle. They’re going to be fishing for cassus belli from here on out.

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87 Art Deco November 6, 2017 at 11:06 pm

2. every single discussion of Saudi Arabia MUST begin from the premise that the objective of neo-conservatives in the West is to prop up Israel by propping up Saudi Arabia.

Yes, if you’re a lunatic.

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88 Art Deco November 7, 2017 at 8:05 am

oh please. You’re a child molester with a rap sheet as deep as Harvey Weinstein.

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89 David B November 6, 2017 at 9:05 pm

1. Certainly morally “wrong;” on the other hand, in order to bring change one must show abuses. If revealing such abuses led to legislative change that effectively brought an end to such tax avoidance, perhaps it could be considered morally correct in a trolley problem sort of way.

In which case, the fact that this coincides with a major tax overhaul that is seeking revenue sources is perhaps the best argument in its favor.

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90 A Truth Seeker November 6, 2017 at 9:18 pm

America keeps supporting the Israeli and Saudi tyrants. Why?

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91 John de Rivaz November 7, 2017 at 5:42 am

Hyper rich people often take on the role of governments, for example Bill Gates and his campaign against malaria, or various private space programs, or private programs against the diseases of old age. This is because there is a physical limit on how much money you can spend on yourself.

I wonder whether tax would be more acceptable to people if they were able to feel involved in some way as to where their money was going, instead of just feeling financially raped by the taxman. Technology could achieve this, by having some system whereby they could just express a non binding preference as to where they would like it to go, together with some feedback as to how that cause is going. For example, governments would surely take notice at election time if lots of taxpayers voted for more heath funding as opposed to overseas aid (or visa-versa).

VAT and other sales taxes are defective because customers are made to feel put upon. That is a service or product is often priced as so much plus GST or VAT. Customers are not as aware of how much corporation tax, local authority charges, mandatory insurance premiums and so on are part of the price of what they are buying. Indirect taxation could be structured differently to avoid the problems currently experienced by that tax authorities.

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92 collin November 7, 2017 at 11:26 am

4. To be honest, I always thought Lenny Bruce was overrated in that he is only famous for being arrested versus being good on stage. I find his clips on youtube are not very good and he was not funny. Given some of demographic humor to be very dated but he really seems to ramble on versus working to timing to deliver strong punchlines. Maybe the problem is the drugs drained his talent by the time he was becoming famous. Does anybody actually have a great clip of his work?

Quite honestly I have never see or heard anything that I thought was excellent like say George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Groucho Marx, Johnny Carson, etc.

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93 msgkings November 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm

+1, he’s more of an icon than a talent.

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94 byomtov November 7, 2017 at 2:02 pm

yes, it was wrong, a violation of both law and privacy

OK. I’ll buy that.

Now, is it wrong to ignore the information therein when talking about how oppressive US corporate taxation is?

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