• Tag Archives Tax
  • “Did Mike Pence Buy A Diet Dr.Pepper For A Woman That Was Not His Wife?”

    Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,
    If only abortion were retroactive, we could suitably deal with monsters like Senator Al Franken (D – MN), who apparently ventured to apply a breast adjustment to a female colleague asleep on the military airplane winging them home from USO duty in Afghanistan. This was back in the day when Senator Franken was a professional entertainer, a clown to be precise, but his career shift to politics has rendered all his prior clowning anathema.
    Will he slink out of the senate in disgrace with (ahem) his tail between his legs? Or will he bunker in and wait until the mega-storm of sexual accusation roars on to strand some bigger, flashier fish on the shoals of ignominy?
    Perhaps we’ll soon learn that Warren Buffet repeatedly shagged his notoriously over-taxed secretary in the Berkshire Hathaway janitor’s closet.
    Or that Mike Pence once bought a diet Dr. Pepper for a woman who was not his wife!
    Seems to me this storm could roar and roil on until ninety-plus percent of the men in America are exposed as sex monsters and expelled from every workplace in the land. And then America can feel good about itself again. At least until the bond market blows up, or Kim Jung Fatboy sends a rocket over Rancho Cuckamonga.
    But in the meantime, this scourging of male wickedness raises some interesting questions about human dynamics vis-a-vis workplace dynamics.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • How Tax Reform Can Still Blow Up: A Side-By-Side Comparison Of The House And Senate Tax Plans

    To much fanfare, mostly out of president Trump, on Thursday the House passed their version of the tax bill 227-205 along party lines, with 13 Republicans opposing. The passage of the House bill was met with muted market reaction. The Senate version of the tax reform is currently going through the Senate Finance Committee for additional amendments and should be ready for a full floor debate in a few weeks. While some, like Goldman, give corporate tax cuts (if not broad tax reform), an 80% chance of eventually becoming law in the first quarter of 2018, others like UBS and various prominent skeptics, do not see the House and Senate plans coherently merging into a survivable proposal.
    Indeed, while momentum seemingly is building for the tax plan, some prominent analysts believe there are several issues down the road that could trip up or even stall a comprehensive tax plan from passing the Congress, the chief of which is how to combine the House and Senate plans into one viable bill.
    How are the two plans different?
    Below we present a side by side comparison of the two plans from Bank of America, which notes that the House and the Senate are likely to pass different tax plans with areas of disagreement (see table below). This means that the two chambers will need to form a conference committee to hash out the differences. There are three major friction points:
    the repeal of the state and local tax deductions (SALT), capping mortgage interest deductions and the delay in the corporate tax cut. The House seems strongly opposed to fully repealing SALT and delaying the corporate tax cuts and the Senate could push back on changing the mortgage interest deductions. Finding compromise on these issues without disturbing other parts of the plan while keeping the price tag under the $1.5tn over 10 years could be challenging.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Market Talk- November 17, 2017

    The tax reform bill passing the US House yesterday certainly added to sentiment, after great earnings releases for markets but Asia need more help for cash today. Having opened strong all core markets then drifted and even saw the Nikkei trade negative. For the week it closes down 1.3% which has broken a two month rally. The Hang Seng performed well all day closing up around +0.6% but only off-set the decline in the Shanghai (-0.5%). India traded well following Thursday’s credit upgrade eventually adding an additional +0.7% onto yesterdays gain. All eyes are still on the DXY as we approach the weekend as just below we have the 50 Day Moving Average at 93.50. Oil has bounced following comments from potential output cuts led by OPEC.

    This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Nov 17, 2017.


  • This Michigan Bank Just Brought Back The Zero-Down Mortgage; They’ll Even Cover Your Closing Costs

    A small savings bank in Michigan, Flagstar Bank, has come up with a genius, innovative new mortgage product that they believe is going to be great for their investors and low-income housing buyers: the “zero-down mortgage.” What’s better, Flagstar is even offering to pay the closing costs of their low-income future mortgage debtors. Here’s more from HousingWire:
    Under the program, Flagstar will gift the required 3% down payment to the borrower, plus up to $3,500 to be used for closing costs.
    According to the bank, there is no obligation for borrowers who qualify to repay the down payment gift.
    The program is available to only certain low- to moderate-income borrowers and borrowers in low- to moderate-income areas throughout Michigan.
    Borrowers would not have to repay the down payment or closing costs. But a 1099 form to report the income would be issued to the Internal Revenue Service by the bank. So the gifts could be taxable, depending on the borrower’s financial picture.
    Flagstar said borrowers who might qualify for its new program typically would have an annual income in the range of $35,000 to $62,000. The sales price of the home — which must be in qualifying areas — would tend to be in the range of $80,000 to $175,000.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • How Corporate Zombies Are Threatening The Eurozone Economy

    The recovery in Eurozone growth has become part of the synchronised global growth narrative that most investors are relying on to deliver further gains in equities as we head into 2018. However, the ‘Zombification’ of a chunk of the Eurozone’s corporate sector is not only a major unaddressed structural problem, but it’s getting worse, especially in…you guessed it… Italy and Spain. According to the WSJ.
    The Bank for International Settlements, the Basel-based central bank for central banks, defines a zombie as any firm which is at least 10 years old, publicly traded and has interest expenses that exceed the company’s earnings before interest and taxes. Other organizations use different criteria. About 10% of the companies in six eurozone countries, including France, Germany, Italy and Spain are zombies, according to the central bank’s latest data. The percentage is up sharply from 5.5% in 2007. In Italy and Spain, the percentage of zombie companies has tripled since 2007, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development estimated in January. Italy’s zombies employed about 10% of all workers and gobbled up nearly 20% of all the capital invested in 2013, the latest year for which figures are available. The WSJ explains how the ECB’s negative interest rate policy and corporate bond buying are keeping a chunk of the corporate sector, especially in southern Europe on life support. In some cases, even the life support of low rates and debt restructuring is not preventing further deterioration in their metrics. These are the true ‘Zombie’ companies who will probably never come back from being ‘undead’, i.e. technically dead but still animate. Belatedly, there is some realisation of the risks.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 17, 2017.


  • Reality On So-Called ‘Tax Cuts’

    Let’s cut the crap, shall we?
    Tax cuts have never resulted in any sort of material improvement in the living standard of the ordinary America — which I define as everyone other than the top 1% of earners.
    It has simply never happened.
    The last time the tax code was “reorganized” you got more buy-backs and stock options issued to executives.
    The same thing happened with all the other tax cut packages since.
    Further, when we had the so-called “Reagan Tax Reform” Tipper promised to cut spending in order to make them deficit neutral. He did not do so; no reduction in spending was ever delivered.
    This will be no different. In fact, unlike the Reagan-era game nobody is even claiming to intend to reduce spending.
    The chimera of “tax cuts” being “good for business” is nonsense as well. Almost no corporation actually pays the tax rate claimed, especially large firms. They all cheat — Apple has been caught in the “Paradise Papers” and others have as well. The claim of “repatriation” leading to some sort of boom in investment and wages is nonsense as well.

    This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-11-17.


  • House Passes GOP Tax Reform Bill In Major Victory For Republicans

    Update: The House has passed its tax reform package with a final vote of 227 yeas to 205 nays. And while the Republican leadership has ordered the caucus not to gloat about the legislative victory – possibly the biggest so far for President Trump – Paul Ryan and Co. will be able to go home to their constituents and enjoy a relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.
    Their colleagues in the Senate won’t be so lucky.
    Senate leaders have said they’re working with holdouts like Ron Johnson as well as lawmakers like Bob Corker who are leaning toward voting against the bill in its current form. The Senate Finance is still marking up the bill, adding amendments and making alternations, but leaders say it’ll make it to a floor vote the week after Thanksgiving.
    Senators Marco Rubio and Mike Lee have wanted to see a bigger expansion of the childcare tax credit. Johnson has said more of the tax relief should go to LLCs via the pass-through rate and less generous breaks should be given to corporations.
    Here’s a list of the Republicans who voted ‘nay’.
    GOP no votes on the tax bill pic.twitter.com/QJ9vVdgPhG
    — Naomi Jagoda (@njagoda) November 16, 2017

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.


  • UBS Reveals The Stunning Reason Behind The 2017 Stock Market Rally

    It’s 2018 forecast time for the big banks. With Goldman unveiling its seven Top Trades for 2018 earlier, overnight it was also UBS’ turn to reveal its price targets for the S&P in the coming year, and not surprisingly, the largest Swiss bank was extremely bullish, so much so in fact that its base case is roughly where Goldman expects the S&P to be some time in the 2020s (at least until David Kostin revises his price forecast shortly).
    So what does UBS expect? The bank’s S&P “base case” is 2900, and notes that its upside target of 3,300 assumes a tax cut is passed, while its downside forecast of 2,200 assumes Fed hikes in the face of slowing growth:
    We target 2900 for the S&P 500 at 2018 YE, based on EPS of $141 (+8%) and modest P/E expansion to 20.6x.
    Our upside case of S&P 500 at 3300 assumes EPS gets a further 10% boost driven by a 25% tax rate (+6.5%), repatriation (+2%) and a GDP lift (+1.6%), while the P/E rises by 1.0x. Downside of 2200 assumes the Fed hikes as growth slows, the P/E contracts by 3x and EPS falls 3%. Congress is motivated to act before midterm elections while the Fed usually reacts to slower growth; so we think our upside case is more likely.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.


  • A Bullish Big Picture With Growing Near-Term Headwinds

    There are some growing signs of weakness in this market. Breadth is slipping, credit doesn’t look too great, there are more new lows versus new highs being made… that kind of stuff. I’m still not getting any major sell signals, except from my high-yield indicator. It flashed a signal today.
    But there’s word the recent weakness in junk may be due to concerns over how deductions for debt and interest payments will be treated in the Republican tax reform plan. I don’t know. Either way, I’m not seeing any major red flags outside of junk bonds just yet.
    I’m in ‘wait and see’ mode, just ‘sitting on my hands’ as Livermore would say. I’ve trimmed my book some but mostly because I want to free up capital for other trades that are lining up.
    One of these trades is long dollar. I won’t expend much digital ink laying out my long dollar case, I’ve already done that plenty.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/16/2017.


  • Thompson Reuters GFMS Outlook: Gold Above $1,400 in 2018

    Analysts at Thomson Reuters expect the price of gold to push back over $1,300 and then continue to rise above $1,400 through next year, primarily driven by overvalued stock markets, according to the GFMS Gold Survey 2017 Q3 Update and Outlook.
    Gold briefly broke through the key $1,300 level in late August. Safe-haven buying served as a key driver, as heated rhetoric between the US and North Korea was at a peak late last summer. But gold fell back below $1,300 and has traded within a tight range over the last few weeks as investors mull future Federal Reserve moves and the impact of GOP tax reform – if Congress can get it done. Lackluster investment demand in the West, particularly North America, has also led to a supply surplus.
    Thompson Reuters analysts say the initial push above $1,300 was an overextension of the price at the time, and they call the drop back below that level ‘a healthy correction for the price that has formed a base for a more sustainable move above $1,300 later this year.’

    This post was published at Schiffgold on NOVEMBER 16, 2017.


  • Duties Imposed Against Chinese “Dumping” Hurt American Consumers

    For years, special interests have called on the U. S. government to ‘level the playing field’ in the form of duties, levies, and other antiquated measures. Democrats and Republicans alike have aired their grievances over the trade deficit, grumbling about exporters hurting American workers by flooding the market with cheap goods. These complaints are deeply misguided.
    Over the last decade, China has been accused of tilting international trade in its favor. Is this true? No, it is demonstrably false, as Beijing’s subsidized exports greatly benefit American consumers far more than the Chinese population.
    You can’t tell that to the U. S. government, though.
    In late October, the Department of Commerce announced that China dumped aluminum foil on the U. S. market, selling the goods at ‘unfairly low prices.’
    Trade policy under Trump hasn’t been dramatically different from his predecessors, though. Who who monitor trade deals have forgotten about President Barack Obama’s 35% tax on Chinese tires and President George W. Bush’s 20% tax on imported steel.
    US Imposes Anti-Dumping Duties Before Trump’s stop in Beijing as part of his 12-day Asian tour, the U. S. government imposed duties ranging between 96.81% and 162.24% on Chinese aluminum foil. The preliminary report determined that China dumped nearly $400 million worth of aluminum foil imports on the U. S. market in 2016 at very low prices.

    This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on November 16, 2017.


  • House Set To Pass GOP Tax-Reform This Afternoon

    Last night, Sen. Ron Johnson surprised the GOP Senate leadership by coming out against the republican tax plan “in its current form”, the latest sign that the Republican push to pass comprehensive tax reform by New Year’s will struggle in the Senate. Still, that won’t stop the more Trump-friendly House of Representatives from passing their version of the bill, which they’re expected to do this afternoon following a meeting with the president.
    While the vote totals are expected to be tight, House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady both said the bill will likely pass, and they wouldn’t be pushing for a vote unless they had it in the bag. President Trump will visit Capitol Hill ahead of the vote to rally support, but, according to the Hill, it appears there will be little need to twist arms. All three of the House’s major Republican factions have given the bill the green light.
    Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and fellow leaders have been in a buoyant mood all week, signaling they have the 217 votes needed to pass the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
    And the days leading up to the vote have been relatively drama-free, as the three main House GOP factions – the far-right Freedom Caucus, conservative Republican Study Committee and moderate Tuesday Group – have either backed the bill or stayed on the sidelines.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 16, 2017.


  • Tax Reform Shaping Up to Be Bad for Individuals, High-Tax States

    Details of the GOP tax reform bill have been released and what we’re finding is that it has the potential to impact taxpayers in several important ways, especially depending on where they live.
    This time on Financial Sense’ Lifetime Income Series, Jim Puplava talked about what we can expect to see if tax reform passes.
    For related podcast, see Tax Reform – Urgent – Call Your Advisor!
    Tax Brackets Are Shifting
    Historically, Republicans have focused on getting rid of deductions and Democrats have focused on raising tax rates. This can be good to an extent, but often, we’ve seen deductions taken away, only to see tax rate increases shortly thereafter.
    This bill does several things, Puplava noted. First, under the House version, two tax rates are actually raised. Those in the 10 percent tax rate bracket are bumped into the 12 percent bracket, and those in the 33 percent bracket are bumped into the 35 percent bracket.
    Two tax rates actually fall: the 15 percent rate drops to 12, and the 28 percent rate drops to 25 percent.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/15/2017.


  • Watch Live: Trump Makes “Major Statement”

    Two days ago, President Trump tweeted that he would make a “major statement” upon his return from Asia. That time has come. Today at 3:30pmET, President Trump will let us all know… Is it war with North Korea? Rejoining TPP? Denouncing Roy Moore? Declaring victory over tax reform and healthcare repeal? Celebrating his relationship with China? Banning NYT and CNN? Admitting he really did collude with Putin?
    Of course, there’s a lot happening in Washington right now, and Trump’s hinted-at announcement could be in reference to one of any number of issues. Will he deliver an update on the administration’s position regarding tax reform as two bills that differ in dramatic fashion wend through Congress? Perhaps some type of security announcement? Or the revelation that the US has finally entered into talks with North Korea after Trump adopted a notably softer tone toward his favorite Asian antagonist over the weekend?


    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 15, 2017.


  • NOV 14/GOLD IS UP $4.00 DESPITE BANKER ATTEMPTS TO QUASH THE METAL/SILVER ALSO REBOUNDS/SILVER AND FINISHES UP 3 CENTS/LONG TERM BOND YIELDS FALTER/CHINESE MARKETS FALL/THE ONLY POSITIVE TODAY WA…

    GOLD: $1282.85 UP $4.00
    Silver: $17.08 UP 3 cents
    Closing access prices:
    Gold $1280.50
    silver: $17.02
    SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: FIRST FIX 10 15 PM EST (2:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
    SECOND FIX: 2:15 AM EST (6:15 SHANGHAI LOCAL TIME)
    SHANGHAI FIRST GOLD FIX: $1285.54 DOLLARS PER OZ
    NY PRICE OF GOLD AT EXACT SAME TIME: $1276.15
    PREMIUM FIRST FIX: $9.39
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    SECOND SHANGHAI GOLD FIX: $1286.85
    NY GOLD PRICE AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1277.10
    Premium of Shanghai 2nd fix/NY:$9.75
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    LONDON FIRST GOLD FIX: 5:30 am est $1273.50
    NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME: $1273.20
    LONDON SECOND GOLD FIX 10 AM: $1274.60
    NY PRICING AT THE EXACT SAME TIME. 1273.86
    For comex gold:
    NOVEMBER/
    NOTICES FILINGS TODAY FOR OCT CONTRACT MONTH:0 NOTICE(S) FOR nil OZ.
    TOTAL NOTICES SO FAR: 991 FOR 99,100 OZ (3.082TONNES)
    For silver:
    NOVEMBER
    2 NOTICE(S) FILED TODAY FOR
    10,000 OZ/
    Total number of notices filed so far this month: 874 for 4,370,000 oz

    This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on November 14, 2017.


  • George Soros To Congress: “Please Don’t Cut My Taxes”

    After transferring over the bulk of his personal wealth to his ‘Open Society’ Foundation – the umbrella organization for a network of dozens of political groups that push Soros’s far-left agenda across the US and Europe, Soros is still comfortable enough to justify giving away even more of his money – this time to the US federal government.
    Taking a page out of Warren Buffett’s book, Soros and a group of some 400 other rich Americans – including doctors, lawyers and CEOs – are sending a formal letter to Congress chiding lawmakers for trying to reduce taxes on the richest American families at a time when wealth inequality is rapidly expanding. Instead, the letter asks Congress not to pass any tax bill that ‘further exacerbates inequality’ and adds to the debt (both of the current Republican plans would add $1.5 trillion to the debt over 10 years).
    The letter was penned by Responsible Wealth, a group of ‘enlightened’ rich people that includes Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield, fashion designer Eileen Fisher and philanthropist Steven Rockefeller, in addition to Soros. Along with the big names are many individuals and couples who rank among the top 5% of Americans (those who have $1.5 million in assets or earn $250,000 or more a year).
    In a rebuttal to Congress’s argument that corporate tax cuts will help stimulate growth, the letter argues that corporations are already reaping record profits. Instead of handing more money to the wealthy, the letter’s signers argue the government should use the funds to invest in education, research and roads that benefit everyone, while protecting entitlement programs like Medicaid.

    This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 14, 2017.


  • Debt, Taxes and Politics: An Updated Perspective on Federal Tax History

    With the Republican tax bill looming, we’ve updated this article to include the latest figures and estimates for federal debt and taxes.
    Federal debt is defined as “the gross outstanding debt issued by the United States Department of Treasury since 1790” according to It does not include state and local debt, agency debt, nor entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. It does include debt held by the public, debt held in government accounts, and by the Federal Reserve Board. Current federal debt per person is $62,814.
    The first chart is a snapshot of federal debt with government forecasts through 2022 with an overlay of tax brackets since the onset of annual federal taxation in 1913.
    As the chart clearly illustrates, the tax cuts in the early 1980s coincided with the beginning of an acceleration in real federal debt from a relatively consistent level over the previous three decades.

    This post was published at FinancialSense on 11/14/2017.


  • The Tax Trade Is Getting Crowded

    Congress is deciding your portfolio’s future right now – so you might want to pay attention.
    If investment success were an algebra equation, one variable would be the amount of after-tax income you can save.
    Another variable would be the tax rate of your capital gains and how much of your losses you can deduct.
    And yet another variable would be the irrational decisions you make to squeeze your portfolio through the various tax traps.
    All that would apply even if Congress just simplified the tax code without changing the amount of money the government takes from us.
    The current House and Senate proposals reduce overall tax revenue, but that doesn’t mean they will reduce it for you. Whether you’ll save anything depends on who you are and how you earn your income.
    That, in turn, is already affecting financial markets. You’d best be on the right side of it.

    This post was published at Mauldin Economics on NOVEMBER 14, 2017.