This post was published at Redacted Tonight
Goldman Sachs has accelerated nearly $100 million in stock awards to top executives before the end of the year in order to avoid unfavorable changes in the new tax code, according to public filings posted Friday.
The most sweeping overhaul of U. S. tax code in 30 years includes a provision which caps a corporate deduction for executive pay; under current law, corporations can deduct up to $1 million per executive’s base salary, however there’s no cap on deductions for performance-based pay, such as bonuses.
Under the new provisions, both base salary and performance bonuses count towards to $1 million cap – which is why Goldman accelerated $94.8 million in bonuses originally scheduled for January, 2018. By paying the bonuses early, the bank will save money on its own tax bill.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Sat, 12/30/2017 –.
Talk amongst many traders is that they are so unsure how the new rules and regulations surrounding the implementation of MIFiD II (Markets in Financial Instruments Directive) are to be imposed, that some even said they were keen to extend their holidays until this mess is sorted out. In other words, until they hear that regulators will grant firms a six-month delay for part of the changes about to be implemented for both the company and country, many just do not even know how to conduct business anymore.
The most critical problem surrounding this nightmare is the fact that every trade (with a European Counterpart) will require a LEI (Legal Entity Identifier). This is not such a critical issue for Wall Street Banks since they have already won a 30-month grace period after the SEC requested time to negotiate terms with the EU. Goldman Sachs has installed another of its board members as the top negotiator inside the SEC – Alan Cohen. Goldman Sachs has now three strategic people in the Trump Administration to steer the legislation in their favor both in the USA with restoring Glass Steagall to reduce their competition (Gary Cohen & Steven Mnuchin) and they have now added Alan Cohen, who was their Head of Global Compliance.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 29, 2017.
At last, tax reform is happening! Last week, President Donald Trump celebrated the passage of the most important legislation so far of his presidency.
The final bill falls far short of the ‘file on a postcard’ promise of Trump’s campaign. It even falls short of the bill trotted out by Congressional Republicans just a few weeks ago. It is, nevertheless, the most significant tax overhaul in more than a decade.
Corporations and most individual taxpayers will see lower overall rates. That’s the good news.
Unfortunately, there is also some not so good news investors need to be aware of.
Because no spending cuts will be attached to ‘pay’ for the tax rate reductions, the legislation will grow the budget deficit by an estimated $1 trillion to $1.5 trillion over the next decade. The actual number could end up being smaller…or bigger, depending on how the economy performs. But more red ink will spill.
This post was published at GoldSeek on Tuesday, 26 December 2017.
An LA County psychologist who thinks President Trump’s tax bill stinks to high heaven, compared himself to Jesus after admitting he delivered a gift-wrapped box of horseshit as a Christmas present to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin. Robby Strong told AL.com he dropped off the box of horse manure at Mnuchin’s house as an ‘act of political theater’ to hammer home the point that ‘Republicans have done nothing for the American worker.’
Boldly taking the Christ-analogy to a place it has never gone before, Strong told SoCal radio station 89.3 KPCC that “what I did, I would like to compare to what Jesus did when he went into the temple and overturned the tables of the money-changers, who were exploiting the people financially in the name of religion.”
‘In the long run, if we don’t do stuff like this, what are we going to have left?’ Robby told KPCC. ‘I feel like that’s what the GOP has done to the American people,’ added the man who, bizarrely, is a psychologist with the LA Department of Mental Health.
Things start to make much more sense, however, once we learn that Strong claims he was an organizer for the Occupy LA movement; predictably he sides with critics of the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul who say it favors corporations and the wealthy, CBS Los Angeles reported.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 25, 2017.
Late cycle behavior is everywhere these days. Governments have stopped worrying about deficits, and now the rest of us are apparently joining the orgy.
Corporations, for instance, are buying each other out – mostly with borrowed money – at a record pace:
December’s $361 Billion Deal Haul Is the Busiest in a Decade
(Bloomberg) – Just as most people are packing up for Christmas, dealmakers across the world are rushing to finish up a slew of transactions in industries ranging from consumer to telecom and health care to gambling. Companies have announced about $361 billion of mergers and acquisitions this month, making it the busiest December in at least 12 years, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. On Friday, the last work day before bankers and executives break for the holiday, GVC Holdings Plc of the U. K. agreed to buy bookmaker Ladbrokes Coral Group Plc for as much as 4 billion pounds ($5.4 billion), Deutsche Telekom AG said it will buy Liberty Global Plc’s Austrian unit and Roche Holding AG announced the $1.7 billion acquisition of U. S. biotech Ignyta Inc.
This post was published at DollarCollapse on DECEMBER 22, 2017.
Will Wilkinson, the vice president for policy at the Niskanen Center, does not like the tax bill just passed by Congress. Writing in The New York Times, he finds the legislation ‘notably generous to corporations, high earners, inheritors of large estates and the owners of private jets.’
Wilkinson has discovered a surprising source for the legislation he dislikes so much. It is none other than the libertarian idea, promoted by Murray Rothbard and Ayn Rand, that taxation is theft. Under their theory of ‘absolute’ property rights, taxation was ‘morally criminalized.’ Democratic majorities, in this view, cannot override property rights.
Wilkinson rejects this account. ‘The idea that there is an inherent tension between democracy and the integrity of property rights is wildly misguided.’ Democracy is a means for the poor and middle class to protect themselves from exploitative elites. Democracy is a relatively recent innovation; in pre-democratic states, ruling elites exploited the ‘lower orders.’ Those not in the ruling elite need the redistributive democratic state for protection.
The fault is no doubt mine, but I find Wilkinson’s line of thought difficult to follow. How does the thought that taxation is morally wrong underlie a tax bill? If you reject taxation, would you not oppose taxes rather than enact new taxes? Perhaps what Wilkinson has in mind is this: in present circumstances, Republicans under nefarious libertarian influence could not proceed all the way to abolition of taxation. The best they could manage is not to tax the well-off as much as Wilkinson thinks appropriate.
This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/21/2017.
With the passage of the Tax Cut And Jobs Act on Wednesday, I wanted to address a few of the questions and misinformation currently circulating about the impact of tax cuts on the U. S. economy.
Over the last couple of months, I have been repeatedly asked why I am not ‘enthusiastic’ about the ‘greatest tax reform’ since the Reagan era.
First, let me be clear, I like getting a ‘tax cut.’ Under the new plan, and because I own several small businesses structured as limited liability corporations (LLC’s), I will potentially see a reduction in the amount of taxes I will pay next year.
What I am opposed to, as a ‘fiscal conservative,’ is the ongoing expansion of our debts and deficits which are an inherent drag on the future prosperity of the country.
For the last 8-years, Republicans have repeatedly blamed the previous Administration for doubling the national debt and further expanding dependency on the welfare and entitlement system. When the Republican-controlled Senate and House had the opportunity to live up to their promise of reducing spending and being more fiscally responsible, their first piece of major legislative action will add another $10 Trillion in debt over the next 10-years, increase the deficit to more than $1 Trillion, and double the size of an existing welfare program through increasing child tax credits.
As the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget just wrote:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.
No, this isn’t 1999 — or February of 2000.
It’s not middle of 2008 either, when Countrywide’s “Tan Man” was making nearly-daily parade appearances on Communist News Bull **** proclaiming how he was going to “take share” from collapsing subprime lenders, pumping his share price. The company subsequently collapsed in a smoking heap.
I know, I know, stocks are cheap. I just had someone run that crap on me with Micron in the bar last night, pointing to their TTM earnings P/E and “forward estimates.” He of course ignored the ~400% price rise in the last 18 months or so, the rather-high price:sales ratio and the proved, 20+ year cylical nature of the DRAM and NAND chip sector, along with the fact that they’re in a commodity products business which means that as soon as you start getting >10% pretax margins (which Micron is achieving at present) someone will come shooting at you — because you have no “moat” and they can.
I wished him the best of luck in buying it at $45.
This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-21.
California utility goes for ‘cash conservation.’ Investors, not just rate payers, to foot the bill. Wednesday evening, two sleepy trading days before the long Christmas weekend, when no one was supposed to pay attention, Pacific Gas and Electric, the Northern California utility that is being investigated and sued for allegedly having triggered the wildfires in the Bay Area, ‘the most destructive and deadliest in our state’s history,’ as the Department of Insurance had put it, announced that it would suspend its dividend.
PG&E shares [PCG] plunged 10% in after-hours trading. Thursday morning, shares plummeted 16.5% to $42.75. They’re now down 38% in total since the beginning of the wildfires that killed 43 people and caused still untold property and environmental damage, including $9 billion in insurance claims so far, with the tally likely to rise further. About three dozen lawsuits have been filed against PG&E.
PG&E’s announcement was terse:
On December 20, 2017, the Boards of Directors of PG&E Corporation (the ‘Corporation’) and its subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company (the ‘Utility’), determined to suspend quarterly cash dividends on both the Corporation’s common stock, beginning with the fourth quarter of 2017, and the Utility’s preferred stock, beginning with the three-month period ending January 31, 2018, due to uncertainty related to causes and potential liabilities associated with the extraordinary October 2017 Northern California wildfires.
This post was published at Wolf Street on Dec 21, 2017.
Moody’s estimates that there is roughly $1.4 trillion dollars belonging to U. S. corporations that has been building up in foreign bank accounts for years now to avoid the 35% corporate tax that would be levied on them if they were brought back to the U. S. Of course, getting that $1.4 trillion back to the U. S. has been a critical component of the Trump administration’s tax reform bill as Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin have repeatedly argued that the money would be put to good use building factories and creating jobs for American workers.
That said, if history, math and logic are any guide, then the overwhelming majority of that money would be promptly returned to shareholders via stock buybacks and dividends immediately upon hitting U. S. shores. In fact, as University of Chicago law professor Dhammika Dharmapala told the Wall Street Journal, when a similar tax holiday was enacted in 2004 roughly $0.94 of every $1.00 was spent on buyback and dividends…something Gary Cohn apparently found out for the first time via a recent impromptu survey that yielded some ‘surprising’ results, if only to him…
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.
The attack upon religion in Australia is not what one would call a direct assault. It is also not unique to just Australia. This is simply the way prosecutors expand the envelope of power. They look at a single issue and seek to address that issue alone. They rarely look at the implications beyond their immediate objective.
Take FACTA in the USA. The objective is to catch people avoiding taxes by putting their profits offshore. They begin with that assumption and ignore the fact that NOT everyone doing business offshore is to hide taxes. They then obstruct businesses from expanding globally. In my own case, despite the fact that we do business around the globe, because I am an American, I cannot open an account anywhere outside the USA because nobody wants to deal with the FACTA reporting back to the USA. My only solution is to go public since an American citizen can no longer own and operate a multinational business privately. Here we have a law designed to get tax evaders, but it blocks the legitimate business from operating. The only exception is the multinational corporation.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 19, 2017.
Late last week, the GOP tax reform legislation looked to be a done deal after Senator Corker (R-TN) – who has publicly feuded with President Trump and famously compared the West Wing to an “adult daycare center” – announced he would support the tax bill after previously voting against it.
Then, Corker’s sudden change of heart took another surprising turn when it was discovered over the weekend that it came only after new language was inserted that could be worth roughly $1 million to him personally…language which has since been dubbed the “Corker Kickback“.
Now, adding to a scandal that Democrats will undoubtedly attempt to leverage in their last minute efforts to block tax reform, Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT) admits that he drafted the controversial language that helped flip Corker to a ‘yes’ vote, but his memory is a little more ‘fuzzy’ when it comes to recalling whether or not the provision was already incorporated in previous versions of the bill. Despite Hatch’s insistence that a similar provision was passed in the House version of the GOP’s tax bill, tax experts interviewed by the International Business Times say that’s simply not true:
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 18, 2017.
Update: in addition to the previously leaked highlights (see below), Republicans on Friday evening released the final version of their legislation to slash tax rates for corporations and individuals. The 1,097 page document, containing the bill and an explanatory statement, was crafted by the House-Senate conference committee. The bill is expected to come up for votes in Congress next week.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 15, 2017.
Congressional Republicans finally reached a deal on the tax cuts, the biggest reform in 30 years. This sets the stage for a vote next week. The U. S. corporate tax rate was changed upward moving to 21%. The top[ tax rate will be reduced marginally from 39.6% to 37%.
The corporate alternative minimum tax will probably be repealed. The proposed $10,000 cap for state and local property tax deductions should survive and the cap on mortgage interest deductions will be set at $750,000 on home loans, and provide the owners of pass-through businesses with a tax rate of 20%.
Of course, the criticism from Democrats is the typical Marxist slant that the Republican plan benefits the rich and corporations rather than the middle class. Small business employs 70% of the civil workforce and that is the engine that creates jobs. The top rate moves down from 39.6^ to just 36%, so that is nothing to write home about, yet the Democrats will do so anyway.
This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Dec 14, 2017.
It appears as though the rate on US federal corporate profits is going to be reduced. Although US corporations may be considered ‘people’ in terms of the First Amendment, they are not ‘people’ when it comes to paying taxes. Corporations are de facto tax collectors, not taxpayers. Real people ultimately pay the taxes in one way or another on the profits that corporations earn. So, why don’t we relieve corporations of their tax-collecting duties and tax their shareholders directly on the accrued profits of corporations in which they own shares as Laurence Kotlikoff, Boston U. econ professor, and 2016 write-in presidential candidate, has suggested? If this were done, the tax on dividends and, thus, the double taxation of corporate profits would be eliminated. Alas, this kind of tax reform is not in the cards, but a cut in the corporate profits tax would be a step in the right direction.
One of the arguments being made in favor of the cut in the corporate profits tax rate is that it would unleash a torrent of investment on the part of corporations. In turn, this increase in business investment would enhance the potential real growth in the economy and would increase the capital-to-labor ratio. An increase in the capital-to-labor ratio would raise the productivity of labor, which eventually would lead to an increase in real wages.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/12/2017.
The Wall Street Journal broke one of the most memorable news stories of the year over the summer when it reported that former General Electric CEO Jeff Immelt – who bowed out in June amid intensifying pressure to revitalize the company’s long-suffering share price – would routinely use a “chase plane” when flying to foreign destinations – that is, a second completely empty jet would fly behind Immelt’s aircraft. The company has provided multiple justifications for the second plane, including saying it was for security purposes, and to ensure timely arrival for “business critical” meetings.
The story, which has become emblematic of GE’s longstanding tradition of grossly overspending on executive perks, was a major embarrassment for Immelt, who denied reports that he specifically requested the jet, claiming instead that his air transportation was arranged by the company’s corporate air team. Finally, he admitted that he had used two GE corporate jets in this manner up until 2014, when he changed the policy to use “locally sourced jets” as chase planes instead of one of the GE fleet.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 12, 2017.
Buy things on Amazon?
I know the excuses; “Amazon has what I want and delivers.” Well, so do a lot of other web properties, and they’re often cheaper too.
“I like the 2 day ‘free’ delivery.” Most firms match it for purchases of some size (over $25 or so) these days. Oh, and their pricing is better. And there’s no such thing as ‘free’ either.
“They’re the leader in AWS.” Maybe on sales volume, but certainly not when it comes to pricing, and if you use their “special tools” you’re buying into a forced monopoly, which is first-class stupid as a corporation.
And what are you really doing folks? You’re providing money to Beelzebezos so he can in turn sign contracts with Woody Allen, who Dylan Farrow has accused of raping her. This allegation is 20+ years old and the prosecutor in the district said probable cause existed to charge him.
This post was published at Market-Ticker on 2017-12-12.
The US national debt stands at over $21 trillion and neither political party in Washington D. C. seems inclined to do anything about it. In fact, the GOP tax planwinding its way through the political process will add an estimated $1.5 trillion more to the debt over the next decade. And that doesn’t even account for the increases in spending that Congress will certainly approve over that timespan.
Of course, all of this government debt has serious ramifications. Corporations are also piling on credit. Last month, Mint Capital strategist Bill Blain predicted that ‘the great crash of 2018 is going to start in the deeper, darker depths of the credit market.’
Now consider this. China has an even bigger debt problem than the US, and analysts say it could threaten global financial security.
Jim Rickards recently listed a Chinese debt crisis as one of the possible snowflakes that could set off the next financial avalanche. As if on cue, the mainstream has picked up this narrative. As Business Insider reports it:
China’s ballooning levels of debt and dependency on credit to fuel growth continues to pose a major financial stability threat to the global economy, and could be the catalyst for the next crisis, according to the International Monetary Fund.’
This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 8, 2017.
After years of meager returns and overspending to boost production at all costs, US shale explorers and drillers are finally about to see their share prices rise next year, according to veteran energy investor Shawn Reynolds.
The new wave of a more disciplined approach to spending and the focus on higher returns will benefit mostly the exploration and production companies. Drilling firms and oilfield services providers are also set to benefit, Reynolds told Bloomberg in an interview published on Friday.
Read Energy Analyst: “Meaningful Upside” for Oil Prices…
Shale companies have already started to realize the need to finally reward their shareholders, and firms are now planning within their means, not just spending to grow production at any cost.
Shale companies now have more growth potential than conventional oil and gas producers, because shale firms face lowered risks in resources extraction, said Reynolds, a fund manager at Van Eck Associates.
‘With shale, you have incredible visibility on growth, possibly the best visibility of any industry in the entire market, and lower risk,’ Reynolds told Bloomberg.
This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/08/201.