Overseas Cash Hordes

The [Financial Times] reports that just “five US companies are hoarding nearly half a trillion dollars as the country’s tax code and a tepid global economy deter businesses from spending their overseas cash piles. Apple, Microsoft, Google, Pfizer, and Cisco are sitting on $439bn of cash—accounting for more than a quarter of the total $1.73tn being held by US groups, according to Moody’s Investor Services.”

How to get this money back into the United States? Let’s see: lower the tax rate on foreign money being repatriated? Currently, we tax those funds at existing domestic tax rates; moving to a more territorial system where we tax only domestically earned income would lower the total rate some, giving some encouragement to repatriation of those overseas caches.

The Ex-Im Bank

The Export-Import Bank’s charter is up for renewal in our Congress this spring. The bank is alleged to help American companies by lending money to foreign buyers of and American company’s products so that buyer can afford the purchase, which in turns helps the US company, and its employees.

That’s a pretty good deal, right?

Maybe not so much. It’s American taxpayers who are on the hook—not just the one American company and its employees—if the foreign buyer defaults on the loan. But that’s not all. American companies trying to compete with that foreign buyer also are harmed, whether or not that foreign buyer defaults. See the graph below, from AEIdeas:ExImBank

The Money Still Isn’t There

The Illinois Supreme Court struck down the state’s 2013 pension overhaul, unraveling an effort by lawmakers to rein in benefits for the consistently underfunded public-sector system.

The current pension shortfall is estimated at $111 billion, one of the largest nationally.

So now the citizens of Illinois must act. It is, after all, their Constitution, not the judges’. Assume that the judges of Illinois’ Supreme Court aren’t partisan hacks (they’re politician-lawyers who are elected to 10-year terms by the citizens of Illinois) and have correctly interpreted the state’s Constitution: they ruled correctly, ruling in accordance with the text of the state’s constitution.

How Crass

Hillary Clinton has figured out a way to monetize Mother’s Day—inviting supporters to enter a contest where she’ll ring up Mom just in case you forget to send flowers.

Entering is free, but those who sign up get directed to a page where they get the chance to “increase your odds” by giving cash to Clinton’s presidential campaign. Contribution amounts are listed at amounts ranging from $5 to $2,700.

There is no second prize listed….

Of course there’s a second prize: a campaign seasonful of duns from Clinton for more money.


In the latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll, a question of should be the top three concerns for the Federal government was asked. Those identifying as Democrats list climate change as one of their top three.

That would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. King Canute couldn’t stop the tides. Do Democrats really think they can stop the sun?

EU, Taxes, and Competition

European Union regulators delayed decisions on whether four multinational companies including Apple Inc and Amazon.com Inc may have benefited from illegal tax sweeteners, citing difficulties in obtaining information to make their case.

The difficulty isn’t just from the companies: the nations involved also are reluctant to give up the data.

There’s this, too:

At a time of austerity in many countries, governments across the continent are seeking to shore up their finances and demonstrate to taxpayers that wealthy multinationals are paying their fair share of tax.


A Thought on the TPP

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe spoke one out loud while addressing our Congress a bit ago. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is more than just a trade agreement, he said.

What the TPP is all about [is an opportunity to] spread our shared values and have them take root: the rule of law, democracy, and freedom.

What he said.

Some Thoughts on Military Veteran-ness and Civil Society

Rebecca Burgess, at AEIdeas, has some. The graph below summarizes the situation; RTWT, though.


The SEC’s Abuse of Authority

Actually, it’s Dodd-Frank’s abuse, and the SEC is only implementing the abuser’s requirement, but still….

At issue here is an SEC proposed rule that purports

to give investors greater clarity about the link between what corporate executives are paid each year compared to total shareholder return—the annual change in stock price plus reinvested dividends, according to people familiar with the measure.

There are a couple of things wrong with this. One, minor on the scale of this…rule’s…transgression is the idea that stock price and dividend handling are the measure of a business’ management. No, these are the outcomes; the actual measures are on the business’ financial sheets. Those P&L, Cash Flow, and Balance Sheets, among a host of other performance reporting documents, are freely available to shareholders—and to prospective shareholders: they’re public documents.