Tax Complexity

A Private Letter Ruling is a letter the IRS issues to a particular taxpayer—corporate or business—to provide specific instructions/clearance to a specific taxpayer about that taxpayer’s particular circumstance.  PLRs set no precedent for any other taxpayer; even if that other has a substantially similar circumstance.  The price for such a Letter, charged by the IRS to the Letter’s recipient, ranges from $2,200 to $28,300.

The procedure for getting a PLR is set out in Internal Revenue Bulletin:  2016-1, which runs past 260 .pdf pages (the Table of Contents runs nearly 6 pages).  There’s a hint there.

Tony Blair Misunderstands

Great Britain’s Ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair has sensed danger from the Brits’ vote to leave the European Union.

Blair said in a Friday column in The Daily Telegraph that the future of the United Kingdom is at stake as the country faces negotiations on the terms of leaving the European Union.

Of course there’s danger—there always is when a change as large as this is embarked on.  But Great Britain didn’t get to be as great as it was and still is by being timid.  This move is a great opportunity for the nation, much more so than it is a risk, however real that risk is.

Another Government Overreach?

Before the government can measure the size of the gig economy—or is it the sharing economy? The digital economy?—the sector needs to be defined.

No, it doesn’t.  It doesn’t even need to measure the size of the gig economy; government has shown it’s not going to do anything useful, or freedom-promoting, with that measurement.

And this misconception, by Commerce Department Acting Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Justin Antonipillai:

In order to have good policy making, you have to have good data[.]

Again, no.  Government doesn’t need to make any policy in this area.  Not at all.  Government just needs to butt out, and let American entrepreneurs make their own way.

This is News?

US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday urged Britain and the European Union to manage their divorce responsibly for the sake of global markets and citizens….

Kerry said

The most important thing is that all of us, as leaders, work together to provide as much continuity, as much stability, as much certainty as possible[.]

Empty remarks by the motorboat skipper who sits in the Secretary of State’s chair.  After all, what else would he say—that the EU and Great Britain should go for each other’s throats, and the first slash wins?

EU and Taxes

The European Union agreed Tuesday on a set of rules and standards aimed at closing loopholes that allow wealthy multinationals to shift profits and avoid footing large tax bills.

“Today’s agreement strikes a serious blow against those engaged in corporate tax avoidance,” said Pierre Moscovici, the bloc’s tax affairs commissioner.

Notice that.  There’s not the slightest glimmer of a concept of discouraging corporate tax avoidance by lowering tax rates.  No, it’s not the corporation’s money; it’s the EU’s, and they’ll decide how much of the money gained by a corporation the EU will permit it to retain.


The People’s Republic of China now has the fastest supercomputer in the world.  In fact, it has the two fastest.  There’s more to it than this, too, as Horst Simon, Deputy Director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, noted:

The fact that every single piece is Chinese-made is huge.

side from minor matters like predicting the weather and the investment markets, these kinds of computers are useful in identifying and solving complex problems involved in design of equipment, weapons, defense weapons, collating intelligence information and making serious predictions based on that information, and on and on and on.

Boeing, Iran, and Aircraft Sales

Iran reportedly reached an agreement Sunday to buy 100 planes from Boeing, pending the final authorization from US Treasury officials.

These are passenger aircraft, ostensibly destined for Iranair and other Iranian airline companies.

There are a couple of questions about this deal, though.  One is where will the money (in the neighborhood of $17 billion) come from with which Iran will pay for these aircraft?  Who will lend Iran the money?


The Pentagon held a video-teleconference with Russian defense officials Saturday, two days after Russia bombed Pentagon and CIA-backed rebels not once, but twice on Thursday near Syria’s border with Iraq and Jordan.

And especially [emphasis added]

The second wave of strikes occurred after the US military called Russia on an emergency byline established following Russia’s deployment of dozens of fighter jets and attack helicopters to Syria in late 2015.

This is how seriously Russia takes President Barack Obama’s (d) administration.  This is the contempt Vladimir Putin has for this President and for Democratic Party Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and her Reset that she wants to extend.  A Reset that is too expensive, indeed.

Hillary Clinton, Homosexuals, and Money Collections

Democratic Party Presidential Candidate Hillary Clintons claims she’s on the side of gays, transsexuals, and others living alternative life styles.  She claims she’s against discrimination against these folks based on their lifestyle.  This is where a significant fraction of her foundation’s money comes from.

  • Algeria: ($250,000-$500,000) Algerian law states: “Anyone guilty of a homosexual act is punishable with imprisonment.”
  • Brunei: ($1 million-$5 million) Brunei’s penal code states: “Whoever voluntarily has carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman, or animal, shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to 10 years.”

Time to Decertify the Local

Some employees of Cablevision in Brooklyn, members of the Communication Workers of America union, were at a company BBQ circulating a petition to decertify their local, 1109.  Naturally the local’s officials objected, and they threatened the petition circulators.

I just want you to understand, to be perfectly clear that CWA we’re probably going to personally sue y’all[.]

[W]e’re going after y’all personally[.]

It’s especially serious when an NLRB administrative judge objects to the union local’s behavior, ruling these union officials had violated Federal labor law with their threats.  It’ll be interesting to see how the NLRB board itself rules on the union’s inevitable appeal.