Byzantine Taxing

Many companies, sitting on billions of dollars of tax credits, want to be able to cash them in promptly.

For example:

Duke has been unable to use all the corporate-research and renewable-energy credits it accumulated because it has been using accelerated tax deductions for capital investments to lower its taxable income, said Dwight Jacobs, the company’s chief accounting officer. That bumped it up against tax-code rules that limit tax credits, leaving $1.8 billion in unused credits on Duke’s books. Under the proposal, the company could get that within months instead of years.
The proposal “would give us more cash today and that would cause us to avoid borrowing money that we would otherwise have to borrow,” said Mr Jacobs.

A Taxing Case

Apple won its appeal of a European Commission ruling that it owed €13 billion ($15 billion) in back taxes because Ireland had illegally subsidized the company.

The General Court agreed with Ireland’s argument that the matter wasn’t an illegal subsidy because the nation cut similar tax deals with all comers.

The EU, of course, is not happy. It’s Tax Justice Coordinator (no irony in that title), Tove Maria Ryding, said,

If we had a proper corporate tax system, we wouldn’t need long court cases to find out whether it is legal for multinational corporations to pay less than 1% in taxes.

Market Performance

Great Britain has decided to bar the People’s Republic of China’s telecom company, Huawei, from participating in the British build-out of their 5G network.

The PRC isn’t happy. Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian:

Whether the UK will provide an open, fair and non-discriminatory environment for Chinese businesses offers a telling clue to how the post-Brexit British market will perform and how secure China’s investment will be in that country. So, we will be closely following the situation.

I certainly hope it’s a telling clue, given that PRC companies are extensions of that government’s intelligence gathering facility.

“Tax Us”

Some members of the rich class have formed a group and extended a demand that governments should tax all members of their clique.

Over 80 men and women worth seven figures from the US, UK, Germany, New Zealand, Canada, and the Netherlands calling themselves the “Millionaires for Humanity” have signed an open letter asking their governments to “raise taxes on people like us. Immediately. Substantially. Permanently.

The Americans in that crowd first must prove they mean it by committing—with publicly available means for verifying that they’re honoring that commitment over the succeeding years—to making donations to the US Treasury of the amounts they’d pay under this “tax us” plan.

More Disingenuosity

The Supreme Court has ruled—7-2—in favor of the Little Sisters of the Poor and other organizations. The Court upheld the Trump administration’s rule exempting these employers from an Obamacare requirement to provide insurance coverage that includes contraception.

Justice Clarence Thomas wrote for the Court:

We hold today that the Departments had the statutory authority to craft that exemption, as well as the contemporaneously issued moral exemption. We further hold that the rules promulgating these exemptions are free from procedural defects.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented.

Markets

Zimbabwe, in attempt to protect its currency—already a close neighbor of worthless—has decided to close its stock exchange.

If there is no market for the currency, then it has little value in terms of purchasing power. If there is no convertibility of the currency into other currencies, then there is both high risk in holding the currency and reduced interest in holding it.  And so reduced purchasing power.

If the currency has little value and limited convertibility—or either alone—there is little interest in investing in the country or in simply buying its goods or selling foreign goods in—especially if the investments must be done in the domestic currency.

Distractions

Much is being made of the cybersecurity threat, the national security threat, that the People’s Republic of China’s Huawei represents. For instance, Senator Ben Sasse (R, NE) has said it’s good for the British government to be removing Huawei from the core of the British Internet.

Senator Mark Warner (D, VA):

Huawei has been and will continue to be a national security threat….

Senator Tom Cotton (R, AR) on the Brits’ initial decision to allow Huawei into their Internet infrastructure:

[t]he Chinese Communist Party (CCP) will now have a foothold to conduct pervasive espionage on British society.

New Case Rates and Death Rates

Current data indicate a reduction in new (read: confirmed) cases of Wuhan Virus—45,000 cases on Independence Day vs 50,000 cases the day prior.  Fun with statistics: that’s a 10% drop—wow.

It is promising, but a single datum isn’t very dispositive.

What really interested me, though, is this, also presented in the article at the link:

In contrast to the surge in positive diagnoses, the death rate has slowed mostly to the hundreds a day in recent weeks, from a peak of more than 2,000 daily during several weeks in April.

And:

Revolution

On the eve of the 2008 Presidential election, then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama (D) bragged

We are five days away from fundamentally transforming the United States of America.

In 2015, then-Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (D) insisted

[D]eep seated cultural codes, religious beliefs and structural biases have to be changed.

Current Progressive-Democratic Party Presidential candidate Joe Biden is declaring via tweet

Joe Biden @JoeBiden · 14h
We’re going to beat Donald Trump. And when we do, we won’t just rebuild this nation — we’ll transform it.

A Judicial Error

The Supreme Court has ordered a restructuring of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: its single director, removable only for inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office, among other things, was an unconstitutional abridgment of Executive Branch authority.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the Court, said that the

setup meant the CFPB’s director was unaccountable to the executive branch, creating an unconstitutional diminishment of presidential power.
“The CFPB’s single-director structure contravenes this carefully calibrated system by vesting significant governmental power in the hands of a single individual accountable to no one[.]”

And then,