20120730-092538.jpgGood morning

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The headlines:

  1. The Senate is split.

    Link: and I think that the billionaires win again…

    Oh – they agree that the wealthy should be taxed; they just disagree on how.

    Specifically, in respect of Estate taxes. And I may be wrong – but I feel like this is where the money is. In the estate; not in the annual income charge.

    Obama has spoken about increasing the estate tax to 45%. Which is, like, <awed silence>. But then you realise that any billionaire worth his salt* would have almost nothing in his estate and almost everything tied up in a series of onshore/offshore discretionary family trusts where death is just a quick notarial annotation in the beneficiary listing.

    The only tax to be collected here is the sales tax from the funeral flowers, the withholding tax on the performance tribute by Elton John, and the VAT charged on the notary’s invoice.

    Which makes me think that the pragmatic solution here is to allocate equal parts of the federal budget to advocating the celebrity status of the wealthy, and the promotion of the Arts. Because, you know, more tribute concerts.

    My Super Sweet Sixteen? Jersey Shore? The Apprentice? The Voice?

    It’s the American way already.

    *Probably worth a lot more than just his salt, actually.

  2. The fall in America’s budget deficit.

    Link: the upside to congressional deadlock.

    Obama’s administration reckon that the Fiscal Deficit this year will be $1.21 trillion this year, down from last year’s $1.33 trillion. Which is brilliant, but hides the fact that these are the annual additions to the total fiscal deficit.

    For every year of his term, Obama has exceeded the $1 trillion mark for the deficit.

    Which is quite the record, when you think that George W. was almost always below the $500 billion mark over his 8 year term…

  3. The market for used Lamborghinis hits a lull in HK.

    Link: “used lamborghinis”?!

    The luxury car pile-up on Hong Kong’s used car lots is causing the secondhand luxury car industry to cut jobs. This, even as sales of new supercars rose by 47% in the first six months of 2012. Which the analysts are calling a sign of the recession.

    Surely not.

    Because if you’re wealthy enough to afford a lambo, why would you buy a secondhand one? It’s not like this is a practical purchase for boot space and fuel economy.

    So I think we can agree that the secondhand luxury car industry is unrelated to the actual luxury car industry. Which then leads to: who would buy a secondhand luxury car?

    Young investment bankers. For picking up the laydeez and trying to look like they earn more than they do. Who are a being-fired and getting-less-of-a-bonus segment of the banking world.

    It’s all starting to make sense.

That’s all for now.

Have a good day.