It’s Complicated

The WaPo recently reported on Trump’s latest attempt to squirm out of his impossible campaign promise to build a wall on the Mexico-U.S. border paid for by Mexico. It is equal parts clown action and cynical maneuvering.

An import tax is pure clown action because any tax that we impose Mexico can as well in retaliation. They are a sovereign nation able to levy any taxes they wish. And they’ve said that they will do exactly that and even go beyond. According to the WaPo:

Mexico’s economy secretary, Ildefonso Guajardo, said this week that Mexico is prepared to “mirror” any action by the United States to raise tariffs or impose taxes on imports. Guajardo has also said it might be necessary for Mexico to walk away from NAFTA — a once-unthinkable idea — if there was no benefit in the negotiations for his country.

And it’s not like we are immune to such retaliatory action:

Every day, goods valued at $1.4 billion cross the U.S.-Mexico border, and millions of jobs are linked to trade on both sides. Mexico is the world’s second-largest customer for American-made products, and 80 percent of Mexican exports — automobiles, flat-screen TVs, avocados — are sold to the United States.

So that $600 flat screen will now cost the American customer $720. That’s $600 plus $120 to pay the 20% import tax Trump imposed. After all is Best Buy or the TV manufacturer going to eat that cost? No. We are. And not just at the cash register. Try American jobs as well. Which brings me to the cynical maneuvering part of this story.

Trump knows damn well Mexico will not pay an import tax. Americans will. Sure such a tax hurts Mexican exports but Mexico can do much of the same damage to us. That’s why no one wins in a trade war, except perhaps the tax man, surely a high GOP priority. With Americans paying the import tax, Trump is attempting to bamboozle his supporters into thinking Mexico is paying for the wall in a “complicated form.” And like any con, the mark is always the only one who pays. Unfortunately, because marks can vote, we are along for the ride.

Tax Common Sense

Bruce Bartlett speaks of economic common sense in the midst of the current political circus. The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c Bruce Bartlett www.thedailyshow.com Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The … Continue reading

Take ‘Em to Church?

Gruber explains that profit is not to be sacrificed on the altar of market share. Continue reading

You’re Supposed to Get What You Pay For

 

Job Creation and Job Quality Standards in State Economic Development Subsidy Programs | PHENND Updates:

“Report: States Spend Billions on Economic Development Subsidies that Don’t Require Job Creation or Decent Wages

Pennsylvania scored a D, tied for 40th place among the states

Pennsylvania is spending millions of dollars per year on corporate tax credits, cash grants and other economic development subsidies that lack wage and benefit standards for workers at subsidized companies and sometimes don’t require job creation, according to a new national report card issued by Good Jobs First.”

(Via PHENND.)

When you pay for something like foregoing taxes, government’s should get something in return.  They’re our tax dollars right?

More on the Louis C.K. Experiment

It was successful, but we need more data. Continue reading

Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater…Cheap!

Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater:

The show went on sale at noon on Saturday, December 10th. 12 hours later, we had over 50,000 purchases and had earned $250,000, breaking even on the cost of production and website. As of Today, we’ve sold over 110,000 copies for a total of over $500,000. Minus some money for PayPal charges etc, I have a profit around $200,000 (after taxes $75.58). This is less than I would have been paid by a large company to simply perform the show and let them sell it to you, but they would have charged you about $20 for the video. [emphasis mine] They would have given you an encrypted and regionally restricted video of limited value, and they would have owned your private information for their own use. They would have withheld international availability indefinitely. This way, you only paid $5, you can use the video any way you want, and you can watch it in Dublin, whatever the city is in Belgium, or Dubai. I got paid nice, and I still own the video (as do you). You never have to join anything, and you never have to hear from us again.

(Via The Loop.)

Information on the internet is costly to produce, near costless to distribute, but marketing can be an issue, a costly one at that.  Louis CK has an established brand so he can take the risks in production and let the viral nature of the Internet do its thing.

The experiment was successful but it’s not a game changer for Louis CK per se.  (If you doubt that, you put out $250,000 for production and see how viral your show goes.)  He just cut out a middle man, made more money and we saved some.  That’s the game changer for the big distribution, really marketing, companies.  Social networking is not good for their business model.  Not at all.

Read his whole post.  A lot to learn there.

Louis CK: Live at the Beacon Theater…Cheap!

Louis CK shows how a disintermediated artist can make money, control his/her brand, and provide added value to the customer. Continue reading