Another bizzy day demands a repeat, this from just last year. Little has changed since then, and if anything corporate taxes are only closer to the front burner. Maybe.
In a victory for corporate taxes everywhere, Apple has been ordered to pay as much as €13 billion ($14.7 billion) in back taxes to Ireland. Or, perhaps, in a loss for workers everywhere, a reluctant Ireland is forced to go back on its agreement with Apple to base its European operations there in exchange for much needed tax breaks. Or, perhaps, corporate tax harmonization has been dealt a terrible setback as the European Union (EU) has claimed their turf in what should be hammered out through an international agreement.
What we do know for sure is the massive penalty, the largest ever imposed, is a big blow to Apple, amounting to …. around 7% of their massive $200 billion cash reserves. Unless, of course, the Republic of Ireland can justify a smaller bill, which they are very much keen to do. So nevermind.
Like corporate taxes themselves, today’s big story is completely negotiable and dependent on your perspective. There will be more to this, but nothing even remotely obvious will happen in the immediate future.
The announcement has rolled through Wisconsin. $3 billion in aid will land a total of 13,00 jobs somewhere around Kenosha. Or maybe less. Or maybe it won’t happen at all, like past promises. But it’s a great deal, one that will create jobs.
It’s hard to say exactly what the Taiwanese electronics manufacturer is going to do given how quickly the breathless announcement came out. What matters is that it had to be announced because it’s not actually about jobs or anything tangible. All of this is just a very expensive form of political theater, allbeit with stakes lower than last week’s show. Government is here to fix the economy and provide jobs, right? So here ya go.
Like many sequels dished up by Hollywood this is a must-see summer thriller. It’s following a well established formula that everyone loves. And like those movies, it begs the question – where did this come from?
Long ago, most Americans lived as Laura Ingalls Wilder chronicled in the “Little House” series. Pa Ingalls and family were out in the wilderness, living with the rhythm of the land and putting away what they could to survive long winters and perhaps beyond. The family’s net worth was what they had around them.
That life has been replaced with interdependence based on a dollar value assigned to absolutely everything. We all get by with any extra scratch, should there be some, not stored up to get through the winter but properly invested in convertible assets. This means everyone is subject to the “free market”, which determines the value of all assets including experience, talent, and work.
That interdependence has changed our world to one with much less hard work or struggles against nature, and yet to many it has become as hostile as any winter on the Great Plains.
Is the nation on the wrong track or the right track? Do you think that the political parties stand for something more than opposition to each other?
If you answered these questions with the most negative possible answer, you’re far from alone. Rasmussen has been polling the right/wrong track question for many years, and it’s headed back to the low 20% “right track”, net about -40, that it was at a year ago. The brief bump from Trump has worn off.
Even worse, a Washington Post / ABC poll shows that about 2/3 Americans think that the two major parties don’t actually stand for anything other than opposition to each other.
This is the reason why People’s Economics is necessary. It’s time to reboot everything – not just the people, but the fight that drives them.
If you ask any entrepreneur or innovator what is the most important resource to get a new project off the ground, they’ll probably tell you it’s getting the right people. Making something new and making a good buck off of it requires talent, the skills which pay the bills. Have the right team in place and the money will follow.
This is a big part of what is meant by People’s Economics, or the economy of people. What often limits us in a technology driven world is the techne, the skills necessary to make something happen.
That’s where People’s Economics is today. Help prove the point by donating to a GoFundMe project dedicated to getting the book People’s Economics written by the end of the summer!
The suffix -ism is one of those handy things inherited from the versatile Greek language. The original usage was the creation of an active noun from a verb, such as baptism or criticism. It makes an action into a thing, allowing it to become a subject or object.
More recently, this suffix has taken on the use of defining a philosophy, often a political practice. It is a way of taking a series of beliefs or practices and putting them into a box which can be delivered as one unique practice. Far from making an active subject, in practical terms it becomes most useful as a way of preventing any action at all.
The great -isms of political economics are Socialism and Capitalism. The boxes these words describe were fixed long ago and remain rigid. Yet they retain their power to an opposing tribe and thus remain in use. It’s long past time to dump the -isms, useful as this linguistic construction once was.
This post from 2015 addresses just how far away from decency we have strayed by considering money, not people, as the core of the economy.
What is money? Your answer may depend a lot on how much of it you have. Ultimately, the main purpose of money is convenience. A system of barter works pretty well when two people have things each other need – someone with chickens meets up with someone else who recently slaughtered their pig and both have bacon and eggs. But if you can also exchange those eggs for money you can save it up to buy something different or bigger.
As we’ve concluded before, Adam Smith was right – money is a matter of belief. Whether it’s gold, Euros, or Canadian Tire Money it’s worth whatever you believe it is worth. Our own US Dollar is backed by the “Full faith and credit of the US Government”, which is scary if you think about it.
But money is more than convenience and faith – it’s what it takes to make things happen. And that’s worth thinking about some more.