October 2011 archive

Death of the Big Four?

The Financial Times reports that they reviewed a draft recommendation that will be released next month. In the draft, Michel Barnier, the European Union internal market commissioner, seeks significant new regulation of the Big Four accounting firms (Deloitte, Ernst & Young, KPMG and PricewaterhouseCoopers). The draft proposed new requirements that would require:  The Big Four …

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Steve Jobs and the Great Man Theory

Xerox Star Screen

The Great Man Theory is a view that was popularized in the 19th century.  It says that history is the result of a limited number of spectacular individuals who, by reason of charisma, wisdom, inteligence, or zeal, remade the world.   One of its key proponents, Thomas Charlyle, wrote: The history of the world is but the biography of …

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Revenge of the nerds: money grabbing admins and low cost, cash-generating jocks

University administrators at the highest level are as nervous about the future as a college freshman at frat initiation. The issue? Football. Football means money. Big money. And the amount of money at play fluctuates widely depending on the conference in which a team competes. During September, a sort of “musical chairs” ensued with teams …

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IRS amnesty regarding independent contractors deserves analysis

Many small businesses attempt to save taxes and employee benefit costs by classifying their workers as independent contractors. When business owners classify workers as independent contractors they do not pay the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare costs, state employer taxes, state unemployment insurance taxes, and workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Independent contractors also do …

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Tough Choices Behind Glib Facts

There is a statistic going around the talk show circuit among those decrying the supposed out of control growth of Federal Spending.  Although the statement is technically true, the reality behind the statement is far more interesting than what the speaker is usually saying it proves. A recent citation of the statistic occurred when Michelle Bachman appeared on Fox …

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A Mere Picture Says it All

As we continue to wade through unchartered territory with more than 9% unemployment for most of the last 2 plus years, many still question what, if anything, could the government have done better to cushion the blow from the recession.  Some argue that the American Recovery and Reinvestment ACT (ARRA) (aka the “stimulus plan”) was too little and the government should have …

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Netflix cancels Qwikster in hopes that customers will stop cancelling Netflix

I first wrote here about Netflix’s decision to separate its business into two companies with two separate websites. It was a terrible move. So bad that Netflix announced today that it would not go through with it, stating by email to its customers: It is clear that for many of our members two websites would …

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California district court creates broader cost-shifting standard

Couch v. Wan, 2011 WL 2971118 (E.D. Cal. July 20, 2011) raises the possibility that cost-shifting will be applied much more widely. In this action, the requesting party (plaintiffs) sought reconsideration of a magistrate judge’s order requiring the parties to share ESI (electronically-stored information) costs. The plaintiffs argued the cost-shifting order was contrary to law …

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Debit card fees, an unintended consequence of the Durbin Amendment, may be good for some consumers

The degree to which government should regulate markets is hotly debated, and reasonable points tend to made on both sides of any given argument on the topic. But, if economics has anything worthwhile to say (and it does), government interference with market prices is generally a bad idea. When governments force prices downward, consumers generally …

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Finally a rapid growth sector…the app industry!

According to a new study by professors at the University of Maryland’s Smith School of Business, there is one industry segment that is seeing rapid growth.  At least 182,000 new U.S. jobs can be linked to businesses specifically making apps for Facebook’s 750 million plus users.  This represents a value of approximately $12 billion in …

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