February 2012 archive

Why Do We Still Receive Printed Phone Books?

In an age when most answers are found quickly online, I would think that the phone book has become obsolete except as an oversized paper weight, ripping material for circus strongmen, and perhaps as kindling for starting BBQs and camp fires. To my great surprise, however, no fewer than 34 states still require telephone companies …

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Unreported income taxes (17% of total) are too large to ignore

The “tax gap” is the amount of unreported income. The IRS measures this through approximately 14,000 random audits each year. The IRS recently released a report of the tax gap based on 2006 returns. The last time the IRS issued a similar report used 2001 tax returns. The IRS concluded that 83.1% of taxes were …

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AIG, GM, and mortgage bailouts cost more than previously reported

The Obama administration repeatedly boasted how the rescue of Wall Street will cost taxpayers far less than originally expected. But the budget proposal released this week showed that the losses associated with the bailout are increasing. The largest reason for the increased bailout cost is that the federal government’s stock holdings of American International Group …

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Do You Actually Need a Columbian Web Address?

At this years Super Bowl broadcast, GoDaddy once again had the most salacious thirty seconds that they could get past NBC’s content standards.  In this case it involved a scantily clad model and body paint cooing suggestively while their celebrity spokeswomen gushed about the hot new .co domain registrations from GoDaddy.  So what’s really going on …

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Comparing U.S. Capital Taxes to those at Other Countries

Nations (or at least the smart ones) appropriately want investment in their economies as a means of creating jobs, decreasing the cost of capital, and raising the standard of living. Taxes on capital formation discourage such desired investment. Unless prevented by currency restrictions (which will in the long run really inhibit capital formation), capital can …

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First Circuit limits SOX whistleblower protection

In a February 3, 2012 Opinion, the First Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a Massachusetts District Court and held that, while the whistleblower protections of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act apply to employees of “public companies” (i.e., a company with registered securities or one that files reports under Section 15(d) of the Exchange Act), they do not …

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TARP’s IG reports a reality different than the public’s perception

The Special Inspector General of the Troubled Asset Relief Program (SIGTARP) has the statutory duty to conduct, supervise and coordinate audits and investigations of any actions taken under the Troubled Asset Relief Program. SIGTARP just issued a report to Congress, dated January 26, 2012. For most people, TARP is a forgotten program, having been successfully …

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Implications of the Megaupload Megashutdown.

On January 20th, the FBI seized and shut down the cloud-storage site megaupload.com and in a coordinated raid in New Zealand arrested the company founder and other key personnel. A Scene Out of a James Bond Film If defendants have no other means to pay their legal bills, they can probably get quite a Hollywood …

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Do People Drink More Coke as their Country Becomes Richer?

The average person in the world consumes 89 Coca-Cola beverages per year. While this datum might sound impressive, Matthew Yglesias of Slate.com (along with other business analysts) argues that this number is rather small and in fact represents the tremendous growth potential for Coke, particularly within emerging markets. In the United States, an unequivocally well-developed …

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Oracle rejects $272 million and opts for a second damages trial

Oracle and competitor SAP went to trial over copyright infringement admitted by a now-closed TomorrowNow that SAP acquired. SAP acknowledged liability of their acquired company, and apologized for the infringement. In September 2011, a jury awarded Oracle $1.3 billion, but the U.S. District Court judge reduced the award, offering Oracle the opportunity to either accept …

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