October 2012 archive

Timing of Lucas acquisition by Disney likely motivated by tax reasons

The entertainment world is abuzz about the $4.05 billion acquisition Lucasfilm by Disney. Lucasfilm is 100% owned by Lucasfilm Chairman and Founder, George Lucas. I am not suggesting that the acquisition is not a good deal for all involved. However, for a transaction of this size, one needs to additionally worry about the undesired “partner” that shares …

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Cities that Purchase Lots of Sweatpants: More “Comfortable”—or just Colder and Younger?

Experian Marketing Services recently identified the top 20 supposedly most “comfortable” cities in the United States.  Experian based their list on a survey in which respondents reported whether they purchased any sweatpants in the last 12 months.  Using sweatpants customers per capita, the most “comfortable” cities are as follows: Philadelphia, PA Hartford, CT Pittsburgh, PA …

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IRS wasted billions in fraudulent refundable tax credits

In September, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report entitled “Expansion of Controls over Refundable Credits Could Help Reduce the Billions of Dollars of Improperly Paid Claims”. The report is necessary to see how the Internal Revenue Service fared in collecting billions of dollars of fraudulent refundable credits had the IRS …

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Major Spending Changes for Middle Age and Soon-To-Retire Americans in The Last Twenty Years

The National Center for Policy Analysis issued a study that compared spending by Americans in the two decades before their classic retirement age of 65 years, and compared this information to what existed twenty years ago. The study used the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey. Here is a summary of the major findings: …

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Ghoulishly Good News for the Halloween Economy

Halloween is right around the corner and people all across the country are preparing for the spooky fun. Over the years, Halloween has gained special prominence in the United States. Lavish spectacles abound, such as the West Hollywood Halloween Costume Carnival, which attracts more than 500,000 people. Whether you’re buying costumes for yourself, your children or …

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7 Inch Tablet Four Way Deathmatch…and Fight!

Ever since Amazon dropped the price floor out of the tablet marketplace to $199 with the Kindle Fire, tech observers, and possibly many consumers, have wondering what Apple might do about it.  After a couple of press events, we finally have the answer in the iPad Mini. So here we have our four-way comparison of …

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The iPad Mini Announcement: The Un-Story.

The un-story is the story that isn’t told during the announcement itself and the one which the company might just as well prefer not be told at all. Apple Marketing loses a bit of its discipline. Having announcements of mega-events less than three months apart was something Apple used to never do.  Having them more …

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Second Circuit reduces punitive damages in a Police Brutality case

On October 3, 2012, in Payne vs. Jones, the Second Circuit concluded that a $300,000 punitive damage award was excessive, and remanded for a new trial on punitive damages unless the Plaintiff agrees to accept a reduced award of $100,000. The compensatory damages, which remained intact, totaled $60,000, indicating a five to one ratio before …

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First payout of SEC whistleblower program also provides volume of complaints received

The SEC announced its first payout from its new whistleblower program under the Dodd-Frank Act to an unidentified person who helped stop a multi-million dollar financial fraud. The reward was $50,000, representing 30% of the amount collected in the SEC enforcement action. 30% is the maximum percentage payout allowed by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act that …

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The U.S. Fiscal Cliff is Not the Biggest Challenge

In connection with its annual meeting in Tokyo, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) released two book-sized reports. Had they not been written in dry economist language, they should be required reading for all. One is a twice-a year report entitled the “Global Financial Stability Report”. The second report is entitled “World Economic Outlook: Coping with …

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