The Stingy News Weekly (06/05/2011)
Lessons from Ronaldinho and Beckham
"How high can you tax the rich before they decide to pack up and move somewhere cheaper? For states teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, this is no theoretical question. Set taxes too low, and you miss out on valuable revenue — set them too high, and your powerhouse workers might move away.Now, by looking at the mobility of soccer stars in Europe, three economists say they are closer to understanding an ideal tax rate for the super-wealthy."
Credit lines worst trend
"“People cannot resist lines of credit. And the worst combination in the country is a line of credit and a home renovation — once they renovate one room, the other rooms pale by comparison, so they go on to the next room and it’s a never-ending cycle of renovation as they get deeper and deeper and deeper in debt. The four most expensive words in the English language are ‘while we’re at it.’ And the four most expensive letters are ‘HGTV.’ “We go through a credit crisis brought on by too much private debt in the developed world, particularly in the States, and our response — the Home Renovation Tax Credit. That’s like starting an alcoholic’s rehab by taking him on a pub crawl. The problem with governments is they want to get re-elected.”"
Income funds' payout sustainability 2
"Earlier this year, I wrote about how to gauge the sustainability of monthly income funds’ fat distributions so that investors and advisors could make better decisions and set realistic expectations. Since then, I’ve received a steady stream of phone calls and emails, mostly expressing concern over many funds. However, one fund in particular keeps popping up in such inquiries, so I thought it was deserving of its own blog post. Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised by the continued interest in such funds but I am. Individual investors, financial advisors and industry regulators have contacted me to solicit my views on T-series or monthly income funds – both in general and for specific funds. Over the past five months, the one fund that has been most frequently mentioned is the RBC Managed Payout Solution – Enhanced Plus. So, let’s take this through our test for distribution sustainability."
The Euro’s PIG-headed masters
"Europe is in constitutional crisis. No one seems to have the power to impose a sensible resolution of its peripheral countries’ debt crisis. Instead of restructuring the manifestly unsustainable debt burdens of Portugal, Ireland, and Greece (the PIGs), politicians and policymakers are pushing for ever-larger bailout packages with ever-less realistic austerity conditions. Unfortunately, they are not just “kicking the can down the road,” but pushing a snowball down a mountain."
Can Progressives Fix the U.S. Postal Service?
"But a desire to maximize profits and an aversion to losing money leads to certain efficiencies that ought to be exploited in less fraught enterprises. At UPS and FedEx, management has a powerful incentive to hold down overall labor costs, and to preserve the flexibility and adaptability of the respective companies. When USPS negotiates with the any of the four unions that represent its employees, the dynamic is completely different: management has fewer incentives to hold down costs, even as labor exercises substantially more clout due to is political influence.The results are ludicrous"
The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse
"The USPS has stayed afloat by borrowing $12 billion from the U.S. Treasury. This year it will reach its statutory debt limit. After that, insolvency looms. On Mar. 2, Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe warned Congress that his agency would default on $5.5 billion of health-care costs set aside for its future retirees scheduled for payment on Sept. 30 unless the government comes to the rescue. 'At the end of the year, we are out of cash,' Donahoe said. He noted that the unusual requirement was enacted five years ago by Congress before mail started to disappear."
The golden age of drive-thru
"Operational innovations at restaurants like Taco Bell rival those at any factory in the world. A view from the drive-thru window at how they do it"
How David beats Goliath
"Why, then, did weak teams play in a way that made it easy for good teams to do the very things that made them so good?"
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