Best of the Blogs: What's To Be Done About the Corporate Income Tax?
Minyanville StaffMar 01, 2012 12:10 pm
Minyanville's daily roundup of some of the best financial commentary from around the Web.
This column highlights the most interesting and useful business and financial commentary from around the Web each day. Feel free to send along your own suggestions for blog content that you've read or written.
Corporate tax reform as it's most often discussed these days sounds great in theory: Lower the overall tax rate and offset the budget impact by eliminating various special provisions. Who isn't in favor of that? As Greg Ip in the latest issue of The Economist notes, the answer is lots of people. Not surprisingly but largely overlooked in the reports on the plan announced by the White House several weeks ago, the biggest opponents (other than House and Senate Republicans, that is) to any substantial corporate tax overhall come from the corporate world itself: They are the companies, industries, and sectors that currently benefit from the current system at the expense of the corporations, businesses, industries, and sectors that don't get the same special treatment. And that's just the beginning. (Also Read Big Corporations Are Getting Off Easy With State Income Taxes, Too.)
There are those who recall that not ten days ago, according to the IMF's Greek (un)sustainability analysis, worst case scenario no less, Greek GDP would somehow miraculously post just a 1% drop in 2013. Unfortunately this won't happen. According to the overnight PMI update out of Europe (where was saw the jobless rate at the highest since 1997), the Greek economy just imploded at a record pace. This follows the already horrendous budget revenue data from January which came in down 7% on expectations of a 9% rise. Sure enough, as expected the fact that the entire country has taken the rest of 2012 off with no incentive to actually work, will do miracles for Greece. From Reuters: "The Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for Greece fell to a survey low of 37.7 points in February from 41.0 in January, staying below the 50 mark that divides growth in activity from contraction for each of the past 30 months. (For related content, see What Greece's Bailout Means for the American Investor.)
Tadas Viskanta at Abnormal Returns kicked a hornet's nest with a recent post arguing, "There has never been a better time to be an individual investor." When I tweeted it, @aDaveNewWorld asked incredulously, "Do you really agree?" You bet I do. First of all, as Viskanta also pointed out, there was never a golden age when the financial markets were safe or when investors were always represented by people who behaved liked angels. As I wrote in my 2005 introduction to Fred Schwed's classic book, Where Are the Customers' Yachts?, the individual investor has always been "situated at the very bottom of the food chain, a speck of plankton afloat in a sea of predators."
Netflix's deal with Starz ends Wednesday, and with it access to hundreds of movies for the pioneer movie streaming service's 25 million subscribers. The loss of Starz's enormous film archive ends one era for Netflix's streaming business, but perhaps coincides with the start of another: the release of Netflix's first original, exclusive content, and its newfound focus on television shows. (Also Read Netflix: No Love From ETFs.)
Last year, Fortune magazine was so proud of an Apple cover story that it made it hard for people to read: The magazine kept the piece off the Web and only made it available to subscribers, via the print edition and an iPad app, or to people who bought the story as an Amazon e-book. Now it is trying the same gambit, but with Mark Zuckerberg instead of Steve Jobs. If you want to read "Inside Facebook," Miguel Helft and Jessi Hempel's pre-IPO profile, you'll need to pay up.
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