Category: Markets / Finance (page 1 of 2)

Seattle’s Gun And Ammo Tax – Did The Government Actually Want This Tax To Fail?

Last year, after a great deal of wrangling in the courts, Seattle instituted a tax on the sales of firearms and ammunition, of $25 per firearm and “between 2 to 5 cents” per round of ammunition.  The tax was supported by Seattle City Countil President Tim Burgess, who stated the following justification for the tax:

Burgess has said Seattle’s tax is expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. Solyanik and other critics of the ordinance have questioned that, saying the tax won’t raise much at all if it drives the city’s few remaining gun stores out of town.

Free Market Shooter has covered a litany of tax increases instituted by the state that have turned out to be complete failures.  Almost always, the state implements the tax expecting to collect revenue on previous tax receipts, with nothing factored into how citizens will alter their behavior to adjust for the tax.

But in the case of Seattle’s tax, did the state actually expect and want it to fail?

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If You Think Your Job Is One That Cannot Be Automated, You’re In For A Rude Awakening

It is pretty accepted knowledge that a number of lower-skilled jobs will disappear in the coming 5-10 years, due to the human element being replaced by autonomous machines.  One of the most at-risk professions is that of Truck Driver, which as 13D Research points out, is one of the no.1 reasons you rarely (if ever) hear President Trump discuss automation in the workplace:

A widely circulated NPR graphic shows “truck driver” was the most common job in more than half of the U.S. states in 2014?—?in part because how the Bureau of Labor Statistics sorts common jobs, such as educators, into small groups. Indeed, truck driving is one of the last jobs standing that affords good pay (median salary for tractor-trailer drivers, $40,206) and does not require a college degree. According to the American Trucking Association, there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. Entire businesses (think restaurants and motels) and hundreds of small communities, supporting an additional 5.2 million people, have been built around serving truckers crisscrossing the nation. That’s 8.7 million trucking-related jobs. It also represents one of Trump’s most important voting blocs?—?working-class men.

And while it may be further out on the timeline, if you think your job requires a higher, special element of skill and mental acuity that just cannot be automated, you are probably very mistaken.  In fact, there are few (if any) jobs in which a machine would be inferior to a person.  And this is not as far out in the future as you may think.

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Snapchat’s Absurd Valuation Illustrates The Dangers Of Shorting Overvalued Companies

Snapchat Logo

On March 2nd, Snapchat (SNAP) had its initial public offering (IPO) of shares.  Raising $3.4 billion by selling shares for $17, the shares quickly traded higher, closing at $24.48.  Trading $26.56 at the time this article was written, the shares reached an intraday high of $29.44 the morning of March 3rd.

As Zerohedge and MarketWatch covered, nearly all institutions have put a price target far below the current price level, finding the stock to be far overvalued:

In the past day since Snap’s SNAP, +12.07%  market debut, there have been at least six coverage initiations from brokerages on Wall Street. Morningstar initiated coverage with a $15 fair value on the stock, Pivotal Research initiated with a selling rating and $10 target, Instinet initiated with a reduce rating and a $16 rating, Atlantic Equities initiated with a hold rating and $14 target, Aegis Capital initiated with a $22 target and SIG Susquehanna initiated with a neutral rating and $22 target.

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Philadelphia’s Failed “Soda Tax” Is Nothing Compared To Income Tax Failures

The city of Philadelphia recently implemented a “soda tax” at the start of the calendar year.  As Philly.com recently reported, it hasn’t gone exactly as planned:

Two months into the city’s sweetened-beverage tax, supermarkets and distributors are reporting a 30 percent to 50 percent drop in beverage sales and are planning for layoffs.

One of the city’s largest distributors says it will cut 20 percent of its workforce in March, and an owner of six ShopRite stores in Philadelphia says he expects to shed 300 workers this spring.

“People are seeing sales decline larger than anything they’ve seen up to this point in the city,” said Alex Baloga, vice president of external relations at the Pennsylvania Food Merchants Association.

The failure of this tax is about as surprising as seeing the sun rise in the morning.  The Burning Platform in particular has covered the tax on many occasions: here, here, here, and here, and they’ve been excellent at demonstrating the lunacy of the tax itself:

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New Protest Idiocy Lows: Protesting By Not Paying Federal Taxes

If you thought the last round of protest idiocy was counterproductive, you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet.  Just when you think they’ve hit rock bottom, the liberal protests hit new lows.  The Guardian recently published an article detailing a revival in “tax resistance,” which is a practice of not paying your taxes to “resist” government:

Andrew Newman always pays his taxes, even if he hates what the government is doing with them. But not this year. For him, Donald Trumpis the dealbreaker. He’ll pay his city and state taxes but will refuse to pay federal income tax as a cry of civil disobedience against the president and his new administration.

Newman is not alone. A nascent movement has been detected to revive the popularity of tax resistance – last seen en masse in America during the Vietnam war but which has been, sporadically, a tradition in the US and beyond going back many centuries.

“My tax money will be going towards putting up a wall on the Mexican border instead of helping sick people. It will contribute to the destruction of the environment and maybe more nuclear weapons. I think there will be a redistribution of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy elite and Trump’s campaign for the working man and woman was an absolute fraud. If you pay taxes you are implicated in the system,” said Newman, an associate professor of English and history at Stony Brook University on Long Island, part of the State University of New York.

It is quite amusing that an educator from SUNY academia, which is in part financed by federal funding, managed to list everything he had issue with, while at the same time omitting everything the state does that he does not object to… notably paying his salary.

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The Kraft Heinz – Unilever Merger Leak Will End Up Being Another Example Of A Toothless SEC

Early this morning, the FT leaked news of a takeover bid to be launched by the American food conglomerate Kraft Heinz to acquire the British-Dutch Unilever.  Unilever quickly rejected the proposal, as seen below:

But as Zerohedge covered, the news from the deal already had a profound impact on the share prices of both companies, sending Unilever shares up 11%, and Kraft Heinz shares up 4% in pre-open trading.

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Another Carbon Tax Has Been Proposed… But By Republicans, The Anti-Tax Party

James Baker, George Shultz, And Hank Paulson

Last week, it was reported that a carbon tax was back on the table.  I expected it to be from Democrats, as part of a “proposal” that would never pass muster under a Trump administration that all but squashed the idea during his campaign.  However, I was in for a shock, when I saw who was actually proposing it – a group of allegedly anti-tax (neocon) Republicans:

A group of prominent Republicans and business leaders backing a tax on carbon dioxide were taking their case Wednesday to top White House aides, including chief economic adviser Gary Cohn.

The group, including former Treasury Secretaries Hank Paulson and James Baker, is pressing President Donald Trump to tax carbon dioxide in exchange for abolishing a slew of environmental regulations. They unveiled their plan with a press conference in Washington and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal.

“We know we have an uphill slog to get Republicans interested in this,” Baker said before heading to the White House. But “a conservative, free-market approach is a very Republican way of approaching the problem.”

I actually had to do a double take when I read that last sentence.  What is exactly conservative and/or free-market about a regressive, useless tax that hurts the working class (whom elected Trump) the most?

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FATCA Needs To Go, But Unfortunately, The FATCA “Refugees” Are Never Coming Back

GotNews posted an article yesterday about a “refugee problem” America has, referring to approximately 20,000 Americans who have renounced their citizenship under Obama’s leadership, and suggesting America “repatriate” said citizens:

America has a refugee problem. Not the Syrian refugees. No, not the Afghan ones. No, not even the Cuban refugees. I’m talking about the born-and-raised American citizens who got fed up, gave up their U.S. citizenship, and escaped Obama’s America while they still could.

Yes, that’s right: nearly 20,000 American citizens left Obama’s America and forfeited their American citizenship while Obama was President.

Nearly 20,000 U.S. citizens voluntarily gave up their rights to vote, run for office, and the freedom to pursue “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”, while Obama was in office.

We shouldn’t be allowing anyone from the violent and dangerous Middle East, including so-called “refugees”, into the United States right now. The only refugees who should be entering the United States are the American refugees who fled Obama’s America. Not only do we have that duty to our fellow Americans, but they pose no threat to us like Middle Eastern “refugees” do.

What was missing from the article?  Discussion of the Obama-sponsored law that caused many citizens (mostly expats) to renounce their citizenship: FATCA (Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act).

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The #GrabYourWallet Anti-Trump Boycott List Includes Pro-Hillary Retail Giants Amazon And Walmart

At times, the anti-Trump crowd truly is good for a laugh.  They hate Trump enough to create a boycott list containing companies that are allegedly pro-Trump and/or offer Trump-branded merchandise, for use as a guide on which companies to avoid when purchasing consumer goods.  But the boycott list the #GrabYourWallet group put together includes the country’s two largest retailers, who just so happen to have actively campaigned for Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump.

Working under a .org website titled and marketed under the hashtag #GrabYourWallet, the group’s homepage contains a spreadsheet detailing retailers that should be boycotted, which Trump merchandise the particular retailers carry, the best contact points to reach the retailers in question, and what to say when contacting the retailers.

The website is as amusing as it is indicative of liberal hubris, as the whole charade is actually just another item in the long list of private enterprise collaborations with government that have turned into colossal failures.  Just take a look at a segment of #GrabYourWallet’s mission statement which describes its history:

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ANALYSIS: GM Lied To The Public And To Trump About Where Chevrolet Cruze Sedans Sold In The USA Are Assembled

Originally Written for GotNews

On Tuesday, president-elect Trump tweeted about General Motors, stating the GM was building its Chevrolet Cruze in Mexico, importing them to the US tax-free, and selling them at US car dealers:

GM quickly denied Trump’s tweet, and in a press release that same day, the company claimed that all Cruze sedans sold in the US are “built in GM’s assembly plant in Lordstown, Ohio”, and that GM builds the Cruze hatchback for global markets in Mexico, with only a small percentage being sold in the US…

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