Sunday, August 31, 2003

Corporate Blogs Blogging

Securities Litigation Watch, a new corp law-related blog "with the goal of providing a valuable, timely resource for anyone interested in developments involving securities litigation or securities enforcement."
Alan's and Jon's Blog and The Deal Guys' Blog, both cornerstones of TheCorporateCounsel.net's Blog City, have recently starting blogging semi-regularly. Alan and Jon's posts cover corporate governance issues, while the The Deal Guys discuss the practical side of M&A deals.
In addition, Bruce Carton's Securities Litigation Watch was recently annexed into the City.


Alan's and Jon's Blog and The Deal Guys' Blog are available only to TheCorporateCounsel.net subscribers.

An Easy Case for Tax Blogging
Victor Fleischer's and Jeffrey H. Kahn's A Taxing Blog: The Uneasy Case for Blogging Taxation makes a very easy case for tax blogging: Email groups, e-zines, usenet groups, news trackers, -- that's soooo 2002. Blogging is where it's at now. . . .
As bloggers, we enjoy an excuse to keep up on what's current in the tax world and to read more widely than we might otherwise. We also hope to make a connection with an audience that we might not otherwise reach with traditional legal scholarship. There is a potential downside to blogging: it's possible that blogging consumes intellectual energy that might be better spent doing the more carefully considered analysis of traditional academic commentary. But we think of blogging as a supplement to -- not a substitute for -- our more traditional scholarship. And blogging might even enhance our scholarship by giving us access to and feedback from a broader, more diverse audience than, say, the readers of the Harvard Law Review. Moreover, as shameless tax nerds, we feel a right -- nay, a solemn duty -- to introduce the world of tax policy to the blogosphere.

· Via Corporate Bloggers [Corporate Blog]

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Leases in stolen peppercorns

Government is a broker in pillage, and every election is a sort of advance auction in stolen goods.
H.L. Menchken

Can any rational soul blame Supermen like Packer and Murdoch for attempting to sink Fairfax flagship which seems to be peppered with independent journalists?
The practice of socialising losses and privatising gains is hardly an Australian invention. As Alan Ramsey, of Fairfax Fame, once dangerously observed: Almost always, in politics, money is at the root of the greatest grovelling.

Dangers that Come with Freedom of Information Naked Leases: Shock Horror! Isolated Private Perks Exposed to Prying Public

Big businesses and some of the world's wealthiest people are renting taxpayer-owned land in NSW for peppercorn rates under a system that is riddled with inconsistencies and loopholes.
Office buildings, factories, marinas, petrol stations, restaurants, prestigious golf courses, five-star resorts and homes have been built on the land.
The total rent collected by the Department of Lands for 37.5 million hectares - nearly half the State - is just $60 million a year. That is less than $2 per hectare in the public purse.

· Identifying the Commonwealth Buck [SMH with a link to related article]
· Their Post Political Honor [SMH]

Thursday, August 28, 2003

Myths Realities Pollies tell fibs about negative gearing

With negative gearing back on the popular political agenda in Australia, it is important that we remember the history of the issue. It has become part of Australian political folklore that former Australian Treasurer, Paul Keating, tried to abolish negative gearing in 1985 but failed because residential property investment levels fell and rents skyrocketed.
· When the boom has busted, prices have collapsed, vacancy rates are way up and rents have fallen even further. [SMH ]
· Deal? No Dill! [SMH ]
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts...
-- Will Rogers

An entrepreneur's only limit should be his or her own ideas and desire to succeed," states the website of the Small Business Administration, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
Nice slogan, but if "empowering America's entrepreneurs" is the SBA's mission, then entrepreneurship includes more than simply the crafting of new ways to offer customers a better mousetrap at a lower price; it includes political entrepreneurship, i.e., milking political connections, gaming the system, or committing outright fraud or bribery in order to procure special favors. This is what has made the SBA notorious for decades of scandals.

Of course, political entrepreneurship is at the core of the SBA, given its reliance on OTM (other taxpayers' money).

Twenty-two years ago Louisiana businessman Kirk Fordice wrote to President Ronald Reagan, complaining that the 8(a) program is snowballing along . . . and leaving legitimate small business contractors bloody, beaten and bankrupt.

The law: A matter of the letter and the spirit

The local Chamber of Commerce was on the march last March – an army of money-makers and money-changers on a mission to make sure voters approved the SPLOST referendum.
Want taxes lowered, streets paved and rain drained? Just vote yes on March 18, chamber members told us time and time again.
The multimedia campaign was devised and delivered with military precision. Call it smart bombardment. TV and radio. Billboards and newspapers. Phone banks and direct mail. No weapon was left undrawn by the business brigade.

· Melting Power [Savannah ]
· Bob, Mate! Screams and howls of the Industry [John Birmingham used be an author]
· Shame of the Cities [INDEPENDENT REVIEW]
· BEYOND THE BROKER STATE [THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW]
· 'Burn, Baby, Burn' [THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW]

Wednesday, August 27, 2003

Myths Realities Pollies tell fibs about negative gearing


With negative gearing back on the popular political agenda in Australia, it is important that we remember the history of the issue. It has become part of Australian political folklore that former Australian Treasurer, Paul Keating, tried to abolish negative gearing in 1985 but failed because residential property investment levels fell and rents skyrocketed. The only problem with this particular piece of history is that it not true. In fact,figures show that rents did not increase across the board when negative gearing was removed, they only increased in Sydney and Perth, and these particular price spikes can be attributed to other sources.


· When the boom has busted, prices have collapsed, vacancy rates are way up and rents have fallen even further. [SMH ]
Bob, mate!

It's a bit rich for the Premier to blame mateship for alcohol abuse
Damn, but it's good to live in a state with an intellectual for premier. Not for us the dopey undergrad antics of the Queensland Premier, Peter Beattie, swimming with sharks or diving headlong into street brawls between outraged citizens and ladies of the night.
No, NSW is blessed by a thinker who'd like us all to peer more deeply into the way of things. Then we could see how a contested, ill-defined, malleable concept such as "mateship" lurks beneath society's problems with alcohol; 3000 deaths a year, unknowable levels of domestic abuse, marital breakdown, street violence and the disintegration of some Aboriginal communities. Who would have thought that "mateship" rather than policy failure, irresponsible profiteering, or simple criminal stupidity was to blame for the road toll or date rape or any of the other problems often linked to alcohol abuse?
Being fair to Carr, he made his comments during the opening speech at the NSW Summit on Alcohol Abuse yesterday. Such keynote addresses are almost inevitably content-free, allowing some worthy notable to plonk on at length like a champion trainspotter.
Carr is an intelligent man who despairs of the relentlessly moronic tone of most public discourse, and you can discern in his dog and trumpet routine at the summit an attempt to engage with the issue at something other than the level of a sound bite.
But that's hardly an excuse for shunting responsibility for the very real problems to which he alluded onto a chimera like "mateship". Perhaps he was attempting to encourage a discussion on the role of personal responsibility.
As so much of the worst of our drunken behaviour occurs in the presence of friends, what obligations do friends have to each other and to the innocent bystanders they might inconvenience, attack, vomit on or stumble over as they face-plant in a gutter? These are reasonable questions for a moral philosopher, or even a drunk with a philosophical bent.
However, Carr is a political leader in charge of a state that regulates the production, sale and consumption of alcohol. The state earns vast amounts of money from taxing the alcohol industry. It empowers armed agents in the form of the police to intervene, occasionally with fatal results, when citizens prove unable to handle their alcohol consumption.
And it is responsible for providing health care to those injured or otherwise incapacitated by the ravages of alcohol. It's a bit rich then for a person in such a position to fob us off with a lot of old tosh about the need to examine our culture and "the true value of mateship".
Carr reportedly said that society would have to change if we wanted to be rid of alcoholism. He asked whether we'd be "willing to adjust our mores, our way of life, to explore better means of managing alcohol".
These are the sort of vague motherhood statements politicians habitually deploy when confronted, not just by a difficult issue, but also by a complex array of cashed up powerful concerns with no interest in having that issue addressed, or their activities genuinely constrained by government action.
The Australian Hotels Association, its allies in the gaming industry, and of course the brewing companies which earn millions from selling their products to wife-beaters, drink-drivers and date rapists need fear nothing in a possible War on Mateship. Their response to Carr's speech was low-key, possibly non-existent.
· Screams and howls of the industry [John Birmingham used be an author]

Sunday, August 24, 2003

Families

Shadow Family and Community Services Minister Wayne Swan highlights loopholes in the family tax benefit scheme. He claimed 18,000 families earning more than $100,000 were receiving the benefit. Mr Swan talks to Laurie Oakes ...
· Family Tax [Nine ]

Saturday, August 23, 2003

Artistic Joint (media release)

Ministers announced changes to the refundable Tax Offset for large scale FILMS.
The changes will be made to the Refundable Tax Offset to encourage more large-scale film productions to shoot in Australia, creating jobs and opportunities in the creative industries.
Currently film producers routinely seek provisional 10BA film certification as the first stage in raising funds for a film concept without knowing whether or not a foreign studio will fund the project," Senator Coonan said. "But this certification currently causes films to be ineligible for the film tax offset regardless of whether or not investors have accessed 10BA benefits." The film producer will need to satisfy the Minister for the Arts and Sport that no 10BA benefits have been claimed by investors and that no finance has been provided by the Film Finance Corporation Australia.

· The Film Tax Offset [Revenue and Assistant Treasurer 15 August 2003]
Only The Lonely Know The Way I Feel Tonight A dyslexic Alpha Taxman walks into a bra

How To Become An Alpha Taxman in 18 Easy Lessons series (smile). I figure no book exists that will ever explain the wonderful, crazy, sexy, charming, powerful, mysterious thing known as a taxman.
· What SNAGS Want!!! (Scary Stuff:: Read @ Your Own Peril) [HalleysComment ]
· Imrich and Fantastic in bed!!! (As Seen on Ka!! Video Network) [HalleysComment]

Friday, August 22, 2003

Financial detectives

Quest Research began life three years ago with two members of staff who had recently left the Hong Kong police force. Three years on and the company has grown to 125 people based in offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Dubai, Bangalore, Mumbai, Perth and Tokyo.
· Politically exposed persons [Finance Asia]

Thursday, August 21, 2003

Donors

Donors McGreevey's Man in Little India

Jeff Pillets and Clint Riley of the Bergen Record investigate one of New Jersey Gov. Jim McGreevey's top fundraisers in the state's South Asian community, an ex-cabby named Rajesh "Roger" Chugh, finding that Chugh leveraged his friendship with Jim McGreevey to intimidate the immigrant community and become the virtual lord of Little India.
· Chugh offered appointments to state posts [ NewJersey]
· MONEY, POLITICS & POWER Invesatigative Series [New JerseyviaScoop]
Deflation 2004 (AD) Bank tackles risk of housing crash

As Soros once observed expect the unexpected on a housing market front...
Americans expect house prices will more than double in the next decade, despite already doubling in many US centres since the mid-1990s.
· Irrational exuberance [SMH ]
· Poisoned Chalice - Wherever it is Prescribed, a Dose of IMF Medicine Only Compounds Economic Crisis [ CommonDreams]

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Opponents of progress often want decisions to be made in political arenas

Candle makers, after all, cannot be expected to hail the invention of the electric light bulb, nor hostlers the advent of automobiles, nor canal-boat owners the building of railways, nor TV broadcasters the laying down of cable systems.
· Can this advance be sustained? [Reason]
serious social problems Hollywood Needs to Look to Social Workers for Heroes

The show was called East Side, West Side. It premiered Sept. 23, 1963, and made its last broadcast on Sept. 14, 1964. Thus did one of the most brilliant, well-written and superbly acted television series come to an end after one glorious, albeit Nielsen-ratings-starved, year. In 1963, as in 2003, television executives didn't want shows that were good.
· They wanted shows that got ratings [Common Dreams]

Monday, August 18, 2003

Deflation 2004 (AD) Big Spenders

When the housing blockbuster boom turns to bust, consumer spending could weaken significantly.
And if, at that time, the economy happened to be weak for other reasons - such as the continuing weakness of the world economy - the blow could be severe.

Overseas Newsflash...A long, steep fall in property values has wiped out the savings of a generation of homeowners in Hong Kong, fed political unrest and caused deflation that makes even Japan's falling prices pale by comparison.
· Big Picnickers [SMH]
Big Panickers [NYTimes]
The taxpayer is NOT always right. Standing up to the bad taxpayer

The bottom 20 percent of a company's customers -- the demon customers -- can consume 75 percent of its profitability. It isn't necessarily the customer's problem. In the vast majority of cases, it's the company's problem.
· Facing their demons [Boston]

Friday, August 15, 2003

The mystery of government is not how Washington works but how to make it stop.
-- P.J. O'Rourke

Future Seen Through a Crystal Ball

On the afternoon of December 7, 2004, as the Legislature was preparing to adjourn for the year, state Treasurer Michael Egan of Cronulla rose on the Legislative Council floor and asked his colleagues to approve a measure to give interest free housing loans to state employees.

California financial problems

Here's one big reason California is in deep financial doo doo. Gray Davis is in trouble because he is the symbol of massive mismanagement of state finances. The legislature is as ignorant of economics as he is. They all focus primarily on keeping their wonderful perks and power.
· Their motto is: Give it all away and the people will love us [SACBEE ]
· Sydney Battlers in Exile
Tax staff fear personality tests will end in job losses

Tax Office staff will have to prove to an external assessor they can do their jobs in a huge skills and personality test branded wasteful and hurtful by their union.
The obvious intent is to put pressure on people to tap the mat.

· Tests [SMH ]
The Tyranny of Good Intentions

Turning lawyers into government spies
Legal Privilege

Paul Craig Roberts has a good piece on the mounting attacks on attorney-client privilege in the name of 'law and order':
Just as government bureaucrats used the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 to assault the Bill of Rights and our constitutional protections, they are now using "accounting scandals" and "tax evasion" to assault the attorney-client privilege, a key component of the Anglo-American legal system that enables a defendant, whether guilty or innocent, to mount a defense against the overwhelming power of the state.

· Riiights [TownHall ]

Thursday, August 14, 2003

People who care about rows of numbers and get their tax returns done on time: boring plodders, indeed.

Boring plodders have sometimes made history

One man's ennui is another man's earner, which is why we have accountants, cleaners and cooks. Or indeed, crooks, to judge by another report that emerged last week from the Fraud Advisory Panel. Those cash machine receipts and credit card details we mean to check but never do are said to be falling into the hands of criminals, who use them to plunder bank accounts and acquire false identities.
· Documents from the US Espionage Den [Telegraph(UK) ]

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

Tax mish-mash

The trade tax is being turned into a municipal business tax. That is supposed to make it easier for doctors, lawyers, architects, translators and other self-employed professionals to carry the new tax burden. In compensation, they will be able to set off the new tax against their income tax. This way, the municipalities are supposed to get more money, even if it means tax losses for the federal and state authorities.
Another package of tax law changes, which has been in the offing for a while, is also supposed to boost revenues. And municipalities will benefit from the pooling of unemployment aid and basic social welfare. The whole package is greased with a higher municipal share of sales tax revenues. Et voilĂ , the program with which the Social Democratic-Green governing coalition is hoping to relieve the financial pressure on German municipalities.

· German municipalities [FAZ ]
Tax Policy and Global Warming

This paper reviews the role that environmental taxes and tax incentives can play to combat global warming, making specific proposals within the Canadian context.
· Climate Change [SSRN via Taxing Blog]

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

Think Tank Black Economy

The question is whether they return the favour by promoting certain issues or refraining from criticism.
·
They love to talk. It's their lifeblood.
[SMH ]

Sunday, August 10, 2003

Jozef Imrich Who's Rich?

Research says people don't use services like gyms enough to justify their cost, reports the Wall Street Journal.
It's not hard to come up with dozens of examples of how things that look like bargains up front turn out to be big wastes of money. Buying a gallon jug of mayonnaise may reduce the per ounce price you pay over a standard size bottle; but the actual cost for what is used works out to be much higher when you have to toss three quarters of the contents away.

· Tax Roller Coaster [FoxNews ]

Saturday, August 09, 2003

Housing analysis needs to consider the herd factor


Booms become self-perpetuating - for a time, anyway - because, as herd animals, when we see other people moving to better homes, or investing in rental apartments, we have an urge to join in.
We fear being left behind. We tell ourselves that, if we don't buy this week, the price will be higher next week. So prices rise simply because they've been rising.
Of course, when some chance event eventually causes the herd to turn, this process goes into reverse. Prices fall because they've been falling.

· Heard Housing [ SMH]

Friday, August 08, 2003

Cyber tax protest means business

Opponents of a Canadian company's patent to tax online transactions believe they can stop it before it is granted by the Australian patents office.
· Virtual Tax [SMH]
Brendan Miniter: Congressmen aren't the only Washington pols who want to raise taxes

Closing doors on first home buyers

If you don't want to be conned by dishonest politicians and vested interests, remember this rule: when demand's outpacing supply, you don't try to improve affordability, you add to supply. That's the fundamental solution: you speed up the release of land on the outskirts of cities and you reduce the local government impediments to medium-density "infill" in the cities' inner and middle rings.
· There are no costless answers in this area [SMH]
Banks Used Investment Funds to Shelter Hundred of Millions From State Taxes

At least 10 large banks avoided state taxes on hundreds of millions of dollars by setting up investment funds that didn't offer shares to the public, but instead paid tax-exempt dividends back to the banks, according to a newspaper report.
· Banking [CommonDreams ]

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Legislatures Parliamentary discussions on public accounts committee

As part of the ongoing program between CDI and the Thai democracy promotion institution King Prajadhipok's Institute (KPI), a team of Australian parliamentarians visited Thailand for a workshop with Thai counterparts in Bangkok on 8-9 July. Mr Bob Charles, Senator John Hogg, Mr Alex Somlyay, Senator John Watson and Mr Alan Griffin drew on their experience in the Joint Committee for Public Accounts and Audit to present case studies and discuss best practice. There were also presentations on Thai budget and audit processes and considerable discussion on ways to enhance the role of elected officials to fulfill their accountability responsibilities.
· Australia-Thailand [Centre for Democratic Institutions, Australian National University]
Responsive regulation: international perspectives on taxation

Running 24–25 July 2003 at the Australian National University, this third international research conference brought together knowledge that CTSI has gained over the last three years about applying responsive regulation to the area of taxation. The 2003 conference mapped out some of the issues that will be critical to both tax policy and tax administration in the next decade as relevant government departments are called upon to respond to changing social norms and uncertainty about what the tax system stands for.
· Tax Administration [Centre for Tax System Integrity, Australian National University]

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

Covering the Economy Part II

Bankrate.com (http://www.bankrate.com)

Rate Trend Index (http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/sav/ratetrends.asp) :
a weekly prediction from a panel of experts on which way mortgage and CD
rates will go in the near future. CD prediction updated each Wednesday;
mortgage prediction updated each Thursday

Mortgage analysis (http://www.bankrate.com/mortgagerates.asp) : a weekly look at where mortgage rates are, and why they got there. Published
Thursdays.

Mortgage blog
(http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/mortgages/mortgage_update.asp) : a daily blog on mortgage rates by beat writer Holden
Lewis

Interest Rate Roundup (http://www.bankrate.com/brm/news/bank/report.asp)
: a look at the state of interest rates on five
common consumer banking products and the latest rates from Bankrate.com's weekly national survey of large banks and thrifts. Published Fridays.

Your Best Interest report
(http://www.bankrate.com/brm/updates/ybir/ybir_products.asp) : a daily survey of local rates for morgages, CDs and home equity loans, available as a national report, a state report, or a local report for the 190 largest markets.

SABEW's Economy Reporting links
(http://www.sabew.org/sabewweb.nsf/x/38563EE7817EC5FA86256AE00049B4A7?Open
Document&highlight=COVERING,THE,ECONOMY) : This set of links from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers (http://www.sabew.org)
takes you to useful resources.

Statistics Every Writer Should Know (http://www.robertniles.com/stats) :
A guide to doing simple, journalistic math (percentages, averages, etc) by
Robert Niles (http://www.robertniles.com) , a senior producer at
LATimes.com, whose also has an excellent set of links as part of Finding
Data on the Internet (http://www.robertniles.com/data/) .

The Quest for Accurate Numbers
(http://www.copydesk.org/words/numeracy.htm) : The set of guidelines for writing about numbers.

Covering the Economy, Part I"
(http://www.poynter.org/column.asp?id=32&aid=42746)
Where's My Tax Rebate?

Tired of trying to figure out if you'll be eligible for a federal income tax "rebate" check -- and how much money you might receive? The Houston Chronicle says, "You can find out for yourself, right now, at no charge. With little fanfare, the Internal Revenue Service has just activated a program on its website that lets you see, with only a few clicks of the mouse, whether you'll get a check and how much it might be for."
· Revenue [Poynter ]
Leave No Millionaire Behind

The President and his party have cooked up the ultimate recipe for keeping political power. A nation in a constant state of anxiety -- over the thereat of terrorism, or a potential war -- is a nation off balance. And that insecurity is the perfect cover to divert public attention from the country's serious domestic problems and the administration's political agenda
· Agenda [MotherJones ]

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Shelter Masters of the Exploitation

Sydney-based investors are ruining first-time buyers chances of securing a property in some country towns.
· Roof [SMH]

Monday, August 04, 2003

Fuel taxation proposals

In the 2003–04 Budget the federal government proposed changes to the way some fuels are taxed. The proposals, if implemented, would have important consequences. This Current Issues Brief examines the background to the proposals and their possible consequences.
· Analysis [Information and Research Services, Department of the Parliamentary Library (PDF file)]
· Queensland's fuel dilemma [Brisbane Institute]

Sunday, August 03, 2003

Tax Administration IGOT

The inspector-general will be a new advocate for taxpayers and an independent adviser to government with broad powers to review tax administration...
· Inspector [ Australian]
The number of countries imposing a consumption tax is rapidly increasing

Mr David Vos, the Committee Chairman, is a tax Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers, in its Sydney office. He is that firm’s Australian leader of its GST practice. He was employed in the Australian Taxation Office during the period 1964 to 1977. In 1977 he joined the previous firm of Coopers and Lybrand and became a partner in 1983. David has specialised in indirect taxes for all of his working life and has had a significant involvement in tax reform, particularly since the early 1980’s..
David is the spokesperson for the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia on indirect taxes matters and tax reform generally. David was a member of the GST Planning and Co-ordination Office established in 1991. He is a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia, the Australian Society of CPA’s and the Institute of Australia. He is also an associate member of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.

· IndirectTax [PressRelease]
Misused Deductions

One of President Bush's nominees to the U.S. Tax Court amended his tax returns for three years to eliminate improper deductions for entertainment, gifts and meals, the Senate Finance Committee disclosed Wednesday.
Glen Bower, a former director of the Illinois Department of Revenue, filed amended returns for 1999, 2000 and 2001 after the committee brought the deductions to his attention while reviewing his nomination.

· Amendments [Taxing Thought]

The big tax evaders hang the little ones...

We hang the petty thieves and appoint the great ones to public office.
--Aesop

The big thieves hang the little ones.
-- Czech Proverb

Three virtues: humility, docility and responsibility Ethics is everybody's business: The sad decline of ethics in business, politics and the media

Humility is in reality, a strength and involves acknowledging both our abilities and our limitations.
Docility, usually perceived negatively, literally means easy to teach. Learning should be a lifetime experience.
Responsibility, to those less fortunate than you, to your community, to your country, to the world. And he cited Penn's motto, "Leges sine moribus vanae" (laws without morals are meaningless). There is elegance in simplicity.
The importance of ethics to the maintenance of a free and democratic society, and the need for leadership in setting the tone for ethical behavior.

· A lack of ethics erodes confidence in our primary societal institutions: government, business and the press [Daily Pennsylvanian]

Saturday, August 02, 2003

Onlineopion A "sin" tax versus a tax on food

Where should government control lie? Government should 'be there' when the market fails. Government should 'be there' to establish direction. Government should 'be there' to administer any service that society deems to be necessary in providing and maintaining a civilised society in which everyone lives. For this government needs to be accountable. (everyone could add their own opinion on what government should be responsible for these are just a few suggestions)
· Indirect Tax [UniMelbourne PDF]
· a web site that deals with two sales tax proposals [Sales Tax]

The Class Wars:

A Regal Obituary

To give the students a real comparison of social extremes related to income the university could send them on field trips to the upper and lower class parts of town and have them analyze their experiences and the people with whom they come in contact.
The students might spend a few nights at homeless shelters learning about the denizens: the homeless families, the single mothers and their children, the mentally ill, the down on their luck, the teenage runaways and throwaways.
Next students can note the appearance and infrastructure of educational facilities at schools in poor neighborhoods.

· Then, onward to the lush lawns, private schools [CommonDreams ]
Investors have been backpedaling a little bit from disaster of their own negative gearing...

Lucky Country Tell 'em they're dreaming . . .

Home ownership is in our psyche and has been since early settlement. But for more and more renters, particularly young city dwellers, the great Australian dream is becoming a pipe dream.
· Two worlds, One dream [SMH ]
Hope to government officials: Remember, you guys, your salaries are paid by the tax payers, and I may be one some day.
— from "My Favorite Spy" (1953) Quote courtesy of Allan R M Jones

Taxing eBay All My Life for Sale

The ad for a human soul read: "This is an auction for [the] soul of one of my friends. He, being an atheist, bet his soul . . . in a game of Golden Eye on N64. Too bad for him, he lost and now his soul is mine, but it can be yours!
· Buying [GlobeMail ]

Friday, August 01, 2003

Tax cuts vs. tax reform

In this edition of Public Opinion Watch: The evidence mounts on Bush vulnerability... pessimism on Iraq... tax cuts vs. tax reform.
· Forget honest -- is the Bush gang even competent? [TomPaine]
Validity of grants,

Serious questions have been raised about the accountability of the giant clubs industry and the way it gives out tens of millions of dollars in grants to community organisations each year.
· Gaming [ SMH]