Wednesday, January 06, 2016

MMXVI aka 2016 Is An Easy Year To Predict

Courtesy of LM (spy that beard) who is writing and reading trends and patterns on the hot Mekong River: We have the very surprising news that Apple has made a tax settlement with Italy. A large one too: to the extent of $348 million (€318 million). Given that almost all of the tech giants, and many other companies as well, use much the same arrangements that Apple does and has done this doesn’t bode well for the Googles, Facebooks and Microsofts of this world. For if one European Union government has been able to do this then given the extreme similarity of the basic structure of the tax laws governing inter-EU trade then it’s highly likely that the same can be done to all of them and in all the different countries. That would also be rather a blow to Apple itself of course. Bad Biblical Apple in Italy

No year is ever easy to predict, if only because if it were, that would take all the fun out of life. But still, predictions for 2016 look quite a bit easier than other years. This is because a whole bunch of irreversible things happened in 2015 that were not recognized for what they are, either intentionally or by ‘accident’. Things that will therefore now be forced to play out in 2016, when denial will no longer be an available option.

Finance people are conditioned to see finance as more important than it is….although financiers have done a remarkable job over the last three decades of making finance more important than it ought to be. It’s noteworthy when someone who does not see themselves as a finance person to predict that the big story of the upcoming year will be deflation. And that’s more a finance story than a macroeconomic story. It is the result of central banks playing a large role in weakening labor bargaining power, of aggrandizing their role by playing to the fantasy that monetary policy can do more to stimulate growth than it really does, and by backing themselves into the ZIRP/QE corner in their effort, as much as possible, to restore status quo ante in the banking system. Stephen Roach came to similar grim conclusions about how the Fed is choosing to back its way out of ZIRP
However, Roach thinks the Fed might be able to prevent a train wreck if it weans investors of the Greenspan/Bernanke/Yellen put. Even if he were right, I can’t imagine this Fed ever doing that.
By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth: Ilargi: 2016 Is An Easy Year To Predict

2016 Media Dragon Prediction Roundup: 10 Billionaires Who Got More Billionaire-y in 2015 Based on Vanity Fair Story
2016 predictions: the emoji edition Wired. With translations.
The 2016 Fortune Crystal Ball Fortune
Five Tech Predictions for the Year Ahead WSJ
Cybersecurity predictions for 2016 USA Today
2016 Predictions: A Look Ahead at the Future of War Defense One
China’s economy: Seven predictions for 2016 Los Angeles Times
 *My prediction for 2016

For the Wealthiest, a Private Tax System That Saves Them Billions New York Times “She sells Seychelles sea shells by the sea shore”

What would be more likely to get you to report the whole truth and nothing but the truth on your tax returns? A notice that says “Don’t cheat” or one that says “Don’t be a cheater”?
As it turns out, the personalized injunction works better than the more generalized abstract principle — though neither works as well as the plain, old-fashioned threat of an audit.

" Once, Picasso was asked what his paintings meant. He said, “Do you ever know what the birds are singing? You don’t. But you listen to them anyway.” So, sometimes with art, it is important just to look."

The Money Network of Malaysian Politics Wall Street Journal

Dancing With Wolves: Why Chinese Traders Love Manipulated Stocks Bloomberg 

Normally, in December, the women of Japan can be found huddled around cafe and 居酒屋 (izakaya, pub) tables, wondering aloud why our fellow countrymen are so unlovable, undateable and impossible to live with for longer than five years without losing our minds... 
You know that boy from high school you’ll always love, no matter how old he gets or what else goes on in your life? Masaharu Fukuyama, aka “Masha,” is that boy. When he — at 46 — announced his marriage to 33-year-old actress Kazue Fukiishi in September, much of the female populace of Japan broke down and wept.
The phenomenon known as 福山ロス (Fukuyama rosu, “Fukuyama loss”) swept across the archipelago, and I know of no less than five women who went into mourning and ditched their 家事 (kaji, household chores) duties, thereby throwing their menfolk into utter consternation. One of them was my sister-in-law, and though she professes to be recovering, her husband (my oldest brother) says dinner still consists of チンした肉団子 (chin-shita nikudango, microwaved meatballs). Bear with it, bro. Remembering men we loved (and one we ‘lost’) in 2015 AMEN

Capital, Predistribution and Redistribution Thomas Piketty, Crooked Timber

Ex-SEC Official Gallagher Joins Regulatory Consultant WSJ

Jack Townsend, Judge Criticizes Prosecutor’s Use of Language Directing Secrecy for Receipt of Grand Jury Subpoena. “I hope that all readers of this blog know that grand jury proceedings are generally secret and the grand jurors and government actors in the process must keep them secret.  FRCrP 6(e)(2), here.  But the obligation of secrecy is not imposed on witnesses before the grand jury.”

Jim Maule, Taking (Tax Breaks) Without Giving (What Was Promised). “Too many tax breaks are handed out in exchange for promises by the recipients to do something beneficial for the community at large.” Once the politicians issue the press release and cut the ribbon, they have what they want, and they don’t much care what happens next.