December 14, 2012 by Chip Wood
An economic indicator goes positive. When he was chairman of the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan said that one of the unusual indicators he followed was sales of men’s underwear. The theory posits that sales decline when men are pessimistic about their incomes and the economy. Let’s hope the opposite is also true, because Hanes and other underwear manufacturers are reporting higher sales than they’ve enjoyed in years. The men’s underwear indicator is flashing positive.
Google avoids a bunch of taxes. Google has avoided a ton of taxes by funneling most of its overseas profits into a company in Bermuda, rather than bringing the money back to the United States. According to Bloomberg, Google saved about $2 billion in taxes by shifting $9.8 billion in profits. Since the U.S. tax on corporate profits is 35 percent, Google’s savings were probably a lot higher. Is it any surprise that people — and companies — will avoid paying higher taxes when they can legally avoid them? Washington, please take note.
A bountiful bonus. A record number of companies are paying out record amounts in dividends this month to avoid the higher taxes everyone expects next year. But I haven’t heard of anyone who will equal the payout that Sheldon Adelson will receive from his company, Las Vegas Sands Corp. The special dividend the casino operator approved last month will be worth about $1.2 billion to him, the press reports. That is more than 22 times the amount of political donations Adelson made this year. Clearly, he can afford them.
Why not just send them the money? A report from the Republican staff of the Senate Budget Committee says the United States spent $1 trillion on welfare payments last year. Of that total, $746 billion came from Federal taxpayers, while $254 billion came from the States. If the money were divided equally among the 16.8 million households below the official poverty line of $23,000, each one would receive $59,523. But then a lot of bureaucrats would be out of a job.