July 19, 2011

Tax-wary millionaires flee to . . . Canada?

Filed under: Cancon, Economics, Liberty — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 12:56

Jason Kirby is either smoking some really premium weed, or the world is changing even faster than we thought it was, in an article titled “The Great White tax haven”:

For decades, Canadians have been told this country is a high-tax, unwelcoming place for business people and the wealthy. It’s a reputation we came by honestly. But a shift has taken place both here and abroad, say experts. While Canada is reforming and lowering its taxes, politicians in other developed countries — those faced with crushing debt loads and economic stagnation — are turning a hungry eye to the bank accounts of their richest citizens. At the same time, instability in the Middle East and Asia means wealthy individuals are looking for a safe place to move their families. Where they might have flocked to the U.S. in the past, many now see Canada as the better option. Tax specialists even use terms like “the Great White tax haven” and “Switzerland of the North” when talking about Canada.

The world’s rich are restless, says Lesperance, whose clients are worth between $30 million and $1 billion. Most work in financial services, but in every sector and every country wealthy individuals are on the move. Lesperance calls these ultra-rich the Golden Geese, arguing that wherever they go, they generate economic benefits—they start companies, buy real estate, keep restaurants busy and spend money on big-ticket items. Along with Ian Angell, a professor at the London School of Economics, he’s writing a book entitled Flight of the Golden Geese, which argues that as countries squeeze wealthy taxpayers, they will pull up stakes and flee. “Canada has an unprecedented, once-in-several-generations opportunity to put up its hand and offer itself as an alternative,” he says.

The migration is well under way. Last year, nearly 12,000 people moved here under the federal government’s Immigrant Investor Program, up from 4,950 a decade ago, according to Citizenship and Immigration Canada. (The figure includes spouses and dependents.) To qualify, immigrants must have a minimum net worth of at least $1.6 million, and are required to “invest” $800,000 with the government, which is returned after five years. (Ottawa says the money is used to fund economic development programs, though critics call it a cash grab.)

Virginia Tech publishes football helmet safety rankings

Filed under: Football, Health, Technology — Tags: , — Nicholas @ 12:41

Gregg Easterbrook has the details from a Virginia Tech comparative study of football helmets:

Researchers at Virginia Tech have produced the first brand-by-brand, model-by-model ranking for the likely concussion resistance of helmets. A star-rating system modeled on crash safety rankings for automobiles, the rankings clearly identify the best and worst helmets. Virginia Tech researchers give high marks to these helmets: the Riddell Speed, Riddell Revolution, Riddell Revolution IQ; the Schutt Ion 4D and Schutt DNA; and the Xenith X1.The Virginia Tech researchers give medium grades to the Schutt Air XP and Schutt Air Advantage. The Virginia Tech rankings warn players not to wear these helmets: the Riddell VSR4 and the Adams A2000.

Now the chilling part: the VSR4 — Virginia Tech’s second-lowest-rated helmet — was the most common helmet in the NFL last season. The VSR4 is widely worn in college and high school, too. Immediately after the Virginia Tech findings were released, Riddell advised football teams to stop using the VSR4, long the company’s best seller.

(The new Rawlings line of football helmets was not on the market in time to be included in the study. Virginia Tech will rank Rawlings helmets — which from the start is promoting safety features rather than styling — next year.)

Of course, there’s no chance that anyone would abuse anonymous, unverified accusations

Filed under: Cancon, Media, Randomness — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 12:03

Their ad claims that “22% of married men have had at least one affair during their marriage”. That’s Cheaterville.com:

Cheaterville.com, which was launched in Canada over the weekend, has in excess of 10,000 profiles of suspected cheaters — including full names, photographs and hometowns of those accused of stepping out. Despite the fiery accusations included in the stories posted online, no checks are done and it’s up to the users to ensure the validity of content, which includes accusations of sexually transmitted infections and other pointed claims.

Norm Quantz, a relationship expert based just north of Calgary, said the site will undoubtedly attract viewers and anonymous posters from Canada, but questions its true value.

“It’s usually a panic in the moment they’re reacting to (by publicly venting), thinking that will help, but in the long run, it doesn’t help,” Mr. Quantz said Monday. “It actually hinders their ability to deal with the fact somebody is cheating on them and what the ramifications are for them and the relationship. It’s an inadequate, short-term solution to a long-term problem.

“The website will be a success . . . It will be a place for people to vent their anger, but I would caution them in the long term, because once it’s online, it’s there forever and there are usually more complex issues involved.”

US business is “frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President”

Filed under: Economics, Politics, USA — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 11:08

You don’t normally find stem-winders like this in quarterly business updates, especially from self-described Democrats:

You bet and until we change the tempo and the conversation from Washington, it’s not going to change. And those of us who have business opportunities and the capital to do it are going to sit in fear of the President. And a lot of people don’t want to say that. They’ll say, God, don’t be attacking Obama. Well, this is Obama’s deal and it’s Obama that’s responsible for this fear in America.

The guy keeps making speeches about redistribution and maybe we ought to do something to businesses that don’t invest, their holding too much money. We haven’t heard that kind of talk except from pure socialists. Everybody’s afraid of the government and there’s no need soft peddling it, it’s the truth. It is the truth. And that’s true of Democratic businessman and Republican businessman, and I am a Democratic businessman and I support Harry Reid. I support Democrats and Republicans. And I’m telling you that the business community in this company is frightened to death of the weird political philosophy of the President of the United States. And until he’s gone, everybody’s going to be sitting on their thumbs.


Filed under: Britain, Media, Politics — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 10:06

Brendan O’Neill says that the current Murdoch-bashing spree appears to be the only game in town for politicians and journalists right now:

Judging from recent comments made by politicians and journalists, you could be forgiven for thinking that Britain had liberated itself from foreign occupation. ‘Like political prisoners after a tyrant has been condemned to death by a people’s tribunal, [our politicians] are at last free’, gushed one commentator. A Lib Dem spokesman described MPs emerging ‘into the sunlight like the freed prisoners in Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio’. Labour leader Ed Miliband says the whole ‘psyche of British politics has changed’.

Wow. Was a secret Nazi cabal exposed and expelled? Did a brave Mili-band of brothers see off an invading army at Dover? Not quite. What happened is that some journalists and the Twittertariat had a pop at Rupert Murdoch. And, under intense pressure, Murdoch closed his Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, and sacked some people. That’s about it. The ‘people’s tribunal’ is actually the Guardian editorial board, and the ‘political tyrant’ who was ‘condemned to death’ is an octogenarian Aussie who was forced to give up his BSkyB bid. Britain freed from tyranny? Sticking with the wartime rhetoric: never in the history of mankind has so much BS been spouted by so many journos.

The notion that the cultural harrying of Murdoch has made British politicians ‘free at last’ — thank God almighty, free at last! — is based on two problematic ideas. First, that British politics was, until last week, dominated by Murdoch. And second, that the muddying of Murdoch’s name will allow our politicians finally to speak honestly and with conviction once more. Neither of these things is true. The fact that so many commentators believe they are reveals a great deal about the parlous state of public debate.

Walsh: This is what the debt-ceiling fight is really all about

Filed under: Economics, Government, USA — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 09:20

Michael A. Walsh puts the real issue into focus:

Forget all the numbers being tossed around in Washington — the millions and billions and trillions of dollars being taxed, borrowed, printed and spent as the country approaches the Aug. 2 debt-ceiling deadline.

Forget the political jockeying for position between a president desperately seeking re-election in 16 months and a Congress equally desperately seeking not to be blamed for spending even more money that we don’t have.

Forget the fact that such “entitlements” as Social Security and Medicare — social-insurance programs that the public long thought to be actuarially sound — have been exposed as little more than legal Ponzi schemes, paying today’s benefits out of tomorrow’s borrowed receipts.

Instead, just ask yourself this simple question: When did it become the primary function of the federal government to send millions of Americans checks?

For this, in essence, is what the debt-ceiling fight is all about — the inexorable and ultimately fatal growth of the welfare state. If you don’t believe it, just look at President Obama’s veiled threat to withhold Grandma’s Social Security benefits if Congress doesn’t let him borrow another $2 trillion or so to get himself safely past the 2012 election.

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