Mudoch paid -46% tax in the States

Joyous exposure of plutocracy at Rueters

Over the past four years Murdoch’s U.S.-based News Corp. has made money on income taxes. Having earned $10.4 billion in profits, News Corp. would have been expected to pay $3.6 billion at the 35 percent corporate tax rate. Instead, it actually collected $4.8 billion in income tax refunds, all or nearly all from the U.S. government.

The relevant figure is the cash paid tax rate. This is the net amount of corporate income taxes actually paid after refunds. For those four years, it was minus 46 percent, disclosure statements show.

Even on an accounting basis, which measures taxes incurred but often not actually paid for years, News Corp. had a tax rate of under 20 percent, little more than half the 35 percent statutory rate, company disclosures examined by Reuters show. News Corp. had no comment.

Fox News, the editorial pages of his Wall Street Journal and other Murdoch outlets often rail against taxes. Their attacks on government benefits for the elderly, the sick, the jobless and children focus attention on the uses of tax dollars and away from his aggressive efforts to enjoy the benefits of civilization without paying for them….

News Corp. has 152 subsidiaries in tax havens, including 62 in the British Virgin Islands and 33 in the Caymans. Among the hundred largest U.S. companies, only Citigroup and Morgan Stanley have more tax haven subsidiaries than News Corp., a 2009 U.S. Government Accountability Office study found.

aggressive use of intra-company transactions …globally allocate costs to locations that impose taxes — and profits to areas where profits can be earned tax-free.

Why China should bet $3 trillion on the eurozone

Rumours in the markets are that China has invested several hundred million on EUR positions only to see it free fall with immanent sovereign debt default. With China keen to switch away from the dollar in the light of its own debt limit crisis ‘it seemed like a good idea at the time’ seems a bad position.

A quick back of the envelope calculation – EU sovereign debt is about $14 trillion. Chinese foreign reserves (about $3 trillion) could service that alone for about two years. The vulture funds will have already purchased much of that debt at between 40-80% discount for PIIGS countries depending on country, and the banks suffering from stress tests are those that were overexposed and could not offload it quickly enough.

China – if it wished – and with the cooperation of the EU – take that up in a one off offer at a heavy discount, for all past debt and then transfer that to long maturing debt – a long term bet on the European economy. Hedge funds might bet the other way but their total capital ($1.9 trillion) is drawfed by china if it sticks to a position they can bankrupt the Hedge Funds.

This would not wipe out European sovereign debt but, with this leverage, it would make it an affordable percentage of GDP in sovereign countries and stabilise the euro – which is what China wants, a stable home for its foreign currency reserves, which every exporter needs, and securing the economy from collapse of its joint largest customer. Only the IMF could broker such a deal but it needs it to shake off its austerity ideology and its cosiness to francophone elites.

China though would need to be assured that the currency union was stable, which clearly it is not, it would need to be split into at least 2 parts. The banks would need capitalising. If the deal was structured by china taking equity positions in European banks and then buying/restructuring debt it would solve both problems simultaneously. This would need recapitalising banks to secure savings whilst taking haircuts on personal loans, and pushing all toxic assets into bad banks. This is effectively the eurozone being recpaptised after a planned bankrupcy – a global debt for equity swap.

‘Twisted Corner’ one of 670 architect designed homes in the Dutch New Leyden Project

This corner house by Sophie Valla Architects and Marc Koelher Architects is the latest of 670 architect-designed homes to be completed at a new development masterplanned by architects MVRDV in Leiden, the Netherlands.

Nieuw Leiden is a very interesting project ‘you design we build’, either an owner can choose one of a number of designs from a pattern book, in classic 19th century developer style, or they can design their own home. There has been most demand for this on cormer sites. The result is a very rich and varied townscape.

24H Architecture Scheme

RICS – Stalemate in the Housing Market

the UK housing market faced a stalemate during June, as demand failed to pick up and supply of new property fell back, says the RICS UK Housing Market survey June 2011.

Demand for property showed little change in June, with new buyer enquiries recording a net balance of 0 per cent (compared with -1 per cent in May); indeed, demand has been broadly flat for the last six months. Chartered surveyors report that because the market remains difficult to access, the only buyers who can really be considered serious are those who have already sold their property, or have a mortgage agreement in place.

New instructions, which had been stronger in April and May, fell back to a net balance of +1 per cent (from +14 per cent) in June, indicating that sellers are now holding off from putting their properties on the market. This was in part attributed to uncertainty over the economy and a ‘wait and see’ attitude from potential vendors.

House prices at a national level continued to slip during June, with 27 per cent more surveyors reporting price falls rather than rises – the negative net balance was little different from the previous month’s reading (-28 per cent). Looking ahead, expectations for future house prices showed a broadly similar pattern, with 27 per cent more respondents expecting prices to fall rather than rise over the next three months.

Given the rush to commence in some regions, such as London, because of CIL this is bad news. Despite low interest rates and the CIL introduction new stock is not coming onto the market nationally.

Bloggers Against Garbage Prompts Mass Russian Cleanup

The neglectful treatment of public space, with piles of garbage on every corner, has been a sad fact of life in Russia.

Russia’s thrird most popular blogger Sergy Dolya has had enough.

he created the movement “Bloggers against Garbage.” The idea behind the movement is simple: local bloggers choose a heavily littered place near them, then use social networks to rally as many people as possible for a collective cleanup.

The movement initially counted just several dozen participants, but has grown exponentially to reach several thousand members across the country. Its most ambitious goal yet: a nationwide litter cleanup day planned on August 6.

Segy said

The idea works: I expect some 20,000 to 30,000 people to take part in the August 6 nationwide cleanup day. There are cleanup actions planned in over 100 cities and towns, and in 80 places in Moscow alone. We’re also pushing for the implementation of a long-overdue national waste recycling program, which exists in every developed country except Russia.

Some local authorities have begun to take interest in the project. I know the governor of Astrakhan, who’s an active blogger as well. I called him to tell him about the August 6 cleanup plan and said that we would use some help. He was very enthusiastic, and sent a letter to his fellow governors asking them to participate in the movement. I hope we’ll get some financial or material aid.

We’re also visiting mayors and local councillors, to ask them for help with transportation. Teams of people can pick up litter, but we need trucks to transport it. Some mayors have begun providing trucks. We hope that our actions will not only help clean up streets, but also encourage people to litter less and authorities to implement lasting waste-disposal and recycling policies.”