Showing posts from March, 2013

The Cult of Short Termism

We live in fascinating times indeed.   Daily we see gossip reported as news and news as gossip.  I am eagerly looking forward to June when Jeff Daniels reclaims his role as Will McAvoy on HBO’s The Newsroom.  I so admire his ‘civilizing mission’ to help his news program’s audience, make more informed decisions in the voting booth.
The reality however is that Will’s news program is losing audience share as he pursues this mission.  Voters yearn for entertainment above information.  So here in the UK, the recent budget laid before our Parliament should be viewed in that light.  Our wise politicians have bought into our preference for entertainment.  Ask the backbenchers who entertained us as the Chancellor proudly explained how he engineered spending to support a claim of a falling national deficit.  Well that and his tinkering with the taxes on beer.    
The mainstream media has fuelled our righteous indignation over attempts to force depositors in Cypriot banks to directly share in t…

IRS Trouble for ex-FIFA Executive

In his ‘Big Soccer’ blog (, Bill Archer made certain allegations about a former Vice President of FIFA.  Of all the allegations made in the blog, there are three that jumped out at me. 
Firstly, Bill Archer alleged that certain US law enforcement agencies including the IRS and Homeland Security were looking into the former Executive’s activities.  Secondly, two of his sons tried to enter the US without declaring the large sum of US currency that one of them was carrying.  They were both subsequently detained.  Thirdly, either one or both of the former Executive’s sons is a US citizen whose income, as declared on their tax return (US$72 000 per annum), does not sufficiently explain how they could afford certain South Florida real estate purchases (4 condos costing US$400 000 paid for in cash).
Speaking strictly as a tax professional, if there is any truth to the series of events outlined …

Budgets and Inflation Worries

HM Treasury’s website notes that “The Budget is the single most important economic and financial statement made each year by the Chancellor of the Exchequer to Parliament and the nation.“   The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne is due to present the next Budget on Wednesday 20th March.  As the dominant party in the coalition government focuses on its preparation for the next general election, I do not expect any real surprises as the name of the game remains continued expansion of the money supply to keep us voters happy.
I have little time for academic economists especially as so few of them anticipated the 2008 crisis.  On one hand, there are those who support Eurozone-type austerity to control the ballooning deficit and prevent continued currency depreciation.  On the other hand, the Keynesians call for continued deficit spending.  Amidst this pulling and tugging, the coalition government continues to use the term ‘austerity’ liberally but that does not seem to correspon…

Venezuela and Trinidad

My first experience of Venezuela was a teenager in the 1980s when our family visited Caracas.  It was some years before the 1989 riots in Caracas but anyone could feel the tension in the air.  Like Trinidad, weak oil prices were taking a toll on the economy and social tensions were high.  It was the first time I had seen regular police patrols where officers were armed with semi automatic weapons.  The tour guide was literally begging us to be careful because of the high risk of mugging.
In the 1990s, somehow I found myself meeting many Venezuelans both in Trinidad and during my time at university in south Florida.  I then realised that two of the more popular destinations for Venezuelans wanting to get out were and still are, Trinidad and Miami.  Many would tell me how fed up they were of the crime and corruption.  It was during this time that I also realised just how similar the Venezuelan culture was / is to Trini culture.  In both places you find a very multicultural society bubb…

Investigation of Caribbean Property Investment Scheme

This is one I have been monitoring for more than a year now.  It is being investigated by the Serious Fraud Office here in the UK, so I restrict my comments to just a summary of what has been published in the press. 
Below I just reproduce 2 recently printed stories on the matter. The first article has been published in the Caribbean.  The second has been published in the UK.

Story from -
KINGSTOWN, St Vincent, Friday February 22, 2013 – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace said on Wednesday that the United Kingdom Serious Fraud Office is investigating the Buccament Bay Resort project and that he has “a copy of submissions” made to that office.
“I shall say more on this at a later date. This is as yet a developing matter,” Eustace told a news conference as the fallout continues from an encounter between Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves and two journalists from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) over the weeken…