Monday, August 07, 2006


All Kinds of Neat Stuff

Small businesses spending more online... the interview in this article specifically discusses direct mail vs. online. Seems like the online folks have statistics... and the printing industry doesn't. In the new vs old media trench war, can we defend ourselves?

Speaking of small business, the SBA has issued a report about the costs of regulation on small business

Home Depot charging suppliers to put video up on their web site. What does this mean? It means that Home Depot is now... a publisher!

I got a release about the Interactive Advertising Bureau adding 27 new members. I then went on their website, again, to check if there are any printing companies (or God forbid, suppliers) that are members. Still a big ZERO. "Hold your friends close, your enemies closer," is the old saying. Am I the only one who knows that?

Barrons story about IP and the paper business

Kodak's disappointing financials included some details about its graphics business:
"...graphic communications sales jumped 14 percent to $908 million and operating earnings reached $22 million, compared with a loss of $42 million a year ago."

Motley Fool likes Vistaprint stock

AOL bills dead people; and they think giving the service away for free will solve their business problems? It's been customer service all along. Oh, and the content stunk too. My life got better the day I quit AOL.

This story from the NYT is a reminder that computers may eliminate the need for actors
Which reminded me of the 1981 movie "Looker"

I love stories about taxes and tax avoidance, because higher tax rates just create schemes to avoid them. Why is there such a hubub over the elimination of the estate tax? What would insurance companies and tax attorneys and estate lawyers do? There's a whole industry built on the creation of trusts and selling of insurance products (like second-to-die insurance, whose sole purpose is to pay estate taxes of heirs, for the most part).
A couple of postings ago, I linked to an article about people leaving France because of taxes. Here's a good one: the Rolling Stones are only paying about 1.6% tax on their multi-decade earnings of more than 242 million pounds!
England has flattened its tax rates over the years, but it's really not flat enough. As long as compliance costs are outweighed by potential taxes, there will be a market for tax avoidance services. When compliance has virtually no cost, and tax rates are low, collections usually skyrocket. Compliance "advice" is only affordable by wealthy tax-avoiders. When I think of how many middle-class families earn their way into the Alternative Minimum Tax and then get slammed with it, it's no wonder they lose their desire to work harder.
Corporate tax attorneys learn how to play this game very well. The idea that there is an industry and a profession built on avoiding taxes, rather than creating wealth through investment in human activity, is really a sad commentary that things have really gotten out of hand, and have been that way for a long time. Low tax rates, taxed at the source of activity, and no taxes on savings, would go a long way to promoting thrift, self-reliance, and entrepreneurship.

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