Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Boris Johnson Plays Chicken over Brexit amid Welsh No-deal Rulings

Trump's Threat to Tax French Wines Labelled 'Completely Moronic'

THE GUARDIAN: Retaliatory proposal follows France’s announced levy for US technology companies

A threat by Donald Trump to tax French wines in retaliation to a proposed levy aimed at big US technology companies is “completely moronic”, France’s agriculture minister has said.

French plans to place a 3% tax on the “GAFAs” – Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple – drew an angry response from the US president, who warned last week that his administration would announce “substantial reciprocal action”.

“They shouldn’t have done this,” Trump told reporters. “I told them, I said, ‘Don’t do it because if you do it, I’m going to tax your wine.’” He added that, despite being teetotal, he had always preferred American wine to French wine.

On Tuesday, the French agriculture minister, Didier Guillaume, hit back, telling BFM TV: “It’s absurd, in terms of having a political and economic debate, to say that if you tax the GAFAs, I’ll tax wine. It’s completely moronic.

“American wine is not better than French wine,” he added. » | Reuters | Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Friday, 26 July 2019

Trump Threatens Tariffs against 'Foolish' Macron

BBC: US President Donald Trump has accused French President Emmanuel Macron of "foolishness" over a digital services tax, and hinted that he would tax French wine in retaliation.

Mr Trump voiced his anger in a Tweet on Friday, in response to French plans to tax multinational firms like Google.

French authorities argue that the firms pay little or no corporate tax in countries where they are not based.

The Trump administration has said the tax unfairly targets US tech giants.

"France just put a digital tax on our great American technology companies. If anybody taxes them, it should be their home Country, the US," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.

"We will announce a substantial reciprocal action on Macron's foolishness shortly. I've always said American wine is better than French wine!"

Asked about the issue in the Oval Office later, Mr Trump, who is teetotal, said: "I've always liked American wines better than French wines. Even though I don't drink wine. I just like the way they look." » | BBC | Friday, July 26, 2019

The Guardian View on Boris Johnson’s Government: Of the Rich, For the Rich?

THE GUARDIAN: If the Conservative party wants to win over large sections of the poor then it will have to tackle the damagingly high levels of inequality in the UK

One the eve of the 2015 election, one that most pollsters thought David Cameron would not win, Boris Johnson gave perhaps the most interesting and insightful interview of his career. Sensing the ball was about to come loose from the back of the scrum, as Mr Johnson might put it, he told the Spectator magazine that the Conservatives were finished if they continued to be seen as defenders of the rich and, particularly, the privileged. He argued that “the wealth gap has been allowed to get too big” and is now “outrageous”. His post-mortem assumed that Mr Cameron was politically a dead man walking and about to be felled in a living standards election. Not for the first time, Mr Johnson’s timing failed him.

Mr Cameron won. Mr Johnson had to wait another four years before he got his chance to run the country. His instincts, however, were right. The Tories are seen as “for themselves”, “out of touch” and for rich families and pinstriped City workers. Voters don’t look at the Conservatives and see themselves. Yet Mr Johnson campaigned to become Tory leader on a platform of tax cuts for the rich combined with a staunch defence of bankers. He was bankrolled by billionaires and hedge fund managers. Mr Johnson’s outreach to the rich was understandable given that six out of seven of the voters he was canvassing do not believe that government should redistribute income from the better-off to those who are less well-off. That explains why Mr Johnson has backed the Laffer curve, a discredited theory that claims lower tax rates for the rich will lead to higher tax revenues. » | Editorial | Friday, July 26, 2019

"Karl Marx Was Right" (2013)

Wednesday, 24 July 2019

Free Ports Favoured by Boris Johnson Are Money-laundering Threat – EU

THE GUARDIAN: European commission warns against Singapore-style tax-free zones backed by incoming UK PM

The Singapore-style tax-free zones favoured by Boris Johnson have been identified as a money-laundering threat by Brussels.

In a report on money laundering, the European commission named free ports for the first time as a concept “potentially vulnerable to money laundering or terrorism financing” in the European single market. “Golden passport” schemes promoted by some EU countries, professional football and private ATM machines were also put on the commission’s watch list, which totals 47 goods and services.

Free ports are “the new emerging threat”, said the European justice commissioner, Věra Jourová. “This is something we want to focus more on.” » | Jennifer Rankin in Brussels | Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Sunday, 21 July 2019

Change in No 10 Will Not Alter Brexit Reality, Warns Irish Deputy PM

THE GUARDIAN: Simon Coveney says there is no chance of backstop being scrapped under new UK leader

A change in British prime minister will not shift the fundamental realities of Brexit, Ireland’s deputy PM has warned, saying there is no chance of the EU ditching or watering down the Irish backstop.

Wholesale changes to Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement have been suggested by some as a way of avoiding a no-deal Brexit, but Coveney told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday: “If the approach of the new British prime minister is that they’re going to tear up the withdrawal agreement, I think we’re in trouble. I think we’re all in trouble, quite frankly.

“That’s like saying, ‘Either give me what I want or I’m going to burn the house down for everybody’.”

A no-deal departure would not be the fault of the EU, Coveney said, but would be entirely down to UK political considerations. If it happened, he added, Ireland would need to impose some form of border checks with Northern Ireland to safeguard its position in the EU single market.

He said: “Just because there’s a change in personality as British prime minister doesn’t mean that the negotiation of the last three years and the solutions that were designed by the British government as much as by the EU aren’t still as relevant and important today as they were six or eight weeks ago.” » | Peter Walker, Political correspondent | Sunday, July 21, 2019

Friday, 19 July 2019

Beware, Fellow Plutocrats, the Pitchforks Are Coming | Nick Hanauer

Nick Hanauer is a rich guy, an unrepentant capitalist — and he has something to say to his fellow plutocrats: Wake up! Growing inequality is about to push our societies into conditions resembling pre-revolutionary France. Hear his argument about why a dramatic increase in minimum wage could grow the middle class, deliver economic prosperity ... and prevent a revolution.

Thursday, 18 July 2019

Steve Keen Says US Heading for 2020 Recession

September 19, 2018 -- Steve Keen, professor of economics at Kingston University, discusses inequality, Federal Reserve policy, house prices and the U.S. economy. He speaks on "Bloomberg Surveillance."

Friday, 12 July 2019

Greg Clark: No-Deal Brexit Would Destroy 'Thousands' of Jobs

THE GUARDIAN: Business secretary’s warning comes as peers back bid to stop new PM proroguing Commons

A no-deal Brexit would lead to the loss of “many thousands” of jobs, the business secretary has warned.

Greg Clark urged Tory MPs to “strain every sinew to avoid“ crashing out of the EU under the next prime minister, with leadership rivals Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt both saying they would be prepared to leave the bloc on 31 October without a deal.

They face a battle to force through their commitments, however, as MPs and peers launch tactical bids to block any attempt to prorogue parliament in order to force through a no-deal Brexit.

Clark told Sky News on Friday that the disruption of a no-deal departure would lead to job losses. “It’s evident that if you have the disruption that comes from a no-deal Brexit there will be people that will lose their jobs. It’s many thousands of jobs. Everyone knows that.” » | Seth Jacobson and agencies | Friday, July 12, 2019

Monday, 1 July 2019

Jeremy Hunt Sparks Business Anger with No-deal Brexit Comment

THE GUARDIAN: Tory leadership hopeful says he would tell bankrupt firms their sacrifice was worth it

Business groups have expressed anger after Jeremy Hunt said he would willingly tell people whose companies went bust after a no-deal Brexit that their sacrifice had been necessary.

In a notable escalation of his rhetoric on Brexit, the foreign secretary, who is trailing Boris Johnson in the Conservative leadership election, also said he would actively pursue no deal if a new departure plan looked impossible by the start of October – less than 10 weeks after the new prime minister takes office.

Hunt’s shift towards the harder language associated with Johnson, who has promised to deliver Brexit by 31 October “do or die”, has alarmed some fellow Conservatives. A senior party source said it was “shocking to hear an allegedly sensible politician talk so frivolously about the livelihoods of millions of people”. » | Peter Walker, Political correspondent | Sunday, June 30, 2019