Digest – August 6 2010

Late but like, wahevz. As my 16 year old cousin may say.

HOME

Markham Nolan is blogging his way through east Africa while on a Simon Cumbers Fund media funded. Would make a lovely short-term column, I say.

Monopoly houses set to float down the Liffey, Dublin Observer reports.

Ciaran Cuffe advocates property tax in blog musing, according to the Sunday Tribune, then deletes the post. It’s still in the Google Cache though, his exact words were…

A huge challenge over the coming months is how we close the gap between the State’s income and expenditure. Either way it looks as though we have to narrow the budget gap by another three billion euro next year. An additional increase in income tax on working families would be hugely challenging, and perhaps we should instead be considering some kind of domestic charge, as we had prior to the ‘give-away’ budget of 1977.

There’s no easy way to fill the gap, but an alternative to a hike in income tax rates on middle income earners would be to take the radical step of abolishing (or dramatically reducing) stamp duty on homes and introduce an annual levy based on the size of the house. Maybe large homes could pay €600 a year, medium sized home €400 and smaller home €200. How would you define this? A home over 200 sq.m might be at the larger end of things, and under 100 sq. m could be in the smaller category. It all could be done by self-assessment. If home-owners couldn’t pay, then the levy could remain as a charge on the home when it eventually changed hands.

I’d say such a charge could raise the guts of several hundred million, and would be more equitable than a rise in income tax. The beauty of such a scheme is that it could be implemented quickly without a cumbersome State led assessment of each property. Another advantage would be that it would allow people to move home when they wish without an excessive tax burden.

Story from last week; ‘Nama to decide on future of funding for Anglo building‘.

Anglo HQ, Docklands

Alternative headline, ‘Nama to decide on completion of half-built office block owned by tax-payer in centre of mass of empty office blocks’. Leave it as it is and turn it into a museum. Primary school classes can take tours around it as guides explain in hushed tones about the extinct species of property agents and Celtic Tigers. ‘A monument to folly’, as Gav christened it as we walked past it one night.

McGarr on regulators.

Stephen Kinsella on the transformation of private debt into public debt.

Gormley, incinerators and the constitution. PucktownLane has an interesting take.

Karl Whelan; Anglo’s plan to save sub-ordinated debt holders.

WORLD

John Cassidy on Ben Bernanke’s changing Lehman’s story.

Ta-Nehsisi Coates; Osama Bin Laden as a protagonist.

[…] My sense is that video games will have to confront this, at some point. They probably already are. A video game told from the perspective of a Taliban insurgent isn’t likely any time soon. Which is too bad. I think that’s exactly the kind of video game that might help us get to some emotional truths about the past ten years.

Ezra Klein; achievements matter

What Brooks seems to be offering is a trade: Do less stuff, hold more seats. Now, Brooks doesn’t think the health-care bill was a good bill, but Obama does, and most Democrats do. I’m not really sure what Brooks thinks of the stimulus plan’s long-term infrastructure investments, but Obama and his team thought they were extremely important to the economy’s long-term growth prospects. A universal health-care bill and hundreds of billions in much-needed, long-term investments in exchange for 15 or 20 House seats? Well, what are supermajorities for, if not making that precise trade?

Paul Carr on new new new journalism.

This is something that really bugs Penenberg. And it bugs me too. So much so, I forget to take notes for the next few minutes as we rail against how today’s news journalists are expected to churn out half a dozen stories a day, often with little-to-no fact checking, simply to make sure they’re first with every tiny development. Whether they’re right, or whether they’re missing a wider, bigger, more important, story becomes secondary. Fuck it, we can always go back and edit.

OTHER

The kind of quality you can expect to get from your digital camera in five or ten, maybe fifteen, years time. Fast forward to about 6 minutes, check out the water. 1080p… 1500 fps. 1500 fps, you read that right.

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