IT MAY BE A “PSYCHOLOGICAL TACTIC” BUT DOES THAT MEAN THAT WE NEED BIG BROTHER TO PROTECT US FROM IT?
I started reading this report because it referred to a proposal by the British Parliament’s Health Committee to impose a 20% surcharge on “sugary drinks,” but then I came to this statement about another proposal:
“[S]upermarkets would be banned from placing sweets and less healthy foods at the end of aisles and at the checkout, a psychological tactic commonly used to increase sales of those particular items.”
So the government of Britain is proposing to control where products are placed in the supermarket, because where certain products are placed is a “psychological tactic” that the citizens of that country need their government to protect them from.
I have been telling my family that I expect to have a self-driving car before I die. They scoff, but at least they don’t hoot, at me.
A recent post on the Antiplanner blog provides a more thoughtful discussion of the subject. The author predicts that sales of self-driving cars will begin by 2020 and that they will be the dominant form of transportation “within not much more than a decade after that.”
I can live with that. I think there’s a decent chance I will still be around. I do wish they would hurry up, though.
Volvo is apparently the latest entrant in the race to produce an autonomous vehicle. They say they will produce 100 of them in 2017.
The car has three modes, including one in which a 25-inch flat screen monitor pops up from the dashboard.
I like the illustration showing the “driver” in a reclining seat, reading a book.
Hat tip: Instapundit.
According to a recent analysis by the Treasury Inspector General For Tax Administration (TIGTA), for federal income tax returns filed in calendar year 2013, “audit coverage” (which I think means the percentage of returns actually audited) was under 2% for incomes in the range of $200,000 to $399,999, and increased with each incremental increase in income, to a high of 12.1% for returns of $5,000,000 and over.
As for the “productivity” of IRS audits (which was the purpose of the analysis), the “recommended dollars per audit hour” (meaning the ratio of the amount of additional tax recommended by the auditors to the number of auditor hours expended) ranged from $605 per audit hour for returns in the $200,000 to $399,999 bracket, to $4,545 per audit hour for returns of $5,000,000 and over, again generally increasing with each incremental increase in income (although not linearly).
The TIGTA’s point was that auditing higher-income taxpayers produces more results, that is, more tax assessed per hour expended, so the IRS should concentrate its audit resources on higher-income taxpayers. Makes sense to me.
Via TaxProf Blog.
Actually, I don’t think the references in the Thomas Dolby songs, Europa and the Pirate Twins and Eastern Bloc (Europa and the Pirate Twins Part II), have anything to do with the moon of Jupiter, but it made me think of those songs when I read an article on arstechnica.com about a planned mission to that strange, unique celestial body.
While I’m on the subject of frequently asked questions concerning personal property, the best way to handle your collectibles and family heirlooms in your estate plan is to have a provision for a personal property list in your will, then make a detailed list of the items and who is to receive each item. The list doesn’t have to include every single item. Any items that are left off will be included in the gift of the rest of your estate (the residue).
You can identify items by category, but if there’s any possibility for uncertainty about whether a category does or does not include a particular item, it might be better to make a specific reference to that item.
I wrote about this subject in more detail in a recent Estate Planning Law Report. You can find it in the publications section of my firm’s web site, here.
Although I have been under the impression that their popularity has declined, I still get questions about U. S. savings bonds. The government stopped issuing paper savings bonds at the end of 2011, but you can still buy them electronically through the U. S. Treasury’s TreasuryDirect program.
The question I get most frequently is, of course, how to transfer bonds that were issued in the name of a person who is now deceased. First, I’ll tell you how to avoid this problem: register your bonds with two owners, or one owner with a beneficiary, or with your trust as the owner.
If the bonds are registered to a deceased individual owner without a co-owner or a beneficiary, they can still be redeemed, but it’s more complicated. The process depends on whether or not a personal representative has been (or will be) appointed for the estate of the deceased individual owner. There are instructions on the web site of TreasuryDirect. Look for FS Publications 0064 and 0065.
I’m interested in tech news, mostly because both of my sons are tech guys, but I don’t claim to really be able to keep up with it. This item, about a web-connected TV that automatically tracks the user’s viewing habits unless the user opts out, caught my eye. I must say, though, that I’m not particularly surprised. I’m actually more surprised that, according to the item, other smart TVs apparently don’t track you unless you opt in.
Although I still agree with the view that it’s not a big enough line item to justify all the attention it gets, and therefore don’t recommend that you waste a lot of time on it, I understand "carried interest" better after reading this blog post and the linked items.
Basically, it’s about whether what amounts to commissions, paid to hedge fund managers if the funds they manage increase in value, should be treated as ordinary income or as capital gains.
Here’s the best comparison I could think of: are those commissions the same as if the fund managers had invested their own money in the fund, or are they like contingent fees that a lawyer earns if there’s a recovery on a contingent fee claim?
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.