US Tax Rates, 1916-2010

From Visualizing Economics, we see this spectacular depiction of the top Marginal Tax Rates in the US, from 1916-2010, for Personal Income, Corporate, and Capital Gains tax rates:


click for larger version

Ginormous version here

Category: Digital Media, Taxes and Policy

Economic data

After falling 10 pts in March to 67.5, the preliminary April UoM confidence figure was 69.6, slightly above expectations of 68.8. A one point decline in Current Conditions was more than offset by a 3 pt gain in the Economic Outlook. Importantly, one year inflation expectations held steady at 4.6%, the most since Aug ’08….Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Africa in Black & White

Africa Black and White

Category: Travel, Weekend


China reported that March CPI rose 5.4% y/o/y, above expectations of 5.2% and the most since July ’08. The immediate stock market response was lower but the Shanghai index ended up closing slightly higher on the day. The Indian Sensex though fell 1.6% after wholesale prices rose 8.98% y/o/y, above forecasts of 8.36%. Also in…Read More

Category: MacroNotes

Why Not Prosecute Nonfeasant Regulators?

The “Datapoint of the Day” comes from the NYT column we referenced yesterday: The mind-boggling drop in Justice Department criminal referrals over the past decade. I find this specific factoid astounding: “Data supplied by the Justice Department and compiled by a group at Syracuse University show that over the last decade, regulators have referred substantially…Read More

Category: Bailout Nation, Bailouts, Legal, Really, really bad calls, Regulation

Minsky Conference Update

From an institutional sales desk that must remain anonymous ~~~ There something very unnerving about this Minsky conference and I may be getting closer to putting my finger on what that is. There are myriad differences between adherents of the Austrian School of economics (“Austrians” from now on) and Minskians, who view themselves as a…Read More

Category: Bailouts, Philosophy, Think Tank


April 14, 2011
David R. Kotok



Situated on the southern coast of Sicily, the city of Agrigento embraces the ruins of the ancient city of Akragas, established 2500 years ago by Greek colonists. The geography of the area allowed Akragas to become a prominent, well-defended city during the Golden Age. According to our local archaeological guide, Luigi Napoli, its population of 150-250,000 was fourth largest in the ancient world, behind Athens, Siracusa, and Corinth, respectively. Through to the Middle Ages, the city survived many wars and many occupiers.

What is most remarkable is the archaeological site, the Valle dei Templi. This acropolis has seven structures, constructed of yellow sandstone and in the Doric style. Undoubtedly the best preserved is the Temple of Concordia, or Harmony. It stands without reconstruction, just as it has for over two millennia. It is a testament to the grandeur of the ancient world. Built on a rock formation, the temple remains intact, as an underground layer of clay functions as a shock absorber, protecting it from earthquakes. In addition to this natural defense, the edifice was converted into a Catholic church dedicated to Saints Peter and Paul during the medieval period, continuing its conservation. Today, we can appreciate its beauty and history as it lies entire before us.

One can observe in Agrigento the play of history from pre-Hellenistic times, when local tribes were the occupants, through to the present day, as discussed in our last commentary. As did the ancients, we create monuments and documents that will become remnants and memories. We do so, only for scholars to pour over them in the attempt to interpret their meanings, decades, centuries, and even millennia after their creation.

And so, in that spirit, our economics discussions continue here.

Today we focused on an issue involving currencies and the current status of oil markets. The issue derives from the fact that oil producers tend to allocate their reserves against an index or other proportion, and plan accordingly in the deployment of their reserves. Since the producers are mostly Middle Eastern or North African, those reserves tend to have some political bias. In some cases, it is against the dollar and in favor of other currencies and assets. The same thing happens with Asian reserves, which tend to lean in favor of the dollar in greater proportion. The difference between the two creates an interrelationship among currencies, their exchange rates, and various levels of economic activity and price change throughout the world.

Read More

Category: Think Tank

I’ve Got Some Good News & Some Bad News . . .

That’s what my accountant said before he dropped the bombshell: “You owe Uncle Sam. Big. Ugly. Write a check. Lots of zeros.” “How much?” “Well, pea brain, you get all these 1099s for book royalties and speaking engagements and the blog. You don’t pay withholding (as I asked you last year and you ignored me)….Read More

Category: Taxes and Policy

Late-Week Reads

My top 10 reads for today • History bodes ill for stock market (Marketwatch) • 9 Things The Rich Don’t Want You To Know About Taxes (Willamette Week) • Martin Wolf: The radical right and the US state ( • How to Pay No Taxes (Business Week) • Why One Contrarian Looks Beyond Earnings (Forbes)…Read More

Category: Financial Press

Algo Monkey

I don’t know why — maybe because we’ve all met Institutional sales guys who sound JUST LIKE THIS –  but this is way too funny: > click for live algo chatting monkey: “You’ll be beating the hi-Freqs!”

Category: Trading