There are 17 different things a guy can do when he lies to give him away, but there are only seven and a half things you need to know today. Here they are:
Thing One: We’re The Taxmen: Corporate taxes. Is there any more pressing, more worrying issue in the country right now? What? There is? Well, anyway, who cares, let’s talk about them for a while, because the two gentlemen who will likely thumb-wrestle each other to be our president in November have each in the past 24 hours tossed off plans to solve the weighty issue of corporate taxes. President Obama wants to cut the overall corporate tax rate while closing loopholes for some cheapskate industries, for jobs. Except then those industries paying higher rates will claim they can’t create as many jobs! It’s a zero-sum game. Also, it’s a game, pure and simple, because none of these things are getting done this year, notes Binyamin Appelbaum in the New York Times. Mitt Romney, meanwhile, tore his eyes away from Michigan trees and lakes for two seconds to bang out a Wall Street Journal op-ed saying he will just stone-cold cut the corporate tax rate, loopholes be damned, and then the deficit will magically close, because Arthur Laffer said so. And then he did a victory dance on Rick Santorum in the tragically last Republican debate of this election.
Thing Two: Ach Du Lieber: You probably don’t remember this, but at one point earlier this year everybody got kind of excited about the possibility that maybe Europe might not sink into a recession. Well, so much for that! Europe is sinking into a recession, but a gentle, mild one, the EU admitted today. A case of the economic sniffles, if you will. Europe’s never-ending debt problems are the reason why, and as a reminder today several European banks said they had taken losses on account of the Greek debt crisis. Meanwhile, Germany, always playing the role of the comforting nurturer, said it had a “nein, nein, nein” plan for increasing the size of the European bailout fund.
Thing Three: Claims Casino: Today the Labor Department gives its weekly count of the number of people who trudged down to the local unemployment office to sign up for benefits. Economists think 355,000 people did that last week, according to Briefing.com, up from a shockingly low (compared to expectations, anyway) 348,000 the week before. That’s a lot of jobless people, but it’s at least better than the 650,000 claims we saw at the worst of the recession.
Thing Four: Regulatin’: Mary Schapiro of the SEC wants to put a curb on high-frequency trading, she told The Wall Street Journal over breakfast recently. This is the practice wherein stock-trading robots swap stocks in a matter of milliseconds, which is totally safe most of the time, except for when it creates a sucking black hole in the middle of the universe. But only occasionally! Most of the time, it provides “liquidity,” the industry insists. Also, Gary Gensler of the CFTC wants to do something about credit-default swaps and holds a hearing about that today.
Thing Five: Google Goggles: So Google wants to sell you goggles so that you can use your face to surf the Interwebs and take pictures of unsuspecting strangers on the subway, simply with a few shakes of your corn-syrup-filled neck. What a wonderful, totally not at all dystopic world in which we live! But Debbie Downer, a/k/a Nick Bilton of the New York Times, suggests there might be a few privacy concerns with such a device.
Thing Six: Hewlett-Packard Reboot: Hewlett-Packard shares took a beating overnight after the computer maker warned its fiscal second quarter, which ends in April, will be worse than analysts expected. Apparently people aren’t buying as many computers as they used to. Or servers, printers, or storage devices.
Thing Seven: Volcker Vultures: If the Volcker Rule, the part of Dodd-Frank that tells banks not to gamble all their money on the ponies, crashes and burns, it will be because of its hopeless complexity. And that hopeless complexity is a feature, not a bug, that the banks had built into the rule, with lobbying, so that they could then complain about it loudly. ProPublica’s Jesse Eisinger and Bloomberg’s Yalman Onaran each have must-read takes on this today. Wear your Outrage Pants.
Thing Seven And One Half: No, Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber and Chris Brown did not get tickets to see 1980s krautrock legends Kraftwerk at MOMA. Silly internets. Also, the Knicks won again last night, helping me fulfill my lifelong dream of getting Kim Kardashian, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown and Jeremy Lin into one post.