10 Friday AM Reads

My end of week morning train WFH reads:

The Corporate Tax Burden: Facts and Fiction To understand how taxes affect markets, begin by laying out the pathways through which corporate taxes affect company value, and then look at how the 2017 tax reform act, which lowered the federal tax rate from 35% to 21%, has affected corporate behavior. (Damodaran Musings on Market) see also Joe Biden Declares War on Tax Havens – in Europe, Too U.S. President Joe Biden is calling for a minimum corporate tax rate of 21 percent for companies. But countries like Ireland and Luxembourg have established a lucrative revenue stream through big breaks for multinationals. A number of EU countries could soon feel the pinch. (Spiegel)

The Two Most Underappreciated Forces Driving Markets Today Target date retirement funds collectively manage roughly $3 trillion. These funds didn’t exist in the past. People were more or less flying blind when it came to retirement planning with their money. This same thing is happening to baby boomer portfolios that are self-managed or managed by financial advisors as well. (Wealth of Common Sense)

The cost of a single tulip bulb surged to the same price as a mansion 400 years ago: are NFTs the ‘tulipmania’ of the 21st century? Similarities between the new digital technology craze in the art world and the surge in value of tulips in 17th-century Holland suggest that it could all end in (real) tears (Art Newspaper)

Just because you can work from home doesn’t mean you’ll be allowed to This summer, offices are opening on an optional basis  with expectations for workers to be present this fall. The most flexibility will go to high-skilled knowledge workers, whose jobs are mediated by computer. They will be much more likely than before the pandemic to be allowed to work from home at least some of the time in what’s called the hybrid work model. But everything from which employees can work from home to the number of days they can do so will depend on a number of factors, including their job, company, and industry. (Recode)

CR Engineers Show a Tesla Will Drive With No One in the Driver’s Seat Consumer Reports engineers easily tricked our Tesla Model Y this week so that it could drive on Autopilot, the automaker’s driver assistance feature, without anyone in the driver’s seat—a scenario that would present extreme danger if it were repeated on public roads. Over several trips across our half-mile closed test track, our Model Y automatically steered along painted lane lines, but the system did not send out a warning or indicate in any way that the driver’s seat was empty. (Consumer Reports)

Why Dogecoin Is the Meme Stock of the Cryptocurrency Universe This week’s surge may appear confounding. How can a joke be worth so much? FOMO has a lot to do with it. “People are trying to recapture that magic that Bitcoin created for those who were there early,” said Michael O’Rourke, chief market strategist at JonesTrading. “The key differentiator here is Bitcoin is going to be capped, there’s going to be a limited number of coins.” (Bloomberg) see also The destructive green fantasy of the bitcoin fanatics A bunch of people who have attached their names to a destructive asset class desperately trying to reverse ferret without actually reverse ferreting. Or, as it’s known in the industry, “greenwashing.” (Financial Times Alphaville)

We know a lot about Covid-19. Experts have many more questions Less than a year and a half ago, the world was blissfully, dangerously ignorant of the existence of a coronavirus that would soon turn life on earth on its head. In the 16 months since the SARS-CoV-2 virus burst into the global consciousness, we’ve learned much about this new health threat. People who contract the virus are infectious before they develop symptoms and are most infectious early in their illness. Getting the public to wear masks can reduce transmission. Vaccines can be developed, tested, and put into use within months. (Stat)

How TikTok Chooses Which Songs Go Viral The app’s hits seem to emerge organically, but the success of artists like Megan Thee Stallion reveals a highly managed curation process. (BusinessWeek)

Astronomers find an exoplanet where an exoplanet shouldn’t be It’s orbiting a star that will one day be very much like the Sun. But it’s orbiting at least 16.5 billion kilometers from the star — 110 times farther from its star as Earth is from the Sun, with a mass between 5 and 8 times that of Jupiter (Syfy Wire)

51 years of environmental victories, in photos Clean skies the world experienced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. As people holed up at home and vehicles vacated the roads, annual global energy-related emissions fell 5.8 percent, more than in any year since WWII, according to the International Energy Agency. The cleaner air was just one of the things about this strange and terrible year that made many people think harder about how humans manage the global environment—and about the possibility and urgent need of doing better (National Geographic)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business next week with Jack Brennan, former CEO and Chairman of the Vanguard Group. When Vanguard founder and investment legend John Bogle decided to step down as CEO, Brennan was his hand-picked successor for the job, and ran the firm from 1996-2008.


Post TCJA tax cuts, USA was last in corporate tax revenues as a share of GDP

Source: OECD via United States Senate Committee on Finance


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