The story of how Ireland became a global hub for tax avoidance, with companies including Google, Apple, Intel and others all taking advantage. Feargal O’Rourke is credited with helping create an environment where companies can come to Ireland to avoid taxes they’d face in their home countries:
“Under no circumstances is Ireland a tax haven,” O’Rourke said recently at his corner office on the River Liffey in Dublin, a ritual stop for many tech companies in their Irish quest. “I’m a player in this game and we play by the rules.”
PUBLISHED: Oct. 28, 2013
LENGTH: 12 minutes (3021 words)
Our story picks of the week, featuring Texas Monthly, Bloomberg Businessweek, New York Times Magazine, Washingtonian and Paris Review, plus a guest pick by Drew Grossman.
Entertaining and infuriating exit interview with New York City's mayor, in which Bloomberg defends the rich, criticizes the current mayoral candidates, and trumpets his record across crime, education and quality of life:
"A common theme in the campaign to succeed you has been that you’ve governed primarily for the rich.
"I’m fascinated by these comments—and it is just campaign rhetoric—suggesting that we haven’t done enough for the poor. The truth of the matter is we’ve done a lot more than anybody else has ever done. The average compensation—income—for the bottom 20 percent is higher than in almost every other city. Of course, the average compensation for the top 20 percent is 25 percent higher than the next four cities. But that’s our tax base. If we can find a bunch of billionaires around the world to move here, that would be a godsend, because that’s where the revenue comes to take care of everybody else.
"Who’s paying our taxes? We pay the highest school costs in the country. It comes from the wealthy! We have an $8.5 billion budget for our Police Department. We’re the safest big city in the country—stop me when you get bored with this! Life expectancy is higher here than in the rest of the country—who’s paying for that? We want these people to come here, and it’s not our job to say that they’re over- or underpaid. I might not pay them the same thing if it was my company—maybe I’d pay them more, I don’t know. All I know is from the city’s point of view, we want these people, and why criticize them? Wouldn’t it be great if we could get all the Russian billionaires to move here?"
PUBLISHED: Sept. 9, 2013
LENGTH: 24 minutes (6130 words)
Our picks this week include BuzzFeed, Mother Jones, The Stranger, Tin House, Bloomberg Businessweek and a guest pick by Sarah Bruning
On the biggest financial fraud in history:
"For years, traders at Deutsche Bank AG, UBS AG, Barclays, RBS and other banks colluded with colleagues responsible for setting the benchmark and their counterparts at other firms to rig the price of money, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg and interviews with two dozen current and former traders, lawyers and regulators. UBS traders went as far as offering bribes to brokers to persuade others to make favorable submissions on their behalf, regulatory filings show.
"Members of the close-knit group of traders knew each other from working at the same firms or going on trips organized by interdealer brokers, which line up buyers and sellers of securities, to French ski resort Chamonix and the Monaco Grand Prix. The manipulation flourished for years, even after bank supervisors were made aware of the system’s flaws."
PUBLISHED: Jan. 28, 2013
LENGTH: 18 minutes (4502 words)
From The Daily Beast's David Sessions, a collection of stories on gun violence and policy in the U.S., featuring The Atlantic, Washington Post, Bloomberg Businessweek and Mother Jones.
A minute-by-minute account of the Supreme Court's ruling on the American Care Act, and how some news organizations got it initially wrong:
"Into his conference call, the CNN producer says (correctly) that the Court has held that the individual mandate cannot be sustained under the Commerce Clause, and (incorrectly) that it therefore 'looks like' the mandate has been struck down. The control room asks whether they can 'go with' it, and after a pause, he says yes.
"The Fox producer reads the syllabus exactly the same way, and reports that the mandate has been invalidated. Asked to confirm that the mandate has been struck down, he responds: '100%.'
"The Bloomberg team finishes its review, having read the Commerce Clause holding and then turned the page to see that the Court accepted the government’s alternative argument that the individual mandate is constitutional under Congress’s tax power. At 10:07:32 – 52 seconds after the Chief Justice began speaking – Bloomberg issues an alert: 'OBAMA’S HEALTH-CARE OVERHAUL UPHELD BY U.S.SUPREME COURT.' Bloomberg is first, and it is right."
PUBLISHED: July 7, 2012
LENGTH: 28 minutes (7137 words)
The amount of money the central bank parceled out was surprising even to Gary H. Stern, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis from 1985 to 2009, who says he “wasn’t aware of the magnitude.” It dwarfed the Treasury Department’s better-known $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. Add up guarantees and lending limits, and the Fed had committed $7.77 trillion as of March 2009 to rescuing the financial system, more than half the value of everything produced in the U.S. that year.
PUBLISHED: Nov. 27, 2011
LENGTH: 16 minutes (4085 words)
A Bloomberg Markets investigation has found that Koch Industries — in addition to being involved in improper payments to win business in Africa, India and the Middle East — has sold millions of dollars of petrochemical equipment to Iran, a country the U.S. identifies as a sponsor of global terrorism. Internal company documents show that the company made those sales through foreign subsidiaries, thwarting a U.S. trade ban. Koch Industries units have also rigged prices with competitors, lied to regulators and repeatedly run afoul of environmental regulations, resulting in five criminal convictions since 1999 in the U.S. and Canada.
PUBLISHED: Oct. 2, 2011
LENGTH: 28 minutes (7127 words)