Handy Guide to Exercising Your Right to Pay Taxes: Opening Line

Today your subsidy to the liberal-elite big government freeloading Obamacare machine has to be in the mail. You’re convinced your tax burden is ludicrous, probably worse than most.

To celebrate (sort of) the day, the wonks over at BNA, through Bloomberg.com, have put together an overview of tax obligation broken down by states, so you can see just how good or bad you have it.

Did you know Alabama taxes beer? (Criminal.) In Connecticut, home of the highest income per capita, they tax Social Security income. Wait, wasn’t that a tax to begin with? Florida has no personal income tax, inheritance tax or estate tax, but then they don’t really have anything you could really call viable public education, either.

Enjoy the slideshow, and get to the post office before midnight.


The Wall Street Journal got its hands on the pass-fail rate on the Series 63 exam, a test administered by U.S. state regulators that’s required for a securities license, and finds the failure rate commensurate with disciplinary troubles.

More than 50,000 stockbrokers have failed the test once, and those who failed more than twice were 77 percent more likely to report a felony or misdemeanor and 55 percent more likely to have been fired.

The story quotes Finra Chairman and Chief Executive Richard Ketchum as saying the results of the story might motivate Finra to provide more of that information to the public.


Ukraine’s government appears to have made its move, after being called out by the New York Times overnight for letting a deadline on military action pass. Ukrainian forces have been mobilized against pro-Russian separatist militants that have seized territory in the country’s eastern region.


March inflation data in the U.K. moved away from the Bank of England’s 2 percent target, falling to 1.6 percent from 1.7 percent in February, its lowest level in 4 1/2 years.

Investor confidence in Germany fell for the fourth consecutive month in April, to 43.2 from 46.6 in March and below economists’ average forecast of 45. In December, the reading was 62.

In the U.S., we’ll get CPI and Empire manufacturing at 8:30 a.m. Washington time, and TIC flows at 9 a.m.


Tens of millions of defective cars are on the road right now because their owners are either unaware or unmotivated or unwilling to bring the vehicles back for recall repairs that, in many cases, would be performed free of charge.

As General Motors keeps sorting through the wreckage of its botched recall culture, ace auto reporter Jeff Green relates the plight of those automakers who, try as they might, can’t get owners to bring their cars in after a recall.

How bad is their plight? Green is guilty of what he’s reporting in today’s Cars column.

“I had one of these recalls that’s mentioned in the story myself for -- I think waited two years because I just didn’t want to deal with the hassle of the dealership,” he says. “And the car could catch on fire even if it wasn’t on. It was that serious of a recall. I was just, like, ‘Ugh, I don’t want to go into the dealer. They’re going to try to fix something that I don’t need fixed, the car’s never been into a dealer while I’ve owned it.’ But then I kind of realized how stupid I was being.”

So while we can’t always count on the automakers to recall the cars, as we’ve learned, the least we could do is cooperate when they do recall them.


Money supply figures from China overnight show foreign-exchange reserves rose to $3.95 trillion, confirming recent intervention to weaken the yuan. So what?, Willie Pesek asks.

Bloomberg View’s columnist in Asia finds three reasons to justify China’s currency manip-- eh, trading: curbing capital inflow, the fact that Japan is essentially doing the same thing, and “the desperate need for growth.”

It’s not just China that needs its economic growth, Pesek notes, while the U.S. and others at the same time call for a stronger yuan.

“The world can’t have it both ways,” he writes. “If China is to do its part to rebalance global growth, we need to meet the Chinese halfway.”

Tomorrow we’ll get a better picture of that growth when China releases GDP figures.


First limes, and now shrimp. A disease appropriately called early mortality syndrome is wiping them out in Southeast Asia and has sent prices to a 14-year high, jumping 61 percent in March alone from a year earlier.

Some restaurant chains are absorbing the rising price, others are passing it along to customers. At Noodles & Co., the cost of adding shrimp to a pasta dish or a pad thai has risen to $3.34 from $2.59.

“It’s coming at a tough time for the industry,” said Andrew Barish, a San Francisco-based analyst at Jefferies LLC. “With the Lenten season, what you’ll see out there is a lot of promotions with seafood, and usually shrimp is a big part of that.”

Just a few weeks ago we told you about the mighty Mexican lime cartel, which is controlling supply to boost the price of the citrus fruit (ubiquitous also in Thai cooking) just as margarita season ratchets up.

We understand not everyone is dining with an unlimited budget, but 75 cents? This is a deal-breaker?


In Brazil, publicizing a chief executive’s salary could get the CEO killed. That’s the argument of José Roberto de Castro Neves, the lawyer for the Brazilian Institute of Finance Executives who is fighting efforts there to provide the same transparency to compensation figures found in the U.S. or U.K.

Some CEOs in the U.S. “don’t even have walls around their homes,” he tells Christiana Sciaudone for our Corporate Brazil column today. “Here in Brazil, we live in bullet-proof cars, in another environment. You can’t import everything -- you have to look at our realities.”

Institutional Shareholder Services, which cites the lack of information for its recommendation that shareholders reject a pay package for executives and directors at Embraer, remains skeptical.

“As evolved and as sophisticated as some of the criminal groups might be in Brazil, I seriously doubt that kidnappers are reading proxy statements,” an ISS representative says.

They are now.


As we gather around family tables this week to celebrate Passover and Easter, it’s worth revisiting a story Chris Mooney wrote in Mother Jones a couple years go about why people believe what they believe and won’t believe what you want them to believe.

Take an issue, any issue, that divides people. Doesn’t matter what your politics are: global warming, Sept. 11 was an inside job, JFK’s assassination was an inside job, the mortgage-bond meltdown was an inside job (well, that one was kind of true), UFOs, whatever.

In a bit of irony, you have been scientifically proven to distrust science if it doesn’t already mesh with your beliefs. Mooney opens with the tale of the Seekers, a 1950s-era cult who believed, in short, they were communicating with aliens who revealed the date of the world’s end. When the world failed to end, they said they received a new message saying their belief in the first message had saved the world. Genius.

“According to research by Yale Law School professor Dan Kahan and his colleagues, people’s deep-seated views about morality, and about the way society should be ordered, strongly predict whom they consider to be a legitimate scientific expert in the first place -- and thus where they consider ‘scientific consensus’ to lie on contested issues.”

This is one among many studies the article cites. So, when the coffee comes to chase down those last swigs of wine, the conviviality at the table a dims a bit and the uncomfortable conversation is about to start, just accept that your dad’s not going to buy your argument.


You may not always like the news you read (see above) -- and before the re-emergence of the partisan press, combined with the electronic delivery, it wasn’t always like this. Like it or not, you have to acknowledge the courage it can require to report it.

The courage we refer to isn’t limited to entering war zones or terrorist nations where photojournalists cover elections at their peril. Sometimes it requires going up against your own government, unaware of every potential consequence but still forging ahead. No one does it better than the U.S. press, and -- latest NSA developments aside for the moment -- it’s one thing that makes this a great country.

Sometimes being a reporter requires the courage to wade into chaos where peace reigned a second earlier and then the courage to gather the stories of those victimized in the chaos, just when those telling the stories are in the peak of their agony.

The Guardian and Washington Post pushed the button on a story (stories) no one wanted to believe could be true. The Boston Globe rose to the awful task of informing and healing its wounded city. And the Pulitzer Prize committee probably displayed some courage of its own in recognizing their work yesterday.


On the anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing, police in London are still looking for Mami Konneh Lahun, a Sierra Leone woman who finished as 20th female in the London Marathon on Sunday and hasn’t been seen since.

Scotland Yard had released a statement yesterday saying Lahun, 24, had been found safe, then retracted it.

Here’s hoping.

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