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There are just a few days left in 2017. So how are you going to spend them? Chances are you’re not rushing to return a bunch of gifts you don’t want. Maybe you’re just too busy scrambling to pay next year’s property taxes. — Sam Schulz
These are the best and worst assets of 2017, from Belize to bitcoin. The riskiest ones generally performed well this year—stocks, emerging-market sovereigns, corporate debt. But those generally seen as the safest bets—think Japanese government bonds—trailed. It was a good year to have bet on bitcoin, obviously, or on copper or Belize government bonds. Not so much for sugar, stocks in Qatar, or securities tied to the Brazilian construction behemoth Odebrecht SA, the epicenter of a continent-spanning corruption scandal.
How to game the tax plan if you’re in a high-tax state? Take on debt. As customers in high-tax states rush to prepay their 2018 property taxes before the new cap on state and local tax deductions takes effect, they’re bombarding their banks with questions. One option: tapping home-equity lines or securities-backed loans to ameliorate the pain of one big payment. Meanwhile, local governments in New York and New Jersey are scrambling to produce 2018 tax bills for their residents after officials ordered them to accept prepaid property taxes.
This year could be the worst ever for billion-dollar U.S. weather disasters. The same year President Donald Trump pulled out of the Paris climate accord and downplayed the threat of climate change, Americans got a reminder of what it can wreak, in the form of a destructive and wildly expensive spate of hurricanes, fires, and floods. Through early October, there were 15 weather events costing upward of $1 billion each—one short of the record set in 2011. But this year’s tally doesn’t include the wildfires ravaging southern California.
The U.S. is becoming the world’s new tax haven, Bloomberg View editors write in a new column. "It’s a distinction that the country would do well to shed," they write. "From a certain perspective, all this might look pretty smart: Shut down foreign tax havens and then steal their business. That would be the kind of thinking that’s undermining America’s standing in so many areas, from trade to climate change. Instead of using its power to establish an equitable system of global governance, it’s demanding a standard from the rest of the world that it refuses to apply to itself. That isn’t leadership."
Will companies use their tax-overhaul windfall on capital investments? A top-down analysis of thousands of companies shows Wall Street expects companies to use the money they make off the law to show their plants and equipment some love. Before, if a company spent $100 on a new printer, it had to deduct the expense over the printer’s entire useful life. Now, under the new legislation, they can expense the whole $100 at once—which could free up millions for companies just as they’re benefiting from a drop in their tax rate.
It's official: Democrat Doug Jones is Alabama's senator-elect. Two weeks after the special election, his victory has been officially certified, over the objections of his opponent Roy Moore, who refused to concede. Jones is the first Democrat to win a Senate race in Alabama in decades. Moore, who has said Muslims should be barred from Congress and who was twice removed from his post as chief justice of the state's Supreme Court, was accused during the campaign of sexual misconduct involving young teenagers.
The best art and food in New Orleans right now. The Prospect.4 arts festival has brought a complex slate of international artists to the Crescent City, just in time for its 300th anniversary. Here’s what you shouldn’t miss—from Odili Donald Odita’s flags to Kara Walker’s pipe organ playing protest music—and the spots where you should stop to eat and drink along the way.