Despite the 2020 malaise, holiday season is in full swing, and we expect you’re on your best behavior to make Santa’s nice list. But there’s one famous guy who works harder than anyone else to be naughty this time of year, even in 2020 — and that’s everyone’s favorite Dr. Seuss anti-hero, the Grinch. We… Read More

The Time: July 25, 1965. The Place: The Newport Folk Festival. Master of Ceremonies Peter Yarrow steps out to introduce the singer-songwriter sensation Bob Dylan. Festival organizers are perplexed as they watch his crew setting up heavy equipment. Then Dylan takes the stage to launch into “Maggie’s Farm” — with (gasp!) a Fender Stratocaster. Dylan… Read More

“If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again.” That was Thomas Edison’s motto — and it’s a good thing, considering it took him 10,000 tries to perfect the incandescent light bulb. The Jedi Master Yoda might disagree (“Do, or do not. There is no try”). But trying, over and over until you succeed, is… Read More

In 1886, a chemist named John Pemberton concocted a sweet, carbonated “brain and nerve tonic” made with coca leaves and cola nuts. Six years later, he sold his recipe for $2,300 to the druggist Asa Candler, who spun it into multinational gold. While the current product has just half the caffeine and none of the… Read More

Here in our United States, our government is sliced and diced between Uncle Sam, 50 states, 3,141 counties, and 89,000-odd cities, towns, and villages. You would think that 244 years of independence, along with a dollop of Yankee ingenuity, would produce a crisp, streamlined system for paying for it all. Instead, we’ve got a janky… Read More

Last week, we wrote about the sad fate faced by astronauts preparing for a brave new world of space commerce. Specifically, they’re fated to wind up paying the same tax bills on their interplanetary income as they do on the earthbound work they do today. But that’s not the only thorny tax issue facing the… Read More

Cross-border tax questions present some of the thorniest issues in tax. For example: when an American company like Apple takes components from 43 different countries, assembles them into an iPhone in China, and sells it in London or Paris, who gets the income tax on that profit? The day-to-day work of answering that question is… Read More

A hundred years ago, billionaires were a big big deal. Tycoons like John D. Rockefeller, worth the equivalent of two Jeff Bezoses in today’s dollars, were celebrities, the overachieving substitutes for today’s merely overexposed Kardashians and Tiger Kings. Today, though, CNBC reports there are at least 630 billionaires in the U.S. alone, which means if… Read More

Once upon a time, the number 13 bragged “I’m the unluckiest number of all!” Then 666 came along and said, “oh no, I’m worse.” Then 2020 arrived and said “hold my beer.” Between the coronavirus, the murder hornets, the hurricanes, the wildfires, and the ugliest presidential election in recent memory, it seems like 2020 is… Read More

“If you are truly serious about preparing your child for the future, don’t teach him to subtract — teach him to deduct.” Fran Lebowitz Here in the United States, we spend about $1.3 trillion on education, including early childhood programs, K-12th grade, the whole college-industrial complex, and adult learning and continuing education. This is obviously… Read More