Archive for April 26th, 2012

News Flash:Weekly jobless claims drop … say, what?

April 26, 2012

This is getting downright silly …

The first line of this morning’s BLS report on weekly jobless claims says:

In the week ending April 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 388,000, a decrease of 1,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 389,000.

Note the last couple of words:  “ … from the previous week’s revised figure”.

Hmmm.

Here’s the way CNBC decoded the report:

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped by 1,000 to a seasonally adjusted 388,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday.

The prior week’s figure was revised up to 389,000 from the previously reported 386,000.

The four-week moving average for new claims, a closely followed measure of labor market trends, rose 6,250 to 381,750, its highest since the week that ended January 7.

Get it?

Last week, when claims were reported to have gone up, they were understated by 3,000.

Hmm.

Now, last month gets revised upward … and guess what?

This month is lower than last month.

So, Team O has a talking point: jobless claims are down.

They do think we’re stupid …

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Hybrid owners: “Been there, done that”

April 26, 2012

TakeAway: Recent study shows hybrid vehicles lack repeat purchasers.

* * * * *
Excerpt from AdAge: “Usually No Encore for Hybrid Buyers”

Only about one out of three hybrid vehicle owners chooses to buy another hybrid, according to a study by research firm Polk.

The good news for automakers is that a high percentage of the return buyers remain loyal to the brand, even if they don’t buy another hybrid.

In the case of hybrids, rising fuel prices, to more than $4 a gallon in some places, has so far had “little impact” on hybrid buying decisions, the report said.

“The lineup of alternate-drive vehicles aren’t appealing enough to consumers to give the segment the momentum it once anticipated.”

Edited by ARK

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“Tax morale” … why some folks don’t pay up.

April 26, 2012

Did you know that there’s a field of study devoted to the subject of how individuals make choices about paying taxes; it’s called “tax morale.”

According to BusinessWeek, the IRS studied the factors motivating taxpayers to comply with tax laws and concluded that the” fear of getting caught plays a much smaller role in keeping taxpayers honest than is commonly assumed.” They’re less inclined to dodge when they believe that their cheating creates national problems.

On the flip-side, when taxpayers learn that many people evade taxes, they are more likely to evade them, too. 

And, the IRS hired  social anthropologists to look more closely at the behavior of tax dodgers.

They divided evaders into eight categories of noncompliance.

  • Procedural noncompliants don’t pay taxes because IRS procedures are too complicated.
  • Asocial and habitual noncompliant taxpayers get a rush out of cheating.
  • Symbolic noncompliant taxpayers game the system out of principle.
  • Brokered noncompliants use accountants and lawyers to cheat
  • Some who don’t comply simply can’t afford their tax burden, or are too lazy to file.
  • Generational noncompliers think it’s normal not to pay taxes because people in their families didn’t pay.

The sociologists also found that there are towns in the U.S. inhabited by super-taxpayers who have high compliance rates in numbers and percentage of taxes due that are paid.

Now, the IRS is trying to identify the  super-tax-paying communities’ demographics to pinpoint what makes their residents so honest.

Among the hypotheses: an inspiring pastor, an immigrant community with values from the home country, or really good public schools.

Maybe they should test the locales’ water supply …

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