Welcome to the end of the week and another edition of Happy Hour! Just sit back, relax, and enjoy your end of the week roundup of all things interesting in the land of money.
There was a great article last week in Bloomberg about the Beatles Vs. the Taxman. It recalls their rise to fame and the terrible financial deals along the way. And the constant battle to avoid the taxman.
In a world where musicians and bands are their own business, making more off their image than their music, it’s interesting to see where it all started and how far it’s come. And it makes you wonder how it would play out if the Beatles were just getting started now.
The push for lower taxes hit Washington with the Small BREW Act. It’s an attempt by micro brewers to lower the federal tax for small volume brewers. Now, I’m all for cheaper beer. Though I doubt any tax savings would be passed on to the consumer. It’s really a non issue. Federal beer taxes haven’t changed since 1991.
What they should be fighting are state liquor regulations. The beer and spirit distributors are near monopolies and laws prevent micro brewers and brewpubs from self distributing. At least that is how it now works in Illinois.
Illinois law caps the number of barrels a small brewer can self distribute. Anything higher must be sold through a distributor. The second flaw in the law, those micro brews can only use one distributor. These small brewers aren’t just fighting to grow their business. They have to fight for warehouse space and then hope the distributor’s salespeople push their product over all the other beer brands. Which doesn’t happen when you share space with Miller or Bud. This Chicago Reader article explains the convoluted distribution laws.
The system is biased towards large brewers. That might be the best place to start.
- Finding Undervalued ETFs – I don’t know if the ETFs mentioned are worth owning, but it’s a nice primer on finding undervalued ETFs.
- Our Expert (Finally) Reveals His Personal Retirement Strategy – a great self review by the author that could be a simple guideline on how to save and invest for retirement.
- Investors Chase Another Risky Fad -beware the investment fad. A couple of years ago it was gold and silver, now it’s anything with high yield.
- Warren Buffett and John Hussman On The Stock Market – highlights the total market cap to GDP ratio Buffett uses to measure total market value.
- Budget Cuts Don’t Stop Bull Markets – this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. The economy has pushed ahead despite government cuts and layoffs since 2010. But this explains it well. And just think what will happen when government spending and hiring starts increasing again.