Michael Hassett

Michael Hassett

Posts by This Writer

10 years 4 months ago

Our panel – Homer Simpson, Henry David Thoreau and Gordon Gekko – completes its discussion of Lehman Brothers and Accounting Rules vs Principles:

Gekko – I'm still in the no harm, no foul camp for accounting that follows the rules – but you  have a point- a time honored one.  Tomes have been written on the fundamental accounting issue of rules vs principles.  If you want to see the fullest expression of rules based accounting – look at tax accounting.  Uncles Sam knows the taxpayers will take advantage of broad principles, so he makes a rule for everything then makes another rule...


10 years 4 months ago

What's new at the International Finance Corporation (IFC)?  Three recent projects demonstrate the  flexibility and scope of the IFC, an independent member of the World Bank Group that offers investments and advisory services to build the private sector in emerging markets.
 
On March 30, 2010, the IFC announced it will provide a $300,000 investment to a microfinance start-up, Utkarsh Micro Finance Pvt Ltd., to serve small borrowers in India’s low-income state of Uttar Pradesh and other parts of...


10 years 4 months ago

Like Scrooge's partner Old Marley, Cap and Trade is dead as a door-nail.  Despite passing in  the House last June, the Cap and Trade bill has been interred by Senators Kerry and Graham, not to mention the New York Times.  Before moving on to alternatives, kudos to Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina.  He is no fan of big, expensive government, but he continues to look for common ground with Democrats on issues like climate change and immigration, issues where something needs to be done now.  Most South Carolinians seem to ...


10 years 4 months ago

Like Spring, VAT is in the air.  Uncle Sam needs more revenue.  A consumption tax, either a value added tax (VAT) or a national sales tax (NST) could bring in that revenue.  A “low” level consumption tax (think under 10%) might supplement the existing income tax structure.  A higher level tax might replace income tax, at least for those making less than, say $200,000/year.

Does any consumption tax make sense?  It will be regressive.  On average, the poorer you are the more of your income you spend on goods and services – the rich buy goods and services, but they also save,  The result, the poor man pays VAT or...


10 years 4 months ago

I spent all yesterday drinking in celebration of a major holiday, and I feel great today.  No, it's not March 18 and the beverage was not green beer, or even Jameson's.  Today is March 23 and my drink of choice was water,  in recognition of March 22 – AKA World Water Day.  The flagship celebration in Nairobi, Kenya was hosted by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the government of  Kenya, UN Habitat, and the UN  Secretary General's Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation.

UNEP released  it's report Clearing the Waters/ Focus on Water Quality Solutions, which noted that an...


10 years 4 months ago

The IRS and the  Department of Justice have released documents revealing their approach to the use of social networking sites in response to last year's Freedom of Information Act claim by the Electronic Freedom Frontier against six federal agencies.  Yes, Uncle Sam uses Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. – Yawn.  The big surprise?  The IRS is a pussycat.  That's right, the Service will collect information from social networking sites, but it's policies forbid use of fake sites and deception generally.  The IRS looks at only public information and it trains it's people to follow these policies.

In...


10 years 4 months ago

Where's Smoot?  Remember the early days of the bursting real estate bubble, financial crisis and recession that we hope won't turn into a depression?  Talking heads everywhere warned of the dangers and financial risks of protectionism.  High tariffs would stop trade and freeze already struggling economies the world over, just as the Smoot-Hawley Tariff of 1930 had kicked off a global round of protectionism that deepened the Great Depression.  OK, nitpickers, maybe US...


10 years 4 months ago

This column continues the panel discussion on executive compensation and Say on Pay featuring Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko and Henry David Thoreau.

Homer:  Shareholders not care?  What's all this “Say on Pay” stuff Lisa keeps yammering about?

Gekko:  I know, I know, it's really annoying isn't it.  Some of the shareholders have started to get excited about this over the past several years, especially since my pals in the financial sector nearly ran aground and then paid themselves like princes just a year after they needed a government bailout...


10 years 4 months ago

This column continues the panel discussion on executive compensation and Say on Pay featuring Homer Simpson, Gordon Gekko and Henry David Thoreau.

Homer: Forget the non-CEOs, tell me about the donuts, I mean the CEOs.

Gekko:  Back in the good old days, when I was hustling penny stocks, the CEOs had it made.   They essentially selected the board of their own company and its committees.  If the CEO didn't serve on his own comp committee (if there even was a comp committee) he made sure his friends did, and often he would serve as a director and comp...


10 years 4 months ago

It's that time of year, March Madness, and by that I mean the annual wave of indignation and anger reacting to executive compensation disclosure reported, over and over, in mainstream media summaries and recaps of summaries, etc.  Since we are only a small brook here, not a mainstream, we won't recap the recap, we will actually front run exec comp season.  We won't even  get mad, we'll just get even, with another peerless panel discussion featuring Homer Simpson (who needs no introduction), Gordon Gekko (soon to appear in a long awaited sequel to Wall Street) and Henry David Thoreau – not...


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