07/28/19

Tech, Taxes, Tariffs, Trade — And French Wine

France has imposed/threatened a “digital services tax” on the likes of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google — all American companies.

The tax is 3% of gross revenues from digital services earned in France, but only for companies with more than 25MM Euros in French revenue and 750MM Euros in worldwide gross revenue. The tax money goes to France.

When you work through the math it puts a bullseye on Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google while giving a pass to many European companies who collectively are just as big as these digital behemoths. This is not an accident.

This tax was discussed for some time period, but its enactment caught a lot of folks by surprise. One who was not caught by surprise was President Donald J Trump.

President Trump had spoken to the French President Emmanuel Macron cautioning him that such a tax would be met with an American response.

Image result for images macron

President Trump, in his inimitable fashion said, “Don’t do it because if you do it, I’m going to tax your wine.” Macron blew him off. French wine is a huge industry.

The French Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, sniffing at the ruffian DJ Trump, suggested that taxes and tariffs were completely unrelated. Good luck with that, Bruno.

Taxes and tariffs are core elements of trade while technology, digital services are a critical element of American commerce.

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05/9/19

The Brannock Device v Nike Augmented Reality

Big Red Car here on a cloudy ATX day thinking about shoes.

The gold standard for measuring feet — since 1927 — is something called the Brannock Device. It can be purchased from the company on their website www.brannock.com.

You know all about it. Here is the Brannock device in all of its ambidextrous loveliness. Look familiar?

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03/20/19

The Unions Come For Tech

Bit of a gray day out here in the ATX which is a great day to be viewing the bluebonnets. Bluebonnets do not belong to a union. If they did, they would require more rain, no?

Today, however, we speak of the unionization of tech companies. A pal of mine (tip of the hat to LE of the City of Brotherly Love) sent me an article announcing that the staff of Kickstarter is going to become members of the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153.

In announcing this bold step, the union had this to say:

Kickstarter United is proud to start the process of unionizing to safeguard and enrich Kickstarter’s charter commitments to creativity, equity, and a positive impact on society. We trust in the democratic process and are confident that the leadership of Kickstarter stands with us in that effort. Kickstarter has always been a trailblazer, and this is a pivotal moment for tech. We want to set the standard for the entire industry. Now is the time. Come together. Unionize.

Kickstarter is the first notable tech company to embrace the idea of a union, but in the last few years employees have begun to speak with a louder voice at some of the other companies on issues such as sexual harassment [talking to you, Uber] and selling technology to the Pentagon [talking to you, Amazon, Sales Force].

These louder voices are what has attracted OPEIU to come calling.

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