Politics Information


The Blessings of the Black Economy


Some call it the "unofficial" or "informal" economy, others call it the "grey economy" but the old name fits it best: the "black economy". In the USA "black" means "profitable, healthy" and this is what the black economy is. Macedonia should count its blessings for having had a black economy so strong and thriving to see it through the transition. If Macedonia had to rely only on its official economy it would have gone bankrupt long ago.

The black economy is made up of two constituent activities:

  • Legal activities that are not reported to the tax authorities and the income from which goes untaxed and unreported. For instance: it is not illegal to clean someone's house, to feed people or to drive them. It is, however, illegal to hide the income generated by these activities and not to pay tax on it. In most countries of the world, this is a criminal offence, punishable by years in prison.

  • Illegal activities which, needless to say, are also not reported to the state (and, therefore, not taxed).

These two types of activities together are thought to comprise between 15% (USA, Germany) to 60% (Russia) of the economic activity (as measured by the GDP), depending on the country. It would probably be an underestimate to say that 40% of the GDP in Macedonia is "black". This equals 1.2 billion USD per annum. The money generated by these activities is largely held in foreign exchange outside the banking system or smuggled abroad (even through the local banking system). Experience in other countries shows that circa 15% of the money "floats" in the recipient country and is used to finance consumption. This should translate to 1 billion free floating dollars in the hands of the 2 million citizens of Macedonia. Billions are transferred to the outside world (mostly to finance additional transactions, some of it to be saved in foreign banks away from the long hand of the state). A trickle of money comes back and is "laundered" through the opening of small legal businesses.

These are excellent news for Macedonia. It means that when the macro-economic, geopolitical and (especially) the micro-economic climates will change - billions of USD will flow back to Macedonia. People will bring their money back to open businesses, to support family members and just to consume it. It all depends on the mood and on the atmosphere and on how much these people feel that they can rely on the political stability and rational management. Such enormous flows of capital happened before: in Argentina after the Generals and their corrupt regime were ousted by civilians, in Israel when the peace process started and in Mexico following the signature of NAFTA, to mention but three cases. These reserves can be lured back and transform the economy.

But the black economy has many more important functions.

The black economy is a cash economy. It is liquid and fast. It increases the velocity of money. It injects much needed foreign exchange to the economy and inadvertently increases the effective money supply and the resulting money aggregates. In this sense, it defies the dictates of "we know better" institutions such as the IMF. It fosters economic activity and employs people. It encourages labour mobility and international trade. Black economy, in short, is very positive. With the exception of illegal activities, it does everything that the official economy does - and, usually, more efficiently.

So, what is morally wrong with the black economy? The answer, in brief: it is exploitative. Other parts of the economy, which are not hidden (though would have liked to be), are penalized for their visibility. They pay taxes. Workers in a factory owned by the state or in the government service cannot avoid paying taxes. The money that the state collects from them is invested, for instance, in infrastructure (roads, phones, electricity) or used to pay for public services (education, defence, policing). The operators of the black economy enjoy these services without paying for them, without bearing the costs and worse: while others bear the costs. These encourages them, in theory to use these resources less efficiently.

And all this might be true in a highly efficient, almost ideal market economy. The emphasis is on the word "market". Unfortunately, we all live in societies which are regulated by bureaucracies which are controlled (in theory, rarely in practice) by politicians. These elites have a tendency to misuse and to abuse resources and to allocate them in an inefficient manner. Even economic theory admits that any dollar left in the hands of the private sector is much more efficiently used than the same dollar in the hands of the most honest and well meaning and well planning civil servant. Governments all over the world distort economic decisions and misallocate scarce economic resources.

Thus, if the goals are to encourage employment and economic growth - the black economy should be welcomed. This is precisely what it does and, by definition, it does so more efficiently than the government. The less tax dollars a government has - the less damage it does. This is an opinion shares by most economists in the world today. Lower tax rates are an admission of this fact and a legalization of parts of the black economy.

The black economy is especially important in times of economic hardships. Countries in transition are a private case of emerging economies which are a private case of developing countries which used to be called (in less politically correct times) "Third World Countries". They suffer from all manner of acute economic illnesses. They lost their export markets, they are technologically backward, their unemployment skyrockets, their plant and machinery are dilapidated, their infrastructure decrepit and dysfunctional, they are lethally illiquid, they become immoral societies (obligations not honoured, crime flourishes), their trade deficits and budget deficits balloon and they are conditioned to be dependent on handouts and dictates from various international financial institutions and donor countries.

Read this list again: isn't the black economy a perfect solution until the dust settles?

It enhances exports (and competitiveness through imports), it encourages technology transfers, it employs people, it invests in legitimate businesses (or is practised by them), it adds to the wealth of the nation (black marketeers are big spenders, good consumers and build real estate), it injects liquidity to an otherwise dehydrated market. Mercifully, the black economy is out of the reach of zealous missionaries such as the IMF. It goes its own way, unnoticed, unreported, unbeknownst, untamed. It doesn't pay attention to money supply targets (it is much bigger than the official money supply figure), or to macroeconomic stability goals. It plods on: doing business and helping the country to survive the double scourges of transition and Western piousness and patronizing. As long as it is there, Macedonia has a real safety net. The government is advised to turn a blind eye to it for it is a blessing in disguise.

There is one sure medicine: eliminate the population and both unemployment and inflation will be eliminated. Without the black economy, the population of Macedonia would not have survived. This lesson must be remembered as the government prepares to crack down on the only sector of the economy which is still alive and kicking.

Operational Recommendations

The implementation of these recommendations and reforms should be obliged to be GRADUAL. The informal economy is an important pressure valve for the release of social pressures, it ameliorates the social costs inherent to the period of transition and it constitutes an important part of the private sector.

As we said in the body of our report, these are the reasons for the existence of an informal economy and they should be obliged to all be tackled:

  • High taxation level (in Macedonia, high payroll taxes)

  • Onerous labour market regulations

  • Red tape and bureaucracy (which often leads to corruption)

  • Complexity and unpredictability of the tax system

Reporting Requirements and Transparency

  • All banks should be obliged to report foreign exchange transactions of more than 10,000 DM (whether in one transaction or cumulatively by the same legal entity). The daily report should be submitted to the Central Bank. In extreme cases, the transactions should be investigated.

  • All the ZPP account numbers of all the firms in Macedonia should be publicly available through the Internet and in printed form.

  • Firms should be obliged by law to make a list of all their bank accounts available to the ZPP, to the courts and to plaintiffs in lawsuits.

  • All citizens should be obliged to file annual, personal tax returns (universal tax returns, like in the USA). This way, discrepancies between personal tax returns and other information can lead to investigations and discoveries of tax evasion and criminal activities.

  • All citizens should be obliged to file bi-annual declarations of personal wealth and assets (including real estate, vehicles, movables, inventory of business owned or controlled by the individual, financial assets, income from all sources, shares in companies, etc.)

  • All retail outlets and places of business should be required to install - over a period of 3 years - cash registers with "fiscal brains". These are cash registers with an embedded chip. The chips are built to save a trail (detailed list) of all the transactions in the place of business. Tax inspectors can pick the chip at random, download its contents to the tax computers and use it to issue tax assessments. The information thus gathered can also be crossed with and compared to information from other sources (see: "Databases and Information Gathering"). This can be done only after the full implementation of the recommendations in the section titled "Databases and Information Gathering". I do not regard it as an effective measure. While it increases business costs - it is not likely to prevent cash or otherwise unreported transactions.

  • All taxis should be equipped with taximeters, which include a printer. This should be a licencing condition.

  • Industrial norms (for instance, the amount of sugar needed to manufacture a weight unit of chocolate, or juice) should be revamped. Norms should NOT be determined according to statements provided by the factory - but by a panel of experts. Each norm should be signed by three people, of which at least one is an expert engineer or another expert in the relevant field. Thought should be dedicated to the possibility of employing independent laboratories to determine norms and supervise them.

  • Payments in wholesale markets should be done through a ZPP counter or branch in the wholesale market itself. Release of the goods and exiting the physical location of the wholesale market should be allowed only against presentation of a ZPP payment slip.

Reduction of Cash Transactions

  • Cash transactions are the lifeblood of the informal economy. Their reduction and minimization is absolutely essential in the effort to contain it. One way of doing it is by issuing ZPP payment (debit) cards to businesses, firm and professionals. Use of the payment cards should be mandatory in certain business-to-business transactions.

  • All exchange offices should be obliged to issue receipt for every cash transaction above 100 DM and to report to the Central Bank all transactions above 1000 DM. Suspicious transactions (for instance, transactions which exceed the financial wherewithal of the client involved) should be duly investigated.

  • The government can reduce payroll taxes if the salary is not paid in cash (for instance, by a transfer to the bank account of the employee). The difference between payroll taxes collected on cash salaries and lower payroll taxes collected on noncash salaries - should be recovered by imposing a levy on all cash withdrawals from banks. The banks can withhold the tax and transfer it to the state monthly.

  • Currently, checks issued to account-holders by banks are virtually guaranteed by the issuing banks. This transforms checks into a kind of cash and checks are used as cash in the economy. To prevent this situation, it is recommended that all checks will be payable to the beneficiary only. The account-holder will be obliged to furnish the bank with a monthly list of checks he or she issued and their details (to whom, date, etc.). Checks should be valid for 5 working days only.

  • An obligation can be imposed to oblige businesses to effect payments only through their accounts (from account to account) or using their debit cards. Cash withdrawals should be subject to a withholding tax deducted by the bank. The same withholding tax should be applied to credits given against cash balances or to savings houses (stedilnicas). Alternatively, stedilnicas should also be obliged to deduct, collect and transfer the cash withdrawal withholding tax.

  • In the extreme and if all other measures fail after a reasonable period of time, all foreign trade related payments should be conducted through the Central Bank. But this is really a highly irregular, emergency measure, which I do not recommend at this stage.

  • The interest paid on cash balances and savings accounts in the banks should be increased (starting with bank reserves and deposits in the central bank).

  • The issuance of checkbook should be made easy and convenient. Every branch should issue checkbooks. All the banks and the post office should respect and accept each other's checks.

  • A Real Time Gross Settlement System should be established to minimize float and facilitate interbank transfers.

Government Tenders

  • Firms competing for government tenders should be obliged to acquire a certificate from the tax authorities that they owe no back-taxes. Otherwise, they should be barred from bidding in government tenders and RFPs (Requests for Proposals).

Databases and Information Gathering

  • Estimating the informal economy should be a priority objective of the Bureau of Statistics, which should devote considerable resources to this effort. In doing so, the Bureau of Statistics should coordinate closely with a wide variety of relevant ministries and committees that oversee various sectors of the economy.

  • All registrars should be computerized: land, real estate, motor vehicles, share ownership, companies registration, tax filings, import and export related documentation (customs), VAT, permits and licences, records of flights abroad, ownership of mobile phones and so on. The tax authorities and the Public Revenue Office (PRO) should have unrestricted access to ALL the registers of all the registrars. Thus, they should be able to find tax evasion easily (ask for sources of wealth- how did you build this house and buy a new car if you are earning 500 DM monthly according to your tax return?)

  • The PRO should have complete access to the computers of the ZPP and to all its computerized and non-computerized records.

  • The computer system should constantly compare VAT records and records and statements related to other taxes in order to find discrepancies between them.

  • Gradually, submissions of financial statements, tax returns and wealth declarations should be computerized and done even on a monthly basis (for instance, VAT statements).

  • A system of informants and informant rewards should be established, including anonymous phone calls. Up to 10% of the intake or seizure value related to the information provided by the informant should go to the informant.

Law Enforcement

  • Tax inspectors and customs officials should receive police powers and much higher salaries (including a percentage of tax revenues). The salaries of all tax inspectors - regardless of their original place of employment - should be equalized (of course, taking into consideration tenure, education, rank, etc.).

  • Judges should be trained and educated in matters pertaining to the informal economy. Special courts for taxes, for instance, are a good idea (see recommendation below). Judges have to be trained in tax laws and the state tax authorities should provide BINDING opinions to entrepreneurs, businessmen and investors regarding the tax implications of their decisions and actions.

  • It is recommended to assign tax inspectors to the public prosecutors' office to work as teams on complex or big cases.

  • To establish an independent Financial and Tax Police with representatives from all relevant ministries but under the exclusive jurisdiction of the PRO. The remit of this Police should include all matters financial (including foreign exchange transactions, property and real estate transactions, payroll issues, etc.)

  • Hiring and firing procedures in all the branches of the tax administration should be simplified. The number of administrative posts should be reduced and the number of tax inspectors and field agents increased.

  • Tax arrears and especially the interest accruing thereof should be the first priority of the ZPP, before all other payments.

  • All manufacturers and sellers of food products (including soft drinks, sweetmeats and candy, meat products, snacks) should purchase a licence from the state and be subjected to periodic and rigorous inspections.

  • All contracts between firms should be registered in the courts and stamped to become valid. Contracts thus evidenced should be accompanied by the registration documents (registrar extract) of the contracting parties. Many "firms" doing business in Macedonia are not even legally registered.

Reforms and Amnesty

  • A special inter-ministerial committee with MINISTER-MEMBERS and headed by the PM should be established. Its roles: to reduce bureaucracy, to suggest appropriate new legislation and to investigate corruption.

  • Bureaucracy should be pared down drastically. The more permits, licences, tolls, fees and documents needed - the more corruption. Less power to state officials means less corruption. The One Stop Shop concept should be implemented everywhere.

  • A general amnesty should be declared. Citizens declaring their illegal wealth should be pardoned BY LAW and either not taxed or taxed at a low rate once and forever on the hitherto undeclared wealth.

The Tax Code

  • To impose a VAT system. VAT is one the best instruments against the informal economy because it tracks the production process throughout a chain of value added suppliers and manufacturers.

  • The Tax code needs to be simplified. Emphasis should be placed on VAT, consumption taxes, customs and excise taxes, fees and duties. To restore progressivity, the government should directly compensate the poor for the excess relative burden.

  • After revising the tax code in a major way, the government should declare a moratorium on any further changes for at least four years.

  • The self-employed and people whose main employment is directorship in companies should be given the choice between paying a fixed % of the market value of their assets (including financial assets) or income tax.

  • All property rental contracts should be registered with the courts. Lack of registration in the courts and payment of a stamp tax should render the contract invalid. The courts should be allowed to evidence and stamp a contract only after it carries the stamp of the Public Revenue Office (PRO). The PRO should register the contract and issue an immediate tax assessment. Contracts, which are for less than 75% of the market prices, should be subject to tax assessment at market prices. Market prices should be determined as the moving average of the last 100 rental contracts from the same region registered by the PRO.

  • Filing of tax returns - including for the self-employed - should be only with the PRO and not with any other body (such as the ZPP).

Legal Issues

  • The burden of proof in tax court cases should shift from the tax authorities to the person or firm assessed.

  • Special tax courts should be established within the existing courts. They should be staffed by specifically trained judges. Their decisions should be appealed to the Supreme Court. They should render their decisions within 180 days. All other juridical and appeal instances should be cancelled - except for an appeal instance within the PRO. Thus, the process of tax collection should be greatly simplified. A tax assessment should be issued by the tax authorities, appealed internally (within the PRO), taken to a tax court session (by a plaintiff) and, finally, appealed to the Supreme Court (in very rare cases).

  • The law should allow for greater fines, prison terms and for the speedier and longer closure of delinquent businesses.

  • Seizure and sale procedures should be specified in all the tax laws and not merely by way of reference to the Income Tax Law. Enforcement provisions should be incorporated in all the tax laws.

  • To amend the Law on Tax Administration, the Law on Personal Income Tax and the Law on Profits Tax as per the recommendations of the IRS experts (1997-9).

Customs and Duties

  • Ideally, the customs service should be put under foreign contract managers. If this is politically too sensitive, the customs personnel should be entitled to receive a percentage of customs and duties revenues, on a departmental incentive basis. In any case, the customs should be subjected to outside inspection by expert inspectors who should be rewarded with a percentage of the corruption and lost revenues that they expose.

  • In the case of imports or payments abroad, invoices, which include a price of more than 5% above the list price of a product, should be rejected and assessment for the purposes of paying customs duties and other taxes should be issued at the list price.

  • In the case of exports or payments from abroad, invoices which include a discount of more than 25% on the list price of a product should be rejected and assessment for the purposes of paying customs duties and other taxes should be issued at the list price.

  • The numbers of tax inspectors should be substantially increased and their pay considerably enhanced. A departmental incentive system should be instituted involving a percentage of the intake (monetary fines levied, goods confiscated, etc.)

  • The computerized database system (see "Databases and Information Gathering") should be used to compare imports of raw materials for the purposes of re-export and actual exports (using invoices and customs declarations). Where there are disparities and discrepancies, severe and immediate penal actions should be taken. Anti-dumping levies and measures, fines and criminal charges should be adopted against exporters colluding with importers in hiding imported goods or reducing their value.

  • Often final products are imported and declared to the customs as raw materials (to minimize customs duties paid). Later these raw materials are either sold outright in the domestic or international markets or bartered for finished products (for example: paints and lacquers against furniture or sugar against chocolate). This should be a major focus of the fight against the informal economy. I follow with an analysis of two products, which are often abused in this manner.

  • I study two examples (white sugar and cooking oil) though virtually all raw materials and foods are subject to the aforementioned abuse.

  • White Sugar is often imported as brown sugar. One way to prevent this is to place sugar on the list of LB (import licence required) list, to limit the effective period of each licence issued, to connect each transaction of imported brown sugar to a transaction of export, to apply the world price of sugar to customs duties, to demand payment of customs duties in the first customs terminal, to demand a forwarder's as well as an importer's guarantee and to require a certificate of origin. The same goes for Cooking Oil (which - when it is imported packaged - is often declared as some other goods).

  • All payments to the customs should be made only through the ZPP. Customs and tax inspectors should inspect these receipts periodically.

  • All goods should be kept in the customs terminal until full payment of the customs duties, as evidenced by a ZPP receipt, is effected.

Public Campaign

  • The government should embark on a massive Public Relations and Information campaign. The citizens should be made to understand what is a budget, how the taxes are collected, how they are used. They should begin to view tax evaders as criminals. "He who does not pay his taxes - is stealing from you and from your children", "Why should YOU pay for HIM?" "If we all did not pay taxes- there would be no roads, bridges, schools, or hospitals" (using video to show disappearing roads, bridges, suffering patients and students without classes), "Our country is a partnership - and the tax-evader is stealing from the till (kasa)" and so on.

  • The phrase "Gray Economy" should be replaced by the more accurate phrases "Black Economy" or "Criminal Economy".

About The Author

Sam Vaknin is the author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited" and "After the Rain - How the West Lost the East". He is a columnist in "Central Europe Review", United Press International (UPI) and ebookweb.org and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory, Suite101 and searcheurope.com. Until recently, he served as the Economic Advisor to the Government of Macedonia.

His web site: http://samvak.tripod.com


MORE RESOURCES:
Trump represents the nadir of identity politics  The Washington Post

There's identity — and then there's identity politics. The difference between them may well be the crux of our next presidential election. Identity is, obviously, who ...


On Politics: Bernie Sanders Announces 2020 Bid  The New York Times

Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent whose populist agenda has helped push the Democratic Party to the left, is running for president again.


The Atlantic Politics & Policy Daily: Bern Again  The Atlantic

A few hours after his announcement, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont had already out-fundraised his 2020 competitors.


Politics Has Become Boring Again—and That’s a Relief  The Wall Street Journal

It inoculates us against the tiresome ideologue who wants to fix everything with One Big Idea.


Party That Promised to Clean Up Italian Politics Finds It a Messy Business  The Wall Street Journal

Italy's 5 Star Movement rose from a grass-roots campaign against political corruption to an election-winning party. The realities of life in government since last ...


Trump expresses confidence he’ll prevail against ‘Open Border Democrats’ who sued to stop his emergency declaration  The Washington Post

President Trump on Tuesday expressed confidence that he would prevail in a lawsuit filed by 16 states seeking to overturn his declaration of a national ...


The Obscure, Overcrowded Election That Could Change New York City Politics  New York Magazine

Next week Melissa Mark-Viverito, Jumaane Williams, and 15 other candidates will compete to be New York City public advocate, which is often launching pad ...


Meet the 'Fab Five' women behind the big shake-up in Colorado politics  NBC News

DENVER — They say there are no friends in politics — but the five women behind Colorado's recent state senate shakeup are doing their best to defy that.


Why our politics can't handle Jussie Smollett  CNN

Washington (CNN) When actor Jussie Smollett said he had been beaten and left with a noose around his neck by two men shouting slurs and pro-Trump ...


On Politics: Trump’s Emergency Declaration Divides Republicans  The New York Times

President Trump's move, aimed at securing funding for a border wall, is a serious challenge to congressional authority. It remains to be seen whether Senate ...


Will Identity Politics Force the Stubborn Mind to Adapt?  WIRED

I have a new friend, Melissa, who goes by “they.” Singular “they” has existed since Chaucer's day, but for the past five years it's been pressed into *service* as an ...


'Is this one ... who refused to shake his hand?' Leaked emails focus on political vetting allegations at State  CNN

Days after lawmakers called for one of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's top staffers to be disciplined for allegedly refusing to comply with a State ...


The real national emergency is the triviality of our politics  The Washington Post

When House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) learned that President Trump would declare a national emergency to shift around money to finance his border wall ...


In the new Malaysia, signs of an older, uglier politics  CNN

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (CNN) In a swanky shopping mall underneath Kuala Lumpur's iconic Petronas Towers, a traditional Chinese lion dance is attracting a ...


Do Women in Politics Face a Double Standard?  The New York Times

Readers discuss if and how gender bias and stereotypes play a role in politics, citing past presidential races.


A champion of alliances in Israeli politics, Tzipi Livni rejected at finish line  Haaretz

Tzipi Livni has been in national politics for 20 years. For the first decade, she was on the rise, sometimes meteorically. She served in highly senior positions and ...


Ichiro Ozawa: The kingmaker and destroyer in Japanese politics  The Japan Times

Reformer, kingmaker, shadow shogun, destroyer. With so many labels, no politician stands out like Ichiro Ozawa among Japan's conformist legislators.


Independent Group criticised for not registering as political party  The Guardian

The new Independent Group of former Labour MPs has been criticised by Corbyn loyalists for not registering as a political party, with some accusing it of ...


Michaelia Cash goes on attack over AWU raid – politics live  The Guardian

Senator says she had 'no prior knowledge of the execution of the warrants' while Scott Morrison faces pressure to schedule extra sitting days. All the days events ...


Ex-Sessions spokeswoman to join CNN as political editor  POLITICO

Sarah Isgur will coordinate political coverage for the 2020 campaign at the network.


Susana Mendoza's political rise was helped by old-school Democrats — many of whom have been tied up in controversies  Chicago Tribune

Chicago mayoral candidate Susana Mendoza's rise has been built on alliances, sometimes temporary, with old-school Democrats.


Brexit backstop: Theresa May to put new proposals to EU  The Guardian

Theresa May will present the EU with new legal proposals to solve the Irish backstop issue on Wednesday, which Downing Street hopes will be enough to ...


The Independent Group and the Labour party’s shifting politics  The Guardian

Amid a flurry of comment on the seven MPs deserting the Labour party this week, I was particularly surprised by Suzanne Moore's suggestion that they are ...


Podemos was the dazzling new force in Spanish politics. What went wrong?  The Guardian

Internal strife has left room for the far right to creep in, says Madrid-based writer Giles Tremlett.


Tzipi Livni quits politics as polls show plummeting support  Haaretz

Lawmaker Tzipi Livni announced Monday she is retiring from politics and that her party, Hatnuah, won't run in the April 9 election in order to prevent the ...


Black Political Life and the Blue Lives Matter Presidency  Jacobin magazine

To meaningfully confront mass incarceration and police violence, the Left must move past race reductionism by recognizing the complexities of black political life ...


White House defends Trump’s emergency declaration as lawsuits and political battles mount  The Washington Post

President Trump's declaration of a national emergency has been hit with several lawsuits, and lawmakers are divided as to whether the move is legitimate or ...


Top Trump appointees promoted selling nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia over objections from national security officials, House Democratic report says  The Washington Post

Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections ...


Center for Civic Engagement plans Political Humor program - 2019 - Political Science - News - OU Magazine  News at OU

The Center for Civic Engagement at Oakland University is planning a program entitled “Political Humor and its Impact on American Life.” The program is ...


Week In Politics: Trump's National Emergency Declaration  NPR

NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with political commentators, David Brooks of The New York Times, and Matthew Yglesias of Vox, about President Trump's national ...


Wayne Swan warns against a resurgence of dog-whistle politics in valedictory speech  The Guardian

Former deputy prime minister says Coalition is intent on deploying same strategy as Tampa episode in 2001.


With sacking of Rob Lorei, decimation of Tampa Bay's political media continues  Florida Politics

If you are, say, a state Senator who steered $1 million to a daycare center tied to your church but failed to disclose that your wife held positions in both ...


What happens when you put cowboys in a room to talk politics?  The Guardian

At the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Nevada, friends and performers with wide-ranging views met to discuss concerns 'without demonizing each other'


Taking the Seat and the Table, Too: What Valuing Black Women in Politics Looks Like  The Root

In a posh ballroom overlooking Central Park on Manhattan's Upper West Side, a hushed roomful of state and local elected officials from across the country ...


Commentary: Real politics finally as Indonesia takes to TV for presidential debates  Channel NewsAsia

The televised presidential debates are a serious effort by the election commission to elevate the level of public debate in this young democracy, ...


Labour MP apologises for suggesting Israel funds Independent Group  The Guardian

A Labour MP has apologised for suggesting Israel could be secretly funding Luciana Berger and other MPs who quit the party on Monday citing unhappiness ...


Whitmer brings politics back to the governor's office in first State of the State speech  MLive.com

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer thanks representatives before starting her speech during Whitmer's first State of the State address Tuesday Feb. 12, 2019 at the state ...


Politics Podcast: Trump Plans To Declare A National Emergency  FiveThirtyEight

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement Thursday saying that President Trump plans to sign a bipartisan budget deal and ...


The perfect chance for gunboat diplomacy  The Guardian

Brief letters: Clothing and the environment | Gunboat diplomacy | Maduro and Trump | Scots and scones.


As Democrats and Republicans barrel toward 2020, they must beware of this big political peril  Fox News

The voting machines from 2018 aren't even cold yet and the 2020 campaign is already in full swing. If you're a weary voter hoping for a little peace and sanity ...


Angela Smith apologises for 'funny tinge' remark  The Guardian

The MP Angela Smith has apologised for having “misspoke” after she appeared to refer to people from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds as having a ...


‘Enjoy your life’: Trump puts new attorney general in an awkward position from the start  The Washington Post

On William P. Barr's first full day as attorney general, President Trump singled him out during remarks in the Rose Garden after signing a national emergency ...


Real Estate Money In Politics: Growing Distrust, 'An Explosion Of Demand' For Accountability  Bisnow

Anger at the intersection of money, development and local politics boiled over in New York with HQ2. Will the rest of the country follow suit?


Inside Labour's lonely hearts club band  The Guardian

Breaking up is hard to do, especially when you don't know what you stand for.


Justin Trudeau’s Political Crisis Widens as Top Aide and Friend Resigns  The New York Times

OTTAWA — The top political adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada resigned on Monday, deepening a political crisis over allegations the ...


Taking Shamima Begum's citizenship risks making her a martyr  The Guardian

Whatever her alleged crimes, there is every reason to try Shamima Begum in the UK where justice can be seen to be done.


Judge in Roger Stone case orders hearing after he appeared to threaten her on Instagram  The Washington Post

Stone has said the now-deleted photo he posted of Judge Amy Berman Jackson with crosshairs next to her head was not intended as a threat.


We Need to Talk About White Identity Politics  Tablet Magazine

Last week, a maelstrom hit social media. Unlike other online firestorms, this one wasn't squarely about a policy or politician. On Tuesday, Esquire magazine ...


Virginia’s Political Chaos Is a Test for Both Parties  The New York Times

In the On Politics newsletter: Virginia presents the first high-stakes trial of Democrats' zero-tolerance policy, and a look at how Republicans may weaponize ...


A Complicated Racial History Underpins Politics In Virginia  NPR

The controversies currently rocking Virginia politics are rooted in a historical legacy of racism that cannot be overcome overnight, says historian Gregg Kimball.


Clarence Thomas backs Trump's call for changing defamation law to ease suits against media  Fox News

Justice Clarence Thomas, in a concurring opinion released Tuesday, called for reversing decades of jurisprudence that has made it harder for public figures to ...


A Political Economist on the End of the Age of Objectivity  The New Yorker

In his new book, “Nervous States: Democracy and the Decline of Reason,” the British political economist William Davies argues that the age of the primacy of ...


Brexit weekly briefing: we now officially have two revolting parties  The Guardian

Tories held hostage by ERG and Labour splitters go it alone – does anyone still believe in consensus?


Politics Podcast: Amy Klobuchar’s Path To The Democratic Nomination  FiveThirtyEight

On Sunday, Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced her candidacy for president, joining an already crowded field. The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast ...


Ruth Bader Ginsburg back on bench as Supreme Court resumes hearings  The Washington Post

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was back on the bench Tuesday for the first time since her recent cancer surgery as the Supreme Court returned from its winter ...


In Miami, Trump Praises Political Exiles From Latin America  The Wall Street Journal

MIAMI—President Trump on Monday declared that the “twilight hour of socialism has arrived” in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba, as he praised Latin Americans ...


Brexit causing ‘palpable decline’ in UK influence at the UN  The Guardian

Brexit is already leading to a “palpable decline” in British influence at the UN, and that influence would be in freefall but for the UK's commitment to spend 0.7 ...


The Green New Deal Shows How Grand Climate Politics Can Be  WIRED

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her allies' sprawling plan leans heavily on what local governments are already doing to fend off climate change.


Different Democratic controversies, same influence: identity politics  The Washington Post

Pride in personal identity has risen among Democrats as President Trump has stoked white grievance.


The new rules of political design  CNN

Washington (CNN) If there are any emerging design trends among the initial 2020 campaign logos, it's the use of words over symbols, and the embrace of color ...


Michaelia Cash's AWU legal bill up to $288,000, attorney general's office says – as it happened  The Guardian

Earlier Mathias Cormann admitted he books holidays by calling CEO of travel company, who is also Liberal party treasurer, directly. All the day's events live.


What are Brexit contingency plans for pharmaceutical industry?  The Guardian

With fears over manufacturing costs and future investment, here's what firms are doing.


Utah voters chose Medicaid expansion. Republican politicians decided they knew better.  CNN

Earlier this week, the Utah legislature passed a measure that would restrict the state's ability to accept Medicaid expansion money from the federal government ...


Blackface scandal: How should politicians apologise?  BBC News

Two of the most senior politicians in the US state of Virginia are engulfed in a "blacking up" scandal. How should public figures confront transgressions that are ...


The T-Mobile-Sprint Merger Is Scrambling Telecom Politics  WIRED

Representative Anna Eshoo (D-California) has sparred with the telecommunications industry over issues like net neutrality and privacy over the years.


'This Week' Roundtable: Political Impact Of National Emergency, Can Bill Weld Challenge Trump, Dems Prep 2020 Debates  RealClearPolitics

Martha Raddatz hosts ABC News Political Analyst Matthew Dowd, Molly Ball, national political correspondent for Time Magazine, Susan Ferrechio, chief ...


Politics Podcast: The Mess In Virginia  FiveThirtyEight

Virginia is embroiled in three separate political scandals, each involving a top state Democrat — the state's governor, lieutenant governor and attorney genera…


Fake news threatens our businesses, not just our politics  The Washington Post

We've now begun the second presidential campaign of the “fake news” era. Fake news — intentionally misleading misinformation dressed up like legitimate ...


'Here it goes again': Virginia grapples with epic wave of political dysfunction  NBC News

For Virginia residents locked in a dizzying two-week display of political dysfunction, the hits just keep coming.


LISTEN: Which 'Big Bang' will rock Israeli politics to the core?  Haaretz

PLUS: The prize for most nauseating election ad of the week goes to…? LISTEN FREE.


EU parliament's centrist coalition set to lose majority, poll finds  The Guardian

The “grand coalition” of centre-right and centre-left that has run the European parliament for 40 years is set to lose its majority for the first time following elections ...


Cory Booker says he won't comment further on Smollett case until more information comes out  CNN

New Jersey Democratic Sen. Cory Booker declined on Sunday to comment directly on reports that police believe actor Jussie Smollett paid two men to carry out ...


Australian politics live: Fallout from cyber attack on parliament, Liberal, Labor, National parties  NEWS.com.au

The government is under pressure to reveal which foreign country hacked Australia's parliament and major political parties, as senior minister Mathias Cormann ...


The nation's cartoonists on the week in politics  POLITICO

Every week political cartoonists throughout the country and across the political spectrum apply their ink-stained skills to capture the foibles, memes, hypocrisies ...


Post Malone review – pop-rap rockstar picks emotion over politics  The Guardian

When angstily rapping about his fractured psyche, the US star is compelling, but you sense he still hasn't worked out his true voice.


The Future of Politics Is Coming to Poland  Foreign Policy

In recent years, many words have been devoted to the rise of populism and illiberalism in Poland. Often comparing the country to Hungary, commentators have ...


With Northam Picture, Obscure Publication Plays Big Role in Virginia Politics  The New York Times

Big League Politics, an obscure right-wing publication, has put both Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam and Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax on the defensive.


Politics Podcast: The Politics Of Taxing The Super Rich  FiveThirtyEight

In recent weeks, high-profile Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have floated policies that levy ...


The great irony of climate change politics is red states face more pain  CNN

Climate change will impose the greatest economic losses on Republican-leaning areas of the country that are almost uniformly resisting new efforts to combat it, ...


Traditional Palestinian Dress Becomes Means of Political Protest  Voice of America

The design of and meaning behind the dresses have changed much throughout recent history.


Liberals and Conservatives React in Wildly Different Ways to Repulsive Pictures  The Atlantic

To a surprising degree, our political beliefs may derive from a specific aspect of our biological makeup: our propensity to feel physical revulsion.


FIFA and the politics of a Gulf feud  Al Jazeera English

FIFA is being dragged into the Gulf's internal rivalries and that does not bode well for the federation.


Ocasio-Cortez Heralds a New Political Era  The Wall Street Journal

Socialism may not become America's dominant ideology, but it's likely to be around for a while.


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez video: “lightning round” on money in politics goes viral  Vox.com

US campaign finance laws are, well, less than ideal — or, as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez put it in a House committee hearing this week, they make it “super ...


What is behind anti-Semitism in Europe? | Raw Politics  Euronews English

Countries across Europe are struggling to address reports of rising anti-Semitism. But where does the problem come from and is it really getting worse? Find out ...


Graham calls McCabe comments 'beyond stunning' as he threatens to subpoena former FBI chief  Fox News

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., vowed on Sunday to investigate alleged discussions at the Department of Justice about invoking the 25th Amendment as a way to ...


Australia political parties hacked by 'sophisticated state actor'  Aljazeera.com

Prime minister says hack that breached parliament systems earlier this month also hit major political parties.


The Empty Quarters of U.S. Politics  The New York Times

Howard Schultz, the coffee billionaire, who imagined that he could attract broad support as a “centrist,” turns out to have an approval rating of 4 percent, versus ...


Political world mourns the loss of John Dingell  CNN

Washington (CNN) The news of former Michigan Democratic Rep. John Dingell's death shook the political world Thursday night as memorials poured in from ...


Politics this week  The Economist

Donald Trump gave his state-of-the-union speech to Congress, delayed by a week because of wrangling over government spending. He again called for ...


Trump calls for rejection of 'politics of revenge' in speech that jabs Democrats  CNN

Washington (CNN) President Donald Trump appeared before a divided Congress for the first time on Tuesday appealing to lawmakers' sense of unity at a ...


How the geography of climate damage could make the politics less polarizing  Brookings Institution

What if flip the frame from emissions to impacts when looking at the geography of climate change?


Political brawl among Republicans raises accusations around Miles City sex abuse lawsuit  Billings Gazette

Years of infighting between Republicans in Cascade County has spilled over to encompass a civil lawsuit claiming that administrators at an Eastern Montana ...


Trump's Rose Garden Fiasco Was a Commercial for the 25th Amendment  Esquire

If your uncle behaved like this, you'd hide the car keys.


Trump Organization shelves Mississippi Delta hotel projects over politics: Report  Jackson Clarion Ledger

The proposed four-star Scion hotel in Cleveland was expected to open by the end of the year. The hotel was originally slated to open in the fall of 2018.


Pulwama attack fallout may have bearing on election politics: CLSA  Economic Times

NEW DELHI: Foreign brokerage CLSA says the rising tensions between India and Pakistan following the Pulwama attack can have a political fallout, depending ...


Ex-Catalan official tells court he is a "political prisoner"  Fox News

A former Catalan official accused of leading a violent rebellion to make Catalonia independent of Spain has told a Madrid court that he considers himself "a ...


Even As A Freshman, Pelosi Was A Political Insider  FiveThirtyEight

The new class of House freshmen have gotten an awful lot of buzz for their willingness to upend the status quo. Many progressive rabble-rousers and moderate ...


Analysis | A Trump property earned money from a political committee one out of every two days from 2017 until the midterms  The Washington Post

In total, Trump properties earned over $6 million in the 2018 election cycle.


Thai Political Party Upsets Norms With Princess Nomination  TIME

(BANGKOK) — A Thai political party on Friday named a princess as its nominee to be the next prime minister, upending tradition of the palace eschewing politics ...


home | site map
© 2007