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October 2010

October 21, 2021

Google's (legal) $60B tax evasion

Google ought to give its accountants a raise. LargeNewGoogleLogoFinalFlat-a

According to a startling new report from Bloomberg, some creative accounting between the tech giant’s international divisions meant the company’s corporate tax rate shrunk to just 2.4 per cent overseas – as much as 23 per cent less than other major businesses are forced to pay.

By one U.S. professor of economics’ estimate, such elusive practices may have cost the American government some $60 billion in tax revenue.

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Is contract work becoming the new normal?

Although they say otherwise, many employers are moving towards a just-in-time workforce populated by temporary workers, contract staff and freelancers. 

Hoping to become more nimble and cut costs, both small and large firms are looking to balance staffing with fluctuating demand – avoiding overhead, benefits and job security at the same time.

And one of the biggest culprits is the federal government, says Public Service Commission president Maria Barrados in a recent report.

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October 20, 2021

The most, and least, ticketed cars on the road

You’ve heard cars referred to as “ticket magnets,” right?

166965_german_engineering Like, that red hot Corvette the guy with the thinning hair and lame Bluetooth earpiece drives. Boom: ticket magnet. Or, the Mercedes convertible cops just must get semi-aroused in pulling over. Bam: have you license and registration ready.

But for all these stereotypes, that’s what they’ve largely been. Stereotypes. Thanks to a new auto insurance study, though, we know now what vehicles are indeed ticket magnets. And the list is a bit more modest than you’d think.

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Time to increase Canada Pension Plan benefits: poll

Worried that they won't have enough money to enjoy a comfortable retirement, Canadians are pushing for enhancements to the Canada Pension Plan, according to a new poll.

Almost eight in 10 respondents — 78% — said they support increasing CPP benefits. The idea was most popular among those currently earning between $30,000 and $60,000.

Just over 80% said they support increasing Old Age Security payments as well – no mention of just how to do that, of course.

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October 19, 2021

Now's the best time to buy that private island

“Think it’s tough selling a house in this market? Try unloading an island.”1307942_lefkada_island

Hard for me to beat a lead sentence like that, which comes from Blythe Lawrence of the Seattle Times.

But yes, if you can believe it, the latest in a long line of luxury sufferings these days is the private island market – a lucrative global business gone south with the world’s slumping real estate biz.

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What's the real cost of skipping class?

All those students who regularly struggle with the consequences of skipping class can now rest easy. There’s an online calculator that can help you decide whether ditching is really going to make much of a difference.

To use it, all you have to do is provide answers to 10 questions, including the length of your term, how many days you’ve already skipped, quiz frequency, and your current grade in the class.

The calculator then spits out a verdict based on what the site calls a “surefire mathematical formula.”

It also reminds you of just how much school you’ve skipped this semester – and perhaps the fact that you have a test or quiz in a few days.

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How much does a murder cost? Try $17.3M: study

Last month, when members of a California law enforcement group suggested marijuana should be legalized in the state to free up funds to better fight violent crimes, the Conservative world balked.

282243_gun_1 It was an understandable stance in many ways – everyone wants more violent crime prevention, though by these measures?  – yet maybe some of those right-leaners might sway a little given this recent study:

According to a new report from the Journal of Criminal Justice (JCJ), violent crimes now have a measurable economic cost, and it’s not pretty. For instance, a murder, by the numbers tallied here, can cost society as much as $17.3 million.

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October 18, 2021

Canadians cutting back on car repairs: study

Holding off on that oil change for a few more weeks? Well, you’re not alone.

Whether it’s the economy or improved vehicle quality, Canadians are spending less to maintain and repair their cars, according to a recent J.D. Power and Associates report.

We’re also visiting garages less often, and when we do take our vehicles in, the average price for repairs has been dropping for awhile now.

Per service spending has averaged $287 this year, compared to $352 in 2009 a trend that could end up costing vehicle owners more in the long term if they have to pay for emergency maintenance, J.D. Power suggests.

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October 15, 2021

For $400, you can now marry at a Hong Kong McDonald's

224723_SeoulKorea McDonald’s, to be sure, has done its best to evolve the restaurant’s menu over the years.

When once there were just burgers and fries, now there are nuggets, fish filets and milkshakes. When once there were just burgers, fries, nuggets, fish filets and milkshakes, now there are wraps, salads and apple slices – healthier alternatives, relatively speaking.

But travel over to a McDonald’s in Hong Kong these days and you may see one new menu item you hadn’t before. A wedding, held at one of the fast food chains, for you and your wife … for $400.

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October 14, 2021

Brett Favre's sexts could cost $100M in lost endorsements

It’s the (penis) shot heard ‘round the world.

Yes, you’re tired of listening to reports about Brett Favre’s alleged boner – not that  kind of boner, but his supposed screw-up of sending cell phone pics of his own crotch to a female New York Jets staffer when he was QB of the team in 2008.

The married star, who now runs the Minnesota Vikings’ offence, has not admitted to snapping photos of his shotgun for the woman (pictured here), yet the ordeal has caused Favre a heap of embarrassment. Now, it may cause his wallet to lighten after he retires.

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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...