Sunday, February 03, 2008

If I Was President...

One of my first laws would be to require all companies to provide any customer with all data linked to their account/name, on demand, for free. Ideally they would make it web-accessible -- the smart ones, at least, would, because sending it out manually would cost more money.

Further, they would have to delete it on demand as long as doing so doesn't conflict with other laws.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Long-term tax rates

It's hard for me to see the value added in some of financial innovations and institutions. Credit card companies often simply allow people to indebt themselves more. Insurance companies must have had crazy margins before Geico started this price war. Did this rate swap add value to the situation?

What if we had a tax structure that encouraged real long-term investing? We already have long-term taxes rates for 1+ year of owning a stock; how about additional tax breaks for 5 or 10-year ownership? Or how about higher short-term rates and a more gradual long-term rate?

The short-term craziness of financial markets today is a real distraction from what matters. People don't think for the long-term. That's why we had these dumb loans: the people in charge of these companies were only thinking a few years into the future.