Ask most US citizens if they’re proud to be Americans and you’ll get a resounding ‘yes’. So why are increasing numbers of ex-pats relinquishing their nationality? It’s a growing trend, according to the US Treasury, with recent figures showing that more than four thousand individuals renounced their US citizenship or long-term residency in 2015 – up 20% on the previous year and a sharp rise from the one thousand or so who took the plunge in 2010.
In the latest in a series of government initiatives to shake the economy out of its torpor, the Bank of Japan has announced the introduction of negative interest rates. The 0.1% rate is designed to encourage lending amid increasing uncertainly about the global economy and to try to free the country from two decades of deflation.
In theory, this means that rather than earning interest on money left with the Bank of Japan, banks will instead be charged to stash their cash, which creates a disincentive to hoard deposits and encourages banks to lend to businesses and consumers. If banks, in turn, cut deposit rates paid to customers, this may also promote spending and business investment.
Death and taxes – the two certainties in life, according to Benjamin Franklin. Unless you’re a mega-corporation, of course. In which case, paying your fair share of tax is increasingly viewed by cynical observers as purely optional. Consensus is gathering in Europe to overhaul the international tax system, in the wake of several high-profile cases in which multi-national companies are felt to be falling well short of their tax obligations to member states.
New figures released by the Commerce Department show that the US economy slowed to a virtual halt in the final three months of 2015, its annual rate rising at just 0.7% amid signs of a global economic slowdown. Consumers and businesses alike scaled back their spending and US exports were reduced. The lower-than-expected rate is likely to fuel concern that gains made over the last six years are now losing ground.