Stan Jackson needs a fence. Joe Bob Farnsworth found a stray cat on his farm.
If you’ve seen these updates from your friends in your Facebook stream, you might be puzzled. But notifications such as these are part of the wonderful world of Farmville, a game played on Facebook that boasts over 82 million players across the globe that allows players to construct their own virtual farms. The seemingly innocent game was the professional demise of one Bulgarian politician, however. The Huffington Post writes:
Council members of the Plovidv City Council in Bulgaria are among FarmVille’s fervent fans: the Bulgarian councilors were recently caught "milking virtual cows" on FarmVille during budget meeting debates (using government-issued laptops, no less).
The Chair of the Council, Ilko Iliev, delivered a strong scolding to the officials–to no avail.
Novinite, a Bulgarian news outlet, reports that not long after Iliev’s warning, one politician, Dimitar Kerin, was yet again nabbed tending to his online crop.
Kerin was promptly voted off the council committee for playing FarmVille on the job…
Kerin said, in his defense, that he was not the only FarmVille fanatic in the bunch: he explained that he ‘had reached only Level 40, whereas Daniela Zhelyazkova, a councilor from the rightist Democrats for Strong Bulgaria party, was already at Level 46.
If tax rates can in fact be said to influence where companies locate and invest, the U.S. has a problem. As our economy becomes increasingly global our combined (federal and provincial/state) income tax rate is higher than every other country in the world, except Japan. Both presidential candidates have recognized the need to do something. Sen. John McCain proposes a significant reduction of the current 35% federal rate to 25%. Although coupled with other proposals and not nearly as definite or assertive, Sen. Barack Obama also indicated he is open to lowering the rates.
The U.S. can’t afford to ignore what most other industrialized countries have already figured out: the corporate income tax rates affect investment. This year China dropped its rate from 33% to 25%; and Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea, which already had much lower rates than the U.S., dropped theirs even more. And it is not just in Asia. The adjustments swept Europe with Germany, Italy, the U.K. and Spain all making rate reductions. It is truly a global thing. Other countries that are part of the wave of cuts: Turkey, Bulgaria, Israel, South Africa and Colombia.
So with so much talk of change in other contexts, it is important to point out that it is also time for a change to our corporate tax rate. A full listing of the corporate rates in nations belonging to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, along with other revealing information on this subject is available from the Tax Foundation.