Hello, View fans. Here are your annotated afternoon links.
The man behind those ingenious Irish tax deals
Great feature article by Bloomberg News reporter Jesse Drucker about Feargal O’Rourke, the PricewaterhouseCoopers partner in Dublin who helped make Ireland a global tax-avoidance hub. O’Rourke turns the tables on his country’s critics: “Why should Ireland be the policeman for the U.S.?” he asks. “They can change the law” -- he snaps his fingers -- “like that! I could draft a bill for them in an hour.” O’Rourke says he expects Ireland eventually will bar companies such as Apple and Google from setting up Irish units that don’t owe income taxes there.
A prediction for China’s real-estate market
Andy Xie, the renowned Chinese economist, writes that government officials “are showing little enthusiasm for dealing with the property bubble, and if they do not act, market forces will do it for them.” He predicts that “China’s property bubble is likely to sink big in 2014.”
The fine print of JPMorgan’s government settlement
From the Wall Street Journal’s Francesco Guerrera: “If J.P. Morgan is right, it can try and recoup any payment to the Justice Department related to [Washington Mutual] bonds by pursuing a pool of $2.7 billion earmarked by the FDIC for the failed bank’s creditors. That, in turn, could force one federal agency to fund part of a landmark settlement negotiated by another agency -- a weird and potentially embarrassing situation for the government.” It’s one of many points still left to be negotiated before the deal’s terms are unveiled.
Tales of eavesdropping on Amtrak
Remember the story last week about the guy riding the Acela train between New York and Washington who live-tweeted what he heard the former head of the National Security Agency telling journalists on an “off the record” basis? Amy Webb of Slate, who rides the train frequently, writes about how this sort of thing happens all the time. There’s no privacy for riders, but that doesn’t stop them from yapping and carelessly giving away secrets to fellow passengers.
Houston, we have a yard sale
They’re tearing down the Astrodome and selling the pieces. Once it was called the eighth wonder of the world. A pair of seats will cost $200.
(Jonathan Weil is a Bloomberg View columnist. Follow him on Twitter.)