Signs of the Times - July 2012 - (Page 12)

TECHNOLOGY UPDATE By Darek Johnson Darek Johnson is ST’s Senior Technology Editor/Analyst. Email him at Extreme Conduct Are Americans copping an attitude? On page 62 of this issue, I reported on several extreme-installation case studies. In the process, I remembered a few of my own install experiences. Like the time in Denver, when I arranged to hand-letter a halfcentury-old billboard for a new speed shop, in exchange for a lienheld, ’68 Mustang fastback. A lien-held Mustang? I was much younger. Then, I snapped signs or pinstriped cars on weekends for art-school tuition, girlfriend cash and pocket money. The speed shop had dropped a 351C Cleveland in the Stang, the high-compression edition. Once done, the car owner couldn’t pay. I was in love with the car. It was red. On a Saturday morning, I borrowed a wooden extension ladder, dragged it to the speed-shop roof, and leaned it against the tin-faced billboard that stood high and just outside the shop’s old brick wall. Once up, I tugged a Stanley tape off my belt and extended it up the signface. Then, suddenly, a wild Colorado wind slammed the billboard and, like a springboard, it popped the ladder and me backwards and – Sweet Jesus! – stood the ladder upright. Vertical. A mile, I’m sure, off the ground. I floundered … teetered, wobbled and swayed … and, thankfully, after several breathless moments, that spindly ladder and I bounced back against the signface. I never did own that Mustang. which is exactly what Eduardo Saverin did. Saverin, 30, a Brazilborn, but naturalized U.S. citizen, is one of the Facebook founders. Forbes magazine recently reported Saverin as having a net worth of $2 billion, in March. Saverin moved to Singapore in 2009; in 2011, he renounced his U.S. citizenship. Singapore doesn’t impose capitalgains taxes, which makes it one of Black’s (and others) favorite choices for ex-nationals to invest and relocate. Critics say Saverin moved to avoid taxes he’d have to pay on earnings from Facebook’s (broadly heralded) IPO sale. Prior to the IPO, the finance gurus said Saverin would make a ton of money from the sale. In essence, to renounce your U.S. citizenship is a slap in the face to our government, especially if your action is a type of protest, or an escape from tax obligations or certain bureaucratic processes. Some say renouncing his citizenship diminished Saverin’s capitalgains liabilities. Other reports say he may have to pay more, because U.S. law requires a tax assessment based upon selling all his possessions. Saverin, in an issued news statement, said, “I have paid and will continue to pay any taxes due on everything I earned while a U.S. citizen.” Question: Was it wrong for Saverin (who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard in 2006, invested and subsequently got rich) to move to Singapore and renounce his citizenship? Is he a bad guy, a type of newworld citizen – or merely emulating some American corporations? Saverin; Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s current CEO; Dustin Moskovitz and Chris Hughes started Facebook. Saverin, apparently, provided early seed money to gain a one-third stake, but later, lawsuit actions diminished it to 5%. You’ve seen the movie – The Social Network (2010)? It characterized Facebook’s first days, the software development and, later, the falling out. Forbes said it “immortalized” Saverin as Zuckerberg’s one-time best friend. I thought the movie was lousy. However, Rotten Tomatoes, a movie-review website, gave it 96%. It said the film was impeccably scripted, beautifully directed, and filled with fine performances. It said “The Social Network is a riveting, ambitious example of modern filmmaking at its finest.” A New York Times reviewer said it was “…a gloss on the boot-up, log-on, plug-in generation – a digital-age story inspired by the new gospel: The geek shall inherit the earth.” Or, buy it. Prior to Facebook’s IPO sale, Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Bob Casey (D-PA) proffered an “Ex-Patriot Act” bill that would prevent anyone (Saverin included) from dropping their U.S. citizenship to avoid taxes. Schumer said Saverin had turned his back on the country that welcomed and kept him safe, educated him and helped him become a billionaire. Schumer called it a great American success story gone horribly wrong. Shouldn’t such opinions also apply to U.S.-formed corporations that relocate offshore to avoid taxes? For example, Houston-based Halliburton, a major Pentagon military contractor, transferred its corporate headquarters to Dubai in 2007. (Its website lists dual headquarters – Houston and Dubai.) On ABC’s Good Morning America, journalist Jake Tapper said the move could save Halliburton “a fortune in U.S. taxes.” S imonnewsletter that provides Black publishes an Internet interesting information on world economies. He condones, for example, international investments, offshore wealth storage and renouncing your U.S. citizenship, 12 SIGNS OF THE TIMES / JULY 2012 /

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Signs of the Times - July 2012

Signs of the Times - June 2012
ST Update
Technology Update
Vinyl Apps
Strictly Commercial
Lighting Techniques
The Moving Message
Technology Review
Technology Review
Vehicle Graphics Contest Extension
New Products
The American Sign Museum Opens!
An Electric-Sign Company Snapshot
By Print or by Paint
Extreme Installs
Lessons for the Boss
The Value of Signs
Advertising Index
Editorially Speaking

Signs of the Times - July 2012