Debt & Taxes

Debt & Taxes

Equal Tax Treatment for Same Sex Marriage

August 30, 2013

Legally married same-sex couples will be able to file joint tax returns, regardless of where they live, the Obama administration said Thursday.

The move was in response to the Supreme Court's June ruling that struck down a key provision in the Defense of Marriage Act, allowing same-sex married couples to claim marriage-related tax credits and deductions no matter their location. 
The new rule “provides access to benefits, responsibilities and protections under federal tax law that all Americans deserve,” said Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. - ...

Can Bill Clinton Save Obamacare?

August 29, 2013

President Obama is turning to the man he calls the “secretary of explaining stuff” in a final push for his signature health care reform law before key provisions of it take effect Oct 1.

Former President Bill Clinton will deliver a speech about Obamacare in Little Rock, Ark., next week in the first of a number of “high-profile events” and speeches by administration officials. But this isn’t the first time Obama has turned to Bill Clinton for help.
Last fall, the 42nd president gave an energetic speech at the Democratic National Convention in...

New Delay in Implementing Obamacare

August 28, 2013

The Obama administration has announced another delay in plans for implementing the president’s signature health care law this fall.

The Department of Health and Human Services told insurance companies Tuesday that it cannot finalize the terms for operating federal insurance exchanges until mid-September, about two weeks beyond the original deadline of next week.The delay is likely due to technological problems in the new software system.

Administration officials say they’re still on track to open the online insurance marketplaces on October 1....

How Obama Would Blame GOP for Debt Ceiling

August 27, 2013

Less than 24 hours after Treasury Secretary Jack Lew announced Monday afternoon that the government must raise its $16.7 trillion debt ceiling by mid-October to continue operating, he was telling CNBC Tuesday morning how the administration would portray the GOP as irresponsible if an increase fails to materialize in the next month.

The White House refuses to “negotiate” on increasing the borrowing authority, saying that House Republicans should automatically agree to continue funding the government, said Lew. He says House Republicans would wreck the...

Econ Flashpoint: Durable Goods Letdown in July

August 26, 2013

Bad sign for the economy—durable goods dropped by 7.3 percent month-over-month in July, according to a Commerce Department report released Monday. Much of that drop came from a stunning 52.3 percent drop in civilian aircraft components.

But non-defense capital goods (excluding aircraft) also fell—3.3 percent—breaking four consecutive months of gains, a sign that momentum from the manufacturing sector has started to fade at a pivotal economic moment as the Federal Reserve considers policy tweaks and Congress embarks on (another) budgetary battle. -  ...

Retailers Lower Forecasts as Consumers Pull Back

August 16, 2013

Consumers from all income levels are spending cautiously as the back-to-school shopping season approaches, forcing retailers from Wal-Mart to Macy’s to decrease their annual sales forecasts.
Both those major retailers reported this week that they suffered from sluggish sales in the past quarter.

Macy’s sales fell below analysts’ expectations for the first time in 25 quarters. Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s second-quarter results also fell below forecasts and its shares slid 2.6 percent to $74.41.

Even retailers catering to upper-income consumers...

U.S. Firms Hop the Pond to Escape Taxes

August 15, 2013

A growing number of American corporations are taking over European companies and moving their headquarters to Europe in order to  save hundreds of  millions of dollars  on taxes in the long term.

Most recently  reports The Financial Times’ Anousha Sakoui,   two pharmaceutical companies, Michigan-based Perrigo and New Jersey-based Actavis,  acquired Irish companies and moved their headquarters to Ireland. By doing so, they  will pay only a 17 percent tax rate compared to the 30 percent they would have to pay in the U.S. Both  companies estimate they will...

The Coming Budget Battle Can Change Fed Policy

August 14, 2013

Some economists are beginning to worry that a political showdown over fiscal policy in Washington could throw a wrench in the Federal Reserve’s plans to scale back its bond-buying program.

Officials at the central bank are expected to announce a tapering in the $85 billion monthly purchases of bonds at the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Sept. 17-18, as long as the economy remains relatively strong. But a battle inside between the White House and Congress could ruin the Fed’s plans.

“While figures on employment, inflation, factory...

White House Delays Another Key Obamacare Provision

August 13, 2013

The administration has quietly put off another key provision of Obamacare until 2015.

The Affordable Care Act limits out-of-pocket costs to consumers, including deductibles and copayments, to $6,350 for an individual and $12,700 for a family. The White House put off implementation of that consumer protection for a year, potentially allowing insurers to set higher limits, or in some cases no limits at all. Federal officials said that many insurers and employers needed more time to comply for technical reasons.

But rather than making an...

Holder's Prison Reform to Save Billions

August 12, 2013

In a move to save tax dollars and curb the growing problem of massive overcrowding in U.S. prisons, Attorney General Eric Holder today will announce plans to scale back the use of harsh sentences for certain drug-related crimes.

Since the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986--which issued minimum sentences for drug possession including marijuana--the federal prison population has grown by 800 percent. The annual cost of incarcerating the more than 200,000 federal inmates is around $80 billion.

Supporters of prison reform say limiting incarcerations for...