Jul 18, 2012, 5:35 pm EDT
One of the biggest debates and points of contention between Democrats and Republicans in Congress has been over what to do with the Bush-era tax cuts. Set to expire at the end of the year unless renewed, they’ve become an important sticking point between the two parties.
Republicans want the tax cuts to stay in place for all income brackets, while Democrats want to eliminate the tax cut for those making more than $250,000. Attempts to find a compromise that would satisfy both parties have not born fruit.
Now, it seems that Democrats may not bother. On Monday, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., signaled her party’s willingness to let all the tax cuts expire unless the Republicans budged from their refusal to raise taxes on incomes above $250,000. Read
Jul 17, 2012, 3:21 pm EDT
Candidates for the House of Representatives have a steep monetary hill to climb if they want to be elected this fall. According to Federal Election Commission figures, they have already raised more than half a billion dollars this election cycle.
The $556 million raised so far in this election cycle is $57 million more than the same point two years ago, and more than double what had been raised at the same point in 2002.
The results of the escalating fundraising war is both incumbents and challengers spend more time than ever fundraising for their campaigns, leaving less time for Congressional work or other forms of campaigning. Read
Jul 16, 2012, 1:00 pm EDT
Since becoming Speaker of the House in January 2011, John Boehner, R-Oh., has become a central figure in the Republican Party. He has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration, and helped the GOP form its hard line against any new tax increases. He’s also been a crucial party fundraiser.
How important has Boehner been to fundraising? According to figures released by his political team, Boehner has raised $80 million for House Republicans and party candidates since taking the speaker’s office.
Boehner’s take comes from several different fundraising projects that he participates in. He has three fundraising arms that he is affiliated with, has appeared at National Republican Congressional Committee fundraising events, and uses his name on mailers to solicit donations. Read
Jul 16, 2012, 11:27 am EDT
Here’s more proof that this election will almost certainly be impacted by the rise of the super PAC. The Mitt Romney-supporting super PAC Restore Our Future set a record for super PAC fundraising by pulling in $20 million in June.
The $20 million haul was more than four times what it brought in for May and more than three times what Barack Obama’s super PAC, Priorities USA Action, raised in June. It is also twice the amount that Restore Our Future had raised in any other month.
It appears that at least some of this record-breaking amount comes from casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, who announced a $10 million donation to Restore Our Future in June. Reports filed by Romney’s super PAC did not say how much of that $20 million came from Adelson’s donation, though. Read
Jul 16, 2012, 10:00 am EDT
Looking to make the transition from an economy based on fossil fuels, renewable energy businesses across the value and supply chain have benefited from state and federal government subsidies, support and incentives.
State renewable power/portfolio standards (RPS), which have been enacted in 37 states to date, have been critical to the near-doubling of U.S. renewable energy capacity since 2008, along with the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs.
While the Obama administration has set U.S. energy policy firmly on the renewable path, the federal government — more precisely, a bitterly divided Congress — has relied primarily on tax incentives in the form of investment and production tax credits (ITCs and PTCs) to foster growth and development of the U.S. clean-energy economy. Read
Jul 16, 2012, 9:16 am EDT
One of the most contentious parts of the Bush Tax Cuts was the 2003 provision to slash the maximum statutory rate on dividends from 38% to 15%. That controversy still rages today, of course, even though a 2007 Federal Reserve paper argues that the effects of the cuts were modest at best.
“We fail to find much, if any, imprint of the dividend tax cut news on the value of the aggregate stock market,” according to the paper. “Second, there appeared to have been modest but seemingly short-lived cross-sectional effects on stock valuations.”
Yet, the debate over dividend taxes won’t stop. The top rate on dividends will surge nearly 190% to 43.4%, if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire at the end of the year and a separate increase allowed under Obama care kicks in. The effects of such an increase would be devastating, according to the Alliance for Savings & Investment. Read