Congress’ 6-Figure Pensions Cause $674B Shortfall

Jan 19, 2012, 9:48 am EDT

Almost 15,000 federal retirees, including former members of Congress, enjoy six-figure pensions right now. And if that isn’t galling enough? The pension system providing these cushy payouts is ridiculously insolvent, facing a $674.2 billion shortfall.

So much for cutting pork and careless spending out of Washington. I guess politicians only use that philosophy when it doesn’t apply to themselves.

To be clear, not all federal retirees get a mammoth payday. Some folks were middle managers who now get a relatively modest retirement at an average of abour $31,000 annually. But a small group – about one of every 125 retirees (civilians mind you, not the military) collects more than $100,000 in benefits annually. Read 

Iran a Growing Target of Overt Sanctions, Covert Terrorism

Jan 18, 2012, 12:30 pm EDT

Just in case you ever run out of things to worry about, take a look at Iran where a car bomb killed yet another nuclear scientist last week. Ironically, this nuclear scientist was on his way to an event commemorating the second anniversary of the death of another nuclear scientist killed by a car bomb.

According to Israeli sources, this is the fifth nuclear scientist to die, while The Wall Street Journal said this was the fourth death of a nuclear scientist in the past two years. A Pentagon spokesman said “the United States played no role whatsoever in the killing of this scientist,” while Israel refused to comment.

The past few months have witnessed a huge rise in similar “accidents” within Iran. According to The Washington Post, there has been a “five-fold increase in explosions at refineries and gas pipelines since 2010.” For instance, there was a mysterious explosion at a steel plant on Dec. 11 — less than two weeks after massive explosions were heard at a uranium conversion facility on Nov. 28. Read 

Who Cares About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns?

Jan 18, 2012, 12:04 pm EDT

Republican front-runner Mitt Romney is facing increasing pressure from his opponents to release his tax returns, which presidential candidates have done for decades. It’s a fight that few outside of Beltway’s chattering class care much about and will yield few insights into his fiscal policies, which some have found lacking.

The issue came up during Monday’s debate in South Carolina, and the former Massachusetts Governor said he might release them around tax time in April. The tax forms will show that Romney is wealthy and that he gets most of his money from income from investments, two facts that will surprise no one with rudimentary reading skills. Romney’s stalling over the issue is silly.

It’s a pity that few in the media are paying attention to how most Americans would fare economically under a President Romney. Read 

Smoke Bomb Tossing ‘Occupy’ Protestor Violates Key Protest Tenet

Jan 18, 2012, 11:57 am EDT

The burgeoning “Occupy” movement in the United States received another black eye late Tuesday, after a protestor at a Washington, D.C., event tossed what appeared to be a smoke bomb over the White House fence. Additionally, one protestor was arrested for assaulting a police officer and three others were arrested for crossing a police line.

As a result of Tuesday’s events, the White House was locked down for an hour (though President Barack Obama and his wife were not present at the time), and the north gate to the residence was closed while the tossed object was investigated.

These events stand in stark contrast to both the otherwise peaceful protests carried out by other “Occupy” activists, some of whom came from as far away as Nevada and California to participate, and to the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose birthday was recently celebrated. King’s efforts to obtain civil rights for African-Americans were rooted in the principles of non-violence first popularized by Mohandas Gandhi. And while these two men, and their supporters and followers, suffered terribly for their cause, their efforts eventually bore fruit. Gandhi played a crucial role in India becoming independent from British rule, and African-Americans still might be unfairly disenfranchised from voting if not for King. Read 

Congress Will PAY YOU to Avoid Public Transit in 2012

Jan 18, 2012, 11:29 am EDT

As part of the 2009 stimulus package passed by the Democratic controlled congress, commuters could qualify for a subsidy of $230 per month towards mass transit expenses. But your tax write off for parking? Ten bucks more at $240.

So much for Washington believing in public transportation.

If that isn’t crazy enough, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (that’s the formal name for the “stimulus” bill) only offered a temporary increase to mass transit reimbursement. As of January 1, commuters getting a pre-tax reimbursement for transit will revert to just $125. Read 

Mitt Romney’s Taxes: The Battle Escalates

Jan 18, 2012, 9:55 am EDT
Mitt Romney’s Taxes: The Battle Escalates

For the past decade, Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney has been jobless. But it doesn’t really matter, of course. While the head of private equity firm Bain Capital — until 1999 — Mitt created a fortune that’s estimated to be over $250 million.

However, was this the result of plundering companies and firing employees, as his GOP primary rivals are charging? If anything, such claims are just a warm-up for the epic battle Romney may fight against President Barack Obama.

But for now, it seems that staunch Republicans, Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry, are the ones engaging in “class warfare” as they try to paint Mitt as a “vulture capitalist.” It’s all part of their strategy to get a win in the upcoming South Carolina primary. Read 

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