How Much Money Makes You Wealthy? Politicans, Americans Greatly Differ

Dec 12, 2011, 3:22 pm EDT

During the past three years, the debate about what constitutes a rich household has shifted markedly from discussing the tax fate of those that make more than $250,000 annually to the much richer over-$1 million club. A new poll suggests many Americans might set the bar lower than both Republicans and Democrats.

Amid the deficit cutting hysteria that has engulfed Washington in the past year, legislators desperately have been trying to craft ways to pay for middle-class tax breaks and economic stimulus. While Republicans (until very recently) have been considering spending cuts only, Democrats have been quibbling about how to raise taxes on those at the top of the income chain. But determining the boundaries of the top income bracket has a political dynamic of its own.

President Barack Obama had been consistently drawing a line at $250,000 per year. He advocated raising taxes on households that make more than that amount during his campaign for president in 2007-08. He included a 3.8% extra tax on investment income for those making more than $250,000 in his healthcare legislation. This fall, he continued to advocate for a return to Clinton-era tax rates for this group to pay for his jobs bill and reduce the deficit. Read 

Election 2012: Woodstock and the Swiss

Dec 12, 2011, 10:08 am EDT

Were you at Woodstock? It was a seminal event — some 500,000 strong. Although a little muddy and a little dopey, the energy delivered from the masses was like no other. People from all over the country showed up to peacefully protest Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam War while they enjoyed great music from the likes of Joe Cocker, among many others. Inevitably, Woodstock turned out to be unprecedented in scope and influence; a coming together of people from all walks of life with a single common goal.

I am convinced that the 2012 elections will require the same kind of mega-energy from the Tea Party in order to wipe Team Obama from the American landscape. The Tea Party ideally would have a candidate who can project its views — such as a Patrick Henry, Harry Browne, Nigel Farage or Chris Christie. But if it doesn’t, the Tea Party is going to have to suck it up and get behind the candidate who gets the nod. It’s that simple. Defeating the Obama crowd is the job at hand, and victory must be assured.

The Tea Party can balance the books by seeing to it that it locks down every House seat possible and promotes hardliners for the Senate. Controlling the House and Senate, while cleansing the House leadership of Mr. Boehner, would go a long way in forcing a new president to adopt policies constructive to the formation of a constitutionally strong federal republic. Read 

3 Lessons You Must Learn From the Europe Mess

Dec 9, 2011, 12:48 pm EDT

Question:  A Greek, an Italian and a Spaniard walk into a bar. Who picks up the tab?

Answer:  The Americans.

All financial eyes are once again trained on the European debt crisis, with investors worldwide wondering how it will play out. Not well, I’m afraid. Not well for the Europeans to be sure. And it will be costly for Americans, too.   Read 

Maverick Judge Jed Rakoff Stares Down Citigroup, Wall Street

Dec 8, 2011, 12:00 pm EDT

One of the biggest problems with Wall Street’s malfeasance is how the ruling elite view legal settlements — as little more than an acceptable cost of doing business.

Well, no more.

Thanks to Judge Jed Rakoff, we might see some real regulatory action leading to good old-fashioned investigations, perp walks and even jail for the guilty. I’m not talking just about the Bernie Madoffs or the Raj Rajaratnams, either. I’m talking about potentially CEOs and even entire corporate boards. Read 

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Thinks Fat-Cat CEOs Need a Tax Break

Dec 8, 2011, 9:22 am EDT

One could argue that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon was playing to the cheap seats with his line Wednesday about how bad the rich investment bankers of New York have it these days. Dimon was, after all, speaking at an investor conference organized by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

But if the JPMorgan exec was trying to deflect criticism of the so-called “wealthiest 1%,” he failed miserably.

Dimon’s one-liner was a rather uninteresting boilerplate, a typical response from a well-heeled CEO. Read 

‘Robin Hood Tax’ Would Steal from Global Investors Just Like YOU

Dec 8, 2011, 7:45 am EDT
‘Robin Hood Tax’ Would Steal from Global Investors Just Like YOU

Talk about tax reform is heating up on Wall Street, in Washington and in the homes of millions of Americans.

Previously passed payroll tax cuts deliver about $1,000 extra into the pockets of working families but are set to expire at year’s end. To balance the federal budget and address income inequality, some legislators are favoring a so-called “millionaire’s tax” on the wealthiest Americans. President Barack Obama and prospective Republican nominees for the 2012 ballot are all wrapped up in the idea of reforming the tax code to boost the economy and help small businesses.

Unfortunately, if the debt crisis across the Atlantic is preface to our own budget and tax woes in the U.S., the next chapter might involve taxes on investing income. That could seriously damage the performance of the stock market, individual retirement portfolios and the profits regular retail investors can hope to take home from their trading. Read 

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