Wanna Know Where Tax Dollars Go? There’s an App for That

Apr 5, 2012, 10:47 am EDT
Wanna Know Where Tax Dollars Go? There’s an App for That


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Want to know what percentage of your tax bill funds our national defense, and how much you’re paying for veterans benefits? Turns out there’s an app for that.

The White House has launched a tax receipt calculator just in time for tax season so you can see to the penny what you’re paying for as a U.S. taxpayer.

The tool is simple: After you do your tax return — or your accountant does them for you — visit the website and plug in what you paid for Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and income taxes. Read 

Obama Signs STOCK Act

Apr 4, 2012, 9:06 pm EDT
Obama Signs STOCK Act

Just ten weeks after calling for it in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill banning insider trading on Congressional knowledge by members of Congress.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate and nearly unanimously (417-2) by the House. Highlighting the bill’s bipartisan nature was the presence of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., at the signing ceremony today.

What the law specifically prevents is trading on confidential information received by lawmakers as members of Congress. This ban carries over to legislative aides and officials in both the executive and judicial branches. It requires them to disclose the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and other securities within 45 days, instead of the current rule of one year. They must also disclose mortgage terms, and are forbidden from receiving special access to initial public stock offerings. Read 

Obama Punches Back After Romney’s ‘Personal Finance’ Jab

Apr 4, 2012, 4:11 pm EDT
Obama Punches Back After Romney’s ‘Personal Finance’ Jab

President Barack Obama, talking to InvestorPlace Editor Jeff Reeves and other journalists live at a White House personal finance online summit, was asked what he thought about Republican primary frontrunner Mitt Romney calling him out of touch with personal finances after his time in D.C.

His response:

“I went to law school and much of college on scholarships. So did my wife. We were still paying off our student debt nine years after I graduated law school. Our first home was a modest condo, and I remember scraping together the down payment to purchase it and researching interest rates. When Michelle and I first (bought) the car I was driving, I think I bought (it) for $500. It had a big rust spot on the passenger side where you could see the road, so I know Michelle didn’t marry me for my money. Our credit card debt was tough to pay off; we did college savings funds when times were tight. Our personal finances were about worrying about bills at the end of the month or gas prices or what have you. They really weren’t stable until recently. So in that sense I would say that Michelle and I have had a quintessentially middle-class or working-class upbringing. I suspect that is a contrast to some presidential candidates out there. As for who is in touch and who’s not with ordinary folks … I have no problem with the comparison.” Read 

Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Apr 3, 2012, 5:25 pm EDT
Hillary Clinton in 2016?

Nancy Pelosi has an idea on who should run for president for the Democrats in 2016: Hillary Clinton.

The House Minority Leader expressed interest in the idea during an interview with PBS‘s Charlie Rose, saying it would be “exciting” and that Clinton has been a “magnificent” Secretary of State under President Barack Obama.

However, Pelosi did say she had no knowledge of a plan by Clinton to run for president. Additionally, Clinton has said that her current position would be her last in public office, though Bill Clinton seemed to leave open the possibility that she might change her mind, saying he would be happy no matter what she did, either with the Clinton Foundation or a presidential run. Read 

Commission Bans Trading On 2012 Election

Apr 2, 2012, 6:10 pm EDT
Commission Bans Trading On 2012 Election

Investors looking to profit directly from the upcoming general election by betting on who they believe might win are out of luck.

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which monitors futures and options markets, has banned the North American Derivatives Exchange from offering political event contracts. A political event contract would allow an investor to wager on who they thought would win, say, the presidential election this fall, or congressional elections.

The issue appears to be how closely linked these contracts are to gambling. Many states — and even Las Vegas — have already prohibited such wagers. There was also concern that supporters of a candidate could use the contracts to “game” the election, by buying large positions in a candidate and driving public opinion in his or her favor. Read 

House Passes Ryan’s Budget Plan

Mar 29, 2012, 6:14 pm EDT
House Passes Ryan’s Budget Plan

After two days of debate, the Republican-led House of Representatives passed Rep. Paul Ryan’s, R-Wisc., budget plan.

The vote fell mostly along party lines, 228-191, with no Democrats voting for the bill and 10 Republicans opposing it. The budget would cut domestic spending to levels not seen since the World War II era, reform the tax code, and change the way Medicare is implemented.

More specifically, Ryan’s budget would consolidate the six tax brackets that currently exist to two — 10% and 25% — and reduce the corporate tax rate to 25%. It would also fully repeal President Barack Obama’s health care bill and overhaul Medicare. Under the Republicans’ plan, Medicare would become a program that subsidizes senior citizens’ health care premiums, allowing to either buy traditional Medicare insurance or private health insurance. Read 

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