Obama Should Be Ashamed Kodak CEO Is on Jobs and Biz Council

Jan 10, 2012, 12:31 pm EDT

To date, beleaguered Eastman Kodak (NYSE:EK) and the White House have been mum about whether Kodak’s CEO, Antonio Perez — a member of President Barack Obama’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness — will be present for next week’s meeting.

He sure as heck shouldn’t be.

Perez’s continued presence on the council has raised eyebrows recently as the company has teetered on the brink. Kodak shares dropped to below $2 in September on news it was tapping its credit line, and in November the company said it was trying to sell off one of its few modern businesses, Kodak Gallery. Then last week, The Wall Street Journal dropped the dreaded “B” word as a possibility should the company be unable to sell off its cache of patents — if it can actually find any buyers. Read 

What Cordray and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Mean to You

Jan 9, 2012, 1:45 pm EDT

During the holiday break, President Barack Obama made a recess appointment to head the new consumer agency created by the Dodd-Frank Bill. Richard Cordray is mild-mannered Ohioan, a five-time Jeopardy! champion and a former attorney general who is admired by Republicans and Democrats alike. So why has there been such a fuss?

The problem has a lot less to do with “who” than it does “how” and “why.”

Dodd-Frank accomplished many things, one of which was creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. From its own website: Read 

SEC Ends ‘Neither Admit Nor Deny’ Policy

Jan 9, 2012, 10:48 am EDT

The Securities & Exchange Commission will no longer let companies caught in illegal activity have their cake and eat it, too. The commission’s is ceasing its much-criticized practice of allowing companies that have admitted to wrongdoing in criminal cases of securities fraud to cop a plea saying they “neither admit nor deny” those admitted wrongdoings in a separate SEC fraud case. The new approach applies as well to individuals who find themselves in that situation.


Said SEC Enforcement Director Robert Khuzami in a statement on Friday: “The new policy does not require admissions or adjudications of fact beyond those already made in criminal cases, but eliminates language that may be construed as inconsistent with admissions or findings that have already been made in the criminal cases.” Read 

How Banks Are Using Your Money to Create the Next Crash

Jan 9, 2012, 10:00 am EDT

In 2008, reckless credit default swaps nearly obliterated the global economy. Now comes the next crisis — “rehypothecated” assets. It’s a complicated, fancy term in the global banking complex. Yet it’s one you need to know.

The term rehypothecation starting coming into more general parlance after the fall of IMF Global. And if you understand it, you’ll get the scope of the risks we currently face — and it’s way bigger than just Greece.

So follow with me on this one. I guarantee you’ll be outraged and amazed — and better educated. You’ll also be in a better position to protect your assets because at the end of this article, I’ll give you three important action steps to take. Here goes. . . Read 

Report Shows Wealthiest Americans Seeing More Tax Audits

Jan 9, 2012, 9:31 am EDT

Last week, the IRS said in an enforcement report that it audited 12.5% of millionaires in fiscal 2011 — up from 8% in 2010 and 6% in 2009. What’s more, about 4% of those earning $200,000 and up were audited, up from 3% the previous year.

There’s not much to worry about if you’re making less than $200,000. As it turns out,  only 1% of taxpayers making less than $200,000  have been audited over the past five years. But, again, if you’re seeing any more than that, prepare to see more IRS agents at your doorstep.

Businesses with big pockets are also getting “special treatment” from the government. Those with $250 million in assets have a 27.6% audit rate  — this is in stark contrast to the 1% audit rate of firms with under $10 million in assets. Read 

Proposed Federal Pay Increase Nothing to Scream About

Jan 6, 2012, 1:52 pm EDT

How does $375 more a year sound?

That’s what the average federal worker will get in 2013 should a proposed 0.5% federal pay increase make its way through Congress. According to the Office of Management & Budget, the White House plans to put the proposal in its 2013 budget, and approval would end a three-year pay freeze enacted by President Barack Obama.

While no one’s coughing at more money in a down economy, let’s not make a mountain out of this molehill. Among things that should be immediately pointed out about this 0.5% increase: Read 

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