Michelle Obama Trip to Spain Cost Taxpayers $467,000

Apr 26, 2012, 6:07 pm EDT

A watchdog group obtained federal records that showed a 2010 trip by Michelle Obama to Spain cost taxpayers $467,000 in travel and security expenses.

The First Lady, her younger daughter Sasha, two of Michelle’s friends and four of their daughters took the summer vacation two years ago. At the time, some criticized her for taking such a lavish vacation in the midst of tough economic times.

The White House said that Michelle Obama and her friends had paid for their rooms, food, and transportation. As it turned out, though, the cost of flying a government plane exceeded what the First Lady reimbursed. In addition, Secret Service protection for Michelle and Sasha was covered by the government, as was additional government transportation while in Spain and the cost of bringing over aides to support the First Lady while visiting King Juan Carlos I and Queen Sofia. Read 

Colbert Super PAC Out-Fundraises Ron Paul’s

Apr 25, 2012, 6:32 pm EDT

Colbert’s Super PAC maybe a joke, but very few would deny it has some serious fundraising chops. Among those who might agree are the forces behind Ron Paul’s Super PAC.

In documents filed with the Federal Election Commission in March, Colbert’s Super PAC raised $44,000 in March, and is currently sitting on $794,000. In contrast, Ron Paul’s Super PAC, Take Endorse Liberty, raised only $13,000 in March and has just $54,000 in its accounts currently. This even after starting with a $1.7 million donation from PayPal (now an eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) subsidiary) founder Peter Thiel.

The amount of money Colbert’s Super PAC has brought in pales in comparison to what other presidential candidate Super PACs have raised, though. Restore our Future, Mitt Romney’s Super PAC, has $16.5 million cash-in-hand, while President Barack Obama’s Super PAC, Priorities USA Action, has $5 million in the bank. Last month, Gingrich’s Super PAC, Winning Our Future, received $5 million. Read 

What Each Vote Cost Romney

Apr 25, 2012, 5:46 pm EDT
What Each Vote Cost Romney

It takes more than money to win the GOP presidential nomination. If it didn’t, Mitt Romney would have edged out John McCain four years ago. But a sizable campaign budget goes a long way.

Romney, who earlier today was announced the “presumptive” Republican presidential nominee by the chairman of the Republican National Committee, has already spent $18.50 per vote (or $126,000 per delegate), according to a CNNMoney report.

As the presumed nominee, the $76.6 million that Romney spent to win 4.1 million votes (607 delegates) was worth the investment. One can’t say the same for one of Romney’s opponents, Texas Representative Ron Paul. Read 

Obama Campaigns on Student Loans

Apr 24, 2012, 6:39 pm EDT
Obama Campaigns on Student Loans

President Barack Obama spoke today in North Carolina about an issue near and dear to a core part of his base: student loan interest rates.

The president has begun a three-state tour, starting today in North Carolina and moving on to Colorado and Iowa to put pressure on Congress. Obama said that if Congress does not act to extend a student loan interest rate cut by July 1, the rates on 7.4 million loans could double.

This follows similar rhetorical moves by Obama on behalf of the payroll tax cut extension and the Buffett Rule: hit back at Congress when it is slow to tackle — or refuses to implement — policies the president supports. Read 

Social Security to Run Dry in 2035

Apr 24, 2012, 11:02 am EDT
Social Security to Run Dry in 2035

Social Security’s clock is ticking faster.

According to an annual report released Monday, the program serving 44 million Americans will drain its trust fund by 2035 — three years earlier than previous estimates — and if Congress doesn’t step in, the program will have to begin cutting benefits.

Among other key dates in the report: Read 

Threat of Higher Dividend Tax Looms Over Income Investors

Apr 24, 2012, 8:05 am EDT

It’s just about a week removed from Tax Day, and many investors have their capital gains taxes and dividend taxes from 2011 fresh in their minds. However, if you’re sensitive to investment taxes, then future tax rates should be much more important to you than previous payouts — because if Congress doesn’t act, you could be paying a lot more on your investment and dividend income in the near future.

Tax cuts on dividends and capital gains are set to lapse at the end of 2012, meaning that by 2013, you could be paying a nearly 40% tax on some of this income!

That’s if Congress doesn’t act, of course. Read 

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