3 Businesses Hit Hard by Stamp Hike

Oct 20, 2011, 12:03 pm EST
3 Businesses Hit Hard by Stamp Hike

There’s a lot of fuss about United States Postal Service profitability (or lack thereof) these days. Ideas to streamline the USPS include closing post offices in rural locations, eliminating Saturday mail delivery and other cutbacks.

But cuts aren’t the only way to bridge the budget gap at the USPS. To create more revenue, U.S. postage rates are about to go up — again!

Starting Jan. 22, the price of a first-class stamp will go up a penny, from 44 cents to 45 cents. Postcard stamps will jump more than 10%, from 29 cents to 32 cents. Read 

Why Senior Citizens Should Be Furious About So-Called Social Security ‘Increase’

Oct 19, 2011, 4:34 pm EST
Why Senior Citizens Should Be Furious About So-Called Social Security ‘Increase’

Social Security checks will see their first increase in three years this January. The Social Security COLA, or Cost of Living Adjustment, will amount to 3.6%.

But seniors should be outraged by the Social Security increase — because it isn’t an increase at all. The fact is the government program is paying less than it has in years past, and the recent COLA “increase” doesn’t make up for the ground that seniors have already lost.

Thanks to inflation pushing up prices and a stagnant economy hindering income, many senior citizens rely on their monthly Social Security check more than ever before. And on its face, an increase going into 2012 seems like a good thing. But here’s why the recent Social Security COLA is woefully deficient — and just a political move to appease older voters who have every right to be furious: Read 

Romney Might Have Followed Wall Street’s Money Too Far

Oct 18, 2011, 2:06 pm EST
Romney Might Have Followed Wall Street’s Money Too Far

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has raised about six times as much cash from the employees of Wall Street firms as has President Barack Obama, according to a New York Times analysis of recent campaign finance filings. This discrepancy is particularly noteworthy, given that the financial services industry was a major backer of Obama’s 2008 campaign. In fact, Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) was Obama’s biggest supporter in the private sector: Its workers coughed up $1 million last time around.

So far in this election season, that same group has offered up a mere $45,000 for the president, dwarfed by the $350,000 they have given to the Romney campaign.

What’s changed in three years? Bear with me as I point out the obvious. Read 

How to Protect Yourself As Europe Banks Fail

Oct 17, 2011, 4:27 pm EST

The latest plan to preserve the European Union (EU) and save the global banking sector is to force European banks to increase their equity capital.

The goal, of course, is to restore confidence and stability. But if that’s the case, then why are so many analysts and savvy investors still nervous?

To put it bluntly, it’s because they know it won’t work. Read 

The Need-to-Know Basics About What’s Going On in Europe

Oct 17, 2011, 5:30 am EST

Wall Street is dancing to Greece’s (and by extension Europe’s) whistle. If Greece says “jump,” Wall Street jumps. If Greece says, “Sorry, false alarm,” Wall Street cries.

This sorry dance has been going on for nearly two years. Like an endless loop of chicken dance, this might be fun at first (for about two minutes), but it gets old real fast. If you are tired of Wall Street’s chicken dance coverage and want to know what’s really going on and how to make money (or protect your assets), here’s a no nonsense assessment of Europe. Greece — Fool Me Once …

Fool me once, shame on Greece, fool me twice, shame on me. Greece has been the scapegoat for every major sell-off and catalyst for most rallies and dead cat bounces since January 2010. Read 

Closing Corporate Tax Loopholes Is Easier Said Than Done

Oct 15, 2011, 7:00 am EST

Herman Cain’s surprising surge in the race for the GOP nomination this week can be at least partially attributed to the appeal of his 9-9-9 tax plan. Although he is short on specifics, the basic idea is to eliminate all special deductions and move to a flat corporate rate of 9%. Clearly, this former CEO has tapped into something widely appealing.

Democrats and Republicans do not appear to agree on anything in this caustic political season. However, both parties have supported the general idea of simplifying the corporate tax code to lower the rate.

On paper, U.S. corporations pay a very high rate of taxes as compared to their counterparts overseas. However, given the wide array of credits, deductions and subsidies (i.e. “loopholes”), many companies actually pay a low rate — or no tax at all. Creating a more simple and fair tax code seems commonsensical. But the details of such an endeavor probably are insurmountable. Read 

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