Apr 16, 2012, 6:19 pm EDT
After a lot of time spent discussing the dire straits the U.S. Postal Service is in, Congress looks poised to toss the post office a life line.
Any attempts to close the huge deficits the postal service has run in recent years are bound to be painful, though. With losses surpassing $5.1 billion last year, there’s a lot of red ink to clean up. Congress is also in a bit of a no-win situation. If they do nothing to alleviate the deficit by May 15, the day that a moratorium on closing postal facilities expires, the current Postmaster General has stated he will close 223 postal plants.
Still, any solution Congress comes up with will likely involve some facilities closing. In addition, they hope to buy out some employees’ contracts, cut worker compensation benefits, and end Saturday service in two years’ time. A bill that passed a Senate committee in November would also allow the post office to join competitors like FedEx (NYSE:FDX) and UPS (NYSE:UPS) in shipping beer, wine, and liquor through the mail. Tens of thousands of jobs would likely be cut in the process. Read
Apr 13, 2012, 5:36 pm EDT
As discussion of the so-called Buffett Rule continues, one thing remains clear: many Americans agree with President Barack Obama’s assertion that households earning more than $1 million a year should pay at least a 30% tax rate.
A Gallup poll released today showed 60% of Americans favored the proposal, while only 37% were opposed to it. Along party lines, 74% of Democrats approved of it while 24% disapproved, while Republicans opposed the rule by a 54-43% ratio. Independents, though, favored the proposal by a 63-33% margin.
The elephant in the room, of course, is that the bill containing this proposal, the Paying a Fair Share Act, has little chance of getting past the Republican-led House of Representatives. Much like the recently passed Ryan budget, the Buffett Rule is more of a line in the sand drawn to differentiate Democrats from Republicans than it is a bill that has any real chance of making a difference in this election year. Read
Apr 13, 2012, 8:12 am EDT
On Monday, the Senate is scheduled to vote on the “Paying a Fair Share Act,” commonly known as the Buffett Rule, which would require people earning more than $1 million per year to pay at least a 30% federal tax rate.
However, the “lower” taxes these high-earners currently pay aren’t necessarily cut-and-dry, and the concept of whether they aren’t a “fair share” is up for debate.
InvestorPolitics recently took a few minutes to talk to Brad Badertscher, Assistant Professor of Accountancy at the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business and an expert on tax liabilities of private equity firms, about the taxation of the “1%,” several aspects of the Buffett Rule and the consequences of its passing. Here’s what he had to say. Read
Apr 12, 2012, 6:54 pm EDT
Unions are a crucial part of the Democratic Party base, but a Super PAC created by one of the country’s largest unions has no plans to throw its weight behind the Democrats or their candidates. Instead, they want to branch out further.
The AFL-CIO announced its philosophy and goals in a recent Politico blog post. According to AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Liz Shuler, their super PAC, Workers’ Voices, “isn’t about political parties or individual candidates. It’s going to be about building a new way for workers to connect and a new way to build relationships together.”
One of their chief priorities is to work against so-called voter protection efforts they say make it more difficult for voters to cast ballots, particularly in states like Florida. They are also hoping to organize meetings of workers across the country. Read
Apr 12, 2012, 6:30 pm EDT
Rick Santorum faced plenty of challenges during his campaign for the Republican nomination for president: his young daughter’s illness, doubts about his electability, and his fair share of campaign gaffes. But what finally ended his campaign on Tuesday was none of those things. What knocked him out of the race? Money.
In an interview with Family Research Council Action president Tony Perkins, he said that a lack of funds did in his campaign.
“Someone – one of the old politicos when I got involved in this race said the same thing, which is: ‘Every presidential campaign ends for the same reason: You run out of money.’ And we didn’t have a lot of money to begin with, but we were at a point where we simply had in the last couple of races — really worked hard and spent money and particularly in Wisconsin — we felt we had to win Wisconsin in order to do well in Pennsylvania, and it was a situation where we simply didn’t have the resources to compete going forward.” Read
Apr 11, 2012, 6:30 pm EDT
When it comes to governors, there have been plenty of them recently who have fared poorly in the court of public opinion. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is in the middle of a brutal recall campaign following his efforts to pass a budget bill that severely curtailed union collective bargaining rights. Ohio Gov. John Kasich attempted to similarly curtail union rights in his state, only to have the proposal put to referendum and be resoundingly defeated by voters. And who can forget former Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour’s parade of pardons, including 19 to those convicted of murder?
However, there are several governors, quiet and not so quiet, who have successfully navigated state politics and the economic downturn to lead their states well. Here are the five most popular governors in the United States, according to the Washington Post.
5. Mike Beebe, D-Ark.
Who? While Beebe doesn’t have the national profile of predecessors like Bill Clinton and Mike Huckabee, what he does have is the people’s respect. In polls, only 13% disapprove of the job he is doing, while 72% approve. This after over five years in the governor’s office. Read