Letter: Flaws Found in Obama Tax Plan Article

Feb 28, 2012, 7:02 pm EDT

Just finished reading Jonathan Berr’s article “New Obama Tax Plan Doesn’t Go Far Enough,” and found it contains several flaws in logic. One such is the reference to Ireland’s low corporate tax rate and its current economic difficulty. Mr. Barr fails to note that Ireland cannot print money and therefore cannot exert any pressure on monetary policy, it can only work within the constraints of fiscal policy, and considering its current issues one has to wonder where Ireland would be if it did not have the lowest corporate tax rate in the world.

The other is the reference to LIFO. If one wants to encourage the removal of an accounting “gimmick,” then perhaps one ought to consider the Mark  to Market Rule which was the cause of the economic meltdown in our financial community. However, I digress; companies would not have to revert to LIFO if corporate rates are low — in fact I would favor eliminating them since corporations do not pay taxes, they just pass on that cost to the consumers of its goods and services.

— Ted Isabella, Bluffton, S.C. Read 

TransCanada Plans to Build Portion of Keystone XL Pipeline

Feb 27, 2012, 8:07 pm EDT

TransCanada (NYSE:TRP), the Canadian energy company whose proposed Keystone XL Pipeline led to a clash between President Barack Obama and Congressional Republicans, announced today that they will begin building part of the pipeline.

Obama drew heat last month for blocking the entire Keystone XL Pipeline project, due to concerns about harming the environment in a section of Nebraska, and after Congress imposed a deadline on whether or not to issue a permit for the project. Obama said this rejection did not spell the end of the Keystone XL Pipeline project, and encouraged TransCanada to suggest an alternate route.

TransCanada plans to start construction on a $2.3 billion pipeline that will run from Cushing, Okla. to Port Arthur, Texas. Cushing is a major terminal point for crude oil, and Port Arthur sits on the Gulf of Mexico, near the Gulf Coast refinery complex. Because it is not a cross-border pipeline, this section does not require approval of the State Department, which was where the previous proposal got hung up. Read 

U.S. Postal Service Slashing 35,000 Jobs

Feb 24, 2012, 1:13 pm EDT

The United States Postal Service on Thursday said up to 35,000 jobs would be cut as part of a larger plan to save $20 billion in operating costs by 2015 and return the agency to profitability.

The jobs losses — which follow 140,000 layoffs in the past five years — will come as the Postal Service closes or consolidates more than 200 mail processing centers, which alone will reduce operating costs by about $2.6 billion annually. However, a temporary moratorium will keep those closures from occurring until May. The USPS also plans on halting next-day delivery to save additional work costs.

The Postal Service also wants to close thousands of post offices, end Saturday delivery and take over health benefits, among other cost-cutting measures. Read 

Air Force One Costs $179,750 Per Hour

Feb 23, 2012, 6:06 pm EDT
Air Force One Costs $179,750 Per Hour

With the cost of fuel rising, and airlines worrying more and more about their bottom lines, the price of an airline ticket keeps going up and up. Yesterday, United Continental (NYSE:UAL) announced a fare increase, and last week, Southwest Airlines (NYSE:LUV) kick-started a fare-raising party by the rest of the major airlines by raising its fares.

Still, that’s nothing compared to the cost of flying Air Force One.

When considering fuel, repairs, maintenance, and other “flight consumables,” Air Force One, the president’s airplane, costs $179,750 per hour to fly. This cost doesn’t even include the pilot or other airmen’s salaries. Read 

2 Takeaways From the Arizona GOP Debate

Feb 23, 2012, 8:47 am EDT
2 Takeaways From the Arizona GOP Debate

While the commentariat and pollsters may argue about who “won” Wednesday’s GOP debate in Arizona, let’s look more broadly down the road about how this Republican primary season will shape the general election. 1. It won’t be “just the economy” in 2012

One clear conclusion from this debate: This election won’t be fought only over the economy. While we all expected 2012 to be a referendum on President Barack Obama’s stewardship of the economy, the GOP candidates are ensuring that foreign policy and social issues will be front and center as well.

Iran Read 

Roemer Drops Bid For GOP Nomination

Feb 22, 2012, 6:21 pm EDT

After getting shut out of yet another Republican presidential candidate debate, it appears that former Lousiana Gov. and U.S. Rep. Buddy Roemer will go elsewhere to continue his run for president. The GOP candidate that almost nobody knew about released a statement today ending his candidacy for the Republican nomination.

What’s next for Roemer? A run at getting nominated by a third party. In the same statement, he declared he would seek the Reform Party’s blessing to run for president. Founded by former third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot, the Reform Party’s shining moment was when former professional wrestler Jesse Ventura was elected as governor of Minnesota in 1998. Since then, they haven’t had much luck in influencing U.S. politics. Roemer might be a big name for them, but not as big a name as Perot or Ventura. It’ll remain an uphill battle for Roemer to get media attention, especially with the topsy-turvy GOP primary process still ongoing.

— Benjamin Nanamaker, InvestorPlace Money & Politics Editor Read 

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