Maverick Judge Jed Rakoff Stares Down Citigroup, Wall Street

Dec 8, 2011, 12:00 pm EDT

One of the biggest problems with Wall Street’s malfeasance is how the ruling elite view legal settlements — as little more than an acceptable cost of doing business.

Well, no more.

Thanks to Judge Jed Rakoff, we might see some real regulatory action leading to good old-fashioned investigations, perp walks and even jail for the guilty. I’m not talking just about the Bernie Madoffs or the Raj Rajaratnams, either. I’m talking about potentially CEOs and even entire corporate boards. Read 

JPMorgan’s Jamie Dimon Thinks Fat-Cat CEOs Need a Tax Break

Dec 8, 2011, 9:22 am EDT

One could argue that JPMorgan Chase (NYSE:JPM) CEO Jamie Dimon was playing to the cheap seats with his line Wednesday about how bad the rich investment bankers of New York have it these days. Dimon was, after all, speaking at an investor conference organized by Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS).

But if the JPMorgan exec was trying to deflect criticism of the so-called “wealthiest 1%,” he failed miserably.

Dimon’s one-liner was a rather uninteresting boilerplate, a typical response from a well-heeled CEO. Read 

‘Robin Hood Tax’ Would Steal from Global Investors Just Like YOU

Dec 8, 2011, 7:45 am EDT
‘Robin Hood Tax’ Would Steal from Global Investors Just Like YOU

Talk about tax reform is heating up on Wall Street, in Washington and in the homes of millions of Americans.

Previously passed payroll tax cuts deliver about $1,000 extra into the pockets of working families but are set to expire at year’s end. To balance the federal budget and address income inequality, some legislators are favoring a so-called “millionaire’s tax” on the wealthiest Americans. President Barack Obama and prospective Republican nominees for the 2012 ballot are all wrapped up in the idea of reforming the tax code to boost the economy and help small businesses.

Unfortunately, if the debt crisis across the Atlantic is preface to our own budget and tax woes in the U.S., the next chapter might involve taxes on investing income. That could seriously damage the performance of the stock market, individual retirement portfolios and the profits regular retail investors can hope to take home from their trading. Read 

How to Prepare for Market-Moving News From Europe

Dec 8, 2011, 6:00 am EDT

The stock market seems to be paralyzed ahead of what’s expected to be market-moving news out of Europe today and Friday. At the epicenter of this likely explosion of euro zone development is the European Central Bank (ECB), but what is the news — and how will it affect the market and your investments?

The ECB Governing Council is meeting on Thursday to determine whether Europe’s key interest rate should be cut. On Friday — and this is the biggie — EU leaders on the European Council are holding their final scheduled summit meeting of 2011. There’s talk about an EU treaty change to closely monitor financial “offenders” and possibly grease the way for ECB bond buying similar to the Fed’s quantitative easing programs. European Interest Rates

The ECB controls three key interest rates for the euro zone: Read 

If Congress Can’t Fix U.S. Roads…China Will!

Dec 2, 2011, 3:06 pm EDT
If Congress Can’t Fix U.S. Roads…China Will!

If you need any further proof Congress is broken and that our government is more concerned with killing jobs than creating them, here’s the latest absurd headline:

As U.S. legislators focus on cutting federal spending to the bone, China wants to rebuild America’s roads and bridges.

Speaking to the American Chamber of Commerce in China on Friday, Chinese Commerce Minister Chen Deming said he thinks the Asian superpower should help rebuild U.S. infrastructure and invest in clean energy and technology here in the States. Read 

GOP Leadership Throws Real ‘Job Creators’ Under the Bus

Dec 2, 2011, 9:00 am EDT

The newly unveiled GOP plan to pay for the payroll tax break next year includes forbidding super-high earners from collecting unemployment benefits and food stamps. Let’s presume, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has, that this is not a serious proposal. Other factions of the Republican Party are beginning to acknowledge the possibility of a millionaire surtax.

Republicans finally are conceding that allowing the payroll tax cut to expire would be politically disastrous in an election year. Now the debate shifts to how to cover the $120 billion it is estimated to cost. Democrats want to impose a surtax of 3.5% on annual incomes that exceed $1 million.

Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., rolled out his plan yesterday to cover the extension: Slash the federal work force by 10% and freeze its pay through 2015; forbid the $1 million-per-year club from collecting unemployment and food stamps; and force the super-rich over-65 crowd to pay more of their Medicare premiums. Not surprisingly, 92% of these projected savings are going to come on the backs of federal workers, not millionaires. Read 

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