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Rick Santorum Suspending GOP Campaign

Apr 10, 2012, 2:55 pm EDT
Rick Santorum Suspending GOP Campaign

Republican primary candidate Rick Santorum called it quits Tuesday afternoon when he announced the suspension of his campaign, effectively paving the way for Mitt Romney to take on President Barack Obama this fall.

Santorum called Romney to make the announcement and was set to confirm it later at a press conference in Gettysburg, Pa.

Romney has built a substantial lead in delegates, though he still has several hundred more before his nomination can become official. Santorum had struggled throughout the race and won only a few states. Pennsylvania’s April 24 primary was considered pivotal to his survival, though recent polls signaled that his brisk lead was shrinking. Read 

The Buffett Rule: A Basic Principle of Tax Fairness

Apr 10, 2012, 6:01 am EDT
The Buffett Rule: A Basic Principle of Tax Fairness

The following is the full transcript of “The Buffett Rule: A Basic Principle of Tax Fairness,” a report by The National Economic Council presented April 9.

The Buffett Rule is the basic principle that no household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle?class families pay. Warren Buffett has famously stated that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, but as this report documents this situation is not uncommon. This situation is the result of decades of the tax system being tilted in favor of high?income households at the expense of the middle class. Not only is this unfair, it can also be economically inefficient by providing opportunities for tax planning and distorting decisions. The President has proposed the Buffett Rule as a basic rule of tax fairness that should be met in tax reform. To achieve this principle, the President has proposed that no millionaire pay less than 30 percent of their income in taxes. Why the Buffett Rule Is Needed

    The average tax rate paid by the very highest?income Americans has fallen to nearly the lowest rate in over 50 years. The wealthiest 1?in?1,000 taxpayers pay barely a quarter of their income in Federal income and payroll taxes today — half of what they would have contributed in 1960. And, the top 400 richest Americans — all making over $110 million — paid only 18 percent of their income in income taxes in 2008. Average tax rates for the highest income Americans have plummeted even as their incomes have skyrocketed. Since 1979 the average after?tax income of the very wealthiest Americans — the top 1 percent — has risen nearly four?fold. Over the same period, the middle sixty percent of Americans saw their incomes rise just 40 percent. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. Some of the richest Americans pay extraordinarily low tax rates — as they hire lawyers and accountants to take particular advantage of loopholes and tax expenditures. The average tax rate masks the fact that some high?income Americans pay near their statutory tax rate, while others take advantage of tax expenditures and loopholes to pay extraordinarily low rates — and it is these high?income taxpayers that the Buffett rule is meant to address.
Of millionaires in 2009, a full 22,000 households making more than $1 million annually paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes — and 1,470 managed to paid no federal income taxes on their million?plus?dollar incomes, according to IRS data. Of the 400 highest income Americans, one out of every three in this group of the most financially fortunate Americans paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes in 2008.
    Many high?income Americans are paying less in taxes than middle class Americans in taxes. Nearly one?quarter of all millionaires (about 55,000 taxpayers) face a tax rate that is lower than more than millions of middle?income taxpayers. This is fundamentally unfair.

In his State of the Union address, President Obama called for comprehensive tax reform that cuts rates, cuts inefficient tax loopholes, cuts the deficit, increases job creation and growth, and sets out a very simple principle of fairness: No household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of income in taxes than middle?class families pay. To achieve this, the President has proposed that no millionaire pay less than 30 percent of their income in taxes. Read 

Warren Raises $6.9M in First Quarter

Apr 9, 2012, 6:25 pm EDT

Elizabeth Warren, the Democratic candidate for the Senate seat currently held by Republican Scott Brown, currently has a lead on Brown in one key category: campaign money.

Warren raised $6.9 million during the first quarter of fundraising this year. This is more than any other candidate for a Senate seat in 2012, and more than twice the $3.4 million Brown raised in the same time period.

Despite this, Brown currently has a $4 million cash in hand advantage from fundraising prior to this most recent quarter, with $15 million total in his coffers. Read 

Wanna Know Where Tax Dollars Go? There’s an App for That

Apr 5, 2012, 10:47 am EDT
Wanna Know Where Tax Dollars Go? There’s an App for That

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Want to know what percentage of your tax bill funds our national defense, and how much you’re paying for veterans benefits? Turns out there’s an app for that.

The White House has launched a tax receipt calculator just in time for tax season so you can see to the penny what you’re paying for as a U.S. taxpayer.

The tool is simple: After you do your tax return — or your accountant does them for you — visit the website and plug in what you paid for Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes and income taxes. Read 

Obama Signs STOCK Act

Apr 4, 2012, 9:06 pm EDT
Obama Signs STOCK Act

Just ten weeks after calling for it in his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama has signed into law a bill banning insider trading on Congressional knowledge by members of Congress.

The Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge, or STOCK Act, was passed unanimously by the Senate and nearly unanimously (417-2) by the House. Highlighting the bill’s bipartisan nature was the presence of Sen. Scott Brown, R-Mass., at the signing ceremony today.

What the law specifically prevents is trading on confidential information received by lawmakers as members of Congress. This ban carries over to legislative aides and officials in both the executive and judicial branches. It requires them to disclose the purchase or sale of stocks, bonds, commodity futures, and other securities within 45 days, instead of the current rule of one year. They must also disclose mortgage terms, and are forbidden from receiving special access to initial public stock offerings. Read 

Obama Punches Back After Romney’s ‘Personal Finance’ Jab

Apr 4, 2012, 4:11 pm EDT
Obama Punches Back After Romney’s ‘Personal Finance’ Jab

President Barack Obama, talking to InvestorPlace Editor Jeff Reeves and other journalists live at a White House personal finance online summit, was asked what he thought about Republican primary frontrunner Mitt Romney calling him out of touch with personal finances after his time in D.C.

His response:

“I went to law school and much of college on scholarships. So did my wife. We were still paying off our student debt nine years after I graduated law school. Our first home was a modest condo, and I remember scraping together the down payment to purchase it and researching interest rates. When Michelle and I first (bought) the car I was driving, I think I bought (it) for $500. It had a big rust spot on the passenger side where you could see the road, so I know Michelle didn’t marry me for my money. Our credit card debt was tough to pay off; we did college savings funds when times were tight. Our personal finances were about worrying about bills at the end of the month or gas prices or what have you. They really weren’t stable until recently. So in that sense I would say that Michelle and I have had a quintessentially middle-class or working-class upbringing. I suspect that is a contrast to some presidential candidates out there. As for who is in touch and who’s not with ordinary folks … I have no problem with the comparison.” Read 

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