QUOTE OF THE DAY
USA Today: Crisis remains after 'fiscal cliff'
State and local pensions will still be short by trillions of dollars, tempting federal bailout.
If Republicans and Democrats ever get around to fixing the "fiscal cliff," President Obama won't be done dealing with potential budget calamities. There's a new bailout on the horizon: this time, for cash-strapped state pension systems.
A recent report by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee pegged the debt of state-run retirement systems at nearly $3.5 trillion.
New York Time: Small Employers Weigh Impact of Providing Health Insurance
Like many franchisees, Robert U. Mayfield, who owns five Dairy Queens in and around Austin, Tex., is always eager to expand and — no surprise — has had his eyes on opening a sixth DQ. But he said concerns about the new federal health care law had persuaded him to hold off.
“I’m scared to death of it,” he said. “I’m one of the ones sitting on the sidelines to see what’s really going to happen.”
WSJ: Schools Ring Closing Bell
More Are Shut as Student-Age Population Declines, Charters Add Competition
Many students who live within the Davis boundaries instead attend the charter school, one of 125 nationwide run by KIPP, a nonprofit. The exodus helped land Davis on a list of 20 schools targeted for closure next school year.
Closing underused schools, however painful, will let the district shift resources to "improve the quality of education we provide to our students," Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson said at a recent city council hearing packed with parents, teachers and students pleading for schools to be kept open.
J.I. On The Market: Illinois ongoing talent drain
Law makers in this state don't understand the scenario that plays out when a top student pursues academic goals outside the state. If we send the best students ,in the state ,to Michigan or to penn or to Indiana we greatly increase the likelihood that they leave the state to pursue careers in other states. Lets look at it this way, when the university of Illinois attracts a talented student from Dallas or from Mumbai, to study business,there is probably a 50/50 chance that they return home after school as opposed working in Chicago. If a talented student from Northbrook studies business at Illinois the chances of them staying local are far greater.
New York Times: As Companies Seek Tax Deals, Governments Pay High Price
In the end, the money that towns across America gave General Motors did not matter.
When the automaker released a list of factories it was closing during bankruptcy three years ago, communities that had considered themselves G.M.’s business partners were among the targets.
For years, mayors and governors anxious about local jobs had agreed to G.M.’s demands for cash rewards, free buildings, worker training and lucrative tax breaks. As late as 2007, the company was telling local officials that these sorts of incentives would “further G.M.’s strong relationship” with them and be a “win/win situation,” according to town council notes from one Michigan community.
Points and Figures: Why Vulture Capitalist Warren Buffett is in Favor Of High Tax Rates
Warren Buffett has been advocating that we raise taxes in the US. Why would a rich guy say that? Believe me, it’s not because Buffett is some altruistic person brimming with patriotism. He may be that in other endeavors, but the reason he wants a tax hike is pure business and in his own self interest.
Buffett doesn’t pay taxes like you and I. He pays capital gains and that is it. Net net, he pays less than 15% because of all the write offs against his income. You will notice that Berkshire ($BRK-A, $BRK-B) doesn’t pay a dividend. Buffett says they will talk about that next year-which is like talking about a lot of things next year. As we have witnessed time and time again, talk is cheap.
Norquist: Put fiscal cliff talks on TV
Closed-door negotiations to avert the fiscal cliff haven’t yielded much progress so far, so anti-tax activist Grover Norquist has a suggestion: Put them on TV.
Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform who's become Democrats’ favorite bogeyman, said if President Barack Obama meets with congressional leaders in front of cameras the American people will be able to better judge who is being “reasonable” about compromise.
“It’s the president who is threatening to raise taxes on the middle class if he doesn’t stamp his feet and get his way,” Norquist said Sunday on NBC's “Meet the Press.” “He should get into a room with C-Span cameras there and negotiate. Lets have it in front of C-Span cameras. And if the Republicans are being reasonable, we’ll see that. If they’re not, we’ll see that. Gotta have cameras in that room.”
DAILY MUST-READS DECEMBER 2
QUOTE OF THE DAY
AEI: The uncanny X tax
is the single biggest problem with the tax code? It’s not the
complexity, bad as that is. The biggest problem is that it rewards
consumption and punishes savings and investment.
WSJ: The Crisis of American Self-Government
have now an American political party and a European one. Not all
Americans who vote for the European party want to become Europeans. But
it doesn't matter because that's what they're voting for. They're
voting for dependency, for lack of ambition, and for insolvency."
CNBC: The Perfect Income for Happiness? It's $161,000
More than one study has tried to determine the financial price of happiness. Some look at wealth. Others look at income.
well-publicized study last year put the optimal income for happiness at
around $75,000. Rising income, it turns out, produces greater happiness
until you get to around $75,000. After that, there are diminishing
returns, with more income leading to little or no gain in real
Reason: Fun Facts About the Fiscal Cliff!
Please read this if you think deficits don't matter and that spending doesn't drive deficits.
Bill Clinton so famously "balanced the budget" with the Internet boom
and all the taxes from those stock sales, the GOP and Newt Gingrich
passed a budget (yes, Congress used to do that) of $1.7 trillion in
expenditures. Adjusted for inflation, our federal government would be
spending $2.3 trillion today and collecting $2.5 trillion in
"revenues," resulting in a $200 billion surplus. But instead of
increasing government spending in line with normal inflation, under
Bush and Obama we are spending $3.8 trillion today. Democrats, who
believe we have a "revenue" problem instead of a "spending" problem,
must also think they have a bartender problem, not a drinking problem.
Points and Figures: Why We Should All Be Conservative Now
very ironic to me that two of the cultures I run around in vote
Democratic when they run to the polling box. Wall Street is loaded
with Democrats and I don’t know if it’s because they feel so much guilt
from ripping off their customers or if they think they can extract
money out of government through making it larger.
and the environs that seek to replicate it are similar. Ironically,
the entrepreneurial culture is one that is agnostic when it comes to
gender, race, sexual orientation and all the other things the
Democratic party seeks to divide us by. Entrepreneurs are merit based.
Build a great product, you’ll get some money to fund it, and customers
don’t care how many tattoos you have if it works.
Yahoo! News: Why Obama is pushing for stimulus in 'fiscal cliff' deal
Obama's opening offer in 'fiscal cliff' talks includes $255 billion in
stimulus spending – tax cuts, incentives, and more. It could be a
bargaining ploy or a bid to offset rising taxes on the rich.
CNBC: Just how big is $1 Trillion?
Rick Santelli looks at the U.S. debt under President Obama and asks: Just how big is $1 trillion?
Politico: The plot against the Internet
from around the world will gather behind closed doors in Dubai next
week to plot an end to the Internet as we know it — or so Washington
would have you believe.
Hill lawmakers warn that the 120-plus
U.S. delegation needs to fend off efforts by China, Russia and
developing nations to use a United Nations branch organization to
censor or tax the Net. Google is orchestrating an online petition
drive, and even Grover Norquist is involved.