get daily headlines subscribe now! today's private briefing


Big Data

Goodbye Privacy: Big Data Is Coming to Town

Just like the Christmas song, "He knows when you've been sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows when you've been bad or good…"

But nowadays it isn't Santa, it's Big Data. And it's becoming big business.

What can companies do with big data?

Get this:

The Fed

Larry Summers Should Not Be the Next Federal Reserve Chairman

Just this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that former Treasury Secretary and Harvard
President Larry Summers is "hell-bent" on becoming the next U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman.

The more important issue, however, is whether Americans should want Summers involved in such a prominent role in the global economy.

Arguments that favor Summers center on the fact that when the building clears out in 2014, Summers will be one of the few individuals left with significant experience in the international financial system. With Timothy Geithner gone, Ben Bernanke leaving in 2014, and departures of David Lipton at the IMF Michael Froman at USTR, Summers is considered one of the last "battle tested" individuals left. He has significant experience following the 1994 Russian crisis, the 1997 Asian Crisis and the 2008 Great Recession.

But while experience in necessary, so is the importance of accomplishments.

Critics have argued that handing the keys of the U.S. economy to Larry Summers would be equivalent to allowing a blind sheepdog to protect Americans from wolves. Summers' past 25 years of experience is riddled with questions about his ability to understand crisis, his commitment to corporate influence, and his irrational pledge to illogical academic arguments.

Given that few in Washington seem to vet political appointees of this administration, we decided to explore several important questions about Summers' potential candidacy and past understanding of the Federal Reserve's role in the global economy.

Housing Market

Hedge Fund Sues Government Over Seizing Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac Profits

A hedge fund hoping to capitalize on the comeback of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac claims in a lawsuit the government illegally seized the profits of the two mortgage finance giants.

The suit, filed Sunday by Perry Capital LLC, says the government violated a 2008 law that put Fannie and Freddie into conservatorship, through an amendment changing the terms of the government's bailout.

Under original terms, Fannie and Freddie paid fixed quarterly dividends equal to 10% of the government's stake.

But in 2012, the U.S. Treasury Department amended the terms of the bailout and began taking all Fannie and Freddie's quarterly profits.

Theodore Olson, an attorney representing Perry Capital, said in a news release the 2008 law "established very specific rules about the government's limits and obligations under conservatorship. Investors had every right to expect these rules to be followed.

"If the government wanted to assume the powers of receivership, it could have chosen that course," Olson said. "Instead, it chose conservatorship, and with the [amendment] it overreached, exceeding the legal boundaries of the statute and failing to meet obligations of conservatorship mandated by Congress" under the 2008 law.

To continue reading, please click here...


Latest Obama Outrage: More People on Food Stamps Than Are Working Full Time

This Obama economy has soup lines as far as the eye can see. It also appears that many could easily be standing in two, three or even four lines simultaneously!

There are 103.4 million people currently enrolled in any one of
15 subsidized federal food assistance programs. The most people in our nation's history.

Due to the governments sloppy management of resources it's anybody's guess how many people are standing in how many lines, at the same time.

One thing we do know for sure is one third of our nation is now receiving Subsidized Food Assistance.

These programs are extremely expensive and the cost is increasing daily. In 2012 the bill to taxpayers paid was a staggering $114 billion. 

But sit down if you're standing, because it gets worse!

Even more shocking: The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports there are 97,180,000 full time workers in the private sector.

This means: The number of people receiving food stamps is greater than the number of people in America working full time.

Never in our nation's history has this been the case. This is a historical first.


The G8 Will Never Get a Handle on Taxes at This Rate

The G8 meetings this week at Lough Erne in Northern Ireland had a theme of "Tax Evasion and Transparency." This theme may have been chosen because "Enchantment under the Stars," or "A Night to Remember" were taken by the local high school prom committee.

And I joke not to lampoon this august body – far from it. It's only that the efforts of a group of people – none of whom put on a necktie – who help shepherd the world's largest economies ought to be focusing on economic growth, such as that which we haven't really experienced in the West for quite some time now.

Instead, the world is given the Lough Erne Declaration, which calls for a "robust" international framework to ensure fair tax collection and rational tax regimes. That the United States should be mentioned in the same breath as "fair tax collection" or "rational tax regime" is ludicrous enough.

To continue reading, please click here...


Six 'Dirty' Tax Scams You Need to Avoid

With taxes due today (Monday), the IRS has some warnings for you that can be summed up in a few words: Beware tax scams.

Plenty of con artists and cheats are champing at the bit to "help" anyone who wants to pay as little as possible.

So if you're one of the more than 200 million Americans who will file taxes this year, make sure you have a trusted accountant or other reliable person who can help you comply with tax IRS rules.

"This tax season, the IRS has stepped up its efforts to protect taxpayers from a wide range of schemes, including moving aggressively to combat identity theft and refund fraud," IRS Acting Commissioner Steven T. Miller said. "The Dirty Dozen list shows that scams come in many forms during filing season. Don't let a scam artist steal from you or talk you into doing something you will regret later."

So if you haven't already filed your taxes, do so before it's too late – and don't fall for these scams.

To continue reading, please click here…

Read More…


Obama Budget 2014 Busts Open the Middle-Class Piggy Bank

With a little sleight of hand in how the government calculates inflation, the Obama budget 2014 released today (Wednesday) proposes to both raise taxes on the middle class and reduce future payments to Social Security recipients.

That's quite a reversal coming from a Democratic president who had promised to protect the American middle class.

In the past, U.S. President Barack Obama has focused his desire to raise more federal revenue on the rich, who he has repeatedly said "need to pay their fair share."

But the reality is that the wealthy citizens of the United States don't have nearly enough money – even if all of it were taxed – to solve America's many fiscal problems.

Practically speaking, there are only two ways to attack the trillion-dollar deficits that have plagued the country: massive spending cuts or massive tax hikes on the middle class.

The Obama budget 2014 offers some token reductions, but putting the middle class in the budget crosshairs is a new and ominous White House strategy.

"While it's not my ideal plan to further reduce the deficit, it's a compromise I'm willing to accept," President Obama said on Saturday in his weekly address.

Oh, and don't expect much resistance from the Republicans on this, despite their historic opposition to tax increases. Last year, it was Republican leaders talking up the need to adjust the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

To continue reading, please click here…

Read More…


Sequestration Cuts Hit Cancer Patients While Billions Wasted

As of April 1, cancer clinics began turning away thousands of Medicare patients because of sequestration spending cuts while the University of Iowa is using almost $900,000 of taxpayer money to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails.

It's taken about a month, but the mandated federal spending cuts of sequestration have finally started to have a real impact.

Not as dire an impact as President Barack Obama warned about in the weeks preceding the sequester, but the consequences are growing more serious every day.

But what's most galling about all this is that despite the real harm the sequestration cuts are causing, wasteful government spending has continued unabated.

To continue reading, please click here…

U.S. Economy

How These Companies Get Away with Paying Peanuts in Corporate Taxes

Even though the United States has the highest corporate tax rate in the world, many American companies pay little or nothing in taxes – and some even get refunds.

That doesn't mean that U.S. companies necessarily cheat Uncle Sam, but the steadily falling amount of corporate taxes paid has clearly helped boost profitability.

A recent analysis by The Washington Post showed that it was typical for companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the 1960s and 1970s to pay federal taxes that were between 25% and 50% of their global profits.

Today, most big U.S. companies pay half that.

A study by NerdWallet of the 500 biggest U.S. companies last fall showed that while the statutory corporate tax in the U.S. is 35%, the actual rate paid – not the amount companies set aside for taxes – is down to an average of 13%.

According to the NerdWallet data, 20% of the top 500 U.S. companies paid nothing in corporate taxes in 2011, and 42% paid between 0% and 15%.

The discrepancy has led some in Washington to call for corporate tax reform, which many U.S companies actually support – but mainly because they'd rather pay even less.

"We need to take steps to make our tax system more competitive and better aligned with the rest of the world by undertaking comprehensive tax reform that will reduce the corporate tax rate," Bob McDonald, CEO of The Procter & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG), said in a statement released before a meeting of top U.S. CEOs with President Barack Obama in November.

To continue reading, please click here…