POLL

Who do you think is most to blame for the fiscal impasse?

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  1.  
    39 %
    Obama
    372 votes
  2.  
    43 %
    Congress
    396 votes
  3.  
    3 %
    Voters
    30 votes
  4.  
    15 %
    All of them!
    146 votes

Total Responses: 944
Not scientifically valid. Results are updated every minute.

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The president suggested the economy had become sturdy enough to absorb the consequences of letting the lower tax rates originally introduced by George W. Bush expire for households with incomes above $250,000.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 16, 2012 4:42PM
By Josh BoakThe Fiscal Times logo

President Obama has previously urged tax hikes on wealthier Americans, only to back down two years ago in the face of a brittle economy and a resistant and resurgent GOP.

That won’t happen again, he assured the country today in his first news conference since securing a second term last week.  The president suggested the economy had become sturdy enough to absorb the consequences of letting the lower tax rates originally introduced by George W. Bush expire for households with incomes above $250,000. 

Help us find a better term for the coming onslaught of spending cuts and tax increases that’s currently known as the “fiscal cliff.”

By The Fiscal Times Nov 14, 2012 4:19PM
By Blaire BriodyThe Fiscal Times logo

The name “fiscal cliff,” coined by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke last February, refers to the $671 billion in spending cuts and tax increases coming in early 2013. The phrase is admittedly better than other wonky Washington language (I’m looking at you, QE3), but really, couldn’t the media come up with a better, catchier name? Other names that have been thrown around include taxmageddon (not bad), the fiscal slope (yawn), and the austerity crisis (confusing), but they haven’t stuck like The Cliff.

The problem is the fiscal cliff isn’t even entirely accurate. While letting these tax increases and spending cuts go though could toss the economy into another recession, chances are slim that Congress and the White House will let that happen. Even if we do “fall off the cliff” on January 2nd, we could technically climb back up if a new fiscal policy is put in place quickly. So instead of a cliff where you fall off and never go back, it’s likely going to be more like a “Fiscal Dip” (which kind of sounds like a fun dance). 

Picking Jack Lew would tell the Republicans that Obama is serious about emphasizing deficit reduction and tax reform. But is that a message that really needs to be delivered through the selection of a Treasury secretary?

By The Fiscal Times Nov 14, 2012 4:17PM
The Fiscal Times logoBy Suzanne McGee

Wanted: One good man, or woman, to serve as the Obama Administration’s next Secretary of the Treasury.

Like the presidency itself, the position likely will have scores of candidates eager and willing to fill it, lobbying for it with varying degrees of decorum and diplomacy. The problem is the same as that confronting the presidency itself: finding all the qualities that a Treasury Secretary needs in the shape of a single person. 

Because of email and other technologies, there’s been a sharp shift in how workers think and behave on the job compared with 20 years ago.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 14, 2012 4:16PM
By Steve YoderThe Fiscal Times logo

Last month, the CEO of the start-up Learning as Leadership, Shayne Hughes, tried an experiment with his employees: No internal email for an entire week.

Instead, workers actually had to leave their desks and talk to people. What he discovered was that after one week, employees seemed happier, less stressed, and more productive — all from the simple solution to limit email. 

Departing Americans will find it hard to escape the long arm of Uncle Sam.

By Jonathan Berr Nov 14, 2012 3:21PM
Image: US Capitol (Donovan Reese/Getty Images)Residents in 34 states, apparently horrified at President Obama's re-election, have reportedly signed petitions to secede from the United States. Support for such a move in Texas has reached a point where it requires an official response from the White House.

But are supporters of such an idiotic move thinking about the potential tax consequences?

Escaping the long taxing arm of Uncle Sam is difficult and can be expensive. Americans who live abroad still must pay U.S. taxes if they have yearly earnings above $100,000, a policy which has long been a sore point for expatriates.  

Elmo puppetier Kevin Clash denies alllegations but merchandise sales could suffer.

By Jonathan Berr Nov 12, 2012 3:42PM

Sesame Street, where the sun is always supposed to shine, has been rocked by allegations that Elmo puppeteer Kevin Clash had a sexual relationship with an underaged boy. The effects of these allegations, which Clash disputes and his employer argues are unfounded, could be profound.

As I previously reported, Sesame Workshop, the non-profit that produces the beloved children's show, is struggling.  It generated $46.9 million in licensing revenue in 2011, accounting for 36% of its $132 million in operating revenue. Though I haven't seen specific data on this, it's safe to assume that Elmo merchandise accounts for a good chunk of these sales, since the red-haired, furry monster is by far the show's most popular character.

 
Tags: politics

The discussions starting between President Obama and congressional leaders will be a major test of whether re-elected leaders in Washington will be able to work together and forge a path toward a stronger economy and lower debt.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 12, 2012 12:36PM
By Yuval Rosenberg The Fiscal Times logo

The victory celebrations sure didn’t last long. As soon as the results from Tuesday’s election became official – before, even – politicians, pundits and investors fixed their attention on the next piece of urgent business facing the country: the fiscal cliff.

The focus has been both immediate and intense, as this chart from Bank of America’s Matthew Fleury, via Joe Weisenthal of Business Insider, shows. The number of articles mentioning the cliff has spiked far higher than coverage of the debt ceiling debate ever did. 

Here’s a look at the financial costs and benefits of decriminalizing the drug.

By The Fiscal Times Nov 12, 2012 12:36PM
By Blaire Briody The Fiscal Times logo

These are high times in America for recreational marijuana users. On Tuesday night, two states – Colorado and Washington – passed historic measures to legalize using and selling small amounts of pot, effectively challenging the federal law that classifies the drug as an illegal narcotic.

In Colorado, adults 21 and older will now be able to legally buy and possess up to one ounce of cannabis and grow as many as six plants. In Washington, the measure authorized the state liquor control board to regulate and tax the drug. 

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