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

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The debates are only part of the equation. Other events in the closing days of the campaign could easily be key factors.

By The Fiscal Times Oct 16, 2012 7:53AM

The Fiscal Times logo By Eric Pianin

Republican nominee Mitt Romney demonstrated without question that debates could alter the narrative of a high stakes presidential campaign -- and there are still two more to go before the Nov. 6 election. A badly scarred President Obama will have a chance on Tuesday to regain his equilibrium and slow Romney's surge in the polls with a strong performance at a town hall meeting style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

"Governor Romney had a good night; I had a bad night," Obama told ABC News' Diane Sawyer last week in describing his politically disastrous encounter in Denver Oct. 3. "If you have a bad game you just move on, you look forward to the next one, and it makes you that much more determined."


A similar survey conducted in July showed the 2 major candidates tied.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 16, 2012 7:48AM

Americans increasingly believe they will be better off financially if President Barack Obama is re-elected, according to a poll released Monday by Bankrate.com (RATE). The results are a bit of good news for the incumbent, who is trying to regain lost momentum since his recent lackluster debate performance.


The poll of more than 1,000 adults, conducted by Princeton Data Source, shows 29% of respondents believe Obama is better for them financially, compared with 20% who believe Republican challenger Mitt Romney would benefit them more.


Numerous charges of ethical violations have not resonated with voters, giving Rob Andrews a clear shot at re-election.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 15, 2012 12:07PM
Image: Washington, D.C. (Corbis)Rep. Rob Andrews (D-N.J.) repeatedly has been accused of ethical lapses for years, starting in 2007, when he used $952 in campaign funds to buy clothes after an airline lost his luggage. Though Andrews reimbursed the campaign, a report by the Federal Election Commission suggested he take steps to avoid such violations.

In fact, Andrews' misdeeds got worse.

In 2011, Andrews, his wife Camille and their two daughters flew to Scotland to attend a donor's wedding at a five-star hotel, giving the happy couple a set of fine china. In the process, he racked up more than $13,000 in expenses that he charged to his campaign committee. Although he repaid the money, the trip expenses were strongly questioned by Congress' ethics office, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer.  

The actuarial firm Milliman finds that US public pension systems owe $300 billion more than reported.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 15, 2012 8:39AM

By Hilary Russ


(Reuters) - The largest 100 public pension funds have around $1.2 trillion of unfunded liabilities, about $300 billion above the nearly $900 billion they reported themselves, according to a new actuarial study to be released on Monday.


The pension systems reported a median funding level of 75.1 percent. The study by the actuarial firm Milliman, which used different ways to value assets and measure liabilities, finds an aggregate level of funding of 67.8 percent.


GOP and Democratic lawmakers are staking out routes that could either force compromise or snap the economy's safety lines.

By The Fiscal Times Oct 15, 2012 7:58AM

The Fiscal Times logo By Eric Pianin and Josh Boak

As the presidential election campaign grinds its way into November, Republican and Democratic lawmakers are busily hammering their own pitons into the fiscal cliff -- staking out routes that could either force compromise or snap the economy's safety lines.

The politics are as steep as the economic consequences. The $660 billion jumble of expiring tax breaks and automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in early January threaten to shove the country back into recession—a downturn that may be gradual or unexpectedly sudden. The jockeying for position has only increased the uncertainty of what exactly will happen during the lame duck Congress after the Nov. 6 election.


The gap between rich and poor is growing sharply in America. Whoever is elected president must take steps to address the issue.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 12, 2012 7:24PM
Image: Man holding empty wallet -- CharlesSturge.com, Image Source, Getty ImagesVice President Joe Biden and Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) traded barbs about the economy during Thursday's debate that voters have heard many times before. Both Democrats and Republicans, though, are missing the bigger picture.

Republican Mitt Romney got into hot water recently for telling a closed-door fundraiser that 47% of Americans believe they are victims and entitled to government assistance. Though the former Massachusetts governor subsequently said he cares about 100% of Americans and that his comment was poorly articulated, his views are not of the conservative mainstream.  Conservatives often argue that taxes are not too high, given that 40% of all income taxes come from the top 1% of taxpayers. Liberals counter that the tax code is too easy on the rich given its enormous numbers of loopholes. An interesting report released Friday by The Economist argues that both sides are wrong. 

The tax burden on American workers is one of the lowest on Earth.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 12, 2012 12:42PM

By Rick Newman, US News & World Report


With all the talk among the presidential candidates about cutting taxes and giving the middle class a break, you'd think American taxpayers were the most overburdened in the world.


Far from it. In fact, the tax burden on American workers is one of the lowest on Earth.


This from someone who became a symbol of outsized spending, debt and real estate in America?

By MSNMoney partner Oct 10, 2012 12:22PM

CNBC logoRobert Frank


David Siegel, the owner of Westgate Resorts, sent a surprising email to his employees Monday.


It said that if President Barack Obama wins re-election and raises Siegel's taxes, he will have to lay off workers and downsize his company — or even shut it down.


"If any new taxes are levied on me, or my company, as our current President plans, I will have no choice but to reduce the size of this company," he wrote. "Rather than grow this company I will be forced to cut back. This means fewer jobs, less benefits and certainly less opportunity for everyone."



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