POLL

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

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  1.  
    40 %
    Obama
    399 votes
  2.  
    41 %
    Congress
    416 votes
  3.  
    4 %
    Voters
    36 votes
  4.  
    15 %
    All of them!
    154 votes

Total Responses: 1,005
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The chain is offering free pizza for life to anyone who can inject pizza toppings into the conversation.

By Bruce Kennedy Oct 9, 2012 4:11PM

Image: Woman counting money (Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc/Blend Images/Getty Images)This year's presidential campaigns have yet to give us the "zingers" or memorable quotes we've heard in past contests. But if one of the nation’s largest pizza chains gets its way, we may soon have the phrase "sausage or pepperoni?" to add to the U.S. political lexicon.


Pizza Hut, a subsidiary of Yum Brands (YUM), is trying to make pizza a topic during the next presidential debate at Hofstra University -- offering an audience member free pizza for life for bringing pie into the discussion.


"The next debate is town hall style, which means real people ask real questions,” a new Pizza Hut ad intones. "With that said, if someone asks a question about pizza during the next debate on Oct. 16, Pizza Hut will supply them with free pizza for life."

 

The GOP health care plan leaves some people uncovered.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 9, 2012 1:46PM

By Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar

 

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney says he has a plan to help people with pre-existing medical conditions get health insurance. But there's a huge catch: You basically have to be covered in the first place.

 

If you had a significant break in health insurance coverage an insurer still could delve into your medical history, looking for anything — from a bad back to high blood pressure — that could foreshadow future claims. They'd be able to turn you down.

 

While the GOP candidate may want to ax government funding for PBS, the Sesame Workshop has larger financial troubles.

By Jonathan Berr Oct 8, 2012 8:12AM
During last week's presidential debate, Republican Mitt Romney horrified some fans of "Sesame Street" when he said he was going to stop federal subsidies of PBS even though he likes Big Bird. Many pundits seemed to think the beloved children's character was headed for the barbecue.

"A collective stab pierced the heart of Generation X, who grew up with Big Bird, Bert and Ernie, and Oscar the Grouch as their best friends. I immediately thought, 'Oh no, Big Bird will be unemployed if Romney wins,'" Suzi Parker wrote in the Washington Post.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee formed "Team Big Bird" to rally the troops around public broadcasting, asking pointedly, "What did Big Bird ever do to Mitt Romney?"  "Saturday Night Live" even allowed Big Bird a chance to rebut the former Massachusetts governor. 

The jobless numbers could play a role in the election.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 5, 2012 1:44PM

By Jim Kuhnhenn, The Associated Press

 

President Barack Obama, reeling from a poor debate performance, won a valuable reprieve Friday with a reduced unemployment number in September that brought the jobless rate down to a level unseen since January 2009 when he took office.

 

The new threshold carries more political than economic weight. The Labor Department reported that employers added 114,000 jobs in September, slightly better than expected but still below levels needed to sustain a reduction in unemployment.

 

Ben Bernanke and Mario Draghi have had to step up because of inaction or ineffective action on the part of legislators and policymakers.

By The Fiscal Times Oct 5, 2012 8:25AM

The Fiscal Times logoBy Suzanne McGee

The unprecedented action initiated by the Federal Reserve last month – its open-ended third round of quantitative easing – has been highly controversial in many quarters. So much so that Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke tackled the issue head-on at the Economic Club of Indiana yesterday.

In a speech titled "Five Questions about the Federal Reserve and Monetary Policy," Bernanke tried to counter claims that the Fed's commitment to low interest rates means that the federal government gets to borrow more cheaply and rack up an even higher level of debt, or that the Fed is "monetizing" that debt through its securities purchases. "Using monetary policy to try to influence the political debate on the budget would be highly inappropriate," Bernanke told his audience. (He added that it also probably wouldn't work.)

 

If Congress and the president drive over the fiscal cliff on New Year's Eve, the average American household will get slapped with a $3,500 tax hike next year.

By The Fiscal Times Oct 5, 2012 8:19AM

The Fiscal Times logoBy Merrill Goozner

If the lame-duck Congress and President Barack Obama drive over the fiscal cliff on New Year's Eve without passing new tax legislation or extending a host of expiring tax breaks, the average American household would get slapped with a $3,500 tax hike next year, according to a new analysis from the Tax Policy Center. Nearly seven out of every eight households would pay higher taxes.

Allowing the tax breaks to expire would theoretically raise $536 billion for the federal government next year, the analysis said, which is sharply higher than Congressional Budget Office projections that looked only at the fiscal year that began Monday. However, most economists believe a fiscal shock of that magnitude would immediately throw the economy into recession, which would sharply reduce actual collections.

 

It relieves him of the burden of explaining details now, since he can wave away objections by saying he'll make the numbers add up when the time comes.

By MSN Money Partner Oct 5, 2012 7:50AM
US News logoMitt Romney's tax plan gets curiouser and curiouser.

The basic concept behind the plan is pretty simple. The Republican presidential nominee wants to cut each of the six federal income-tax rates by one fifth, so those in the 15 percent bracket would pay 12 percent, those in the 25 percent bracket would pay 20 percent, and so on. He'd also eliminate the estate tax and kill or reduce other levies. President Obama, by contrast, would leave most rates where they are, while raising the rate for top earners by roughly 9 to 13 percent, depending on income.

The problem with Romney's plan, of course, is that the federal government is already drowning in debt and can't take on more to finance sizable tax cuts. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Romney's cuts would reduce federal revenue by $480 billion per year, which Obama has characterized as a $5 trillion tax cut (over 10 years, a rounded-up qualifier that Obama doesn't usually mention). Romney has addressed that, sort of, by saying he'd offset lost revenue by cutting or reducing a bunch of tax credits, deductions, and other loopholes, with one idea being to put a limit of $17,000 on the amount of deductions any taxpayer could claim in a given year. That would help a bit with the accounting, since some wealthy taxpayers claim deductions that help them avoid thousands or even millions of dollars in taxes.  

Economic concerns resonate on campus, where deficit and unemployment remain major issues.

By Bruce Kennedy Oct 4, 2012 8:02PM
Credit: Bruce KennedyLife is returning to normal at the University of Denver after Wednesday's presidential debate there. The media crews have packed up, concrete roadblocks are being removed, and students are returning to regular class schedules. But the on-campus buzz surrounding the event has yet to go away.

 

"I thought it was a really great debate," said Lauren Conrad, a sophomore from Evergreen, Colo. "I thought both candidates brought forward a lot of interesting ideas, and I thought it was one of the better (debates) we've seen."

 

Kyle Vanderkooi, a freshman business major from Breckenridge, Colo., thinks President Barack Obama and GOP candidate Mitt Romney were very different in their economic positions.

 

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