- GOP offers 10-year, $2.2 trillion plan to Obama
- Fiscal cliff talks turn into a game of chicken
- From the fiscal frying pan into the debt ceiling fire
- Tax the rich more? Most Americans say yes
- Heartland states on high alert over fiscal cliff
- 4 high-yield stocks that can survive the crisis
- Thoma: The case for breaking up the big banks
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VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Is the GOP candidate too far removed from average Americans?
By Steve Peoples, The Associated Press
Mitt Romney is promising to reduce taxes on middle-income Americans.
But how does he define "middle-income"? The Republican presidential nominee defined it Friday as income of $200,000 to $250,000 a year and less.
The definition of "middle income" or the "middle class" is politically charged as Romney and President Barack Obama fight to win over working-class voters. Romney would be among the wealthiest presidents, if elected, and Democrats have painted him repeatedly as out of touch with average people.
The important topic was also missing from both national conventions.
By Mark Thoma
There was something important missing from both the Democrat and Republican National Conventions -- the unemployed. We have an unemployment crisis on our hands, and nobody should be satisfied with an unemployment rate in excess of 8 percent and the slow decline in unemployment we have experienced. Yet we heard very little about plans to address the jobs crisis at the conventions, and it's the same on the campaign trail.
I didn't expect the Republicans to say much about the unemployed, except to criticize the president over the slow progress in bringing the number down. The deficit was their convention focus, including the debt clock above the stage, but it is telling that they have little to offer the unemployed beyond criticism of President Obama.
More people are tapping into their home equity, risking foreclosure or leaving their heirs holding the bill.
By Sheryl Nance-Nash
Elderly homeowners signing up for reverse mortgages might be latest victims of the housing crisis.
A reverse mortgage allows homeowners 62 and older who own their homes outright or who have low mortgage balances to get cash by borrowing against the equity in their homes. The mortgage comes due when the borrower dies, moves or sells the home – often shifting the responsibility to family members or heirs.
"Reverse mortgages have increased over the past five years. Many retirees, having experienced massive retirement income loss, due to the current state of the economy, have resulted to reverse mortgages as a financial refuge," says J. Varney Barker, author of New Rules of Home Ownership for the 21st Century.
After the 'lost decade' of the 2000s, average Americans are still suffering from 3 persistent economic ailments.
There are many reasons middle-class Americans feel squeezed right now: The high unemployment rate (8.1 percent), rising cost of college tuition, or the fact that close to one-third of homeowners are underwater. But it's a combination of three other factors that led the Pew Research Center to label the 2000s a "lost decade" for the middle class: declining household income, shrinking net worth, and a smaller middle class.
"Income peaked in 1999 and it has not yet returned to that peak," says Paul Taylor, a coauthor of the report and the executive vice president of the Pew Research Center. "It's the first decade in modern U.S. history where that's the case," he adds.
The GOP candidate seems to think he can fix the US tax code and pay down the national debt with no tax hikes -- without explaining how. What's he hiding?
GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has a plan to revamp the entire U.S. tax code and change the nature of American capitalism. But he can't tell us what his plan is just yet.
Romney has revealed parts of his plan, such as his goal of cutting the tax rate in every bracket by one-fifth, slashing corporate taxes, and cutting government spending. But there are some important policies to be named later.
Romney acknowledges that cutting taxes as he proposes would leave the government short of revenue, which would have to be made up somehow. To do that, he says, he'd "limit deductions and exemptions for people at the high end." But which deductions? By how much? And what if those limitations aren't enough to keep the government solvent?
The eurozone's dismal outlook hints at what could lie ahead for Americans if they go down a similar path of austerity.
The economy added a measly 96,000 workers last month after a gain of 141,000 in July, which was revised downward. Unemployment fell slightly to 8.1%. Pitiful. For the rate to decline significantly, the U.S. needs to add at least 250,000 jobs a month over multiple months. About 151,000 jobs per month were created, on average, during the 1980s and 181,000 per month were generated in the following decade, according to a 2005 Federal Reserve research paper.
Did someone really steal Mitt Romney's tax records?
By Stephen Braun, The Associated Press
Assuming it's not a hoax, the purported theft of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's tax returns has all the trappings of a high-tech whodunit: a politically themed burglary, a $1 million demand in hard-to-trace Internet currency, password-protected data and a threat to reveal everything in three more weeks. But can it be believed?
If there is one piece of economic data that holds the key to the election, Friday’s number is it. But what would it take to sway voters?
It’s no coincidence that Bill Clinton and Elizabeth Warren – two high-profile Democratic politicians capable of taking complex financial concepts and boiling them down to terms a non-specialist can readily grasp –– took to the podium at their party’s convention Wednesday night. Their job, in part, was to convince not only party loyalists but also the general public that the current economic picture – call it a jobless recovery, if you will – isn’t something that any president can fix with a snap of his or her fingers. Party spinmeisters have already been touting the 4.5 million private sector jobs added over the last 29 months, but if they work their magic today, it could help President Barack Obama ride out any storm that might follow a disappointing jobs report scheduled to be released tomorrow morning.
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Follow Republican and Democratic presidential candidates as they battle for the White House. Explore how monetary and fiscal policies affect your finances. Get insightful analysis of the American political economy and the latest news on the 2012 election.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
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