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Economy

Insurance Companies Now Qualify for TARP Bailout Money

by Luke Landes

Even though they are not bank holding companies as originally required for the original qualifications for receiving bailout money from the public, six insurance companies will now have the option of receiving this money. Among others, Allstate, Ameriprise Financial, Hartford Financial Services, Lincoln National Group, Principal Financial, and Prudential applied earlier for inclusin in the ... Continue reading this article…

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Credit Cards and Guns in National Parks

by Luke Landes

While the Senate is working hard to put together their version of the Credit Cardholders’ Bill of Rights some Senators are taking the opportunity of a sure-to-pass bill to tag on unrelated amendments. One example is Senator Tom Coburn’s amendment, S.AMDT.1068, whose stated purpose is “to protect innocent Americans from violent crime in national parks ... Continue reading this article…

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$400 Stimulus Payment Dumbness Update

by Smithee

A few weeks ago I wrote a short piece explaining that while even if you think the “Making Work Pay” tax credit of $400 is a bad idea, at least we’re saving money this time by not sending out two letters and a check to every household in America. In short: the stimulus process could’ve ... Continue reading this article…

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Which are Reliable Indicators of a Strong Economy?

by Smithee

One of the fun things about living in an Information Age is that we not only have near-instant access to financial data, but also a multitude of data sources to look at. It seems there’s a new report every day with updated economic news and forecasts. We’d like your input about the economic indicators that ... Continue reading this article…

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How to Prepare for Inflation and Higher Prices

by Luke Landes

Yesterday, the Federal Reserve purchased $7.5 billion of debt in the form of Treasuries from the government, and plans to continue buying debt for a long time to finance the government’s spending. As the government continues selling this debt, the money supply increases. In total, the Treasury may add $3 to $4 trillion dollars to ... Continue reading this article…

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8 (or More) Ways to Benefit From the ARRA

by Smithee

Our financial crisis is being combated on many sides, with a seemingly endless series of opportunities for people facing serious hardships. I thought it would be helpful to summarize all the options created as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and give you just the facts that you need in ... Continue reading this article…

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Oversight and Regulation: Too Much or Too Little?

by Luke Landes

Many economists are citing the lack of regulation of the financial markets as one of the primary causes of the recent economic collapse. Alan Greenspan, once a believer in deregulation, blames the crisis on the financial industry’s inability to monitor itself. A pattern of financial deregulation over the past two and a half decades paved ... Continue reading this article…

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You Be the CEO: Should Bailed-Out Banks Cut Limousine Usage?

by Luke Landes

As the government continues to bail out the banking industry and taxpayers continue to increase their stake in these companies, how far should the banks go to cut back spending on the excesses that have grown over the past several decades? The local New York City NBC news program aired a feature on the use ... Continue reading this article…

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$250,000 Tax Rates and You

by Smithee

We’re still waiting to hear the official proposal, but you’re bound to hear a lot of talk this week in the mainstream media about the U.S. budget, deficit, and the plan to let the “Bush tax cuts” expire. Reporters are going to use the phrase “people earning more than $250,000 a year” with respect to ... Continue reading this article…

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The $400 Stimulus Payments Could’ve Been Dumber

by Smithee

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 includes, along with all the spending, the biggest middle-class tax cut in American history. Ignoring all the stuff about housing and small businesses and car sales, this will mean a yearly saving of $400 for individuals, or $800 for couples. It’s not a lot of money. People ... Continue reading this article…

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2009 Stimulus Bill: Day One

by Smithee

Just a quick update this morning to point out something I think has been under-reported: President Barack Obama should be signing into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act today, which means that States (and Commonwealths) requested federal stimulus money have forty-five days to start spending some of that money on public works and improvements. ... Continue reading this article…

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Read the Complete Stimulus Bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009) – Updated

by Luke Landes

A little earlier today, the House of Representatives passed the compromised form of the stimulus bill (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009), and the Senate is expected to pass the stimulus tonight. It won’t be long before the bill is signed into law by President Obama and the appropriated funds are doled out to ... Continue reading this article…

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It’s Not Just About the $400 Tax Credit

by Smithee

When talking about the 790 billion dollar stimulus bill currently nearing the end of its congressional marathon, it’s tempting for people to focus on the direct, short-term benefits, namely a $400 tax credit, and how such a thing won’t go very far in benefiting most people. I tend to agree, but I’m also the first ... Continue reading this article…

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Senate and House of Representatives Agree on Stimulus Bill Compromise

by Luke Landes

In the past few minutes, the conference including the Senate and the House of Representatives was concluded. They’ve come to a compromise between the two versions of the economic stimulus bill to be sent to the President of the United States to be signed into law. I’ll post more details when the Congress provides them. ... Continue reading this article…

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What Would You Ask the Banking CEOs?

by Luke Landes

Today, CEOs from the largest banks receiving the first batch of funds from the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), billions of dollars initially designed to loosen the credit crunch, will be visiting Washington today to be grilled by the House of Representatives’ Financial Services Committee. There is no doubt that the bankers will be asked ... Continue reading this article…

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Stimulus Bill Passes Senate, Still a Long Way to Go

by Luke Landes

The Senate voted on and passed their version of the 2009 stimulus bill today, but that doesn’t mean homebuyers who stand to receive a tax credit of up to $15,000 should start celebrating yet. The Senate’s version of the bill is somewhat different from the House’s version. For example, the $15,000 credit for all homebuyers ... Continue reading this article…

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Stimulus Watch: Track Federal Funding of Local Shovel-Ready Projects

by Luke Landes

Once the stimulus bill is signed into law, states and cities will receive funding for local shovel-ready projects that may help stimulate the economy. The Stimulus Watch website has compiled all of these projects and is presenting them in a way that allows visitors to browse, search, and participate. The website contains a wiki, inviting ... Continue reading this article…

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How Obama’s 2009 Economic Stimulus Will Affect You

by Luke Landes

If President Obama’s economic stimulus plan is signed into law is it currently stands, individuals stand to receive a tax credit of $500 and couples stand to receive a tax credit of $1,000. Provided you’re not disqualified for earning too much money, $75,000 for an individual or $150,000 for a couple. Taxpayers might receive this ... Continue reading this article…

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$350 Billion Additional TARP Funds to Go to Banks

by Luke Landes

It won’t be long before the second half of the original Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds are authorized to be distributed to banks to help prop up the economy. This $350 billion, or even more, is following the first $350 billion that banks received. While the government’s public intent was for the banks to ... Continue reading this article…

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Is it Time to Add a Significant National Gas Tax?

by Luke Landes

Consumerism Commentary readers: Please complete this readership survey for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card! At the pump, gas prices are “low” now. Remember last May when Chrysler was offering a $2.99 gas guarantee while the price per gallon continued to climb towards $4.00? It seemed like a good deal at the ... Continue reading this article…

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