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By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 17, 2012
Skip Schwarzman and Lynn Buono, co-owners of Feast Your Eyes Catering in Philadelphia, nearly came to grief when expanding their business in their hip, newly-renovated building. The expansion consolidated several real estate parcels, each with a different address. But the computers in the city's revenue department couldn't handle the change. The business was double-billed for taxes for more than two years, and then cited for delinquency."It nearly put the kibosh on our plan," says Skip. "With a citation outstanding, it's all-but-impossible to borrow money." Ultimately it took intense... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 11, 2012
Low tax states can’t post strong incomes without energy or tourism. In the ongoing debate over tax cuts, both sides make arguments that sound plausible. Progressives and liberals claim that a state with low taxes can't invest in schools, roads, and other improvements that boost productivity. Conservatives claim that high taxes discourage entrepreneurs and push businesses to flee the state. Both arguments are logical—but both cannot be true. This argument reminds of a sign I once saw a sign in a client's office which read, "In God we Trust. All Others Must Bring Data." What does the data tell... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: May 4, 2012
Interest rates just part of the affordability problem.Congress and the presidential candidates are debating whether to let the rates on student loans double to 6.8%.  Although this argument has grabbed the headlines, it’s little more than a sideshow.  Even if rates are kept down, the student loan program falls far short of meeting rising college costs.  It doesn’t come close to enabling America’s youth to acquire the skills they need to compete in a tough global marketplace.Education is the path to progress, both for individuals and for the nation. America has invested in education for more... read more
By Frank Knapp
Posted on: May 1, 2012
One of the provisions of the Affordable Care Act--Obamacare--is the requirement that 80% to 85% of health insurance premiums go toward actual medical costs and not to overhead and profit of the insurers.  Otherwise the policy holder is due a refund at the end of the year. This medical loss ratio went into effect in 2011.  Now we our learning exactly how beneficial this part of Obamacare is for the American public. Healthcare Reform The Kaiser Family Foundation has estimated that small businesses are due about $377 million in health insurance rebates thanks to President Obama's healthcare... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 26, 2012
Last week, the "Rebuild America Act" was introduced by Sen. Tom Harkin. This comprehensive bill aims to help American manufacturers compete and help young people get the education they need.  It calls for rebuilding roads and bridges, improving schools and job training, and protecting U.S. companies from predatory trade practices.Bills like these raise the question of what role (if any) the government ought to play in making the American economy stronger. According to many, government should play no role. It should simply stand aside. Those who hold this view believe that when government... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 20, 2012
This week Congress dodged debate on the "Buffett Rule" which would require Americans earning more than a million dollars per year to pay tax rates of at least 30 percent. Opponents claim that any tax increase undermines economic growth. Supporters stress equity and the impact on the federal deficit. Truth again lies buried under the polarized rhetoric. Far from discouraging investment, the Buffett Rule—and similar measures—will boost productivity and strengthen the economy. The Buffett Rule is a first step toward reversing a growing income gap that corrodes economic growth and productivity.... read more
By Frank Knapp
Posted on: April 16, 2012
Today the U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on the Buffett Rule that would require those making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate of 30% to put them in line with the average middle class American.  Supporters of the proposal say that this is a matter of tax equity requiring the wealthiest to pay their fair share.  Critics say that Buffett Rule seeks to divide the country and punish the wealthy. Well, let’s say that we’re all on a big cruise ship, an appropriate analogy given all the media attention about the Titanic. Our cruise ship has developed a whole in the hull of the ship... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 13, 2012
A furious debate rages between those wanting to cut taxes on U.S. corporations and those hoping to raise them. The two sides come armed with opposing and contradictory "facts." Some claim U.S. corporate taxes rank highest in the developed world. Others argue the opposite. When we cut through the rhetoric, a clear but complex answer emerges: Corporate taxes should be increased for most companies—and decreased for a few. The tax structure needs to be repaired to eliminate bad incentives that threaten our economy. Those urging lower taxes are right to argue that our economy stagnates if taxes... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: April 9, 2012
In recent weeks, the Supreme Court heard arguments over whether President Obama’s healthcare legislation is constitutional. It’s easy to get lost in tedious legal details, but let’s not neglect the critical patient at the heart of this case: the U.S. economy. If we don’t take bold steps to reinvent our healthcare system, that patient will decline and die. The current healthcare system threatens our prosperity in three ways: It burdens the overall economy; it undermines individual businesses and the jobs they provide; and it saps the productivity of American workers. These threats confront... read more
By David Brodwin
Posted on: March 31, 2012
Recently, when Goldman Sachs's executive director Greg Smith resigned, he blasted his former employer's culture as "toxic and destructive." Goldman "rips off" its clients, Smith declared, allowing "morally bankrupt" people to put the firm's trading profits ahead of their clients' needs. Unless you've been living in a cave since 2008, you have to wonder if Mr. Smith isn't the last one to figure this out. While Greg Smith's letter contains little news about Goldman itself, it highlights a widespread and disturbing trend in American society: the death of the culture of professionalism. This... read more

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