“With recovery in full swing and unemployment dropping to an Obama administration near record low of 8.2%, the US economy seems to be bouncing back stronger than ever. Unless, of course, you look at the numbers no one in mainstream media, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, or the administration is talking about. As many of our readers already know, the official unemployment rates released monthly by the BLS (U-3, U-6) fail to account for one very key figure – those individuals who are no longer in the labor force.
The number of those folks – the ones that don’t matter anymore because counting them would hinder the President’s reelection bid – is absolutely staggering for what is supposed to be the engine of the global economy and the world’s only super power:”
Via SHTF Plan
“According to Wikipedia, Johnson is 31 years old and now attends Harvard Law School. I don’t know about her personal life or what her deductions would be, so I can’t assume any children or extra deductions.
On a $90,000 salary, she would pay $16,578 in federal taxes, $3,780 to Social Security, and $1,305 in Medicare taxes.
That adds up to a total federal tax burden of $21,663 on $90,000 in adjusted gross income, or a tax rate of 24 percent.
Obama’s federal income tax rate was 20.5 percent. If you include the Medicare and Social Security taxes paid by Obama, his total federal tax liability is 21.8 percent, fully two percent less than that of his secretary even though his adjusted gross income was nearly nine times hers.”
“In a meeting where neither looks very happy with the other, Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff lambastes President Obama over expansionist monetary policies that are having a direct impact on the currencies of emerging economies, including her own.
Throughout the clip, as Rousseff discusses her concerns over US monetary policy, President Obama seems visibly annoyed and distant, giving the impression he’d rather be teeing off than discussing the critical monetary, fiscal and economic issues facing the world. The President’s body language – his twiddling of the thumbs, rubbing the corners of his mouth, inability to remain focused – overtly indicates either his complete disinterest in how US monetary policy affects our global trading partners, or that he simply doesn’t understand what this woman is talking about.”
Via SHTF Plan
“The economic crisis in Europe continues to get worse and eventually it is going to unravel into a complete economic nightmare. All over Europe, national governments have piled up debts that are completely unsustainable. But whenever they start significantly cutting government spending it results in an economic slowdown. So politicians in Europe are really caught between a rock and a hard place. They can’t keep racking up these unsustainable debts, but if they continue to cut government spending it is going to push their economies into deep recession and their populations will riot. Greece is a perfect example of this. Greece has been going down the austerity road for several years now and they are experiencing a full-blown economic depression, riots have become a way of life in that country and their national budget is still not anywhere close to balanced. Americans should pay close attention to what is going on in Europe, because this is what it looks like when a debt party ends. Most of the nations in the eurozone have just started implementing austerity, and yet unemployment in the eurozone is already the highest it has been since the euro was introduced. It has risen for 10 months in a row and is now up to 10.8 percent. Sadly, it is going to go even higher. As economies across Europe slide into recession, that is going to put even more pressure on the European financial system. Most Americans do not realize this, but the European banking system is absolutely enormous. It is nearly four times the size that the U.S. banking system is. When the European banking system crashes (and it will) it is going to reverberate around the globe. The epicenter of the next great financial crisis is going to be in Europe, and it is getting closer with each passing day.”
“President Obama and his wife, Michele, gave a total of $48,000 in tax-free gifts to their daughters, according to tax records made public on Friday.
The president and his wife separately gave each daughter a $12,000 gift under a section of the federal tax code that exempts such donations from federal taxes.
There is nothing illegal about the president’s taking advantage of this tax shelter, but it does raise eyebrows given that he has lamented the myriad tax exemptions used by the wealthy—“millionaires and billionaires” like himself—to pay less in taxes. He has yet to propose a comprehensive plan to reform the byzantine tax code.”
Via Free Beacon
“In yet another sad reflection on the state of the Schrodinger-economy, USA Today notes that over 200,000 households will use their tax rebate this year to pay for (drum roll please) a bankruptcy filing and associated legal fees. The NBER research confirms a little known fact (outside of bankruptcy lawyer circles) that ‘at the first part of the year, when Americans receive their tax refunds, there almost always is a spike in personal bankruptcy filings.’ but this has been especially true since the cost of bankruptcy soared (from $921 in 2005 to $1477 two years later according to the US GAO) after law changes in 2005. The bulk of the fees go to the lawyers of course but the fact that the law was changed to prevent bankruotcy abuse as it was thought too many people who could afford to pay their debts were taking advantage of the system. The sadder truth, according to the USA Today article, is that the drop in bankruptcy filings doesn’t necessarily mean that the change has curtailed abuse of the system. “It just means that financially distressed people are not necessarily getting the help they need,” Last year’s average tax refund was $2913 – enough for many Americans to file for bankruptcy. So we wonder what impact this will have on AAPL’s earnings as bankruptcy fees outweigh iPad purchases from this year’s rebates. Brilliant!”
Via Zero Hedge
“As we have recently pointed out (here), the exponential level of global central bank one-upmanship has created a level of dependency in capital markets never seen so obviously before. Critically, though, it is not the sheer scale of the balance sheet (or STOCK of assets) that is good enough anymore – equity market performance is all about the marginal change in that stock (FLOW). Nowhere is this “It’s The Flow Stupid” better highlighted than in the chart below showing the periods of central bank balance sheet expansion coinciding almost perfectly with the largest surges in equity market performance. Furthermore, as the flow fades so the performance starts to fade (unable to counter the natural tendency of retail to exit the risky markets perhaps) and as the Fed’s balance sheet begins to actually compress marginally (as it has the last few weeks), so equity market performance has turned negative – and notably so. This leaves the Fed with the dilemma that it is not just about the size of the bazooka anymore but the frequency with which you are willing to use it – and as we are likely to see this week – jaw-boning alone will not do the trick (no matter what today’s market might have been hoping for) as unless we see the balance sheet of the Fed expand again (which would mean a rise of around 0.4% – something we haven’t seen since mid February), we should expect the rolling 4-week performance of equities to continue to fall.”
Via Zero Hedge
“No surprises in today’s release of US CPI, which unlike China’s still searing inflation (which is the PBoC’s way to check to Bernanke on more easing) came just as expected at 0.3% headline and 0.2% core, or 2.7% Y/Y. From the release: “The indexes for food, energy, and all items less food and energy all increased in March. The gasoline index continued to rise, more than offsetting a decline in the household energy index and leading to a 0.9 percent increase in the energy index. The food index rose 0.2 percent as the index for meats, poultry, fish, and eggs increased notably. The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in March after increasing 0.1 percent in February. Most of the major components increased in March, with the indexes for shelter and used cars and trucks accounting for about half the total increase for all items less food and energy. The indexes for medical care, apparel, recreation, new vehicles, and airline fares increased as well, while the indexes for tobacco and household furnishings and operations were among the few to decline in March.” The items rising the most in March sequentially: fuel oil at 2.7%, gasoline at 1.7% and apparel at 1.3%. The only decliner was electricity at -0.8%, courtesy of nat gas plunging. With a record hot summer approaching, this is a good thing.”
Via Zero Hedge
“Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius sought to cast the two-year-old reform law as a vital weapon against racial disparities that have long condemned U.S. minorities to higher infant mortality rates, shorter lifespans and limited access to medical services.
“The enemy is at the door and we know that they would like to dismantle these initiatives,” Sebelius told the annual convention of the National Action Network, a civil rights group led by the Rev. Al Sharpton.”
Via Weasel Zippers
“2012 tax rate schedule for married filing jointly:
10% on taxable income from $0 to $17,400, plus
15% on taxable income over $17,400 to $70,700, plus
25% on taxable income over $70,700 to $142,700, plus
28% on taxable income over $142,700 to $217,450, plus
33% on taxable income over $217,450 to $388,350, plus
35% on taxable income over $388,350.”
Via Weasel Zippers