Archive for the 'Government' Category

Save $400 With the “Making Work Pay” Tax Credit

Saturday, February 20th, 2010

MoneyI was pleasantly surprised to learn of a new tax credit of up to $400 ($800 for married filing jointly). It’s called “Making Work Pay,” and pretty much everyone is eligible. The thing about this credit is that it’s easy to miss—you have to claim it on the main tax form and fill out Schedule M. And keep in mind that this is a tax credit, not a deduction. You calculate the amount you owe and then subtract $400.

Link: http://taxes.about.com/…

Korea’s Imaginary Wall

Monday, February 8th, 2010

WallFrom the article: “North Korea’s New Year’s wish of seeing the destruction of a massive concrete wall dividing the Korean peninsula never seems to come true — mostly because there is no such barrier.”

Link: http://www.reuters.com/…

The Lowdown On Obscure US Banknotes

Sunday, January 31st, 2010

MoneyDespite the many attempts to cash million-dollar bills and the availability of fakes, the largest banknote ever printed by the US government was a mere $100,000. The linked article has this and other interesting facts about obscure and large-denomination bills.

Link: http://www.mentalfloss.com/…

California State Gov’t Devises Method To Get Blood From Turnips

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

GovernmentAstute Chad’s News readers already know that the State of California has severe financial problems, and that its politicians are desperately looking for ways to make ends meet. Their latest idea is to increase tax withholding by about 10 percent. Note that they’re not actually increasing the tax rate, just the amount that is withheld by employers. In essence, this forces California citizens to give short-term, interest-free loans to the state.

Here in Colorado, our finances, while a bit strained, are not even close to being as bad as California’s—primarily because of the TABOR amendment which put serious curbs on the expansion of government spending.

Thanks to Ciro for this link.

Link: http://www.latimes.com/business/…

Facts About Health Care Around the World

Thursday, September 3rd, 2009

DoctorChad’s News has no opinion on political issues, but given the controversy surrounding the US government’s proposed health care legislation, I thought the linked article would be helpful. It provides basic information about the existing programs in various countries (including the US).

Link: http://www.mentalfloss.com/…

Al Franken Wins Minnesota Senate Race

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

GovernmentRemember that election back in November 2008, the one where Barack Obama became President? Ancient history, right? Well there was also a very close senate race in Minnesota that was only resolved yesterday (June 30th). It was between incumbent Norm Coleman and Al Franken of Saturday Night Live fame. After a recount, ballot challenges, and multiple court appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court has certified Franken as the winner, by 312 votes out of 2.8 million cast.

This is an important event for US politics, because it gives Senate Democrats the 60 votes needed to override a Republican filibuster. Thus, the Democrats no longer have to compromise with the Republicans and can pass whatever laws they desire.

I just find it amazing how several highly significant elections in the past decade have been decided by a few hundred votes out of millions.

Link #1: http://www.reuters.com/…

Link #2: http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/…
(via digg)

The Next Salvo in the Internet Sales Tax War

Monday, June 29th, 2009

GovernmentAmazon has an affiliate program where members refer traffic to Amazon for specific products. The members get a percentage of sales made by the referrals. Regular Chad’s News readers will recall that New York state recently decided that an in-state affiliate was sufficient cause to require Amazon to collect state sales taxes on purchases by New York residents. Amazon is challenging this in court as being unconstitutional, but is collecting the tax in the meantime.

Now North Carolina is in the process of changing its tax laws, such that anything purchased through Amazon affiliates in that state would be subject to sales tax. Amazon has preemptively responded to this by shutting down its affiliates in North Carolina. This is an overreaction on the part of Amazon, but the company is very serious about not having to collect sales tax for states in which it doesn’t have a physical presence. State legislatures, however, are reasonably upset over the loss of significant tax revenue to internet retailers. Residents are supposed to voluntarily pay “use taxes” on internet purchases, but that rarely happens.

How this will all end is anyone’s guess. Amazon is up for the fight, however, and the final outcome will be decided in court.

Link #1: http://www.news-record.com/…
(via Slashdot)

Link #2: http://www.news-record.com/…
(via The Consumerist)

Update: Amazon has banned Rhode Island affiliates as well.

Splitting Texas Into Five States

Monday, March 9th, 2009

GovernmentThis was discussed on a local radio station. As part of the annexation of Texas into the United States, Texas was allowed the option of dividing itself into smaller states at an unspecified future date. As the linked article notes, however, any state can split up, provided it follows proper procedures.

Link: http://www.snopes.com/…

US Stamp Prices to Increase

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

MailOn May 11th, the price of a first-class stamp will rise to 44¢. The linked article suggests that you stock up on forever stamps. As for me, I’m still going through my 41¢ Yoda stamps.

Link: http://consumerist.com/…

Update: The Presurfer clued me in to this site, which simply displays the current price of a USPS first-class stamp.

What the Stimulus Bill Means To The Average Joe

Monday, February 16th, 2009

MoneyThe linked article lists the major effects that the stimulus bill will have on everyday Americans. There’s some pretty good stuff. Of note:

  • Tax credits in 2009 and 2010
  • Subsidies for COBRA premiums
  • Higher unemployment payments, for a longer period of time, with less tax
  • New vehicle taxes are deductible

Link: http://consumerist.com/…

Bigger Than the Constitution

Monday, February 9th, 2009

GovernmentHere’s a direct quote from Mayor Frank Melton of Jackson, MS: “I certainly respect the Constitution, but we have some issues that are much bigger than the Constitution.” He’s referring to an executive order banning saggy pants. No, really.

Link: http://www.clarionledger.com/…
(via Neatorama)

Class Action Settlements

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

JudgeJanuary was a good month for class action lawsuit settlements. Some of them have very broad participation requirements.