Is the Curtain Finally Coming Down on the Payroll Tax Cut?

In what seems like an annual rite in Washington, DC, the extension of the social security payroll tax cut—a.k.a., the “payroll tax cut”—is once again up for debate.

The cut was first implemented in 2010 under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010.  It provided for a 2% reduction in the employee portion of the social security payroll tax, from 6.2% to 4.2%.

The cut was set to expire at the end of 2011, but was extended to the end of February, 2012, and then ultimately through the end of the year.

But this year it’s looking like an another extension of the cut may not happen.

No political consensus to extend the payroll tax cut

With the presidential election and the prospect of a lame duck Congress looming there is little debate on the Payroll Tax Cut extension.  Concern is also centering on the still large federal budget deficits which will be partially reduced through the expiration of the payroll tax cut.  If anyone has serious intentions of extending the cut they’re laying low right now.

Very low.

If things stay as they are on January 1st, 2013 the Payroll Tax Cut will expire.

Why the payroll tax cut is a true middle class tax cut

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What is QE3 (Quantitative Easing) and How Does it Affect You?

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Last month Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke announced the roll out of QE3—the third installment of a plan to intervene more directly into the financial sector of the U.S. economy.

We hear and read a lot about it in the media and on the web, but how much does it affect us?

As individuals, very little; but collectively, the effect is more substantial.

What is QE (quantitative easing)?

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5 Tips to Help You Deal with Economic Uncertainty

We live in uncertain economic times.

No one knows what will happen next. Between a difficult job market, a housing sector that refuses to recover, and Europe on the brink of complete financial disaster, it’s easy to feel anxious about your money.

Will we see another recession? Could things turn around and be great? Are a eurozone collapse and slowing growth in China about to dump us into another global financial crisis? While you want to be prepared for the possibility of economic problems, it’s not a good idea to let fear rule you.

Once you let fear master you, you start making very poor decisions based on that fear.

Whether it’s making a bad investment decision, a risky business choice, or sabotaging your relationships, fear and anxiety can lead to problems in your finances and your life.

Before you let your worries about economic uncertainty turn into a full-blown financial emergency, it’s a good idea to take a deep breath, step back, and consider these 5 tips to helping you cope with the uncertainties that come in an economy like what we’re seeing now:

Tips to Help You Deal With Economic Uncertainty

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What is LIBOR and the Scandal that Rocked It?

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If you’re a faithful news follower, you’ve likely heard about the recent LIBOR scandal but like many, you might not know anything about LIBOR or the why the scandal is big enough to make international news.

What is LIBOR?

LIBOR is an acronym for the London InterBank Offered Rate.

Here’s how it works: Banks, just like other businesses, sometimes need extra money.  Let’s say that Bank A wants to make a large commercial loan but to lend the money would put them below certain capital requirements but only until other payments and deposits come in.

Bank B happens to have an excess of cash on their books and as any good banker knows, cash sitting around doesn’t make any money so they’re eager to lend some of their cash.  Bank A and Bank B come together and work out the terms of a short term loan, but how do they agree on an interest rate?
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A Victory for College Students – Student Loan Rates Remain Low for Now

Until June 29th, a big problem was brewing for college students but less than two days before the deadline, Congress agreed on a bill that would avert larger student loan payments for some students.

The cost of college rises at roughly twice the rate of inflation each year.  This equates to nearly 6% annually and that has made college tuition out of reach of the majority of families that didn’t save for education costs.  Because of that, most students now rely on grants and loans to pay the costs.  Grants quickly run out for most leaving student loans as their only option.

The federal government helps by offering two types of loans, called Stafford loans.
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Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Makes Consumer Complaints Publicly Available

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Do you know about Yelp?  Maybe Tripadvisor?

If you’re looking for a new restaurant or you’re traveling and find yourself in an unknown place, Yelp and Tripadvisor take some of the guesswork out finding a quality restaurant by publishing customer reviews.  You can search for restaurants by the amount of positive reviews and companies can respond to the review in an attempt to rectify a negative customer experience.

Websites like these have caused some local businesses to clean up their act since they know that savvy consumers reference these sites en masse.  They know that bad reviews can affect their bottom line just as positive reviews can increase traffic.

Not all businesses have such a low tech yet effective system of oversight.

Wouldn’t it be nice to know how a certain bank in your community treats its customers?  When trying to choose from the sea of credit card offers, wouldn’t it be nice if you could see what other card holders around the country think of the card?

Credit Card Complaints Made Public

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What is the Buffett Rule Tax Plan and Why Are We Hearing So Much About It?

Warren Buffett has publicly stated many times that he thinks the richest individuals in the United States don’t pay enough in income tax.

He consistently gives the example that he pays a smaller percentage of his overall income in tax than his secretary does.

He’s been so adamant that the Obama administration picked up the baton and ran with it, dubbing a new proposal the “Buffett Tax Rule”.

What is the Buffett Tax Rule?

So what exactly is the Buffet tax rule?

The administration’s proposal would set a floor of a 30% income tax on those with incomes over $1,000,000 in a given year.  The goal is that no middle income taxpayer would pay a larger share of his or her income than someone making millions of dollars.

Why is the Buffett Rule So Popular Right Now?

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