Thanks to how the Internal Revenue Service implemented President Barack Obama’s tax break last spring, more than 15 million taxpayers may owe the government either $250 or $400 more for their 2009 income tax. The tax break has decreased the amount of tax withheld for 95 percent of working families, but millions will find that they need to pay back the government for not withholding enough.
General Motors has received $50 billion in taxpayer assistance, yet even as the company cuts thousands of jobs at U.S. locations, it is considering investing billions of those taxpayer dollars on overseas operations. GM maintains that only through a strong international presence can it remain competitive and profitable, but critics say that the taxpayer money was meant to preserve U.S. jobs.
The U.S. federal government possesses the largest stockpile of gold in the world, but even with record high prices, it isn’t likely to be selling any. In fact, other countries and global central banks are building up their gold reserves as the dollar’s value plummets.
The federal deficit for October reached a record-setting level for that month: $176 billion. The Treasury Department made the announcement on November 13, saying the shortfall occurred as income of $135 billion was exceeded by $311 billion in spending.
Anyone trying to figure out what in the world is going on in today’s economy might remember Agatha Christie’s classic, Murder on the Orient Express. When master sleuth Hercule Poirot boarded that train, he’d no idea that before the night ended he’d face the most perplexing murder case ever. A carful of passengers, all of whom had motive and opportunity, maneuvered around so skillfully that even Christie’s brilliant Belgian couldn’t figure out whodunit. The best he could do was point a perfectly manicured finger at the most likely culprits — in the end, everybody walked away, except the luckless victim.