At the end of 2012 one of the most popular media and water cooler topics was the so-called "Fiscal Cliff." The Fiscal Cliff was such a frequent topic of discussion and debate because it referred to the serious financial ramifications that the United States would face if the Budget Control Act of 2011 went into effect on December 31, 2012. These financial changes would have meant an end to the temporary payroll tax cuts, resulting in a 2% tax increase for employees, the end to several tax breaks for businesses, a change to the alternative minimum tax, a rollback of the "Bush tax cuts", and the beginning of taxes related to the Affordable Care Act. However, mere hours before midnight on December 31st, a deal was struck to avoid a financial crisis, and President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the "Act"). Among other things this resolution impacted taxes related testamentary and inter vivos gift-giving that may impact estate planning for some.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Thursday, November 14, 2013
Monday, November 11, 2013
Using the 5 most populous states (Illinois – 12,875,255; Florida – 19,317,568; New York – 19,570,261; Texas – 26,059,203; and California – 38,041,430) and comparing the living wage (as calculated by MIT's Living Wage Calculator) to the minimum wage as reported by Minimum-Wage.org, it's easy to see the wage gap – only 13% of food workers earn a living wage.
Monday, October 28, 2013
Millions of Americans, who have inadequate or no income, rely on monthly Social Security payments to pay for their basic living needs. When the government faced a shutdown, earlier in October, new applicants faced the reality of a delayed process. According to a Providence Social Security Disability Attorney, more than half of all Social Security cases are denied due to a tough application process. With the government shutdown, many hopeful applicants, in desperate need of assistance, feared that they may never receive the assistance when they needed it. However, prospective applicants were not the only ones worrying about the fate of Social Security. Active recipients of government benefits worried that their assistance would be delayed while the government fought to come to an agreement on federal spending. Fortunately, Americans who receive Social Security continued to receive their month checks on time. With the shutdown over, many questions are still left unanswered, including the amount of next year’s Social Security.
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
Groupon’s introduction into the marketplace spawned countless copycats and by 2011 it had already raised more than $1 billion in funding. However, as quickly as it grew … it just as rapidly fell.
The rise and fall of Groupon is but one of the many instances of a business growing too quickly in this dot-com era. Rapid expansion without a firm revenue method has seen the demise of many exciting tech startups but troubles in profitability are but one element of the equation.
Rapid growth often leads to quick, brash decisions in areas such as:
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Is Assisted Suicide the Most Humane Way to End Unwanted Life?
Even though suicide is against the law in most of the United States, there are a few places – Oregon, Vermont and Washington – where that law has been turned on its head, providing for physician-assisted suicide (AS) for those victims of terminal and highly painful diseases.
One state, Montana, currently allows AS via a court ruling – what some would consider a legal precedent known as the Baxter decision. The physician responsible for this precedent-setting decision is Dr. Eric Kress, a family practitioner for 26 years. The incident itself, which ended the life of a terminally ill but mentally alert adult via prescription, has passed into history.
Tuesday, August 27, 2013
Starbucks, one of the world’s most successful and largest coffee chains, is a customer favorite from the West to East Coast. A corporation that started out in Seattle as a single retail store in 1971 expanded by great leaps and bounds in 40 plus years looks like a true success story for many business minded individuals. The multi-million dollar corporation, with over 17,000 stores located internationally, offers numerous work opportunities for budding baristas and coffee aficionados, alike. Many might think that Starbucks, keeping their small beginnings in mind, may make their employees their number one priority. However, many Starbucks employees feel the brunt of a money hungry corporation rather than the “employee comes first” approach. Employees, eager to fight for the respect they deserve are filing lawsuits against Starbucks to receive the workers’ compensation they are owed and rightly deserve; without baristas, Starbucks would not be what they are today.
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