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Tax Changes for Overseas Firms

obama-newAmerican President Barack Obama proposed changing provisions in the tax code that he says encourage U.S. companies to move jobs overseas, as part of a broader package aimed at saving $210 billion over 10 years.

Obama will seek to follow through on a campaign promise to change the tax treatment of American firms with overseas operations. That portion of his plan — opposed by such firms as Pfizer Inc and Oracle Corp — would raise more than $100 billion in revenue over the next decade.

In an echo of a line he used often on the campaign trail last year, Obama vowed in a February address to the U.S. Congress to make the tax code more fair by “finally ending the tax breaks for corporations that ship our jobs overseas.”

Currently, U.S. firms are allowed to defer paying taxes on profits earned overseas if they plow those profits back into their foreign subsidiaries. An array of firms signed onto a letter to congressional leaders in March opposing changes to the so-called deferral provision, saying they would make U.S. businesses less competitive.

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May 3, 2009 Posted by | Business sector, News, Personal | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama to abolish limits on Cuba?

obamaBarack Obama, the reputed president of the United States of America, has decided to fulfill a campaign promise and allow Cuban Americans and Cuban emigres to freely visit and send money to their families.A White House official confirmed the administration’s intentions to lift the restrictions, but said the measure was not a new policy statement and was not imminent.

The administration has conveyed that our policy towards Cuba is being reviewed and the president has stated that there’s a sense that restrictions on family visits and cash remittances should be lifted and the focus remains on the need for democratic reforms and human rights in Cuba.

The removal of limits on family travel and cash remittances would allow Cubans living in the United States to travel freely to the island, instead of once a year as at present. It would also remove the ceiling of $1,200 per person in cash remittances to needy family members in Cuba.

This is a good humanitarian move that honors Cuban Americans’ right to visit and aid their relatives as they see fit but it creates one class of Americans who can travel to Cuba at will, so it will add to the momentum in Congress to lift restrictions on all other Americans, who have a right to travel too. The move was probably meant to signal a new attitude toward both Cuba and other Latin American countries that have pressed Washington to end a trade embargo that has sought to isolate Havana for more than four decades.

April 4, 2009 Posted by | Fact, Issues, News, Personal | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

US to send forces to Afghan

Afghan troopsUS president Obama is expected to send an additional 4,000 troops to train Afghan forces as part of review of policy on Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The new strategy includes recommendations to counter a persistent Taliban and al-Qaeda campaign that spans the two countries’ border.

US officials have said success in Afghanistan is impossible without tackling Taliban enclaves in Pakistan, whose government is beset by political turmoil.Nabi Misdaq, an Afghanistan analyst in Washington, told Al Jazeera he hoped Obama would not go for a military solution to the conflict, citing a series of US air raids that have caused a number of civilian casualties.

Obama has said previously that the US is losing the war in Afghanistan and the new policy is central top his administration’s efforts to turn the conflict around, giving more responsibility to the Afghan government itself. Obama is to define the objectives of the plan as eliminating the threat from al-Qaeda to undermine or topple US-backed elected governments or to launch attacks on the US, its interests and allies.

The strategy is to take a regional approach focusing on counter-terrorism, economic development and offer economic aid to help stabilise Pakistan, where the Taliban has a number of strongholds, officials told the Reuters news agency.The problems were highlighted by Afghanistan’s intelligence chief, who accused Pakistan’s spy agency ISI of helping Taliban fighters carry out attacks in his country.

March 27, 2009 Posted by | Fact, Issues, News, Personal | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama abandons Vets Insurers!

obama US President Obama’s administration is abandoning a controversial plan to charge private insurers for treatment of veterans’ service-connected ailments.
Although the president believes the plan would raise more money for veterans’ care, the administration is dropping the idea after hearing the objections of veterans groups.

The President listened to concerns raised by the veterans service organizations that this might, under certain circumstances, affect veterans and their families’ ability to access health care. News of the change of heart originally came from Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, who disclosed the decision to reporters while meeting with a group of veterans on Capitol Hill.

Veterans’ representatives and members of Congress have angrily opposed the proposal, which White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said was never finalized.Leaders from 11 veterans groups discussed their position in a meeting Wednesday afternoon with White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel.

Another attendee, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America Executive Director Paul Rieckhoff, said Emanuel was quick to come back after hearing the veterans’ groups stand firm and tell them.The meeting was very short, said King. Despite the difference in opinion, King said the atmosphere was cordial and “everybody seemed comfortable.”

On Monday, the groups met with President Obama, Emanuel, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Steven Kosiak, director in charge of defense spending for the Office of Management and Budget. The administration saw the plan as a way of raising more than $500 million in revenues for the Department of Veterans Affairs. However, veterans groups saw it is a violation of what they said is the government’s moral obligation to treat veterans injured during service to their country.

March 19, 2009 Posted by | Issues, News, Personal | , , , | 1 Comment

Obama Signs Economy Recovery Stimulus Bill into Law

President Obama on Tuesday signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law.Obama said it does mark the beginning of the end – the beginning of what we need to do to create jobs for Americans scrambling in the wake of layoffs and to provide relief for families worried they won’t be able to pay next month’s bills and to set our economy on a firmer foundation.

Indeed, even though debate over the legislation was fraught with partisan fighting and what some characterize as strategic missteps by the nascent administration, getting the law passed was the easy part.

The first step is to stem the recession in the near term. In the longer term it will be to put the economy on a path to sustained growth and greater efficiencies in energy production, health care and other areas.

Obama told that Businesses start seeing that consumers are out there with a little more confidence, and they start making investments, which means they start hiring workers. So step number one, job creation.The official benchmark estimates from the White House is that 3.5 million jobs will be created or saved over the next two years, and over 90% of them will be in the private sector. But measuring the numbers of jobs saved as a result of the economic recovery package promises to be an elusive task.

Lakshman Achuthan, managing director the Economic Cycle Research Institute, said starting later this year he will look to what his group calls its Leading Employment Index as one gauge of stimulus effectiveness. The index is a composite of factors, including the number of initial jobless claims and hours in the average work week, as well as how many industries are adding jobs.

When consumers start to feel better about their personal situation and employment prospects, they pick up the pace of spending – that usually extends to the discretionary items as well.Ultimately it will still be hard to issue a final verdict on whether the package has worked because its success is dependent on the success of other recovery efforts, such as the program for stemming foreclosures that Obama is expected to lay out soon. A financial stability plan and a foreclosure mitigation plan must also be implemented.”

February 18, 2009 Posted by | Business sector, News, Personal | , , | 7 Comments