When Hostess Brands Inc. went bankrupt in 2012, it triggered anxiety among employees at Ottenberg’s Bakery, a family-owned enterprise in Maryland. The companies shared a pension plan, and if Hostess couldn’t pay its retirees, Ottenberg’s would have to pick up the tab.
A congressional ethics office is investigating campaign donations made by the financial industry to some U.S. House members as they were preparing to vote on the Wall Street regulation overhaul in December.
Blanche Christerson, an executive in Deutsche Bank AG’s private wealth management division, loves her 85-year-old ailing mother, Hedda Lark, of Manhattan Beach, California, and isn’t ready for her to die. Still, Christerson says, she and her mother are bothered that in discussing Lark’s estate, they wrestle with tax complications that didn’t exist just a year ago.
House Democrats are pressing ahead with a vote on extending 2001 and 2003 tax cuts for middle- income taxpayers over the objections of Republicans who say passage would harm the economy by increasing taxes for those with higher incomes.
House Minority Leader John Boehner rails against government spending yet votes for a $485 million appropriation for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter’s alternative engine, which the Pentagon wants to kill. Boehner’s district is near the General Electric plant that’s building the engine.
U.S. farm subsidies topped $ 15.4 billion last year, according to the Environmental Working Group, which says the payments are too costly and more of the funds should be used to promote green agricultural practices.
The brinksmanship in Congress over a payroll tax-cut extension may end up looking like a quaint disagreement by next December, when lawmakers must grapple with a fiscal policy debate at least 25 times more costly.