No 'fiscal cliff' deal without higher rates, Geithner says [CNN]
The Obama administration will entertain any Republican plans to avoid a so-called "fiscal cliff" at year's end, but Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner says the Bush-era tax cuts for top incomes must go. Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union" and other Sunday talk shows, Geithner said he's optimistic that the administration can reach a deal with Congress to avert a one-two punch budget analysts say could throw the U.S. economy back into a recession. But he added, "What we're not going to do is extend those tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans." "Those cost $1 trillion over 10 years," Geithner told CNN. "And there's no possibility that we're going to find a way to get our fiscal house in order without those tax rates going back up."
Sen. Graham: ‘We’re going over the cliff’ [The Hill]
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday expressed pessimism over talks to reach a deficit-reduction deal, saying the he believes the nation is “going over the cliff.” “I think we’re going over the cliff. It’s pretty clear to me they made a political calculation,” said Graham on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” dismissing the initial White House proposal to help the nation avoid the looming “fiscal cliff” of automatic spending cuts and tax rate rises. “This offer doesn’t remotely deal with entitlement reform in a way to save Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from imminent bankruptcy. It raises $1.6 trillion on job creators that will destroy the economy and there are no spending controls,” he added.
SEC Chief Delayed Rule Over Legacy Concerns [WSJ]
In one of her last acts as chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Mary Schapiro delayed a rule potentially affecting hundreds of billions of dollars of private offerings by companies, in part because of concerns about her personal legacy, according to previously unpublished documents. Internal SEC emails, released to a congressional panel and reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, appear to show how a last-minute intervention by a consumer lobbyist might have helped persuade Ms. Schapiro to change her mind and delay one of the centerpiece measures of the Jumpstart Our Business Startups, or JOBS, Act.
Tom Selling also wonders: "As an aside, it's also very curious that none of the information HP has put out squares with the views of Autonomy's auditor before the acquisition, Deloitte. They firmly stand by their audit – if you want to call it that, for if judged by U.S. rules (SEC, S-OX, PCAOB) Deloitte was not in a position to be considered independent. The very nature of the non-audit services provided – for example, providing advice on executive compensation schemes – makes it so. Moreover, Deloitte's revenues from those non-audit services were pretty lucrative: it has been reported that for every dollar collected from audit services, Deloitte collected approximately $1.10 from providing non-audit services. If Autonomy's accounting practices were too aggressive, would Deloitte's staff have had the gumption to push back given the stakes? I'm just asking."
A Times investigation has examined and tallied thousands of local incentives granted nationwide and has found that states, counties and cities are giving up more than $80 billion each year to companies. The beneficiaries come from virtually every corner of the corporate world, encompassing oil and coal conglomerates, technology and entertainment companies, banks and big-box retail chains. The cost of the awards is certainly far higher. A full accounting, The Times discovered, is not possible because the incentives are granted by thousands of government agencies and officials, and many do not know the value of all their awards. Nor do they know if the money was worth it because they rarely track how many jobs are created. Even where officials do track incentives, they acknowledge that it is impossible to know whether the jobs would have been created without the aid. “How can you even talk about rationalizing what you’re doing when you don’t even know what you’re doing?” said Timothy J. Bartik, a senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Lindsay Lohan IRS Seizes Bank Accounts [TMZ]
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