President Obama is darn sure that a deal will get made on the expiring tax cuts before the end of the year despite the ‘logjam’ between the two political parties.
He’s confident because hard-working families need it, the economy is fragile yada yada yada and now that Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew are on the case, this thing is a shoe-in.
While the next Speaker of the House, John Boehner, is not quite on the same page as the President, he’s pretty much in the same chapter:
“Republicans made the point that stopping all the looming tax hikes and cutting spending would, in fact, create jobs and get the economy moving again,” said Representative John Boehner, who will become Speaker of the House next year.
“We’re looking forward to the conversation with the White House over extending all of the current rates, and I remain optimistic,” he said.
Well, as close as to the two will likely get in public anyway. However, this a slightly more optimistic stance than what some people have for Nancy Pelosi, who would, presumably, rather give up her Armani suits than hand the wealthy a tax cut:
“There is some thought that the last thing that Nancy Pelosi wants to do on her way out of the Speaker’s office is to have Congress approve an extension for tax cuts for the wealthy,” said Brian Gardner, an analyst for investors at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods.
“She could muck things up a little bit.”
Well! This should be fun! Stay tuned.
“One item that I think we all agree on that was in the Senate bill, not in the House bill, but became part of the law was 1099, which affects small businesses and small contractors and how they report their transactions. They know what it means, and they know they’d like to see it go. I think that’s probably the first place we could go together.”
~ The soon-to-be former Speaker of the House is willing to talk about this one.
• First things first: Don’t forget that it’s National Employee Appreciation Day 2010. [GC]
• Public employees union criticizes data loss deal [AP via CNBC]
Remember how PricewaterhouseCoopers lost the records of 77,000 Alaska public employees and retirees? PwC, trying to be a standup corporate citizen, took responsibility for the slip-up and promised those affected all kinds of stuff including identity theft protection, credit moty freezes. Hell, they said they would even reimburse any losses that occurred due to identity theft.
Shockingly, that wasn’t good enough for some people. The Alaska State Employees Association is pretty bent out of shape about the deal the state took and wants them to go back and get more. MORE. MORE!
Specifically, it wants the affected people to be automatically enrolled into the firm’s credit protection services, instead of being required to opt-in. The union also questioned why those services will only be available for a minimum of two years, though consequences of the data loss may pop up long after the services expire.
“We think that’s shortsighted to put a two-year period on it,” said union business manager Jim Duncan. “It doesn’t adequately protect our members or retirees.”
Alaska’s Department of Law is perfectly okay with the deal and if they could have gotten P. Dubs to give everyone lifetime guarantees, by God, they would have. But it wasn’t in the cards, “[Assistant attorney general Ed Sniffen] characterized it as a generous settlement that the Department of Law is pleased with. And unless new information indicates the parties weren’t negotiating in good faith, renegotiation is unlikely.”
Besides, if an employee becomes an identity theft victim, they can still sue PwC for damages. And that’s really what this country is all about; the ability to blame someone else and sue their ass.
• Levin To Chair Tax-Writing Ways And Means Panel [AP via NPR]
Representative Sander M. Levin (D-MI) will serve as the new Chair of the House Ways & Means Committee after Charlie Rangel gave up the Chairmanship under pressure for ethics violations.
Mr Levin represents the 12th district in Michigan and has served in Congress since 1982 and is the older brother of Senator Carl Levin (D-MI).
Levin takes the gavel after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi initially appointed Pete Stark of California. It’s entirely possible that Speaker Pelosi realized that Mr Stark might not be the most diplomatic member of the House; he has a history of just saying whatever comes to mind like:
• Calling Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT) a “whore for the insurance industry.”
• Arguing with Rep. Scott McInnis (R-CO): “You think you are big enough to make me, you little wimp. Come over here and make me, I dare you. You little fruitcake.”
• That former President George W. Bush was amused by soldiers getting their heads blown off in Iraq.
Among other things.
• BP pays E&Y £54m in fees [Accountancy Age]
Now before you start screaming about the money, you should know that the fees are actually down significantly from the last two years. In ’08 E&Y got £67m and £75m in ’07. Beyond Petroleum says they’re doing things more efficiently in the ‘audit process’ and reducing tax and other services. See? Tough times all around.