Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

A Buffet opinion.
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich -- These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It's nice to have friends in high places. Last year my federal tax bill -- the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf -- was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income -- and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

Where the $$ is?
The College Degrees With The Biggest Salaries -- The college class of 2011 emerges into a world of alarmingly few very attractive entry-level jobs. But not all majors are created equal, and new alumni will find that certain degrees command much higher paychecks than others, even now. Pick your college major right, and you're off to a head start. The National Association of College and Employers puts out a quarterly report of starting salary offers to new college graduates in 70 disciplines at the bachelor's degree level. The survey gathers data from college and university career centers nationwide.

Infographic of the day!
INFOGRAPHIC: Mapping Global Food Spending -- A one dollar bag of rice in the U.S. is not the same as a one dollar bag of rice in Indonesia. For an American, who, on average, devotes about seven percent of his or her spending to food, it won't matter that much if the price of rice doubles to two dollars. An American can likely take the money that would have gone to a "non-essential" item and put it towards food instead. But for an Indonesian, who devotes 43 percent of his/her spending to food, it could mean less to eat.

Audits.
Immigration Audits Drive Illegal Workers Underground -- In 2009, Alba and Eugenio were making almost twice the federal minimum wage, plus benefits, cleaning a skyscraper for a national janitorial company. With two toddlers, the Mexican couple enjoyed relative prosperity in a tidy one-bedroom duplex in a working-class neighborhood here. Late that year, federal agents audited employee records of ABM Industries Inc., forcing it to shed all the illegal workers on its payrolls in the Twin Cities. Among them was the couple, undocumented immigrants who had worked at ABM for more than a decade.

- Sheena Moore

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