Daily Archives: December 5, 2016

Will Trump ax mortgage interest tax deduction?

Business Insider:

The deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving are “apple pie and baseball for the tax code,” Richard Auxier, a research associate at the Tax Policy Center, told Business Insider.

That’s why neither plan eliminates these deductions; that would be a political disaster.

However, “Trump’s tax plan does effectively limit two itemized deductions without explicitly doing so,” Kyle Pomerleau, director of federal projects at the Tax Foundation, told Business Insider. “By increasing the standard deduction, it reduces the number of itemizers.”

Here’s what Pomerleau means:

Let’s say a single filer pays about $10,000 in mortgage interest in the first year she owns a home. That far exceeds the current $6,300 standard deduction, so she itemizes her deduction to claim a greater tax break. It’s one reason she decided to buy rather than rent.

But under Trump’s plan she’s better off taking the standard deduction. Her taxes are simpler, but they’re no longer significantly different than if she had rented. That’s why industry groups are watching closely.

Trump’s many, many conflicts

Keep your eye on any news of Trump as either President-elect or sworned in as President making any calls to leaders or inviting leaders to the White House in the countries such Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Egypt, the countries in which he has business ties. Also, Trump has business ties with the Philippines. Recently, Donald Trump invited Philippines leader Rodrigo Duterte to the White House next year.

Vice News:

In his personal finance disclosure, Donald Trump has noted his ownership of — or involvement in — more than 500 businesses, including hotels and golf courses, as well as licensing deals for the Trump brand in several countries, including Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Philippines, and Egypt. And more may be hiding in his tax returns, not yet released despite widespread calls for them.

So will President Trump have to leave business mogul Trump behind once he settles into the White House?


School Time Rock



What is voter fraud?


Far-Right Camp Concedes Defeat In Austrian Presidential Election

VIENNA, Dec 4 (Reuters) – The candidate vying to become Europe’s first freely elected far-right head of state since World War Two conceded defeat in Austria’s presidential election soon after polls closed on Sunday evening.

The result is a blow to populists who had hoped a wave of anti-establishment anger sweeping Western democracies would carry Norbert Hofer to power after Britain’s Brexit referendum and Americans’ election of Donald Trump as president.

Hofer, of the anti-immigration and anti-Islam Freedom Party (FPO), conceded he had been soundly beaten by former Greens leader Alexander Van der Bellen.

“I am infinitely sad that it didn’t work out,” Hofer said in a posting on his Facebook page less than an hour after polls closed and the first projections were broadcast.

Read on.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi Says He Will Resign Following Referendum Defeat

ROME, Dec 5 (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi vowed to resign after suffering a crushing defeat on Sunday in a referendum on constitutional reform, tipping the euzo zone’s third-largest economy into political turmoil.

His decision to quit after just two and a half years in office deals a blow to the European Union, already reeling from multiple crises and struggling to overcome anti-establishment forces that have battered the Western world this year.

The euro fell to 20-month lows against the dollar, with markets worried that instability in the euro zone’s third largest economy could reignite a dormant financial crisis and deal a hammer blow to Italy’s fragile banking sector.

Renzi’s resignation could open the door to early elections next year and to the possibility of an anti-euro party, the opposition 5-Star Movement, gaining power in the heart of the single currency. 5-Star campaigned hard for a ‘No’ vote.

Read on.

Wall Street in, Silicon Valley out: Here are the group meant to guide Trump administration on economic matters

Here is the full list of President’s Strategic and Policy Forum:

  • Stephen A. Schwarzman (forum chairman), chairman, CEO, and co-founder of Blackstone;
  • Paul Atkins, CEO, Patomak Global Partners, LLC, former commissioner of the Securities and Exchange Commission;
  • Mary Barra, chairwoman and CEO, General Motors;
  • Toby Cosgrove, CEO, Cleveland Clinic;
  • Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO, JPMorgan Chase & Co;
  • Larry Fink, chairman and CEO, BlackRock;
  • Bob Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company;
  • Rich Lesser, president and CEO, Boston Consulting Group;
  • Doug McMillon, president and CEO, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.;
  • Jim McNerney, former chairman, president, and CEO, Boeing;
  • Adebayo “Bayo” Ogunlesi, chairman and managing partner, Global Infrastructure Partners;
  • Ginni Rometty, chairwoman, president, and CEO, IBM;
  • Kevin Warsh, Shepard Family distinguished visiting fellow in economics, Hoover Institute, former member of the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System;
  • Mark Weinberger, global chairman and CEO, EY;
  • Jack Welch, former chairman and CEO, General Electric;
  • Daniel Yergin, Pulitzer Prize winner, vice chairman of IHS Markit;


In President-elect Donald Trump’s newly named kitchen Cabinet of business advisers, Wall Street is in. Silicon Valley is out.

Trump has named 16 business leaders to serve on what’s being called the President’s Strategic and Policy Forum, described as a group meant to guide his administration on economic matters.

The list is notable for leaning toward New York executives and industries, finance in particular. The list echoes Trump’s picks for a number of major economic positions, including Treasury secretary (former Goldman Sachs partner and hedge fund manager Steven Mnuchin) and commerce secretary (billionaire investor Wilbur Ross).

Given his long experience as a New York real estate investor, Trump’s selections may not come as a surprise.


Aside from Virginia Rometty of IBM, there is hardly any representation of technology companies, and certainly none from Silicon Valley.

Perhaps that’s unsurprising, given Trump’s slim public support in the Bay Area. Among his biggest champions is Peter Thiel, the PayPal co-founder and Facebook board member, who is a member of the Trump transition team. Not many other technology executives have come out as Trump backers publicly, aside from Thiel associates like Joe Lonsdale, co-founder of the data consulting firm Palantir, and Jack Abraham, executive director of the Thiel Fellowship.

Indeed, many Silicon Valley luminaries have opposed Trump since the presidential campaign. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, Alphabet, was an enthusiastic supporter of both Obama and Clinton.

Read more: http://www.afr.com/news/world/north-america/wall-street-in-silicon-valley-out-in-trump-administration-20161203-gt38ud#ixzz4Rv2zWB3e


The foreclosure nightmare continues in New Jersey


New Jersey has a lot of zombie homes. Perhaps that’s not unusual for a state that seems to observe Halloween as a national holiday, preparing for more than two months, then celebrating in just two hours on Oct. 31.

The state’s number of zombie foreclosures is among the nation’s highest. The reason is simple:

It now takes an average of 1,262 days for a foreclosure to make it through New Jersey’s congested legal system, the longest time in any state, according to Attom Data Solutions (formerly RealtyTrac).

In September, for example, one in every 691 properties in New Jersey was in foreclosure, even as the national number was one in every 1,600 homes and foreclosure activity was the lowest since 2005, nearly two years before the housing bust began.

Wells Fargo offers to meet with tribal elders over protested pipeline in North Dakota

Wells Fargo has told tribal elders from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe that it’s willing to meet with them before year-end to talk about the bank’s role in the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been the target of an ongoing protest by the tribe and others.

The San Francisco-based bank is one of more than a dozen major financial institutions with investments in the pipeline, including Citigroup and Charlotte-based Bank of America. Bank of America’s involvement drew protesters in Charlotte in September.

In a letter that some recipients posted on Twitter, Wells Fargo, which has its biggest employee hub in Charlotte, offered to hold a meeting with a “select group of tribal elders” before Jan. 1 and said it respects “all the differing opinions being expressed in this dispute.”

In a statement provided to the Observer, Wells said the company is “committed to environmental sustainability and human rights” and that it hopes “all parties involved will work together to reach a peaceful resolution.” Reuters reported on the Wells Fargo letter on Friday.

Wells Fargo scandal encompassed up to 24 Nebraska, Iowa branches

On a side note: Iowa and Nebraska rank 22nd and 23rd in terms of states with the most suspect accounts. California, with nearly 900,000, ranked first, followed by Arizona with about 179,000 and Texas with about 150,000. 

The Wells Fargo scandal resulted in the firing of employees working in at least 24 bank branches in Nebraska and Iowa, at least seven of which were in Omaha, according to a World-Herald analysis of federal bank records and material the bank submitted to a U.S. Senate panel in September.

The total number of branches affected could be as high as 31.

In Nebraska, where the bank fired 47 people as a result of “sales-integrity violations,” employees were spread among up to eight Omaha branches, up to six Lincoln branches and as many as five branches in Grand Island, Kearney and Hastings.

In Iowa, the bank fired an unspecified number of employees at four branches in Des Moines, up to three branches in Davenport, up to two branches in Sioux City and one branch each in Grinnell, Indianola and Ottumwa.

Read on.