Money – Who has it, what are they doing with it, and how can we put it to work?
Those questions seem to be on many people’s minds lately.
Warren Buffett is one of those who has it. And he’s willing to publicly state his annual income (USD 62,855,038) and how much he paid in taxes (USD 6.9 million) last year. He has stated that he and other millionaires should be taxed more.
President Obama agrees, but has yet to convince many Republicans in Congress, and even fewer of those with Tea Party connections.
Even so, some of the Republican candidates have ventured into proposing revenue generating schemes and tax system modifications.
Michele Bachmann reportedly would like to implement a Ronald Reagan-style tax plan that might actually increase taxes for most Americans, including the rich.
And Herman Cain has been promoting his 9-9-9 plan: a 9% business flat tax, a 9% individual flat tax, and a 9% national sales tax.
Banks apparently have money, but they seem to be reluctant now to lend it out. Some of that caution was certainly needed a few years back, though the economy could benefit from an influx of capital for growth and jobs creation.
Anger and frustration with perceived corporate greed, corruption, and continuing high unemployment rates spawned the Occupy Wall Street movement last month. Although leaderless and lacking clear objectives, the protest movement has spread to other U.S. cities and internationally.
And in Europe, Slovakia finally relented and okayed a European Union bailout for Greece, whose debt is somewhere around EUR 350 billion. The chances for a Greek recovery continue to be uncertain, as are the potential effects on the euro and the European Union.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s all about the money these days.