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Tags: Israelis | Warned | Avoid-39 | Countries | Condo Demands Dogs DNA | Forbes Key Jobs Underpaid | Most Say Congress Should Completely Change Tax System

Israelis Warned to Avoid 39 Countries; Condo Demands Dogs' DNA; Forbes: Key Jobs Underpaid

Sunday, 29 March 2015 01:59 PM EDT

Insider Report from Newsmax.com

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Most Say Congress Should 'Completely Change' Tax System
2. New Jersey Is 'Least Dependent' on Federal Dollars
3. Almost Half of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck
4. Israelis Warned to Avoid Nearly 40 Countries
5. Condo Demands DNA Samples From Occupants' Dogs
6. Forbes Cites 'Important Jobs' With Low Pay

1. Most Say Congress Should 'Completely Change' Tax System

As the April 15 income tax deadline approaches, a new poll reveals that 59 percent of Americans believe "there is so much wrong with the federal tax system that Congress should completely change it."

Just 38 percent of those surveyed in the Pew Research Center poll think the system "works pretty well" and requires "only minor changes."

Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say the federal tax system should be completely changed — 66 percent feel that way, including 72 percent of conservative Republicans, compared to 48 percent of Democrats. Among Independents, 63 percent would like to see the system completely changed.

Overall, 64 percent of respondents feel that some corporations don't pay their fair share of taxes, and 61 percent say some wealthy people won't pay their fair share.

When it comes to the taxes they themselves pay, 40 percent feel they pay more than their fair share, while 53 percent say they pay about the right amount. Less than 4 percent think they pay less than their fair share.

Other findings of the Pew poll include:

  • 44 percent say they are bothered "a lot" by the complexity of the tax system, and another 28 percent are bothered "some." Only 25 percent are bothered "not too much/not at all."
  • Nearly half, 46 percent, are not too much or not at all bothered by the amount they pay in taxes, while 27 percent are bothered a lot and 26 are bothered some.
  • Republicans are 20 percentage points more likely to say they are paying more than their fair share in taxes — 50 percent, compared to 30 percent of Democrats.
  • A majority of Americans, 56 percent, are not too much or not at all bothered that some poor people don't pay their fair share in taxes. Twenty percent are bothered a lot.
  • Asked what bothers them the most about the tax system, 28 percent say the feeling that corporations don't pay their fair share and 25 percent say the same about wealthy people. Just 7 percent cite the amount they pay in taxes.
  • Only 4 percent say the federal tax system is "very fair," 46 percent believe it is "moderately fair," 24 percent say it is "not too fair," and the same percentage believe it is "not fair at all."
  • Americans earning $100,000 a year or more are most likely to say the system is not fair at all — 30 percent feel that way, while just 19 percent of those earning less than $30,000 agree.


Editor's Note:


2. New Jersey Is 'Least Dependent' on Federal Dollars

Some U.S. states receive a far higher return on their federal income tax contributions than others and are thus more dependent on the federal government to make ends meet, with New Mexico the most dependent — and New Jersey the least.

WalletHub, a personal finance social network, analyzed the states according to four key metrics: the return on taxes paid to the federal government, federal funding as a percentage of state revenue, the number of federal employees per capita, and the number of civilian non-defense federal employees per capita.

New Jersey, the least dependent overall, receives $0.48 for each dollar it pays to the federal government. It ranks fourth in the nation in that metric, with Delaware at the top at $0.31 per dollar paid.

South Carolina gets the largest return, $5.38 for each dollar paid.

New Jersey ranks No. 10 in federal funding as a percentage of state revenue, 26.8 percent, with the higher rankings indicating less dependence. North Dakota is least dependent, with 19.5 percent of its state revenue coming from the federal government, while Mississippi is most dependent at 43.6 percent.

New Jersey ranks No. 5 in the number of federal employees per capita, 0.0038, with Wisconsin at the top in that category at 0.0029. Hawaii, with its large military presence, has the most federal employees per capita, 0.054.

New Jersey is No. 2 in the number of civilian non-defense federal employees per capita, at 0.00178, behind only Connecticut at 0.0017. Maryland has the most per capita, 0.015.

The most dependent state, New Mexico, ranks No. 46 in return on taxpayer investment, No. 42 in federal funding as a percentage of state revenue, No. 45 in federal employees per capita, and No. 48 in civilian non-defense federal employees per capita.

The least dependent states overall after New Jersey are Delaware, Illinois, Minnesota, Kansas, California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and Ohio.

The most dependent after New Mexico are Mississippi, Kentucky, Alabama, Montana, West Virginia, Arizona, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Maine.

WalletHub pointed out that red states are more reliant on federal funding, with an average dependency ranking of 33.2, while blue states have an average of 18.3.

"While in an ideal world it would be a good thing if states could be independent of the federal government, there are certainly state needs that the federal government should assume some responsibility for," Thomas B. Cooke, a professor at the Robert E. McDonough School of Business at Georgetown University, told WalletHub.

"Unfortunately, what happens is that some states receive federal funds expecting that the flow of funds will continue indefinitely. They establish or expand programs without reasonable consideration of what can happen if the federal funds decrease or cease. This is a very risky way to conduct business."

Editor's Note:


3. Almost Half of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck

Business Insider declares that it "could be the scariest chart in the world" — a graphic showing that nearly half of American households don't save any of their money and therefore have nothing to fall back on if they miss a paycheck.

The graphic from Deutsche Bank, based partly on data from the Federal Reserve System's Survey of Consumer Finance, shows that 47 percent of U.S. households were living paycheck to paycheck when the data was compiled.

That's down slightly from 2010, but significantly higher than in 2001, when it was below 41 percent.

"People who don't save won't have any buffer should the economy turn and they lose their jobs," Business Insider observed. "Longer term, people who don't save won't have the capacity to retire. It's not good."

A surprising report from the Brookings Institution last year disclosed that two-thirds of households living paycheck to paycheck are actually middle class.

These middle class households have a median income of $41,000 a year, according to a CNN article on the Brookings findings. They don't have liquid assets, such a savings accounts or mutual fund holdings, but they do have homes and retirement accounts, with a median net worth of $41,000, CNN reported.

Poor hand-to-mouth households typically have yearly incomes of $21,000 and no assets.

Families that do not live paycheck to paycheck have median incomes of $51,000 and assets of $116,000.

Most financial planners suggest that people should put aside three to six months of expenses in case of an emergency, CNN reported, but "few actually do."

Editor's Note:


4. Israelis Warned to Avoid Nearly 40 Countries

Israel's Counter Terrorism Bureau is warning to Israelis to stay away from 39 countries, which shows the extent of the potential terrorist threat against Westerners around the world.

In its spring travel warnings, the bureau said recent terrorist attacks by Islamic militants in Belgium, Canada, Australia, France, and Denmark raise concerns about further attacks against Western targets, including Israeli and Jewish targets.

The attacks could come from veterans of the fighting in Syria and Iraq who are affiliated with global jihad, including Islamic State, and from local elements inspired by the terrorist organizations, the bureau stated.

It is illegal for Israelis to travel to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Yemen, and Saudi Arabia. The bureau warned Israelis to also avoid visits to Afghanistan, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, Burkina-Faso, Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritania, Pakistan, and Togo, due to concrete threats. Any Israelis in those countries were advised to leave immediately, the Jewish Daily Forward reported.

"The global terrorist campaign by Iran and Hezbollah continues to threaten Israeli and Jewish targets around the world, especially tourists and Jewish symbols (rabbis, community leaders, Chabad houses)," the bureau stated.

The bureau also said there are high concrete threats regarding travel to Algeria, Djibouti, and Tunisia, and basic concrete threats regarding travel to Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates.

The warnings were issued ahead of the spring holidays in Israel, including Passover and Independence Day, when many Israelis travel abroad. The warnings are based on "solid and reliable information, which reflect tangible threats, and which are based on the intelligence picture for the given period," the bureau said.

There are continuing potential threats regarding travel to Azerbaijan, Turkey, Morocco, Oman, Kenya, and Nigeria, according to the bureau, which recommends that Israelis avoid non-essential visits to these countries.

Israel's bureau also pointed to threats in southern Thailand, the southern Philippines island of Mindanao, Chechnya, the northern India state of Jammu and Kashmir, eastern Senegal, and northern Nigeria.

Editor's Note:


5. Condo Demands DNA Samples From Occupants' Dogs

In what could be the beginning of a trend, a Virginia condominium is requiring all dog owners moving into the building to provide a DNA sample from their pet.

The intent is to crack down on dog owners who allow their pets to do their business on the property and fail to clean up the waste.

Occupants of the Rotonda in Tysons Corner, Va., must have their dog's mouth swabbed in the presence of a building authority. If pet waste is found outside the building, the waste will be tested and matched to the guilty dog's DNA, reported MRCTV, a site operated by the Media Research Center.

The condo issued this statement: "Beginning May 1, when Rotonda staff finds excreta, inside or outside, a sample will be removed and sent to the DNA contractor for identification. Once positive identification of the responsible dog is made, the owner of that dog will be charged the then current DNA Identification Fee (currently $90), plus a $10 mark-up for processing, as well as the costs of cleaning up the excreta (typically $50-$500 depending on where the waste is left)."

According to the homeowners' newsletter, the waste is not only unsightly but "can be unsafe to other pets, children and the environment."

Unscooped dog waste is high on Consumer Reports' list of America's "Top Gripes."

MRCTV cited estimates from a waste management company that on an average day, the 84 million dogs now living in the United States produce about 62.7 million pounds of waste.

Pet waste is not a matter to be taken lightly. A report from the Environmental Protection Agency stated: "When pet waste is improperly disposed of, it can be picked up by storm water runoff and washed into storm drains or nearby waterbodies.

"Pet waste carries bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can threaten the health of humans and wildlife."

Editor's Note:


6. Forbes Cites 'Important Jobs' With Low Pay

While it is hardly surprising that the median annual salaries of fast food workers ($18,330) and maids ($19,780) are low, Forbes' Susan Adams was "struck" by the meager pay for workers in some other more challenging, even dangerous professions.

President Barack Obama and other politicians vowed to improve care for the mentally ill after a disturbed 20-year-old killed 20 children and six adults at Connecticut's Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012, Adams notes.

Yet professionals who help people struggling with mental illness earn less than administrative assistants and insurance agents — $43,700 a year.

"To put together our list of surprisingly low-paying jobs, we combed through the [Bureau of Labor Statistics] list looking for professions we think deserve higher compensation," Adams disclosed.

One surprise on the list: Legislators earn a median salary of $20,620 annually.

Radio and TV announcers, who earn $29,020, "should be paid more, given their high visibility and the pressure on them to perform consistently, even when there is disastrous news breaking," Adams observes.

"Reporters and correspondents, many of whom risk their lives in war zones to report vital stories, earn a mean income of just $35,600."

Other surprisingly low-paying jobs on Adams' list include:

  • Firefighters, who risk their lives on the job, earn $45,600.
  • Marriage and family therapists who try to keep families together make $48,160.
  • Professions the BLS categorizes as "Lifeguards, Ski Patrol, and Other Recreational Protective Service Workers" earn just $19,040, below the 2014 poverty line for a family of four — $23,850.
  • Emergency medical technicians and paramedics save lives, but they earn just $31,270 a year.
  • Pre-K teachers have a median salary of $27,570.

Adams might have added that workers in "Home Healthcare Services" earn just $21,830, and skilled nurses at "Nursing Care Facilities" make $22,770.

She concludes: "As the national debate continues about raising the federal minimum wage, perhaps we should also be discussing how to lift compensation for important jobs like mental health counselors, firefighters, EMTs, and pre-K teachers, whose jobs save and transform lives."

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider Report from Newsmax.comHeadlines (Scroll down for complete stories):1. Most Say Congress Should 'Completely Change' Tax System 2. New Jersey Is 'Least Dependent' on Federal Dollars 3. Almost Half of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck 4. Israelis Warned to Avoid...
Israelis, Warned, Avoid-39, Countries, Condo Demands Dogs DNA, Forbes Key Jobs Underpaid, Most Say Congress Should Completely Change Tax System, New Jersey Is Least Dependent on Federal Dollars, Almost Half of Americans Live Paycheck to Paycheck
Sunday, 29 March 2015 01:59 PM
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