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Tags: Top-Earning-20% | Fund | All | Govt | FDAs Overreach on Menu Labeling | Egypt Judge Accuses US | Remarriage on the Rise in US

Top-Earning 20 Fund All Govt; FDA's Overreach on Menu Labeling; Egypt Judge Accuses US

By    |   Sunday, 07 December 2014 04:10 PM EST

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Top 20% of Earners Funding All of Federal Government
2. Remarriage on the Rise in US
3. FDA 'Overreaching' With Menu Labeling Rules
4. Egyptian Judge: US Helped Foment Revolution
5. Law Schools — and Lawyers — Falling on Hard Times
6. Urban Population Skyrocketing Worldwide

1. Top 20% of Earners Funding All of Federal Government

Most American households receive more in government benefits than they pay in taxes — while only the top earners pay a significant amount to fund federal spending.

That's the finding of the Congressional Budget Office's newly released annual report on "The Distribution of Household Income and Federal Taxes," which compiles data through 2011.

The CBO divides U.S. households into five quintiles according to their income, and discloses how much they receive from the government and what they pay in taxes.

The first quintile — the lowest 20 percent of households according to income — has an average "market income" of $15,500 a year. That includes income from labor, business, capital gains, and retirement income.

This quintile receives average government transfers — payments and benefits from federal, state, and local governments including Social Security, Medicare, and unemployment insurance — of $9,100.

The average amount of federal taxes they pay, including payroll taxes and excise taxes, is $500, so they receive $8,600 more than they pay.

The second quintile has an average market income of $29,600, receives $15,700 in transfer payments, and pays $3,200 in taxes, meaning they receive $12,500 more than they pay.

Those in the middle quintile receive $9,100 more than they pay.

Households in the fourth quintile essentially break even, receiving $14,100 in transfers and paying $14,800 in taxes.

Households in the highest quintile have an average market income of $234,700, receive $11,000 in government transfers, and pay $57,500 in taxes, so they pay $46,500 more than they receive.

"The top 20 percent of American households finance 100 percent of the transfer payments to the bottom 60 percent, as well as almost 100 percent of the tax revenue collected to run the federal government," the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) states in an analysis of the CBO report.

The average federal tax rate for households in the top quintile is 23.4 percent, while the top 1 percent of earners pay 29 percent.

Looked at from another point of view, households in the lowest quintile receive $18.20 in transfers per dollar paid in taxes. The second quintile receives $4.91, the middle quintile gets $2.23, the fourth quintile receives 95 cents, and the top quintile gets just 19 cents.

"We hear all the time from President Obama, Warren Buffett, Robert Reich, and various other Democrats and liberal pundits that 'the rich' aren't paying their fair share and need to be taxed more," the AEI observes.

"The CBO study provides ample evidence that the richest Americans are paying their 'fair share' in federal taxes."

Editor's Note:


2. Remarriage on the Rise in US

Last year 40 percent of new marriages in the United States involved at least one partner who had already been married, including 20 percent that involved two previously wed partners.

Nearly 42 million American adults have been married more than once, up from 22 million in 1980 and 14 million in 1960, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. The report is based on newly released data from the 2013 American Community Survey and U.S. censuses.

The sharp rise in the number of remarried Americans has been fueled by several factors, Pew notes. For one, the rise in the divorce rate in recent decades has made more people available for remarriage. Also, the overall aging of the population has increased the number of widows and widowers available to remarry and given people more years in which to wed, dissolve the marriage, and remarry.

As a result, 23 percent of Americans who are presently married have been married before, with an earlier marriage dissolved by divorce or death, compared to 13 percent in 1960.

As the Insider Report disclosed last week, the marriage rate in America has fallen from around 72 percent in 1960 to roughly 50 percent today. Similarly, the share of adults who have been married even once, including those no longer married, has fallen from 85 percent in 1960 to 70 percent last year.

Even so, the remarriage rate has risen over those years primarily for the reasons cited.

Pew also reported that among previously married adults, about half say they would like to marry again or are not prepared to rule out the option, while about 45 percent say they do not want to marry again.

Three in 10 previously married men say they don't want to remarry, compared to 54 percent of women who are currently divorced or widowed.

Other findings in the Pew report include:

  • Just 7 percent of remarried adults are living in poverty, compared to 19 percent of divorced adults.
  • 8 percent of newly married adults — those who married within 12 months of being surveyed — have been married three times or more.
  • About 16 percent of newly remarried couples include a husband who is at least 10 years older than his wife.
  • 60 percent of previously married whites have remarried, as have 50 percent of Hispanics, 48 percent of blacks, and 46 percent of Asian-Americans.

Editor's Note:


3. FDA 'Overreaching' With Menu Labeling Rules

Americans generally don't consider a movie theater to be a "retail food establishment." The Food and Drug Administration evidently thinks otherwise.

Under the Affordable Care Act, a mandatory menu labeling requirement states that "a restaurant or similar retail food establishment that is part of a chain with 20 or more locations" must provide nutritional information including the calorie content of standard menu items, as must operators with 20 or more vending machines.

But in April 2011, the FDA decided that grocery stores and convenience stores were "similar retail food establishments" and were also covered under the rule if they offer prepared foods. That means a convenience store would be covered if it sells ready-to-eat hot dogs.

"No reasonable person would confuse such a business with a restaurant or similar retail food establishment," stated The Daily Signal, a news outlet of the Heritage Foundation.

Then on Nov. 25 of this year, the FDA made its final menu labeling rule available, and the agency is now requiring more businesses to comply with the law, including movie theaters and bowling alleys.

Also, menus and menu boards must state that additional nutritional information is available upon request, including total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, and more.

"Mandatory menu labeling presumes that Americans are too ignorant to make informed dietary decisions," The Daily Signal states.

But research so far finds that there is no clear evidence that labeling regulations influence nutrition.

The Obamacare menu labeling regulation is modeled after a provision in place in New York City since 2008. Researchers at New York University and Yale University found that people ordered more calories, not less, after the labeling law was implemented. They also ordered more calories than people in Newark, N.J., where there was no such labeling law.

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg told reporters that the labeling requirement "is an important step for public health that will help consumers make informed choices for themselves and their families."

But the Food Marketing Institute estimates that the regulation could cost the grocery industry $1 billion to comply in the first year, and this will lead many stores to stop selling fresh-cut fruits and vegetables.

"The FDA is supposed to be concerned about food and drug safety," The Daily Signal concludes, "but they are overreaching into areas that the agency has no business in, confusing health with safety."

Editor's Note:


4. Egyptian Judge: US Helped Foment Revolution

The Egyptian judge who acquitted former President Hosni Mubarak wrote that the United States and Zionists conspired to launch the January 2011 revolution that toppled Mubarak's government.

In his 280-page decision, Judge Mahmoud Kamel al-Rashidi said America and Zionists hatched the conspiracy in a plan to divide Egypt.

He backed up his claim by citing testimonies of "the nation's wise men," including former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman and former defense head Hussein Tantawi, the Jerusalem Post reported.

The judge also said the Muslim Brotherhood was a key conspirator and aided efforts by Hamas and Hezbollah to infiltrate the country to bring down the Mubarak regime.

According to The Economist, the judge referred to an "international, American, Hebrew conspiracy" designed to split Arab nations into smaller entities in a "Greater Middle East Project" to assure Zionists' dominance.

Mubarak, now 86, was sentenced to life in prison in 2012 for conspiring to murder 239 demonstrators during the revolution that ended his 30-year rule.

An appeals court overturned the decision, and on Nov. 29 the judge dropped all murder charges against Mubarak, igniting demonstrations in Cairo that claimed two lives.

The judge also ruled that the use of live ammunition against the protesters in 2011 targeting government institutions was justified.

Editor's Note:


5. Law Schools — and Lawyers — Falling on Hard Times

Time was when American law schools had a glut of applicants for admission, and a degree from a top school virtually guaranteed a well-paying job. Times have changed.

Jobs in the legal field have been dwindling for several reasons, and that has largely been responsible for a significant drop in applications for law school.

By 2011, law degrees were being bestowed on an average of 44,000 new lawyers a year, and the number of attorneys in the United States reached 1.22 million that year — triple the number in 1980, according to the Boston Globe.

But in 2011, enrollment of first-year law students dipped by 7 percent. In 2012, it fell another 8.6 percent, and it plunged 11 percent in 2013.

The American Bar Association (ABA) reported that 39,675 new law students matriculated last year, the smallest first-year class since the 1970s.

"Gone are the days when legal educators bestowed admittance and college graduates gratefully accepted, certain that they were on the path to a highly paid, respectable career," The New York Times reported.

"Now, financially wobbly law schools face plunging enrollment, strenuous resistance to five-figure student debt and the lack of job guarantees — in addition to the need to balance their battered budgets."

Enrollment at America's 204 accredited law schools has been falling because the recession has reduced the number of jobs in the legal field, and law firms have been cutting positions and not restoring them, the Times reported.

Also, online legal guidance is widely available, and commercial services like LegalZoom enable people to create documents without paying attorneys' fees, the Globe pointed out.

Fewer than half of the lawyers graduating in 2011 eventually landed jobs at a law firm, according to the National Association for Law Placement. Only 65 percent landed jobs that require passing the bar exam.

Nine months after graduating, just 57 percent of the 2013 class had full-time jobs that required passing the bar, according to the ABA, and 11.2 percent were unemployed — many of them with $125,000 or more in student loan debt.

To attract new students, some middle-tier law schools have reduced tuition. The Roger Williams University School of Law in Rhode Island, for one, cut tuition by 18 percent, from $41,400 to $33,793, and locked in the rate for three years, the Times reported.

Albany Law School in New York has cut faculty members in response to a 34 percent decline in enrollment in its entering class this year, and Western Michigan University's law school laid off staff and announced in October that it would close one of its four campuses because of lower enrollment.

Some critics charge that schools are seeking to boost enrollment with students who have lower Law School Admission Test scores and lower undergraduate scores. The lower scores, the Times notes, "raise concerns about whether the students will be able to pass the state bar exams that are mandatory to practice law."

Editor's Note:


6. Urban Population Skyrocketing Worldwide

As recently as 1970, only three metropolitan areas in the world had a population of 15 million or more. By 2030, 21 metros will surpass that mark — with another 10 megacities home to at least 10 million people.

Only two of those 10 million-plus cities will be in the United States.

In 1970, Tokyo had a population over 20 million, while New York City and Osaka, Japan, had from 15 million to 20 million.

Worldwide urbanization began about two centuries ago. London became the first city with at least 5 million residents in 1825, and New York was the first metro to hit 10 million in 1925. By 2007, for the first time in human history, most of the Earth's population lived in cities.

In 2010, Tokyo was the only metro over 30 million, while two cities, Mexico City and New Delhi, India, had from 20 million to 30 million. Cities with 15 million to 20 million, in addition to New York and Osaka, included Shanghai and Beijing in China, Sao Paulo in Brazil, and Mumbai, India.

Eleven cities had from 10 million to 15 million, including Los Angeles, Paris, and Moscow.

By 2030, New Delhi and Shanghai will join Tokyo as metros with at least 30 million people. Ten cities will have from 20 million to 30 million, seven will have populations of 15 million to 20 million, and 21 cities will have from 10 million to 15 million, according to a United Nations report cited in an insert produced by The New York Times' advertising department.

At that time, North America will have only three metros with at least 10 million people — New York, Los Angeles, and Mexico City. Europe will have three, five will be in South America, six in Africa, and all the rest will be in Asia. In fact, outside Asia only two cities worldwide will have a population of from 15 million to 20 million — New York and Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

By 2050, 70 percent of the world's population is expected to live in cities, an increase of 2.7 billion from 2010.

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Editor's Note:


Editor's Notes:

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Insider Report Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories): 1. Top 20% of Earners Funding All of Federal Government 2. Remarriage on the Rise in US 3. FDA 'Overreaching' With Menu Labeling Rules 4. Egyptian Judge: US Helped Foment Revolution 5. Law Schools - and Lawyers -...
Top-Earning-20%, Fund, All, Govt, FDAs Overreach on Menu Labeling, Egypt Judge Accuses US, Remarriage on the Rise in US, Law Schools and Lawyers Falling on Hard Times, Urban Population Skyrocketing Worldwide
Sunday, 07 December 2014 04:10 PM
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