Personal Finance

Flat-Lining The Flat Tax: Mitchell Orenstein

The US does not need an experiment with a flat tax. A careful study of countries that have embraced a flat tax system demonstrated three main pre-conditions that required a flat tax; none of which the US has. Adopting a flat tax would only confirm what many suspect but hope is not true: that America is broke, desperate for inward investment, incompetently governed, and increasingly ruled by a self-regarding oligarchic elite.

Featured Articles

EconomyWatch Exclusive: FOX Business Expert on the US Debt Crisis

What does everyone need to know about the debt crisis and how can you beat the bad economy? FOX Business Network stocks editor and reporter Elizabeth MacDonald has been closely monitoring the debt crisis currently enveloping the United States. It’s an issue that extends beyond the US and one with many complexities, MacDonald takes time to weigh in and break it down in this exclusive interview.

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Elitist Nonsense - Shattered by Paul Krugman

29 July 2011. Who really got us into this mess? In Wall Street, in the City, in the corridors of Whitehall and Washington DC, and in the Berlaymont Building, it's quite common for the general public to be blamed. The Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman has written a New York Times column that does a great job of puncturing such nonsense. Read what he has to say about the real causes of the financial crisis.

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How the Rich are Spending in 2011

A study by American Express and Harrison Group shows that global spending on luxury goods is set to increase by nearly 8 per cent to US$359 billion in 2011. Rich shoppers are driving an increase in consumer spending and according to Moody’s Analytics, 5 per cent of the richest households account for 37 per cent of consumer spending. For nearly two years, households clamped down through the economic slump, exercising utmost restraint and discernment in their purchases. However, that is all changing in 2011. Find out how the rich are spending today.

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Money Advice from The World’s Filthy Rich

It’s already June. Where has the year gone? For some who’ve made personal finance and investment goals to grow rich this year or increase your company profits by tenfold your New Year resolution for 2011 – you might start to hear that countdown clock to 2012 ticking already. Forget those passé get-rich-quick schemes of the 90’s. If you’re stuck in a mid-year rut, here’s some money advice from the world’s filthy rich to inspire.

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Illegal Bookies, Crooked Players & Asian Gangs

22 June 2011. Illegal gambling exists everywhere, but in Asia its present on a different scale compared to anywhere else. Asian gangs not only corrupt their own leagues, but have infiltrated every major football tournament, and several international cricket teams. David Smith investigates the secret world of illegal sports gambling and match fixing in this week’s expose.

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Bitcoins: The Politics of A Virtual Currency

13 June 2011. Bitcoins have been described as “the digital currency of the future” – a new global phenomenon that threatens to challenge all preconceived notions of currency and currency exchange. Worldwide interest in Bitcoins has started to grow almost exponentially in the past few of months. But can a virtual currency work and more importantly, how?

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Black Money: The Business of Money Laundering

8 June 2011. Billions of dollars of illicitly-earned money is laundered every year, often through reputable banking systems. One of the most shocking cases involved the Miami-based Wachovia Bank, which admitted responsibility in 2009 for moving $420 billion for account holders thought likely to be involved in the laundering of drug proceeds. Yet the measures taken to control these crimes don’t appear to be working. David Smith looks at the scale of the problem and assesses the far-reaching consequences of money laundering crimes. 

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Seven Questions to Ask Before Refinancing Your Mortgage

3 June 2011. House prices in the US are crashing again. With 18 million households across the country on the verge of defaulting on their mortgage, how will the fall in house prices affect your mortgage? Refinancing can be a great way to save money, if you do it right. But a bad refinance can put you in a situation where the only person benefiting is the loan officer.

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The World's Worst Credit Cards

27 May 2011. Credit card companies are battering consumers across the board with monstrous fees, high interest rates and disappearing rewards. If you signed up for a credit card in the past year, the chances are - you've been ripped off. Your interest rate might have gone up, had your credit limit reduced, or your credit card issuer gutted your rewards. Analysts say: it's only going to get worse. Still, you may be able to get a good deal, as long as you don't chose these cards singled out by experts for being the world's worst credit cards.  

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The State of Unemployment: Worst Cities for Unemployment Benefits

23 May 2011.Unacceptable unemployment figures is the top concern of EconomyWatch readers, and who’s to blame them? The US, as well as other countries hit badly by the 2008 financial crisis continue to struggle bringing unemployment levels back to pre-crisis levels. In the meantime, hundreds of thousands of people remain jobless and financially crippled with no sight of light at the end of the tunnel. However some argue, reliance on unemployment benefits is playing a role in the bills to cap benefits. Are they right?

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A Dozen Alarming Consumer Debt Statistics

21 May 2011. In the US, consumers and households are dangerously in debt. Even after the catastrophic financial crisis in 2008, it seems in 2010 lessons from past mistakes have not been learned and taken on board. The Federal Reserve is looking at $2.4 trillion in unsecured debt. And the numbers just keep rising. Check out these dozen alarming consumer debt statistics. 

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The Raw Deal: Personal Loans

You know, I’ve heard about personal loan offers and promotions but never looked into one. This week I wondered, what’s the difference between a personal loan, a cash loan and a plain ‘ole credit card (apart from the fact that you don’t want a cash advance at 18 percent compounding interest on your Visa thank-you-very-much). And, when should I use a personal loan over a cash loan or credit? Find out the raw deal when it comes to personal borrowing in this week's personal finance missive.

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The Return of the Rater

27 April 2011. Standard and Poors' decision to cut its outlook for US debt to “negative” came as a surprise to many market watchers. The unprecedented move has reaffirmed the role rating agencies have in determining the prospects of national economies, much to the chagrin of many politicians. One main reason the S&P's pessimism rattled markets was its novelty. Since it began issuing reports on the outlook for US bonds in 1989, the agency had not once suggested it could lower the “AAA” rating of the world's largest economy. Now S&P warns the chances the US will lose its bulletproof credit vest are one in three over the next two years.

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A Dozen Shocking Personal Finance Statistics

  Are You Careless With Your Cash? You’re Not Alone. Credit: emdot23 April 2011. Let’s face it, we all have our bad money habits that border on shameful from time to time. But would you be more shocked to find out that as you “buy now and worry later” on your credit card – hordes of others are doing the same? We’re all trying to get out of debt, but only end up burrowing deeper into it. It’s time for some eye-opening credit card and debt statistics and take stock of your finances and control of your financial destiny. This Easter weekend, check out these 12 shocking personal finance statistics and tell us where you fit in the big picture.

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Credit Card Bill: $3725.65. No Unfair Fees: Priceless.

Beat The Banks At Their Own Game Credit: reallyboring16 April 2011. Banks and credit card issuers have long been under the spotlight for mercilessly adding unfair fees and charges to your monthly credit card statements. The fees and charges seem small and don’t bother most people: $12 cash advance fees, $20 in merchant fees and $7.95 monthly subscription. Buried in your already maxed-out total, last year’s holiday expenses and piling interest rate charges – all you’re really hoping to do is shave the debt down. The monthly credit card repayments only ever seem to take care of the interest charges and mounting fees.  

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