Category Archives: Credit Crisis

`Joe the Plumber,’ Obama Tax-Plan Critic, Owes Taxes

`Joe the plumber,” the Toledo, Ohio, man whose complaints about Barack Obama’s tax plan were highlighted by John McCain in the final presidential debate, owes the state of Ohio almost $1,200 in back income taxes.

According to records on file with the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas, the state filed a tax lien against Samuel J. Wurzelbacher for $1,182.98 on Jan. 26, 2007, that is still active.

Wurzelbacher was thrust into the national spotlight this week when he told Obama he worried that the Illinois senator’s proposals to roll back Bush administration tax breaks for Americans earning more than $250,000 would prevent him from buying a plumbing business that would earn between $250,000 and $280,000 a year.

McCain, an Arizona Republican senator, pointed to the exchange during the debate last night when he turned to the camera and said, “I will not stand for a tax increase on small-business income.” Directly criticizing Obama, he added, “what you want to do to `Joe the plumber’ and millions more like him is have their taxes increased and not be able to realize the American dream of owning their own business.”

Today, at a rally in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, McCain said “the real winner last night was `Joe the plumber.”’

On Oct. 12, as Obama was campaigning door-to-door in suburban Toledo, Wurzelbacher confronted the Democratic presidential nominee about his tax plan.

`American Dream’

“Do you believe in the American dream?” Wurzelbacher asked before asking about the tax increase. “I’m being taxed more and more for fulfilling the American dream.”

Wurzelbacher’s home telephone number is unlisted, and efforts to reach him by calling his neighbors and family were unsuccessful. Attempts to reach Wurzelbacher at the plumbing company where he works were also unsuccessful. The address on the lien and other records for him matched the address published by the Toledo Blade, which also noted the lien.

The state of Ohio places a lien on real property after several steps to try to collect a tax debt, according to John Kohlstrand, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Taxation who said he couldn’t discuss any specific case.

Delinquency Notice

If a delinquency notice goes unheeded, the Department of Taxation issues a billing notice, Kohlstrand said. If that is ignored, a more formal assessment notice is sent. Failing to appeal an assessment or losing an appeal puts the debt into the hands of the state attorney general for collection. The attorney general typically sends a collection notice and simultaneously files a lien.

“The taxpayers may not necessarily know about the lien,” Kohlstrand said, although they would receive other notices.

In Wurzelbacher’s case, the lien indicated that the notice was sent to a previous address in Toledo.

Ray Ann Estep, section chief for revenue-recovery services for the Ohio attorney general, said Wurzelbacher’s lien was filed six months after the Department of Taxation certified the debt for collection.

“Unfortunately, sometimes people don’t resolve their debts as quickly as we would like them to,” she said.

Obama’s Plan

In addition to tax credits and a proposal that would allow Wurzelbacher to avoid paying capital-gains taxes if he ever sold the business he wants to acquire for a profit, Obama has proposed allowing the top two tax rates of 33 percent and 35 percent to revert to what they were during the Clinton administration, or 36 percent and 39.6 percent, respectively.

In 2007, the 33 percent bracket kicked in for taxable income exceeding $195,851.

Under Obama’s proposal, Wurzelbacher would face about $900 more in taxes if he netted $280,000 of income from his new business and had to pay an extra 3 percentage points on the amount over $195,851, said Gerald Prante, a senior economist at the Tax Foundation, a Washington research group that is examining both candidates’ plans.

“His average tax burden, the final bill he pays to the IRS isn’t going to go up much if he’s just making $280,000 a year,” Prante said. He would face higher marginal tax costs to expand the business beyond that, he said.

Not Taxable Income

It’s far more likely that the $280,000 Wurzelbacher told Obama he’d earn would be in the form of gross receipts and not taxable income, said Steven Bankler, a certified public accountant in San Antonio, who counts plumbers and other trade professionals as his clients.

By the time Wurzelbacher took proper business deductions, Bankler said, he’d be left with between $150,000 and $200,000 in taxable income and wouldn’t be affected by Obama’s proposed increase in the top rates.

Wurzelbacher might eventually have to pay more employment taxes under Obama’s plan to impose a rate of between 2 percent and 4 percent on wages over $250,000, Bankler said, but Obama has said that change wouldn’t take effect for a decade

Source- Bloomberg

Advertisements

1 Comment

Filed under bailout, Barack Obama, Business, Capitalism, Credit Crisis, Democrats, Economy, Election, Election 2008, Fact, John Mccain, Mccain, News, Palin, People, Politics, Random, Republican, Sarah Palin, US, US Government

Plumber makes $250,000 a year . Is that a joke?

Joe the plumber makes $250,000 a year whereas according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage for plumbers in the United States in 2007 was $47,350.

Why are these politicians calling him a plumber when in reality he is a businessman. I bet next they will next call Bill Gates an electrician.

1 Comment

Filed under bailout, Barack Obama, Business, Capitalism, Credit Crisis, Delhi, Democrats, Economy, Election, Election 2008, India, John Mccain, Mccain, Media, News, Palin, People, Politics, Random, Republican, Sarah Palin, US, US Government, Wallstreet

Credit Crunch hits Auto Industry

Auto Industry is feeling the heat from the credit crunch in the US market and is heading south

 General Motors reported that sales of cars and light trucks dropped 16% compared to September a year ago. Sales at Ford tumbled 35% from last year and Toyota says September sales down 32.3%. Chrysler LLC sales are forecast to drop by 37%.
Auto industry is starting to look like the Real Estate market (though there have been no bubble , like we saw for housing ) , but analyst predict that as many as 3,800 U.S. car dealerships could fail this fall and into 2009 — nearly one in five — because of weak sales, increased operational costs and the credit crunch.

If on an average a car dealer employs around 50-60 employees , we are looking at a minimum 200,000 job losses. And if these auto giants start to go bankrupt the amount of job loss is unimaginable.

1 Comment

Filed under AIG, bailout, Business, Capitalism, Cars, Credit Crisis, Delhi, Democrats, Economy, Election, Election 2008, Ford, GM, Media, News, Politics, Toyota, Uncategorized, US, US Government

Credit Crisis demystified

When:

Seeds were sown way back in 1977. Known as Community Reinvestment Act  , is a United States federal law that requires banks and thrifts to offer credit throughout their entire market area and prohibits them from targeting only wealthier neighborhoods with their services. The bill encouraged the Federal National Mortgage Association, commonly known as Fannie Mae, to enable mortgage companies, savings and loans, commercial banks, credit unions, and state and local housing finance agencies to lend to home buyers.

Why

National grassroots pressure for affordable housing. Though there was considerable opposition from the mainstream banking community. Only one banker from ShoreBank in Chicago, testified in favor of the act.

Subprime Explained

Mr A seeks a housing loan to give shape to his dream home. But he doesn’t have good credit rating. This means that he is unable to clear all the stringent conditions that a bank imposes on an individual before it sanctions a loan. Since his credit is not good enough, no bank will give him a home loan as there is a fear that the chances of a default by him are high. Here enters , Mr B (a robust financial institution)who has good credit rating and is willing to take on some amount of risk and make profit.

 Given his good credit rating, the bank is willing to give Mr B a loan. The bank gives the loan at a certain rate of interest.Mr B then divides this loan into a lot of small portions and gives them out as home loans to lots of others like Mr A who do not have a great credit rating and to whom the bank would not have given a home loan in the first place.

Mr B gives out these loans at a rate of interest that is much higher rate than the rate at which he borrowed money from the bank. This higher rate is referred to as the sub-prime rate and this home loan market is referred to as the sub-prime home loan market.

By giving loan to many Mr A’s , Mr B is expecting to make lot of profit.  Mr B does not wait for the principal and the interest on the sub-prime home loans to be repaid, so that it can repay its loan to the bank (the prime lender), which has given it the loan.

So what does Mr B do? He goes ahead and securitises’ these loans. Securitisation means converting these home loans into financial securities, which promise to pay a certain rate of interest. These financial securities are then sold to Mr C (Institutional Investors)

 

And how is Mr C repaid? The interest and the principal that is repaid by Mr A through equated monthly installments (EMIs) is passed onto Mr C.

This looks so simple so what went wrong

 

The sub-prime home loans were given out as floating rate home loans. A floating rate home loan as the name suggests is not fixed. As interest rates go up, the interest rate on floating rate home loans also go up. As interest rates to be paid on floating rate home loans go up, the EMIs that need to be paid to service these loans go up as well.

What happened next is that people started defaulting on their obligations. Once more and more sub-prime borrowers started defaulting, payments to the institutional investors who had bought the financial securities stopped, leading to huge losses.  The housing bubble collapsed and mortgage-backed securities (bought by Mr C) were almost worthless . As defaults kept rising, Mr B could not service their loans that they had taken from banks. So they turned to other financial firms to help them out, but after a while these firms too stopped extending credit realizing that the collateral backing this credit would soon lose value in the falling real estate market.

 

Now burdened with tons of debt and no money to pay it back, the back of these financial entities broke, leading to the current meltdown.

Ok this is an American problem , so why are markets around the world crashing

Mr C who had invested in securitised paper from the sub-prime home loan market in the US, saw his investments turning into losses. Most big investors have a certain fixed proportion of their total investments invested in various parts of the world.  Once investments in the US turned bad, more money had to be invested in the US, to maintain that fixed proportion. In order to invest more money in the US, money had to come in from somewhere. To make up their losses in the sub-prime market in the United States, they went out to sell their investments in emerging markets like India where their investments have been doing well. So these big institutional investors, to make good of their losses in the sub-prime market, began to sell their investments in India and other markets around the world.


1 Comment

Filed under AIG, bailout, Business, Capitalism, Credit Crisis, Economy, Election, Election 2008, Fact, India, News, Random, Uncategorized, US, Wallstreet