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Daily Archives: October 24, 2013

UK Guardian – NSA monitored calls of 35 world leaders after US official handed over contacts

Jason Ball – The NSA memo suggests that such surveillance was not isolated as the agency routinely monitors world leaders. [snipped]

“The National Security Agency monitored the phone conversations of 35 world leaders after being given the numbers by an official in another US government department, according to a classified document provided by whistleblower Edward Snowden. The confidential memo reveals that the NSA encourages senior officials in its “customer” departments, such the White House, State and the Pentagon, to share their “Rolodexes” so the agency can add the phone numbers of leading foreign politicians to their surveillance systems. The document notes that one unnamed US official handed over 200 numbers, including those of the 35 world leaders, none of whom is named. These were immediately “tasked” for monitoring by the NSA. The revelation is set to add to mounting diplomatic tensions between the US and its allies, after the German chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday accused the US of tapping her mobile phone. After Merkel’s allegations became public, White House press secretary Jay Carney issued a statement that said the US “is not monitoring and will not monitor” the German chancellor’s communications. But that failed to quell the row, as officials in Berlin quickly pointed out that the US did not deny monitoring the phone in the past. The NSA memo obtained by the Guardian suggests that such surveillance was not isolated, as the agency routinely monitors the phone numbers of world leaders – and even asks for the assistance of other US officials to do so.”

CBO – Snapshot of Corporate Income Tax Receipts

“Since 2008, receipts from corporate income taxes have been smaller, relative to the size of the economy, than their historical average of 1.9 percent of gross domestic product (GDP)—largely because the recent recession substantially reduced taxable corporate profits. Temporary provisions in tax laws also played a role, particularly provisions that let firms accelerate deductions for… Continue Reading

CBO – Raising the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67

Raising the Age of Eligibility for Medicare to 67: An Updated Estimate of the Budgetary Effects – October 24, 2013 “Medicare, one of the federal government’s largest programs, provides health care benefits primarily to elderly people. The usual age of eligibility for those benefits is 65, although certain people qualify for the program earlier. (Medicare… Continue Reading

New Report Recommends Alternative Plan for Implementing the Volcker Rule

A Better Path Forward on the Volcker Rule and the Lincoln Amendment by James D. Cox, Jonathan R. Macey and Annette L. Nazareth “Two late additions to Congress’s response to the financial crisis have proved to be among the most complex and challenging for U.S. financial regulators to put into place. The degree of difficulty… Continue Reading

Debt Savers in Defined Contribution Plans

Debt Savers in Defined Contribution Plans, Size, Causes, and Solutions, Matt Fellowes, Founder & CEO of HelloWallet; Jake Spiegel, Research Associate at HelloWallet “The average 401(k) and other defined contribution (DC) plan participant now defers over 8 percent of their annual income toward retirement savings through their plan and social security taxes, making it one of the largest expenses for… Continue Reading

National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day

“Saturday, October 26 is National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Between 10:00am and 2:00pm, you can bring your unwanted prescription drugs or over-the-counter medicines to a collection site near you. Enter your ZIP code to find your nearest collection site. Properly disposing of medicines is important to human health and the environment. Here are a few… Continue Reading

Unemployment Insurance: Programs and Benefits

CRS – Unemployment Insurance: Programs and Benefits, Julie M. Whittaker, Specialist in Income Security; Katelin P. Isaacs, Analyst in Income Security. September 17, 2013 “Various benefits may be available to unemployed workers to provide income support. When eligible workers lose their jobs, the Unemployment Compensation (UC) program may provide up to 26 weeks of income… Continue Reading

TRAC: Rise in Social Security lawsuits

“Over the past five years, the number of Social Security civil lawsuits filed in federal courts has risen over 60 percent, according to the latest available case-by-case federal court data analyzed by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). During September 2013 the government reported 1,757 new filings of this sort, up 14 percent from a… Continue Reading

TIME – America’s Mood Map: An Interactive Guide to the United States of Attitude

“For a country that features the word United so prominently in its name, the U.S. is a pretty fractious place. We splinter along fault lines of income, education, religion, race, hyphenated origin, age and politics. Then too there’s temperament. We’re coarse or courtly, traditionalist or rebel, amped up or laid-back. And it’s no secret that a lot of… Continue Reading