From PandoDaily: The Wolf of Sesame Street: Revealing the secret corruption inside PBS’s news division
On December 18th, the Public Broadcasting Service’s flagship station WNET issued a press release announcing the launch of a new two-year news series entitled “The Pension Peril.” The series, promoting cuts to public employee pensions, is airing on hundreds of PBS outlets all over the nation. It has been presented as objective news on major PBS programs including the PBS News Hour.
However, neither the WNET press release nor the broadcasted segments explicitly disclosed who is financing the series. Pando has exclusively confirmed that “The Pension Peril” is secretly funded by former Enron trader John Arnold, a billionaire political powerbroker who is actively trying to shape the very pension policy that the series claims to be dispassionately covering.
From Reuters: Pension Politics
David Sirota has a very important scoop today: the PBS series “Pension Peril” has secretly* been funded by John Arnold, a billionaire powerbroker with an aggressively anti-pensions political agenda. This looks very bad for PBS — but it’s also bad for Arnold, who generally gets glowing press, and who would seem to have no good reason to have insisted on secrecy when writing the $3.5 million check that made the series possible.
The PBS series in question seems to fall uncritically into line with the beliefs of Arnold and other Very Serious People — that pension liabilities are a huge problem, and that the only way to fix them is to reduce the amount that pensioners get paid. But of course it’s not nearly as simple as that.
From Bloomberg Businessweek: Why Aren’t There More Female Hedge Fund Managers?
Why aren’t there more women running hedge funds? The money’s good, and the lifestyle would seem to lend itself better to balancing family demands than more traditional Wall Street jobs, with less face time and greater emphasis on money-making rather than bonding on the golf-course. What’s more, research has proven that women, on average, make more prudent investors—a recent report by Rothstein Kass found that women-owned hedge funds performed better than both the S&P 500-stock index and the Global Hedge Fund Index over the last six-and-a-half years, as female investors proved more cautious and less prone to overconfidence than men.
From Cypen & Cypen: Taxation of Social Security Benefits
Your Social Security benefits may be taxable; about one-third of people who get Social Security have to pay income taxes on their benefits:
- If you file a federal tax return as an “individual,” and your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000, you may have to pay taxes on up to 50% of your Social Security benefits. If your combined income is more than $34,000, up to 85% of your Social Security benefits is subject to income tax.
- If you file a joint return, you may have to pay taxes on 50% of your benefits if you and your spouse have a combined income that is between $32,000 and $44,000. If your combined income is more than $44,000, up to 85% of your Social Security benefits is subject to income tax.
- If you are married and file a separate return, you probably will pay taxes on your benefits.
At the end of each year, Social Security will mail you a Social Security Benefit Statement (Form SSA-1099) showing the amount of benefits you received. You can use this statement when you complete your federal income tax return to find out if you have to pay taxes on your benefits. Although you are not required to have federal taxes withheld, you may find it easier than paying quarterly estimated tax payments. Note: on the 1040 tax return, your “combined income” is the sum of your adjusted gross income plus non-taxable interest plus one-half of your social security benefits. For more information, call Internal Revenue Service’s toll-free number, 800.829.3676, to ask for Publication 554, Tax Guide for Seniors.
From Advisor.CA: How to Plan for Solo Retirement
In Canada 43% of seniors 65 or older are single, says Statistics Canada, and those who didn’t plan to be alone in retirement could be facing financial hardship, says BMO.
Divorce later in life is one factor contributing to more people finding themselves alone during retirement. About 4,000 Canadians 65 years old and over get divorced every year, shows data from Statistics Canada. Other factors leading to a single retirement include an increasing number of Canadians who never get married and higher life-expectancy rates among women.