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Monday
Feb142011

What Kind of Things Could You Buy with the National Debt?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Despite a pledge by President Barack Obama on Monday to freeze federal spending for the next five years, the United States budget deficit will continue to grow. As it balloons to over $14 trillion, a bit of perspective can help put the debt into real terms for the average consumer. Using the figures provided by usdebtclock.org, here's how the national debt breaks down to more than $45,000 per citizen. That's up from just more than $20,000 per citizen back in 2000.

As for what these numbers mean in more tangible terms, the national debt could buy you 4,080,522,307 tickets to the Super Bowl at $3,676 per ticket. That means you could cover attendance for the next 56,674 Super Bowls if the venue held 72,000 people.

Speaking of football, Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward made $5,804,680 last season. If his salary remained stagnant, the national debt could fund his playing career for over two million more years. He may need the help if there's a lockout next season in the NFL.

Home foreclosures have been a huge problem ever since the economy collapsed, but if you had more than $14 billion, you could purchase 61 million homes at an average price of $242,000.

Not to put all your eggs in one basket, but you could see a lot of Lady Gaga shows if you had money equivalent to the amount of the national debt. StubHub says that Gaga's shows might have been a "little monster" on your credit card bill, ranking as the priciest act of 2010 with tickets coming in at an average of $407. You'd be able to buy 36,855,036,855 tickets to see her perform.

All things considered, it might be better to just keep your money in the bank.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Butcher Gets Creative: You Gonna Eat That? And Wear It, Too?

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- A restaurant in New York City has taken sustainability to a whole new level.

At Marlow and Sons in neighborhood of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, animals are now going from local farms to the table ... to your drawers and closet. These aren't leftovers but leather goods made from the tanned hides of the very grass-fed cows and pigs that populate the menu.

It's the waste-not-want-not ethos of the environmental movement taken to its logical conclusion.

"One of the things that really motivates us is supporting farmers," says Kate Huling, 32, who, along with her husband, Andrew, owns Marlow and Sons and a neighboring butcher shop called Marlow and Daughters. They have another restaurant called Diner.

They’re "trying to connect people with food that they eat, the food that nourishes them and gives them energy," Huling says.

The bags, which she designed, are simple and elegant. What they are not, is cheap: Costing $300 and $400, they come with their own hip imperfections. The bags have natural nicks and marks that give them a handsomely rustic look.

Huling has also produced wallets and vintage-looking footballs, as well as medicine balls.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Mayors to NFL: Work Stoppage will Hurt Our Cities’ Economies 

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- As the stalemate continues between the NFL and the players’ union over a new labor agreement, the mayors of Minneapolis, Miami and Houston have sent letters to the league expressing their concerns about what a lockout would do to their cities’ economies.

Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a letter that a lockout “will hurt working families” in his city.

Citing studies that estimated the economic impact of an NFL game, Rybak said “these dollars support a wide variety of good jobs for workers in the hospitality, hotel and service industries.”

Representatives from the NFL and the players’ union met in Washington last week, but no agreement was reached. A second day of meetings was cancelled.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Delta Giving Employees $313 Million in Largest Profit-Sharing Payout

Photo Courtesy - Delta Air Lines(ATLANTA) -- Delta Air Lines announced Monday it will pay out $313 million in profit sharing to its employees, marking the largest payout in the airline's history.

In a memo sent to over 80,000 employees around the world, Delta CEO Richard Anderson said the pay out stems from the company's $1.4 billion profit for 2010, which he attributes to workers' "hard work and dedication."

Anderson said the profit sharing will not be a "one-time payout," but instead will be part of employees' "total compensation that includes a competitive package of pay, benefits and work rules along with additional opportunities to earn more when the company performs well."
   
The latest payout comes four years after Delta came out of bankruptcy in 2007.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Feb142011

Boeing Unveils New Jumbo Jet 747-8 Intercontinental

Photo Courtesy - Boeing(EVERETT, Wash.) -- Boeing unveiled its latest jumbo jet Sunday, which touts low operating costs and a reduced carbon footprint.

The 747-8 Intercontinental will be able to seat between 400 and 500 passengers and will have the "lowest seat-mile cost of any large commercial jetliner," boasting costs 12 percent lower than its predecessor, the 747-400.  The new jet will also be 16 percent more fuel efficient and emit 16 percent less carbon per passenger than the 747-400.

The 747-8 Intercontinental was unveiled in a new, red-orange paint scheme, which departs from Boeing's standard color choice of blue.  The new color scheme will only appear on the first jetliner.

A total of 33 jets have been ordered, with the first scheduled to be delivered by the company's fourth quarter.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Three Gulf States Seek Answers on BP Oil Spill Payout

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Top officials from three states along the Gulf Coast, whose shores were hit particularly hard both environmentally and economically following the BP oil spill in 2010, are having no qualms about publicly criticizing the man in charge of distributing the relief funds.

Kenneth Feinberg, the man appointed by President Obama to be his administration's pay czar, has been particularly slow and less than transparent in his dealings with BP and the funds, the attorneys general from Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida say.

As of Thursday, the $20 billion Gulf Coast Claims Facility established by BP had paid 168,634 claims for a total of $3.4 billion, The Washington Post reported. Many of those claims have been dismissed as having no merit, causing outrage among those whose livelihood was severely impacted by the spill.

The attorneys general have taken large issue with the fact that Feinberg, as they allege, has been encouraging those appying for relief funds to settle with BP for a one-time payout, in exchange for waiving their right to sue in the future.

Louisiana had the highest percentage of claims to the fund, with 39 percent of overall requests coming from individuals or businesses within the state. Florida accounted for 33 percent, and Mississippi for 10 percent of claims.

All three states are appealing to a U.S. District Court Judge to ask for more transparency into the process used by Feinberg to distribute the relief money and on Feb. 18, when the next arguments are scheduled in the complaint process, may ask for court-mandated changes to the process.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Feb132011

Tax Tip: Using the Right Forms

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- There are literally hundreds of IRS tax forms. Fortunately, there are only a dozen or so that apply to most people. When it comes to choosing which 1040 to use, Mary Beth Franklin from Kiplinger's Personal Finance says “pick the simplest tax form for you.”

“If you simply have wage income W-2, you can go with the 1040EZ,” Franklin said. That one won't allow you to make anything but the standard deduction, and it might be the wrong move, according to accountant Janice Hayman.

“A lot of people file the short form mistakenly when they truly do have enough to use the long form and itemize their deductions," Hayman said. "What is commonly overlooked are the state and local income taxes that are right there on their W-2 form. They are part of the itemized deductions.”

You have to use the full form -- a 1040 -- if you want to itemize your deductions, make more than $100,000, or have self-employment income.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Online Music Player Pandora Plans to Go Public

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(OAKLAND) -- Online music provider Pandora Media on Friday announced that it plans to go public and will attempt to raise up to $100 million through sales of stock.

The company has filed the necessary paperwork with the Securities and Exchange Commission in the proposed initial public offering, with the aim of generating funds to help expand its operations. For the fiscal year ending Jan. 31, 2010, Pandora raked in $55.1 million in revenue, and reported a loss of $16.8 million. For the period of Feb. 1, 2010, through Oct. 31, 2010, the company’s reported loss wasn’t as severe, dipping to $300,000, while its revenue shot up significantly to $90.1 million.

According to reports, Pandora, which generates most of its revenue from advertising and subscription fees, spends a hefty amount on licensing fees. The company says it currently has some 800,000 songs in its database and over 80 million users, but since most of the listeners choose not to opt for the paid subscription, consumers aren't a major source of revenue. Pandora’s attempt to go public could possibly lead to it posting its first profit.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Bankruptcy Appears Imminent for Borders Books

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ANN ARBOR, Mich.) -- Bookseller Borders Group Inc. is reportedly preparing to file for bankruptcy.

Financial trouble could force Borders to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as early as Monday or Tuesday according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Borders has reportedly stopped trying to refinance its debt. The value of the company's shares recently dropped 33 percent to 25 cents on the New York Stock Exchange.

Borders is reportedly trying to reach financing agreements that would enable it to continue operating while under Chapter 11 protection. Filing for bankruptcy may result in the closure of over 200 Borders and Waldenbooks stores, a move that would force thousands of employees from their jobs, according to the Wall Street Journal report.

In addition to its mountain of debt, technological improvements have changed the way people buy and read books, and Borders has seemingly been unable to keep pace with technological advances. These factors have contributed to the company’s financial woes, putting it on the brink of bankruptcy filing.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Feb122011

Tax Tip: Taking Classes? Inquire About Tax Credits

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The government wants you and your children to go to college and offers up a few tax savings to help you foot the bill.

The first is the American Opportunity Credit, which offers a maximum $2,500 credit.

“To qualify for the maximum credit, you only need to spend as little as $4,000, and with the cost of tuition, fees and books what they are today, it doesn't make much to get to that level,” said Eric Smith of the IRS.

“They need to be part of a degree program of some kind,” Smith said. “You need to be at least a half-time student.”

Say you want to take a class – maybe just an evening course to help update your job skills – there’s a tax credit for you, as well.

“The Lifetime Learning Credit may be something they could take advantage of if they're not able to go to school full time,” said H&R Block’s Kathy Pickering.

Check out Publication 970 at IRS.gov to see if you qualify.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio