To Stop a Stimulus: White House Forecasts Economic Doom If GOP Gets Their Way

Photo Courtesy -- ABC News.(WASHINGTON) -- In the GOP's "Pledge to America," Republican lawmakers said they want all $258 billion of unspent stimulus funds to remain unspent.  Now the White House is pushing back hard, arguing that such a pledge spells disaster for Americans.  A White House Recovery Office official told ABC News that millions of families could expect to immediately see their taxes go up, tens of thousands of businesses across the country would see their taxes rise by $27 billion and millions of college students would see their college tax credits in jeopardy.  Also according to the White House, Americans could expect more job loss and economic hardship.  White House Recovery Act spokesperson Liz Oxhorn told ABC News, “Only the party that got us into this mess would propose creating jobs and cutting taxes by killing jobs and raising taxes.”

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.


Small Business Jobs Bill Awaits Obama's Signature

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- On Monday, President Obama is set to sign and put into law the small business jobs bill.  According to the president, the bill will help provide loans and cut taxes for millions of small business owners across the country, without adding onto the nation's budget deficit.  In a statement, Obama said, "After months of partisan obstruction and needless delay, I’m grateful that Democrats and a few Republicans came together to support this common-sense plan to put Americans back to work."  The bill was passed in Congress on Thursday.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Witness Lost $60K Following Goldline's Suggestion

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- A doctor from suburban New York told Congress Thursday that a salesman for the precious metals firm Goldline convinced him to convert his entire $140,000 IRA into gold coins, and that he lost almost $60,000 overnight by making the switch.

Dr. Julius Bazan's claim before a House committee echoed what a former salesman for Goldline told ABC News in an exclusive interview about the precious metal firm's alleged drive to convert retirement accounts into gold coins.

The hearing, which began Thursday afternoon, is meant to explore the reportedly controversial sales practices of Goldline, the precious metals dealer that pioneered the practice of weaving its sales pitches into broadcasts by popular conservative political personalities such as Glenn Beck, Mike Huckabee and Fred Thompson. Company salesmen have allegedly nudged callers away from buying gold bullion and into purchasing collectable coins, which are unregulated and subject to sizeable mark-ups.

Bazan, a Czech-born neurologist from Lynbrook, New York, said in a prepared statement that in the fall of 2009, having seen Goldline's advertising, he decided he should "look into the purchase of gold" with the funds from a $140,000 IRA account.  Bazan said that he had wanted to buy bullion, but when he talked to a Goldline sales representative, the man steered him toward coins.  Bazan said the sales rep told him gold would likely reach a value of $3,000 per ounce within the year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Maryland Nail Salon Charges Men More Than Women

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(UPPER MARLBORO, Md.) -- A Maryland man who was charged $4 more than his female companion at a nail salon filed a lawsuit Monday claiming "gender-based price discrimination."  Jimmy Bell of Upper Marlboro said he was shocked when he noticed that Rich's Nail Salon in Landover, Md. had charged him extra.  "I went to go pay and the person was going over the bill and I noticed that when he said the price for [my date's] manicure and pedicure, it was different than mine," Bell said of the Nov. 7, 2009, incident.  "At that point I asked, 'Why do I have to pay more than her,' and he said, 'Because you're a man.'  They're saying that men have to pay more for the exact same service and it's wrong, it's illegal."  An employee at the salon had no comment but confirmed that the cost of a woman's pedicure is $20, compared with $22 for men.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Nevada City Tops List With Highest Foreclosure Rate

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(NEW YORK) -- Fernley, Nevada, a city that lies 32 miles east of Reno, has the nation's highest foreclosure rate through August.  Although the recession has wreaked havoc on numerous local economies, Fernley has been hit the hardest. The city has seen more than 3,500 foreclosure filings over a 12-month period among its 17,900 housing units, according to Realty Trac, an online service that collects and aggregates foreclosure data.

According to Realty Trac, August was the toughest month for homeowners, as lenders swooped in and seized more than 95,000 homes across the U.S.  The foreclosure rate is up 25 percent since August 2009.  Efforts by the government to stem the tide of foreclosures have had mixed success. The Obama administration's main anti-foreclosure program touched a 10-month low in August with 33,000 homeowners receiving assistance. The president said in 2009 that as many as four million homeowners would be helped and about 449,000 have thus far received assistance to avoid foreclosure.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Leading Home Lender Allegedly Mishandled Foreclosure Affidavits

(NEW YORK) -- In April, Luis Fitzgerald and his wife Miriam were, in his words, "literally kicked out" of the foreclosed Orlando, Florida home they purchased a decade ago.

In Florida and other states with judicial foreclosure laws, banks must file a summary judgment motion in order to take possession of a property where the owners have defaulted on a loan. The motions must be backed by an affidavit from a "witness" who has reviewed the files and confirmed that the lender actually owns the mortgage note.

Fitzgerald said, "Now I see the affidavit in my case was signed by the guy who was all over the news -- the so-called Robo-signer."

Fitzgerald was referring to Jeffrey Stephan, a foreclosure specialist with GMAC Mortgage, one of the nation's largest and most troubled home lenders. In a sworn deposition, Stephan said he signed about 10,000 foreclosure affidavits per month without personally verifying the documents associated with the case.

GMAC Mortgage announced this week it was suspending sales of foreclosed homes and evictions of borrowers who have fallen behind on the mortgages in 23 states. In a statement, the company said the temporary suspensions were intended to give it time to review its procedures.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio.  Image Courtesy: ABC News


California Pot Growers Join Union

(NEW YORK) -- A union in Northern California is lighting up controversy with its recent decision to unionize a group of medical marijuana growers.  The Teamsters Local 70 Union in Oakland signed up nearly 40 new members earlier this month.  All members work at a medical marijuana company called Marjyn Investments LLC, which contracts with medical marijuana patients to grow their pot for them.  The Marjyn employees, who do everything from gardening to cloning the plants, are now the nation's first group of unionized marijuana growers, though their business of cultivating cannabis remains a crime under federal law.  Teamsters organizer Lou Marchetti is the man who signed up the growers and negotiated a two-year contract for them. They'll now receive a number of benefits, including paid vacation and set pay increases.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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TUESDAY 10:48AM Economic Panel Officially Declares Recession Has Ended

ABC News(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- The National Bureau of Economic Research, a panel of academic economists tasked with marking the beginning and end of a recession declared Monday that the United States' recent recession lasted 18 months.  The recession lasting from December 2007- June 2009 is marked as the longest post World War II downturn.  Previously, the longest had occurred in 1973-1975 and 1981-1982 both lasting 16 months.  Despite last year's official end to the downturn, President Obama finds little reason to celebrate the NBER findings relative to a 9.6 percent unemployment rate, scant wage gains, weak home values, and the worst foreclosure market in decades.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio





NFL Dominates Nielsens

(New York, NY) -- America was more than ready for some football last week. Last Thursday's season-opener on NBC, won by the Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints over the Minnesota Vikings, was seen by 27.5 million people. NBC's coverage of the Washington Redskins' primetime victory over the Dallas Cowboys three days later scored 25.3 million viewers. The totals set new records for a Thursday-night game and a Sunday-night game during the opening week of an NFL season.  The NFL's ratings were just as impressive on Sunday afternoon. Fox's broadcast of the Green Bay Packers-Philadelphia Eagles game drew 28 million people.

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