National / International News
When a couple of inches of snow fell a few weeks ago in Washington, D.C., the new mayor took some heat – as mayors often do – for the poor condition of the city streets.
Now Chicago, New York and Seattle are among the cities to have smartphone apps that can be used to track snowplows in real time using GPS data, according to an AP report.
It is "a way to show skeptics that plow drivers are working hard and not just clearing the streets of the wealthy and well-connected," the report says.
But the data can be misleading. One woman in Chicago said the app indicated a snowplow had gone down her street. It had ... but the plow had its blade up.
In a new report, Oxfam says that by 2016, the wealthiest 1% of people may control more than 50% of the world's wealth.
Inequality has proven to be a durable and thorny problem, and economists are divided over how to tackle it. Some argue for the "redistribution" of wealth, in the form of higher taxes on the rich, or increased subsidies for the poor.
Some say it's better to tackle the root causes of inequality, like the millions of Americans stuck in low-wage jobs. They argue that better education and training are needed to prepare workers for better-paid jobs in science and technology.
Others, meanwhile, argue there's no problem. And while politicians and experts debate the issue, inequality is likely to grow.
President Obama will address both houses of Congress and the American people Tuesday to discuss the State of the Union.
The address is expected to touch on tax reform, including new tax credits for families with two working parents; bigger, simpler tax credits for child care, college and retirement; and a plan to pay for it all with higher taxes on what the administration calls the "wealthiest." That includes the wealthiest people, with tax hikes on capital gains and inheritances, but also the wealthiest financial institutions: Those with at least $50 billion in assets.
More specifically, it's a tax on bank debt. Stanford professor of economics and finance Anat Admati explains this could help push back perverse incentives in the current tax code, which encourage banks to do business with borrowed money. But it's an approach that has been proposed before, as recently as 2010 when it was called the "Financial Crisis Responsibility Fee." It failed back then, and Joel Slemrod, professor of economics and director of the Office of Tax Policy Research at the University of Michigan, says with Republicans in charge of Congress, it doesn't have a chance.
In Washington, momentum may be building to repeal an important funding source for the Affordable Care Act – a 2.3 percent sales tax on an array of medical devices – everything from surgical gloves to artificial joints.
The industry has raised an army to battle the provision on Capitol Hill and spent more than $200 million since 2008 on the effort.
The manufacturers’ campaign is just the latest example of why it’s hard to reform an industry that’s crying out for change.
Scientists call them "fast radio bursts," or FRBs, mysterious pulses of radio waves coming from far, far away. Researchers in Australia say they've observed one in real time.
Detox diets are a hot trend, but scientists say there's really no evidence that they are necessary or helpful. One strategy that does make sense: Cut back on sugar. We tell you why.
A middle-school classroom in Michigan takes on the complicated issue of race and justice in society. The students, all of whom are black, worry what happened to Trayvon Martin could happen to them.