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IRS Audits of High-Income U.S. Households Drop to 6-Year Low

tax auditThe U.S. Internal Revenue Service, struggling with a smaller budget, audited 7.5 percent of households with incomes exceeding $1 million last year, the lowest level since 2009.

The tax agency audited 0.86 percent of all individual tax returns, down from 0.96 percent the year before, according to data released Tuesday. Such audits are at their lowest level since 2004.

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Walmart Gives 500,000 Workers A Raise

walmartIn a move that could alter the minimum wage debate and improve the image of the world's largest retailer, Walmart announced it will raise the baseline wage of its current store employees to $10 per hour, bringing pay hikes to an estimated 500,000 workers.

The company said in an announcement on Thursday that it would raise its wage floor to $9 in April, followed by a second boost to $10 by next February.

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HSBC Got Away With Buying Cocaine Plane

HSBC Cocaine planeWhile the Justice Department was busy prosecuting American HSBC customers for tax evasion, it has taken no action against the bank for nearly five years.

The U.S. Justice Department is shocked, simply shocked by recent press reports that the megabank HSBC aided Americans in evading taxes.

But, here is what really is shocking: DOJ has known about the tax-evasion allegations for nearly five years. And DOJ took no action against HSBC even as it prosecuted bank customers for their part in the same schemes.

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A more robust US job market adds 257K positions as pay jumps

jobs increaseU.S. employers added a vigorous 257,000 jobs in January, and wages jumped by the most in six years — evidence that the job market is accelerating closer to full health.

The surprisingly robust report the government issued Friday also showed that hiring was far stronger in November and December than it had previously estimated. Employers added 414,000 jobs in November — the most in 17 years. December's gain was revised sharply up to 329,000 from 252,000.

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S&P paying $1.38B to settle charges over crisis-era ratings

S&P pays upStandard & Poor's is paying about $1.38 billion to settle government allegations that it knowingly inflated its ratings of risky mortgage investments that helped trigger the financial crisis, the Justice Department announced Tuesday.

The settlement with the U.S. government, 19 states and the District of Columbia covers ratings issued from 2004 through 2007 by the McGraw-Hill subsidiary. It resolves a court fight that began with a government lawsuit two years ago and involved dozens of depositions and hundreds of millions of documents

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Richest 1 percent to own more than rest combined: report

One percent own everythingThe income gap between the richest 1 percent and the rest of America widened to a record last year, new analysis has found.

The top 1 percent of U.S. earners collected 19.3 percent of household income in 2012, their largest share in Internal Revenue Service figures going back a century.

U.S. income inequality has been growing for almost three decades. But until last year, the top 1 percent's share of pre-tax income had not yet surpassed the 18.7 percent it reached in 1927, according to an analysis of IRS figures dating to 1913 by economists at the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris School of Economics and Oxford University.

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More Than Half Of American Schoolchildren Now Live In Poverty

Children living in povertyFor the first time, more than half of U.S. public school students live in low-income households, according to a new analysis from the Southern Education Foundation.

Overall, 51 percent of U.S. schoolchildren came from low-income households in 2013, according to the foundation, which analyzed data from National Center for Education Statistics on students eligible for free or reduced-price lunches. Eligibility for free or subsidized lunch for students from low-income households serves as a proxy for gauging poverty, says the foundation, which advocates education equity for students in the South.

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