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February 26, 2014 | By Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON -- A top House Republican unveiled an ambitious tax code overhaul Wednesday, taking aim at long-protected loopholes for mortgage interest deductions, corporate jets and Wall Street pay, while promising to lower top rates to 25% for most individuals and corporations. But it has little chance of becoming law. The White House cautiously welcomed the effort, but top Republican leaders in Congress, including House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
February 26, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
The long-awaited Republican tax reform plan was released today by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich). It's being hailed as a breakthrough in putting real reform on the table, but also being instantly eulogized as dead-on-arrival in a Congress that wants no part of any tax reform, now or ever.  Still, it's instructive to examine the Camp plan for a primer on the latest mathematical trickery aimed at making something that...
February 22, 2014 | Walter Hamilton
Los Angeles has one of the highest levels of income inequality in the nation, but that's due in part to a relatively strong local economy that's stoking the fortunes of higher-income people, according to a new study. Of the 50 largest U.S. cities, L.A. has the ninth-highest level of income disparity, according to the analysis by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. The top three are Atlanta, San Francisco and Miami. Inequality has become a flash point nationwide as the wealth of top earners surges while the middle and lower classes grapple with stubborn income stagnation.
February 20, 2014 | By Gale Holland
Los Angeles is among the top 10 U.S. cities with the widest gulf between the rich and poor, a Washington think tank reported Thursday. The upper 5% of Los Angeles residents earned more than 12 times what the bottom 20% took in,  Alan Barube, who studies social policies affecting low-income families for the Brookings Institution, said in a paper . The income spread was similar in New York City, Washington, Oakland, Chicago and Baltimore, he...
February 19, 2014 | By Matt Stevens
Paramedics met a Delta Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport on Wednesday to treat nine teenagers who apparently became ill after consuming food before boarding in Guatemala City, officials said. Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey said the nine passengers consumed “common” food, possibly fruit, before the flight, prompting the medical emergency at Terminal 5 upon landing. The teens were traveling together, Humphrey said, and were experiencing nausea and vomiting.
February 19, 2014 | By Jeremiah Dobruck
A Newport Beach contractor was sentenced Tuesday to 18 months in federal prison for underreporting his income by about $2 million. The government lost out on roughly $300,000 in tax revenue as a result of Jeremy Scott Levine, 42, underreporting his income over a five-year period, according to the  Internal Revenue Service . U.S. District Judge Margaret M. Morrow ordered Levine, who owns Newport-based JSL Construction and Landscaping, to...
February 17, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
In a show of misdirection worthy of a conjurer, though not a very good conjurer, Harvard economics professor N. Gregory Mankiw has again tried to depict the 1% as exceptional individuals making unique contributions to the economy or culture, rather than as mediocre CEOs and derivatives traders contributing precious little to society. His message is: Who could begrudge such people their just deserts?* But he's stacking the deck. An earlier attempt by Mankiw to prettify income inequality came under attack, as we reported here , but he has only redoubled his campaign.
February 10, 2014 | By Sarah Amandolare
Last October, in between arguments over the debt ceiling, the federal government somehow found time to send me an email. My student loan payment was 70 days past due, the message read, so the government had negatively reported me to each major credit bureau and would continue to report me until my account was brought current. I'm betting the government sent out a lot of those letters to people like me: college graduates from middle-class families who didn't qualify for much in the way of scholarship aid and had parents who couldn't afford to pay for their schooling.
February 4, 2014 | By Michael Hiltzik
There's a new element in the debate over U.S. income inequality, and it's one that may actually get our political leadership talking about ways to address the issue: businesses are beginning to notice that their middle-class customers have disappeared. The consumer market is beginning to look like a sandwich without meat in the middle--there are enough wealthy customers to keep the luxury market humming along, and a growing demand for cheap no-name and other bargain products.  The phenomenon has been reported by Matthew Yglesias of and more recently by Nelson Schwartz of the New York Times.
February 2, 2014 | By David Wharton and Sergei L. Loiko
SOCHI, Russia - Tired of hearing reports about alleged corruption and budget overruns, some Russian citizens have given the 2014 Sochi Olympics a nickname. Kickbacktiada. The Games, which begin Friday, rank as the most expensive in Olympic history with an estimated cost of more than $50 billion and counting. A recent study by a Russian watchdog group alleges that organizers paid far more than the going rate for numerous venues built in and around the Black Sea resort.
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