Despite all the talk in Washington about the need to eliminate tax preferences, credits and deductions, the Senate voted just last week to create a new one, and the House is expected to follow suit this week.
Everyone from President Obama’s fiscal commission to Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry, the governor of Texas, wants to get rid of them, or at least limit them.
As Perry said in his flat tax plan, the law is “too riddled with loopholes and special interest tax breaks that increase compliance costs and impede economic growth.”
But despite all the talk, Congress is creating another tax break: last week the Senate voted, 94 to 1, to give a tax credit to employers who hire military veterans; it was a small victory, too, for the White House, which had pushed for the new deduction as part of its jobs package. The House is expected to follow suit this week.
The veterans tax credit is just one reminder of how often Congress uses the tax code -– instead of, or in addition to, direct spending -– to help specific groups of Americans.
The bill, sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), would give a tax credit of up to $5,600 for employers who hire a veteran who has been looking for a job for at least six months, and up to $2,400 for those unemployed more than four weeks.
Daylight saving time ends on Sunday, which means there are a few of us asking ourselves, as we do biannually: “It’s spring ahead, fall back, right?” and “Which one is the good one?” We’re happy to remind our dear readers that a) it’s “fall back” (duh) and b) this is the good one.
We’ll get an extra hour of sleep Sunday morning, and we’ll all enjoy lighter, brighter mornings. That also means longer, darker evenings.
Your body doesn’t know it yet, but this is going to be awesome.
“Light is the most important timekeeper that signals to our bodies when we’re supposed to be awake, so when are clocks are more in sync with the sun, it makes it easier,” explains Dr. Anita Shelgikar, a University of Michigan neurologist. “It’s certainly easier to adjust than it is in the spring.”
Waking up when it’s still dark for hours confuses your brain: You’re up and going about your morning routine — but your body and brain think you should still be sleeping. “That’s why it’s particularly important to expose your eyes to light first thing,” Shelgikar says. If you’ll still be rising before it’s light out after we turn our clocks back, she advises to turn on the lights right after waking up — don’t tiptoe around your house in the dark!
But because we’re “falling back” this weekend, some of us will be tempted to stay up and play for an extra hour on Saturday night. That’s not a great idea, Shelgikar says. The important thing is still to stick to a routine — a preset bedtime and wake time to avoid any sleep deprivation, she explains.