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Friday, Dec 15th

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U.S. trade gap soars as imports from China hit record high

trae deficit soars

The U.S. trade deficit jumped 8.6 percent in October as imports from China and other suppliers hit a record high ahead of the holiday shopping season, a Commerce Department report released Tuesday showed.

The monthly trade gap totaled $48.7 billion, the highest level for a full month since President Donald Trump took office on Jan. 20.

Ahead of the election, a Trump campaign adviser asserted they could eliminate the deficit in one or two years. Instead, the 2017 deficit is on track to exceed the 2016 level of $505 billion.

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The GOP tax plan could negatively affect your Social Security benefits

Tax reform? No, tax CUTS for the wealthy!Without a guaranteed monthly stipend, the number of seniors living below the federal poverty level could well rise by millions. In fact, the Social Security Administration (SSA) reports that 34% of elderly Americans receiving benefits relies on Social Security for 90% or more of their monthly income. Stats like these are why Social Security is so important, and why current and future retirees are eager to see this critical program protected.

But this "financial rock" is primed to face some serious obstacles in the years to come. The most recent annual report from the Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that it'll begin paying out more in benefits than it's collecting in revenue by 2022. Just 12 years later, in 2034, its approximately $3 trillion in asset reserves will be completely depleted. To continue making monthly payments through 2091, the Trustees believe an across-the-board cut to benefits of up to 23% may be needed.

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Richest 1% now owns half the world's wealth

Richest 1% own half the world's wealth

The wealthiest 1% of the world's population now owns more than half of the world's wealth, according to a new report.

The total wealth in the world grew by 6% over the past 12 months to $280 trillion, marking the fastest wealth-creation since 2012, according to a new report from Credit Suisse. More than half of the $16.7 trillion in new wealth was in the U.S., which grew $8.5 trillion richer.

But that wealth around the world is increasingly concentrated among those at the top. The top 1% now own 50.1% of the world's wealth, up from 45.5% in 2001.

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After a Tax Crackdown, Apple Found a New Shelter for Its Profits

Apple found new island to shelter its billionsIt was May 2013, and Mr. Cook, the chief executive of Apple, appeared before a United States Senate investigative subcommittee. After a lengthy inquiry, it found that the company had avoided tens of billions of dollars in taxes by shifting profits into Irish subsidiaries that the panel’s chairman called “ghost companies.”

“We pay all the taxes we owe, every single dollar,” Mr. Cook declared at the hearing. “We don’t depend on tax gimmicks,” he went on. “We don’t stash money on some Caribbean island.”

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Paradise Papers: Tax haven secrets of ultra-rich exposed

Queen's money offshore: paradise papers

A huge new leak of financial documents has revealed how the powerful and ultra-wealthy, including the Queen's private estate, secretly invest vast amounts of cash in offshore tax havens.

Donald Trump's commerce secretary is shown to have a stake in a firm dealing with Russians sanctioned by the US.

The leak, dubbed the Paradise Papers, contains 13.4m documents, mostly from one leading firm in offshore finance.

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Trump Picks Federal Reserve Insider Jerome Powell To Be Its Chairman

Jerome Powell to be new Fed Reserve Chair

President Trump on Thursday named Jerome Powell to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve, the first time in decades that a president hasn't reappointed a chief of the central bank for a second term.

If confirmed by the Senate, Powell, 64, will succeed Janet Yellen — the first woman to head the Fed — whose term expires in February. Powell, a current member of the Fed's board of governors, is expected to pursue policies largely in line with the gradual interest rate hikes of the Yellen-led Fed.

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Corporate penalties have plunged at SEC since Trump took office

SEC Chairman Jay Clayton

Publicly traded companies have been hit with fewer and much less costly penalties by the Securities and Exchange Commission since Donald Trump became president.

From February through September, the agency, now headed by Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton, collected $127 million in corporate civil penalties in 15 cases, according to a POLITICO review of SEC data. That compares with $702 million in 43 cases from February through September 2016.

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