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November 30th, 2012
10:26 AM ET

Minding Your Business: Friday, November 30, 2012

Powerball fever may be over for those of us that did not win, but Christine Romans is minding your business with how lottery winners are taxed. Whether they choose to take it as a lump sum or an annuity, it will be taxed at the highest federal tax rate of 35%. The lump sum still gets you $192.5million before taxes. The winning tickets were found in Arizona and Missouri. After taxes, the winner in Arizona will receive $114 million, while the Missouri winner will get $117.5 million.    




Filed under: Minding Your Business
November 30th, 2012
10:20 AM ET

Democrats and Republicans struggle to reach a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff

The fiscal cliff is just 32 days away. With Democrats and Republicans both refusing to compromise, Zoraida speaks to a representative from each party to sort through the details.  

Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas says her main focus is to fight for the working class who is being ignored. "That is what the bottom line is for the president and for Democrats, to protect benefits in a reasonable manner, and to ensure that we have the revenue to bring down the deficit and to continue to operate in the needs of the American people," Lee said.

Kansas Republican Congressman Tim Huelskamp does not like the President's newest proposal, but does like some of Obama's past ideas, "I agree with the president from two years ago when he said you can't raise taxes in the middle of a recession. I think the economy is lower than it was last year. Slower than it was the year before, and we have this idea and notion that somehow raising taxes is going to create jobs."

As for compromising, the Senior Whip of the Democratic Caucus Lee favors focusing on growing the economy and not increasing cuts. She wants the Republican party to see eye to eye on that priority as well, "If my Republican friends would think about the working people of America, stop the war on working people of America, and not adhere to the fact that in a recession, you must constantly focus on the deficit. Most economists say focus on growth," she said.

Huelskamp agrees with her that progress can only be made by focusing on gaining revenue, "We have about 23 million Americans looking for work. Raising taxes doesn't create jobs. If we want more revenue in Washington we need to grow the economy. We need to talk about ways we can grow the economy and get Washington out of the way so people can go back to work, he said."

Instead of pointing the blame at just one person or party, Huelskamp, the House Budget Committee member, says the problem lies in Washington as a whole, "I think one of the problems with Washington in general is these things are taking place behind closed doors. That didn't work out a year and a half ago when they put together a bad deal. Both sides, the president, majority leader, the speaker, that created this crisis."

Though she doesn't believe a resolution will be reached before Christmas, Lee is positive about avoiding falling off the cliff, "I am looking forward to reasonable men and women coming together as patriots, and ensuring that we will address this question for the American people." Huelskamp agrees that a a solution can be found if and when Congress focuses on the good of the nation, "It's not about Washington. It's not about what the politicians are thinking. It's about how do we create more jobs in America and get our economy growing again?"

Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Politics
November 30th, 2012
10:14 AM ET

Best Advice: Dionne Warwick

Multi-Grammy award winning singer Dionne Warwick shares with us the best advice she ever received.

Filed under: 9/11 anniversary • Best Advice
November 30th, 2012
08:53 AM ET

Korean pop music sensation Psy makes YouTube history, CNN's Alina Chot chats with Psy about "Gangnam Style"

Korean pop music star Psy is more than another YouTube sensation. His music video for “Gangnam Style” has gone absolutely viral, and so have many of its imitations, making him a household name and worldwide celebrity. This week, Psy shattered the world record for most YouTube views in history. But what is it about the video that makes it so popular? CNN’s Alina Cho sat down with Psy for a revealing interview to ask the phenom himself. She joins “Early Start” with the answer.

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November 30th, 2012
07:13 AM ET

Small business owners concerned about looming fiscal cliff; CNN's Poppy Harlow reports

If Congress does not reach a deal averting the proverbial fiscal cliff by the January 1 deadline, massive spending cuts and tax increases are set to go in effect. Almost 90% of Americans will pay more in taxes starting next year. That includes small business owners. But small businesses are at the heart of America's economic recovery, and hurting them could hurt the economy as a whole. CNN’s Poppy Harlow talks with two small business owners in Freehold, New Jersey to get their take. Like all Americans, they want answers from Washington.

Bob Bellagamba, the CEO of Concord Worldwide, a limousine company, calls debt a cancer. His message for Congressional leaders is to walk a mile in his shoes. The uncertainty of no deal is making it difficult to run his company. “I'd love for them to come here and just spend a day, spend a week, just to know what a small business goes through,” he says.

Charles Altiero, the owner of Freehold Jewelers, says there are days now that he goes home without a paycheck. He just wants Congress to get to work and make a deal. “Do your job,” he says. “Make a decision.”

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Filed under: Congress • Fiscal cliff
November 30th, 2012
06:55 AM ET

Statue of Liberty faces massive clean up after Superstorm Sandy; CNN's Zoraida Sambolin surveys the damage

The damage done by Superstorm Sandy is still lingering in New York even one month later. The iconic Statue of Liberty faced the brunt of the storm. Though Lady Liberty still stands tall, her beacon of light is littered with debris. Zoraida Sambolin had visited the recently renovated statue just before the storm had hit, when it was preparing to reopen to the public. Today, “while the statue itself is intact, the grounds suffered enough damage to force the closure of the park to the public indefinitely,” she says. “The national park service is now in the midst of a massive clean up effort in hopes of reopening both [the Liberty and Ellis Island] parks sometime early next year.” 

She returned to the Statue of Liberty yesterday to see that Liberty Island had suffered devastation from the storm all around. The effects of Sandy were not just structural. Regularly, about 160 people  work on the Island between the concession area and the park staff. “Concession workers and ferry employees were laid off this week due to the extended closure of both islands,” Sambolin reports. Park employees were sent to other parks. But Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty, Dave Luchsinger, sees better days ahead. “To see it in the state it's in right now,” he says about the statue, “I know it's going to be better.”

November 29th, 2012
09:08 AM ET

Best Advice: Ann Margaret Carrozza

Lawyer Ann Margaret Carrozza gives us some good advice about money.

Filed under: Best Advice
November 29th, 2012
08:54 AM ET

Minding Your Business: Thursday, November 29, 2012

With both President Obama and Senate leader John Boehner expressing optimisim on fiscal cliff negotiations, stock futures are all trading up this morning.

Several Fortune 500 CEOs met with the President to discuss raising taxes for those making more than $250,000. Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein told The Situation Room's Wolf Blitzer yesterday, "If that's what it took to make the math work when you look at the entitlement side and the revenue side, I wouldn't preclude that. of course we would have to do that if the numbers drive that way."  Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner will be making the rounds on Capitol Hill today in continued discussions on how to avoid the fiscal cliff.

The economy may be doing better. Today, the third quarter GDP is expected to be revised higher, up .8%.


Filed under: 2012 • Fiscal cliff • Minding Your Business • Politics
November 29th, 2012
08:13 AM ET

Rep. Phil Gingrey won't break Norquist pledge, says U.S. is facing 'fiscal grand canyon'

The fiscal cliff is just 33 days away. At stake for all Americans are tax rates, retirement programs, state-run programs, and more. Yesterday the White House announced that Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top Congressional negotiator Rob Nabors will go to Capitol Hill for meetings. Also, Both President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner made optimistic predictions yesterday, but just how close are both sides to compromising—and reaching a deal?

Congressman Phil Gingrey is a Republican from Georgia. He was just named the Vice Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and he's the Chairman of the Republican Doctors Caucus. Rep. Gingrey offers his insight on raising taxes for revenue on “Early Start” this morning.

A signatory to Grover Norquist’s pledge, Rep. Gingrey says, “I’m certainly not going to break a pledge that I’ve made in regard to not raising taxes.” He considers this a pledge to his constituents. “They trust my judgment,” he says. “We know that…keeping taxes low stimulates jobs, and jobs stimulate revenue,” Rep. Gingrey adds. “We’re facing a fiscal grand canyon if we don’t reform Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security."

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Filed under: Uncategorized
November 29th, 2012
07:25 AM ET

CNN Trends: Caviar vending machines in California malls; CNN's Kyung Lah has the scoop

CNN’s Kyung Lah goes to a shopping mall in Burbank, California for a fishy delicacy, served by none other than a vending machine. It’s the world’s first caviar-selling vending machine. “Not just any caviar,” Lah says. “There's the garden variety $12 type, to the $500 an ounce beluga.”

The tightly frozen, custom built machine from Spain is set next to the holiday displays for shoppers to purchase just in time for Christmas.  There is “$50,000 worth of rare merchandise inside three vending machines,” Lah reports. “A little luxury for the layman, conveniently dispensed.”

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