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A Conservative Tax Hike

Like the mortgage-interest deduction, which the Trump plan unfortunately keeps (the president loves his real estate and is the self-proclaimed “king of debt”), the deduction for state and local taxes was intended to be a benefit to the middle class, i.e., the salt-of-the-earth voters who simultaneously are strongly in favor of an active welfare state and strongly disinclined to pay for it. (American progressives who favor European-style social-welfare systems should take a look at the middle-class tax rates in Sweden or Norway, and then imagine the howling American mob they would face if they tried to replicate that necessary aspect of Eurotopia at home.) The entitlement-hungry/tax-averse middle class could use a kick in the shins — if you want to take the ride, you’ve got to buy the ticket — but in reality the state-tax and mortgage-interest deductions mainly benefit higher-income households. That’s not surprising: High-income households make a lot of money, often have larger mortgages (at least in absolute terms), and, to no one’s surprise, pay most of the taxes, both at the federal level and at the state and local levels. If you are paying the highest rate in California, you have a seven-figure income, so that deduction is really helpful against your federal tax burden. Less so if you make $50,000 a year.

Will global equities break their pattern in the December quarter?

Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen seems as determined as ever to maintain a gradual rate hike path and she'll get another chance to press that point when she speaks mid-week.

Trump eyes next Fed chief

It appears that Dr Yellen's fate will be known soon. President Donald Trump said he expected to decide within weeks on who will chair the US central bank after Dr Yellen's term expires in February. Mr Trump said on the weekend that he had narrowed his list to four: reportedly, Dr Yellen, Gary Cohn, Kevin Warsh and Jerome Powell.

As much as markets are keen to know in which direction the Fed may tilt policy going forward, the battle between hawks and doves will resume in earnest this week. In addition to Dr Yellen, nine key US policymakers will speak over the next five days including Robert Kaplan, James Bullard, John Williams and William Dudley.

Over the weekend Patrick Harker, the boss of the Fed's Philadelphia bank, said he had "penciled in" a rate hike in December, and three more next year, despite weak inflation.

Where is the best (only) bank to get the absolute best deal on a refinance mortgage?

Does any such organization exist in this thievery invented by jews? It seems no matter what my credit score is I ALWAYS will get dinged on either a) closing costs b) rate or most often BOTH!

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