Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
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by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Fri Nov 23 2012 11:13:12

Are Holiday Shoppers Oblivious to Economic Fiscal Cliff?

By: Ina Steiner

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The National Retail Federation CEO Michael Shay was on CNBC this morning talking about holiday shopping. The NRF predicted last month that holiday sales this year would increase 4.1 percent to $586.1 billion, higher than the 10-year average holiday sales increase of 3.5 percent, but lower than in 2011 growth of 5.6 percent.

Shay was asked about the "Fiscal Cliff" and whether shoppers understood it.

The Fiscal cliff refers to the effect of a number of laws which, if unchanged, would result in huge automatic tax increases and massive cuts to federal spending and a corresponding reduction in the budget deficit beginning in 2013. If the President and Congress can't agree to make changes to those laws, the taxes and spending cuts automatically go into effect in the New Year. And any agreement would most likely include some tax increase.

Shay said two-thirds of people are "aware of general economic conditions," but when asked whether people understood that taxes could increase sharply toward the beginning of next year, he said they probably don't understand the nuances of the Fiscal Cliff and its impact, but they are aware it's out there.

He also said that the over 1 million small businesses that would take a hit in terms of taxes should be a part of the conversation. "Revenue has to be on the table," he said, referring to taxes, "but we can't tax our way out of it" (referring to spending cuts).

Are you ready for higher taxes next year? And do you think people are in for a surprise in January, or are they spending less on holiday shopping to brace themselves for what may come?




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This user has validated their user name. by: Nolle

Fri Nov 23 12:02:09 2012

Sounds like Shay is looking out for the big retailers.

Everyone I know is fully aware of the ''fiscal cliff'', is aware that it was caused by T-baggers putting a gun to our collective heads who also dropped our international credit rating just to ''make a point''.

But no one that I know believes the cliff will happen, or if it does that they won't rewrite the rules last minute to avoid it. A fall off the cliff could mean a deep global recession - or even a depression.

Some more taxes for the rich (which as a group has grown by every measure), some less deductions for everyone, some spending cuts.  I believe that at least some of politicians - repubs and dems - are there to govern and not just throw ideological tantrums.  

Maybe this will help sort out who is really there to work and who is there to just make speeches.

But do I think we all fall over the cliff - jam our economy into reverse - and piss off everyone, rich middle, and poor? No friggin way.

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by: happyharry This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 23 22:29:31 2012

Considering the vast majority of ebay buyers (and increasingly Amazon buyers) cant spell, write a cohesive sentence in anything other than txt talk or even provide their correct delivery address …it is very doubtful if they know what fiscal means and cliff is obviously someone’s name

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This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Sat Nov 24 04:35:35 2012

What fiscal cliff? If the Fed has a printer; we can just print Gold!

The top 1% contribute about 38% of all taxes collected, the top 5% of wage earners pay around 58% of all revenue; but the bottom 50 percent paid only 2 percent of income taxes yet earned 13 percent of total U.S. income.

The 2012 voters have spoken and afforded themselves unlimited printing privilege of USD and the bankers are now force-feeding ink into the printers at the US Treasury.

When the upper 5% of wage earners quit, the lower 50% of wage earners will pay at a massive tax rate. I quit.

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by: frustrated This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 24 17:27:15 2012

When the top 1% or the top 5% have to CHOOSE between paying their taxes and paying their electricity bill, I will get out my hanky.

BOO-HOO.

Funny, they whine and complain about supporting their country, but have no trouble whatsoever contributing millions to Republican political campaigns.

If they had to survive for even a year on what the average person makes, they would apply for every possible government hand-out.

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 24 19:48:40 2012

Explaining the identity of the 47% (actually 46.4%) of Americans who “pay no income tax.”
Around two-thirds of that subset do pay Social Security and Medicare taxes.
Of the remaining one-third, about half are the elderly, who are retired, draw no income, and therefore pay no taxes. Only a small sliver pay both no income taxes or payroll taxes and actually work for a living, and they don’t have any tax liability because they don’t make enough.
Of course, they all pay state and local taxes.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 24 22:14:45 2012

Most people have no idea what this man-made "fiscal cliff" is....come January, and its not resolved, you will hear a mighty roar coming from those whose taxes were suddenly raised.  I really think people are getting a bit too smart to fall for this fearmongering our politicians are pulling on us!  This is nothing more then fearmongering to get people in a panic...then the politicians do their dirty work!

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This user has validated their user name. by: eBankrupted

Sun Nov 25 00:29:39 2012

I agree with all those who are in denial. Money is free, and the national debt isn't really a real number; it's just fear.

There's no such thing as a 'trillion', let alone 16 trillion! You've all been brainwashed. Round those 1% up in a field like cows and milk them for cash! Money is free and debt never has to be paid back.

Honestly, if I would known that people in 2012 would end up this stupid, I would have opted out of birth.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Sun Nov 25 02:56:29 2012

Most interviewees on CNBC are pro unregulated, untaxed corporations and pro that 1% who are "job creators" creating/shipping jobs to the Pacific Rim who think like like the owners of Papa John's, Denny's, Goldman Sachs, and Macy's.

All those in the middle class, the elderly, the uninsured, and poor need to know about CNBC and the radical right agenda they push is that it's strictly mproganda designed to make the 1% richer and rest of us poorer than we already are.

Never forget that the business model big business worships is the Walmart model.

The handful of Walton heirs have a cumulative wealth that now exceeds the the total wealth of the bottom 30% of this country.

Taxing those who earn $250,000 or more annually at the same rate they were taxed under the Clinton administration (in other words not renewing that tax cuts for the rich) and raising the social security deduction ceiling ALONE would solidify social and Security and Medicare for the next 60 to 70 years.

Enough is enough.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 25 12:38:09 2012

@eBankrupted  I see they have you in their pocket.  IF the real reason for the bush tax cuts was to allow the "job creators" to actually create jobs we would not have some 20 million people still out of work.  If you don't see this "fiscal cliff" nonsense as one more ploy to cheat the masses then I can sell you a nice bridge in Brooklyn!  America needs JOB and those people put to work will help pay down the deficit bush left us through two unfunded wars plus tax breaks for his rich buddies!

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by: go-figure This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 25 23:41:42 2012

@eBankrupted: Isn't amazing just how many people line up on the government hand-out bandwagon! I can't believe how many people think that the government creates jobs. What really floors me is how many of the people on this board are supposedly business owners! At the same time, they seem to have ample time to constantly post on these boards--they must be waiting on their latest entitlement payment to arrive instead of working their backsides off in order to build and grow their businesses.

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by: lonestar This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 25 23:45:57 2012

Eight of the ten richest counties in the country voted overwhelmingly for Obama.  Obviously not all of the rich have a problem paying more taxes.  A little more from them and a little in cuts and we're fine.  Nothing to worry about except Grover Norquist and his stupid pledge, and surely some who signed will recover their brain in time.

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by: rjs2006 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Nov 25 23:55:27 2012

@frustrated-Your comment about campaign contributions applies to democrats as well. Neither party represents the people any longer. Both have ties to wall street and dont believe its only the republicans.

@ Patricia -time to check your facts as well. You cant keep blaming bush for everything. Who took those deficits and increased them threefold?? Do a little research and I bet its the guy you voted for. Pull your head out!

@go-figure- I agree. This is my first posting but am tired of hearing how the democrats are supposedly not to blame for anything. I dont know how any business person could say the last four years benefited them and how 4 more years of the same policies are going to help. They are either uneducated about the real facts or dont have a business to begin with.

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This user has validated their user name. by: TheCheapSkirt

Mon Nov 26 00:01:57 2012

Because we haven't been subjected to enough political crap already... wow.   One more website to stop reading I guess.

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by: Paul W This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 04:43:17 2012

You cant keep blaming bush for everything. Who took those deficits and increased them threefold??

@rjs2006  You need to get YOUR facts straight--the deficit has been lower every year from 2010 to 2012 than the 2009 deficit inherited from W. That is not opinion, that is a fact.

Now this is opinion: The Fiscal Cliff is really the Fiscal Bunny Hill.  Jan 1 is not the apocalypse if no deal is reached.  Most of the stuff doesn't kick in right away, and Republicans will be falling all over themselves to cut taxes for the 99% in that case, as well as to rescind other drastic cuts that would hurt most people.  They'll be able to honor their pledge to the increasingly irrelevant Grover.

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by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 07:46:16 2012

When the ''powers that be'' flip flop as often as they do regarding the financial stability of America, it becomes increasingly more difficult to discern reality from hype.

EVERYONE has an agenda, and more the pity that financial responsibility doesn't seem to be among the agenda choices.

MANUFACTURING FOR EXPORT creates strong economies. IF and WHEN America relearns this concept, maybe the never ending agenda ridden rhetoric regarding the haves and have nots will finally be brought to a close.

Nixon began this mess when he went to China as a political ploy against the USSR.

Reagan deregulated the banks.

Papa Bush decided that Hussein had acquired too much power for a ''placed'' puppet king.

Clinton bought into Nafta, and isn't it funny how both American AND Mexican WORKERS see little benefit from this.

Baby Bush freaked out on Air Force 1 and decided that a revival of The Crusades was a good idea, and also felt that his (or maybe Cheney's) buddies weren't skimming enough from the top profits.

And how many years did EVERYBODY buy into the theory that a Housing Bubble had the capabilities of maintaining a strong economy?

BAILOUTS FOR BONUS BUCKS?  I won't EVEN go ''there''.

ACCOUNTABILITY?????!!!!! Look the GD word up in a dictionary, AND relearn to apply it to EVERYBODY!

Oh, and since this blog is read, predominantly by online venue sellers,...

... Check out the various Boards of Directors, and past investors. That will do much in IDing our country's traitors. There's all sorts of inbreeding within the ''mover and shaker tier''.

As far as our cliff. How much meaningful media attntion does it receive, especially when compared to the non stop advertising platform?

AND the opening of the B&M world on THANKSGIVING DAY.

We've been shown the priorities of the 1%.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Tula

Mon Nov 26 08:25:49 2012

Okay, I'm allowing myself one comment on this. @eBankrupted I'm with you. It really blows my mind that the top 25% of income earners pay 86% of all income taxes and still people complain they aren't paying their "fair share" (are you as sick of that phrase as I am?) You could take every penny from the top 2% and it wouldn't pay to run the country for more than a few weeks. The deficit problem is at least an order of magnitude greater than the amount of "revenue" (i.e., all the money we *earn* that the government wants to take) they could possibly take in. It's a *SPENDING* problem. Period.

All of the real business owners I know are highly insulted by the attitude of the present administration and their sneering condescension and "you didn't build that" attitude. Yes, I d*mn well did build it and without any help. I pay for the services and infrastructure I use, as do all other businesses (except for Obama's cronies and the unions, who get special deals and loans they don't have to pay back *wink wink* *nudge nudge*. Everyone has access to the same roads and services, even those who don't pay any taxes. Why lambaste businesses who actually make productive use of those resources their taxes have paid for? It's not my fault if others don't take advantages of the opportunities before them and yes, we do all have that opportunity. I grew up poor and had no special advantages and even had a disability to contend with, yet I've managed to have a successful career and run a business. *Anyone* can do it if they want to.

Even if the fiscal cliff is resolved, we're all going to be faced with new taxes because of O-Bominable-Care. Well, any of us who actually work and pay taxes, that is. My own tax bill will go up by a couple thousand dollars due to the higher threshold for medical expense deductions ad later, because of the "Cadillac" plan 40% excise tax. Gee how nice to get socked with an extra tax because I have the audacity to pay higher premiums for better coverage when I have a chronic condition that requires more medical care than the average person. I act responsibly by paying for more comprehensive coverage only to be slapped with a tax because it's "too good." Tell me on what planet that makes any kind of sense? It's nothing more than an envy tax enacted because a handful of the wealthy might have better health insurance plans. As usual, the Democrats neglected reality and don't seem to understand that for many of us, paying higher premiums to get a plan with no deductibles or co-insurance is actually far cheaper than a low-premium plan where we'd have to pay deductibles and such every year anyway. The only way O-Bysmal-Care is affordable is if you never actually use health care.

I'd really like to know what the magic number is that transforms someone from "successful" to "rotten greedy rich bas**rd". When did we start demonizing success in this country? I'm fed up with being told I'm greedy because I want to keep what I earn. I don't trust the government to take care of me when it's my turn to retire, so I'm planning and saving for myself. That's called personal responsibility, something Democrats seem to have no understanding of. I don't want to end up living on cat food when I'm retired and that's what will happen if I depend on social security and medicare. I don't consider it "fair" to steal my earnings that I worked hard and sacrificed to acquire only to give them to those who couldn't be bothered to prepare and save on their own. No one begrudges the truly needy, but there is so much fraud and waste in all these entitlement programs that it's truly disgusting. And yet people keep demanding more. Well, sorry, but there's no money tree growing in my back yard, nor are there any growing in business offices everywhere. People love to talk about business taxes, yet don't seem to understand that businesses don't actually pay taxes. Taxes are an expense like any other and like all other expenses, get rolled into the cost of goods and services sold. That means they get passed along to the consumer - *us*. When a company takes a deduction and pays less tax, they aren't sitting around on that money. Deducting an expense means they spent that money and it's out there circulating in the economy and, hey, maybe even creating jobs. People like to talk about the sound bite of GE paying no taxes, but what they don't get is that the only reason that occurred was because GE lost so much money they couldn't deduct it all in one year - a tax move available to anyone, by the way. But you can't tell some people that. They just see those mean old greedy businesses and want to stick it to them the same way they want to stick it to those who are more successful than themselves. It's sickening to see the ugliness and envy out there.

Go ahead and keep pushing for more taxes, but don't be surprised when you see more of what happened to Hostess. Companies are formed to *make money* not provide jobs or health care. If they can't make money, they move production to where they can or simply cease operating (unless they're one of Obama's cronies or favored ones, who then get taxpayer bailouts). Unfortunately, there's no stopping some people from being stupid to spite themselves.

FYI, I'm not even a Republican. I'm an Independent who believes in smaller government all around. I don't like either of the main political parties, but am far more disgusted with the Democrats and their nastiness lately. I think it's dumb to send ever more money to a government who refuses to spend responsibly. There is so much waste, pork, and fraud, yet so many people refuse to hold them accountable, falling for the same old tired "tax the rich" nonsense, like it's some great solution and not just a tiny blip on a much larger picture.

I don't expect to convince the gimme crowd of anything. They're too brainwashed by the media sound bites and empty rhetoric coming out of Washington DC. All I can do is keep trying to make money and shelter it from taxes in any way possible. Anyone who thinks raising taxes will actually bring in more revenue is seriously deluded. Come back to me next April, after you recover from the heart attack you get after seeing your tax bill (provided you don't croak because of the longer wait times for medical care due to Obamacare).  *rant off*  Have a nice day!

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by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 08:59:41 2012

Don't worry about the ''cliff''. Dec 22 comes before Jan 1st.  :-)

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 10:34:33 2012

Anyone can do it. Yeah right.

Let's say a big American company has $10 billion in total sales--half in the U.S. and half in Germany--and $8 billion in total expenses--again half and half (in reality). With $1 billion in actual U.S. profits and a 35% tax rate, the company ought to pay $350 million in U.S. income taxes.But suppose that for U.S. tax purposes, the company is able to treat 5/8th of its expenses--or $5 billion--as U.S.-related. If you do the arithmetic,you'll see that leaves it with zero U.S. taxable profit. Although our tax system has rules to mitigate this kind of abuse, companies still have plenty of room to maneuver.

Another example: In its 1987 annual report to its stockholders,IBM said that a third of its worldwide profits were earned by its U.S. operations.But on its federal tax return, IBM treated so much of its R&D expenses as U.S.-related that it reported almost no U.S. earnings--despite $25 billion in U.S. sales that year. As a result, IBM's federal income taxes for 1987 were virtually wiped out.

Another: Intel Corp. won a case in the Tax Court letting it treat millions of dollars in profits from selling U.S.-made computer chips as Japanese income for U.S. tax purposes--and therefore exempt from U.S. tax--even though a tax treaty between the U.S. and Japan requires Japan to treat the profits as American--and therefore exempt from Japanese tax! As too often happens,the profits thus became ''nowhere income''--not taxable anywhere.

Another of the classic tax avoidance games that multinational companies play is illustrated by a tax break that goes to the many drug companies and electronics firms that have set up subsidiaries in Puerto Rico. They assign ''ownership'' of their most valuable assets--patents, trade secrets and the like--to their Puerto Rican operations, and then argue that a very large share of their total profits is therefore ''earned''in Puerto Rico and therefore eligible for the tax break. Reforms in 1986 tried to scale back this tax dodge, but it still costs more than $3 billion annually. Although encouraging jobs in Puerto Rico might be a nice idea(although perhaps not at the expense of mainland employment), it has been estimated that many of the Puerto Rican jobs cost the Treasury upwards of$70,000 a year each because the tax break is so abused.  

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 26 11:28:38 2012

@go-figure - you too are in their pocket along with along with bankrupted LOL.  As for sitting around posting here and collecting government handouts...that's not true of all of us.  I sit here on my social security and pension from my company after over 50 years of working and paying into the SS fund!  Now I have to see sleazy politicians trying to shred that fund!!!  How dare you assume that we are all sitting around on government handouts.  You're lost, my friend!

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This user has validated their user name. by: Screaming Banshee

Mon Nov 26 12:35:14 2012

The "Fiscal Cliff" is a straw man argument. Politicians don't fix the problems because they benefit from the problems.

Simplifying the tax code and cutting redundant, outdated programs and departments out of the Fed would go much, much further than increasing taxes on anyone.

When taxes are raised, big business doesn't pay more, WE at the bottom of the food chain pay more. Apply the logic of increased costs to your own business. When our fees, inventory or postage costs go up who pays for it, you or your customer?

When taxes are raised on the top earners it's those of us at the bottom that will pay the price.

Cleaning up the tax code so that everyone pays the same tax is the only right and fair solution. But that means that members of Congress would pay more (plenty of 1%'ers there) and wouldn't be able to favor corporate donors with loopholes. So they don't have the stomach to do the right thing.

This threat of the 'Fiscal Cliff' is blackmail; it gives both parties an opportunity to strut around as if they're doing their jobs. It's a show, a distraction, a way out of fixing what's wrong. Americans could send 100% of what we earn to D.C. and it would not be enough.  

Those who think sending other people's money will solve the problem are fooling themselves. Where do most big corporations get their money? From consumers. That's not going to change.

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