"When you look at the earned income tax credit, it has about a 25 percent fraud rate. We're looking at $20 billion to $30 billion."
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jan. 25 at the Freedom Partners 2015 California retreat
The Earned Income Tax Credit is the only IRS program that is considered a high-risk for improper payments, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration said in 2014. At the root of the problem is the complex nature of the tax credit: It is available to only low-income individuals, and it fluctuates based on earnings, number of children and other factors. The churn into and out of the program is high — about one-third of all recipients are first-timers, or their eligibility changes year-to-year due to swings in their income. This creates confusion among both recipients and administrators....
A recent measles outbreak at California's iconic Disneyland put the spotlight on a disease many people had probably thought was on the verge of eradication.
But it also instigated debates about the safety of the measles vaccine — which the scientific community and the vast majority of the population consider long settled — and whether it should be mandated for children.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., straddled both sides of the debate when he endorsed vaccines as safe but suggested they should be voluntary during a Feb. 2 interview on CNBC....
01/15/15 State Roundup
Sen. Marco Rubio's new book, American Dreams, makes its appearance at a fascinating moment for the Republican Party. The GOP has just taken control of both chambers of Congress, and candidates like Jeb Bush and Mitt Romney are signaling their intentions for 2016 presidential runs.
Rubio, a potential presidential hopeful himself, argues in his book that now is the time for Republicans to talk about their own big ideas....
How Rep. Steve Scalise, the third-ranking Republican in the House, came to speak at a white supremacist rally in 2002 — or right before it — remained a confusing controversy as Congress returned for its new session.
Conflicting accounts and the fog of time have all clouded the events of May 2002, when the European-American Unity and Rights Organization held a conference in the New Orleans area. The group, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group with anti-Semitic and racist writings, was headed by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and prominent Louisiana politician....
Perhaps no other news event drew more attention this year than the deadly August shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by former Ferguson, Mo., police Officer Darren Wilson.
The shooting and ensuing protests — which rekindled in November after a grand jury chose not to charge Wilson — sparked debates about race relations in the United States, the militarization of local law enforcement and officer-involved shootings. They were amplified by several other deaths of African-Americans at the hands of police around the country....
There's a good chance most Cubans won't be able to read this article. And the reason why — lack of Internet access — is a point of contention between President Barack Obama and Republican Sen. Marco Rubio.
Obama on Dec. 17 announced sweeping changes to the United States' decades-old isolation policy against Cuba, promising renewed diplomatic relations and an easing of regulations on commerce. Obama said the drastic shift in approach to the Communist-controlled island would help bolster the Cuban people, who he said have suffered from America's cold shoulder....
"We are younger than our competitors, and this is entirely because of immigration."
President Barack Obama, in a speech to business leaders
"Competitors" is a loose term, but judging by the countries Obama listed in a longer excerpt of his speech, he's comparing the United States to other large economies.
And, for the most part, he has a point. ...
Rolling Stone magazine late last week was forced to walk back its bombshell story describing a brutal gang rape at a University of Virginia fraternity after intense scrutiny unveiled journalistic lapses in the reporting.
Conservative and liberal commentators appearing Sunday on ABC's This Week agreed that the fallout from Rolling Stone's blunder would be a setback for victims of sexual assault....
You just sat down for Thanksgiving dinner, famished from a game of touch football in the back yard with all the cousins. The mashed potatoes are steaming. Your family is going around the table to say what they're thankful for — love, one another and good health aplenty.
But there's always one person who's just a little too surly for the occasion. This person — maybe he's like Saturday Night Live's Drunk Uncle — falls asleep to cable news and doesn't like what he's learned from "the Facebook." He uses the meal to go on a diatribe about immigration and the do-nothing Congress, and before anyone can stop it, he's roped the entire table into a political debate....
60,000 jobs for high-speed rail? No
The statement: Tampa to Orlando high-speed rail would have created 60,000 jobs.
Charlie Crist, during a debate Tuesday night
Gov. Rick Scott refused $2.4 billion in federal funds for a proposed Tampa-to-Orlando high-speed line when he first came into office in 2011, joining several other Republican governors in rejecting federal stimulus money. But would it have created 60,000 jobs? By the Florida Department of Transportation's own estimates, the project would have created about 50,000 jobs — 23,600 direct jobs, like construction, and 26,300 indirect jobs, like those created for equipment suppliers. So right away, claiming 60,000 jobs is highballing the state's estimate. But even the 50,000-job figure is fuzzy. FDOT calculated jobs in "job-years," which refers to the number of jobs that will be funded each year. The best way to look at the rail project is to say that it would have employed directly or indirectly 6,200 workers in 2011, 21,600 workers in 2012, 18,900 workers in 2013, 2,100 workers in 2014. About 600 permanent workers would be needed to keep the rail running and about 500 spinoff jobs would have been created. That's a far cry from 60,000 jobs. We rate the statement False....
President Barack Obama will have allies if he decides to expand airstrikes against the Islamic State extremist group to targets in Syria, vowed the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Samantha Power, on Sunday.
Appearing on three network news shows, Power touted international support for Obama's war strategy ahead of his Wednesday address to the U.N. General Assembly. But Power would not say which countries have voiced support for airstrikes in Syria when pressed by moderators like George Stephanopoulos of ABC's This Week, who noted "not even Great Britain has said they're going to join the airstrikes."...
What kind of apartment can you afford on a minimum-wage salary?
Your options may be very limited.
"There is no state in the U.S. where a 40-hour minimum wage work week is enough to afford a two-bedroom apartment," says a Facebook graphic posted Sept. 11 by OurTime.org, an advocacy group for young Americans.
OurTime.org cited the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Each year, the National Low Income Housing Coalition publishes a report that calculates what they call the "housing wage," or the hourly wage a full-time worker must earn to afford a decent two-bedroom rental home....
President Barack Obama sat for an interview for Sunday's Meet the Press that served dual purposes: It gave Obama a chance to show resolve against fighting the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, and it gave Chuck Todd a newsmaking interview for his debut as the show's new permanent host.
Obama said the United States will go on "some offense" to confront the terrorist Islamic State, promising to provide details in a speech Wednesday night, the eve of the 13th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. ...
President Barack Obama's lack of a clear strategy to confront the Islamic State set off resounding frustration among Republicans Sunday.
U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., lamented Obama's reluctance compared to tough talk from British Prime Minister David Cameron, who raised his country's terrorism threat level to "severe" and announced new plans to seize jihadists' passports.
"What is President Obama waiting for?" King said on CBS' Face the Nation. "It was a year ago this all started. I remember being in the White House with (White House Chief of Staff) Denis McDonough talking about the importance of air attacks in Syria, and we had allies lined up and then the president pulled the rug out. And those allies are going to be very hard now to get back into a coalition."...
The killing of an unarmed black teen by a white police officer in a St. Louis suburb is raising questions about the makeup of the police department and its response to the Aug. 9 shooting.
In some cases, answers are hard to come by.
On Sunday, actor and civil rights activist Jesse Williams appeared on CNN's State of the Union to discuss the shooting. Williams, right, best known for his role as a doctor on Grey's Anatomy, emphasized that journalists should not sensationalize findings that don't answer questions about why 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot by police — like a security video Ferguson authorities released of Brown allegedly robbing a convenience store minutes before he was killed....