Real Gross Domestic Product (1949 – 2012)

Posted in Economy by americatimes on February 13, 2013
Click here for the historical record of the Real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) as provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA), an agency of the Department of Commerce.

(First select ‘Section 1.’ and then ‘Table 1.1.6.)

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IRS gives illegal immigrants $4.2 billion in tax credits

Posted in Economy by americatimes on May 11, 2012
Gov’t Audit: Illegal Immigrants Received $4.2 Billion in Tax Credits Last Year
The Blaze – September 2, 2011
By Madeleine Morgenstern

Illegal immigrants not authorized to work in the United States received $4.2 billion in tax credits from the IRS last year, almost quadruple the amount five years ago, a government audit found. []

The Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) found an increasing number of illegals are claiming a refundable tax credit meant for working families when they file their taxes. Those who claim the credit either reduce what they owe or receive refunds.

According to TIGTA, which independently oversees the IRS, this essentially provides a huge incentive for illegals to come, live and work in the U.S.:

Many individuals who are not authorized to work in the United States, and thus not eligible to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) for employment, earn income in the United States. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provides such individuals with an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to facilitate their filing of tax returns. Although the law prohibits aliens residing without authorization in the United States from receiving most Federal public benefits, an increasing number of these individuals are filing tax returns claiming the Additional Child Tax Credit (ACTC), a refundable tax credit intended for working families. The payment of Federal funds through this tax benefit appears to provide an additional incentive for aliens to enter, reside, and work in the United States without authorization, which contradicts Federal law and policy to remove such incentives.

The $4.2 billion amount is a dramatic increase from $924 million in 2005. According to the audit, 72 percent of people who used a taxpayer identification number to file taxes last year claimed the child tax credit, up from 51 percent in 2005. Comparatively, just 14 percent of those who filed regular tax returns last year claimed the credit.

According to the Washington Post [below], the explosion in claims is due in part to tax law changes that reduced the number of children required to claim the credit. Additionally, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also made the refund easier to get.

Undocumented workers got billions from IRS in tax credits, audit finds
The WashingtonPost – 09/02/2011
By Lisa Rein

The Internal Revenue Service allowed undocumented workers to collect $4.2 billion in refundable tax credits last year, a new audit says, almost quadruple the sum five years ago.
[Link to Audit:


Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee … said in a statement.. “With our debt standing at over $14.5 trillion and counting, it’s outrageous that the IRS is handing out refundable tax credits…to those who aren’t even eligible to work in this country.”

Wage earners who do not have Social Security numbers and are not authorized to work in the United States can use what the IRS calls individual taxpayer identification numbers. Often these result in fraudulent claims on tax returns, auditors found.

Their data showed that 72 percent of returns filed with taxpayer identification numbers claimed the child tax credit.


Changes to tax law are partly to blame for the explosion in refunds for additional child tax credits in recent years, auditors found. Before 2001, filers needed to have three or more children to qualify — and to owe more Social Security taxes than earned income credits.

But those requirements have been eliminated and the allowable refund for each child doubled. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 also made the refund easier to get, auditors found.

Treasury Inspector: Individuals Who Are Not Authorized to Work in the United States Were Paid $4.2 Billion in Refundable Credits
By Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) report of July 7, 2011: (Reference Number: 2011-41-061)

Illegal Aliens Get Billions in Tax Credits from IRS

Illegals received $4 billion in tax credits from IRS last year

Illegal Aliens Receive $4.2 Billion in Additional Child Tax Credits

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A Government Shut Down Will Not Affect You (New York Times)

Posted in Economy by americatimes on April 7, 2011
Even the liberal New York Times accepts that we don’t need to worry if the government shuts down:

Federal Departments Lay Out Plans in the Event of a Government Shutdown

New York Times
April 6, 2011

SOCIAL SECURITY The government would continue to make Social Security payments to the 53 million beneficiaries. “We will continue to process applications for benefits, but it might take longer if a shutdown does occur,” said Mark Hinkle, a spokesman for Social Security. “Our local offices will open for limited services. We are working on the specifics.”

A huge backlog of applications for Social Security disability benefits would grow even larger, agency officials said.

HEALTH CARE Medicare, the program for people who are 65 and older or disabled, would continue to pay doctors and hospitals for several weeks, using money from its trust funds.

The National Institutes of Health would not admit new patients to its research hospital or begin new clinical trials of drugs, devices or other treatments. However, research studies already begun would continue.

TAXES. The Internal Revenue Service would not audit tax returns and would not issue refunds to taxpayers who file returns on paper. But the agency would process returns filed electronically, a majority of all filings, and would issue refunds for those returns. Douglas H. Shulman, the I.R.S. commissioner, said federal taxes would still be due on April 18. (The deadline had already been extended three days because of a local holiday here.) The I.R.S. plans to keep enough people on hand to cash incoming checks because the government needs the money.

HOUSING If a shutdown occurs, the Federal Housing Administration, the world’s largest insurer of mortgages, could not make new loan guarantees for homebuyers.

PASSPORTS As a national security agency, the State Department would continue operations, but some activities, like issuing passports for travelers and visas for foreigners coming to the United States, could stop or face significant delays. Emergency consular services would continue.

POSTAL SERVICE Post offices would maintain their regular hours and mail delivery would continue.

FOOD STAMPS Since the government makes the money available to states by the beginning of each month, advocates for food stamp recipients predicted no immediate impact on benefits. “They should be O.K. for the month of April,” said Stacy Dean, a food stamp expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

MILITARY Active-duty personnel would continue to work and earn pay during a shutdown, but would generally not receive paychecks until Congress appropriated money at some later date. While troops in combat zones and assisting Japanese earthquake relief would continue operations, they might not be paid until a new budget was approved.

Many civilian employees of the Defense Department could be furloughed, but some would continue working, if their duties were deemed essential to national security or to the protection of life and property.

Civilian employees of the armed forces perform myriad duties, including payroll, security and air traffic control. Brian M. Leonard, president of a union local representing civilian employees of the Marine Corps, said, “The Defense Department is not telling us which employees will be furloughed, how they will be notified or whether they will be paid.”

PARKS AND MUSEUMS National parks would be closed and the Smithsonian Institution’s museums are planning to close.

WELFARE (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families). Benefits have been authorized through the end of September, so experts predicted that cash assistance payments would not be affected. States share in the costs and could substitute their own money to make up for delays in the arrival of federal dollars.

“Our expectation is that it’s not going to have a big impact,” said LaDonna A. Pavetti, of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.


LAW ENFORCEMENT The Justice Department would continue work to protect national security, enforce criminal laws and combat drug trafficking and gun violence. At department headquarters and at the offices of United States attorneys around the country, prosecutors would continue criminal litigation without interruption. Federal prisons would continue to operate.

But the Justice Department would curtail or stop work on most civil litigation.

Read more:
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