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Tags: Obamacare | Forces | Doctors | to-Retire | Chinas Stake in U.S. Debt Disclosed | Tax Freedom Day Is April 18 | Rising Farm Productivity Restores Cropland to Forest

Obamacare Forces Doctors to Retire Early; China's Stake in U.S. Debt Disclosed

By    |   Sunday, 07 April 2013 09:31 PM EDT

Insider Report

Headlines (Scroll down for complete stories):
1. Tax Freedom Day Is April 18 This Year
2. More Doctors Planning Early Retirement
3. Rising Farm Productivity Restores Cropland to Forest
4. China's Ownership of U.S. Debt Called a 'Myth'
5. Only 2 U.S. Cities Among World's 30 Most Populous
6. U.S. Ranks 19th in Retirement Security

1. Tax Freedom Day Is April 18 This Year

Tax Freedom Day, when Americans have earned enough money to pay all their taxes for the year, will fall on April 18 in 2013 — five days later than last year.

According to the Tax Foundation, which does the calculations to determine Tax Freedom Day, the date is later this year "due mainly to the fiscal cliff deal that raised federal taxes on individual income and payroll. Additionally, the Affordable Care Act's investment tax and excise tax went into effect."

Americans will pay more than $2.76 trillion in federal taxes and $1.45 trillion in state taxes for 2013. That's more than they will spend on food, housing, and clothing combined.

From Jan. 1 to April 18 is 108 days or 29.4 percent into the year.

The Tax Foundation, with numbers of days rounded, disclosed that it will take Americans:

  • 32 days to pay federal individual income taxes.
  • 24 days to pay federal social insurance taxes.
  • 12 days to pay state and local sales taxes and excise taxes.
  • 12 days to pay property taxes.
  • 8 days to pay state and local individual income taxes.
  • 8 days to pay federal corporate income taxes.
  • 3 days to pay other federal taxes.
  • 3 days to pay other state and local taxes.
  • 2 days to pay federal excise taxes.
  • 1 day to pay state and local corporate income taxes.
  • 3 hours to pay state and local social insurance taxes.

    The tax burden borne by residents of different states varies considerably due to different state tax policies and the progressivity of the federal tax system. Higher-income states celebrate Tax Freedom Day later — Connecticut on May 13, New York on May 6, and New Jersey on May 4. Tax Freedom Day for residents of Mississippi and Louisiana arrived on March 29.

    The latest-ever Tax Freedom Day for the nation was May 1, 2000, when Americans paid 33 percent of their total income in taxes.

    The Tax Foundation also notes that if annual federal borrowing to fill the budget deficit, which represents future taxes owed, is included in the calculations, Tax Freedom Day would come on May 9 this year. The latest-ever deficit-inclusive Tax Freedom Day came on May 21, 1945, during World War II.

    Editor's Note:

    2. More Doctors Planning Early Retirement

    As the U.S. healthcare system changes dramatically over the next few years due to Obamacare, increasing numbers of doctors are planning to retire or scale back the hours they work, a new survey reveals.

    The annual poll of 600 physicians by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions found that six out of 10 doctors believe it is likely that many physicians will retire earlier than planned in the next one to three years.

    The survey also found that 55 percent of physicians think that doctors will scale back their practice hours "based on how the future of medicine is changing," Deloitte stated.

    And 38 percent of doctors polled say Obamacare is "a step in the wrong direction," while 44 percent say it is "a good start."

    Other findings of the Deloitte survey:

  • Half of the doctors polled think that physician income will fall dramatically in the next one to three years, and 68 percent of those with a solo practice think that way.
  • Only 59 percent of primary care providers are satisfied with practicing medicine.
  • A quarter of physicians would place new or additional limits on accepting Medicare patients if there were changes to the Medicare program such as lower payments or a switch to vouchers.
  • Nearly three-quarters of those polled believe the best and brightest may not consider a career in medicine in the future.
  • Just one in 10 doctors thinks that medical liability reform will pass Congress in the next one to three years.
  • Only 31 percent of doctors would give the overall U.S. healthcare system a grade of A or B.

    Editor's Note:

    3. Rising Farm Productivity Restores Cropland to Forest

    A new report belies the view that the United States has to a large extent felled its forests for farmland and paved them over for towns and cities.

    The surprising fact is that forests today cover about 72 percent of the area that was forested way back in 1630 — 10 years after the landing of the Mayflower.

    That is because farm productivity has improved to the extent that American farmers can now produce far more food on far less land, allowing land previously used for crops to return to forest, according to a report from Ronald Bailey, a science correspondent for Reason magazine.

    From about 1850 until 1910, the demand for wood as fuel led to the rapid clearing of American forests. But in the 20th century the extent of U.S. forests stabilized, and it began increasing in the second half of the century.

    This was spurred by revolutions in farming, including the advances made by plant breeder and 1970 Nobel Peace Prize winner Norman Borlaug and his colleagues, who created new high-yield varieties of rice and wheat.

    U.S. corn production grew 17-fold between 1860 and 2010, yet more land was planted in corn in 1925 than in 2010.

    American farmers currently average about 180 bushels of corn per acre, more than twice the world average of 82 bushels.

    But farmers in other countries have been making great strides as well. In 1960, India's population stood at 450 million, and Indians farmed 161 million hectares (400 million acres). By 2010, India's population had risen by more than two and a half times, but the amounted of land devoted to crops rose only about 5 percent, according to Bailey, who cites findings from the Population and Development Review.

    Farmers around the world can now produce about three times as much food as they did in 1960 on the same amount of land.

    Bailey points to the estimate that if global crop yields had remained at their 1960 levels, farmers would have needed about 3 billion more hectares to plant crops — an area equal to almost twice the size of South America.

    Editor's Note:

    4. China's Ownership of U.S. Debt Called a 'Myth'

    The widely held belief that China "owns" the United States because it has accumulated a large percentage of America's outstanding debt is a "myth," according to a report from the Cato Institute.

    "The myth is that the Chinese own a large amount of the public debt of the United States and are continuing to add to the debt in large amounts each year," writes James A. Dorn, editor of the Cato Journal.

    "The reality is that the Chinese own a very small amount of the debt."

    At the end of 2011, when America's gross public debt stood at $14.3 trillion, China's holdings amounted to just $1.2 trillion, or 8.4 percent of the total.

    Foreign holdings excluding China stood at 22.4 percent, and domestic holdings at 27.3 percent.

    But the largest percentage of debt was held by the Social Security Trust Fund and the Federal Reserve: 39.9 percent or $5.7 trillion.

    The Federal Reserve in fiscal 2011 was the largest buyer of new U.S. Treasury debt, acquiring 77 percent.

    The fact is, China's holdings of American debt equal barely more than a third of its total foreign exchange reserves.

    The real cause of the U.S. debt crisis — debt had risen to more than $16 trillion at the end of last year — "is overspending and an explosion in entitlements, especially Medicare and Medicaid," says Dorn, a professor of economics at Towson University in Maryland.

    "The stimulus programs in response to the 2008-09 financial crisis have also contributed to U.S. public debt.

    "It is time to stop blaming China for the debt crisis."

    Editor's Note:

    5. Only 2 U.S. Cities Among World's 30 Most Populous

    To most Americans, New York City is a very crowded place — but by the standards of the world's other large urban areas it's far from densely populated.

    The New York urban area, comprising parts of New York state, Connecticut, and New Jersey, has a density of just 4,600 persons per square mile, the lowest density of any of the world's megacities, according to the ninth annual edition of Demographia World Urban Areas. In fact, among urban areas with a population of at least 500,000, it ranks only at No. 793 thanks to its 4,495-square-mile footprint, the largest among all world megacities.

    The most densely populated urban area — defined by Demographia as a "continuously built-up land mass of urban development that is within a single labor market" — is Dhaka, Bangladesh, with 115,000 people per square mile. Its 14.4 million people are packed into an area of just 125 square miles.

    If New York had the same density as Dhaka, its population would be 517 million — far more than the entire U.S. population today.

    After Dhaka, the two most densely populated urban areas are Hyderabad, Pakistan (101,800 per square mile), and Mumbai, India (82,000), according to Demographia's calculations.

    Tokyo remains the world's most populous urban area with 37 million, a position it has held since it displaced New York nearly 60 years ago.

    It's followed by Jakarta, Indonesia (26.7 million); Seoul, South Korea (22.86 million); Delhi, India (22.82); Shanghai, China (21.7 million); Manila, Philippines (21.2 million); Karachi, Pakistan (20.8 million); New York (20.6 million); Sao Paulo, Brazil (20.5 million); and Mexico City, Mexico (20 million).

    The only other American city among the top 30 is Los Angeles, No. 17 with 15 million.

    Demographia reveals that despite the tremendous growth in population in the world's largest cities, particularly those in the developing world, the 28 megacities with a population of at least 10 million account for only 13 percent of the world's population.

    And despite China's industrialization in recent decades and the growth of its urban areas, "only" 346 million people live in Chinese cities with a population of 500,000 or more, meaning that 74 percent of China's 1.3 billion population live in rural areas or in urban areas with less than 500,000 people.

    Editor's Note:

    6. U.S. Ranks 19th in Retirement Security

    The United States lags behind 18 other countries in retirement security — including less affluent nations, according to a new worldwide index.

    The Natixis Global Retirement Index measures how well retired persons fare in 150 nations, based on gauges of health, material well-being, finances, and other factors.

    It was released in March by Boston- and Paris-based Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM), one of the world's largest investment management firms.

    Although the United States is the world's largest pension market, it lags behind less affluent nations on measures of income and health, Natixis states in a press release.

    "While the U.S. leads the world in per-capita health spending, individuals are still required to pay a portion of this expense on their own," it points out. "That leaves many health costs in the hands of retirees and takes resources away from their other needs."

    The United States, like many other nations, is facing a future with a rapidly aging population, rising life expectancy, and declining birthrates. This is likely to diminish the government's ability to finance programs such as Social Security and Medicare, leaving a heavier financial burden on retirees.

    Another factor: The economic downturn has taken a major toll on retirement savings, and more than half of workers age 30 and older are on a path that would leave them unprepared for retirement.

    The top 10 nations in the index of retirement security are all in Europe, with Norway ranked No. 1, followed by Switzerland, Luxembourg, Sweden, Austria, and Finland. Australia is the highest-ranked non-European nation, at No. 11, followed by Israel at 12 and Canada at 13.

    The United States at 19 is behind Slovenia (16), Czech Republic (17), and Slovakia (18).

    "The bottom line is that U.S. workers, like many of their counterparts across the globe, have to step up even more and take charge of their retirement futures," said Tracey Flaherty, NGAM's senior vice president for government relations and retirement strategies.

    "If these challenges aren't met, they may not have adequate income in retirement, with negative consequences for their health and overall quality of life."

    At the bottom of the index are Liberia at No. 146, followed by Sierra Leone (147), Comoros, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Zimbabwe last.

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    Editor's Note:

    Editor's Notes:

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Obamacare,Forces,Doctors,to-Retire,Chinas Stake in U.S. Debt Disclosed,Tax Freedom Day Is April 18,Rising Farm Productivity Restores Cropland to Forest,U.S. Ranks 19th in Retirement Security,
Sunday, 07 April 2013 09:31 PM
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