Driving the Day: 12/18/12

Dec 18, 2012

Need to know…

  • Negotiations Continue Between Obama and Boehner.  President Obama made a new fiscal cliff offer that would raise $1.2 trillion in taxes and lift the debt ceiling limit for two years. Speaker John Boehner rejected the proposal, although his office said Monday night that it was “a step in the right direction.” The new offer lowers the president’s demands for tax increases and includes additional spending cuts, but it still falls short of the healthcare savings Boehner and other Republicans want from reforming entitlement programs like Medicare.
  • Employer Health Insurance Premiums Rose from 2003 to 2011. Average premiums for employer-sponsored family health insurance plans rose 62% between 2003 and 2011, from $9,249 to $15,022 per year, according to a new Commonwealth Fund report. Health insurance costs rose far faster than incomes in all states, according to the report, which tracks trends in state employer health insurance coverage. Total health insurance premiums now amount to 20% or more of annual median family incomes in 35 states, affecting 80% of the U.S. working-age population.
  • Decision Looms in China Trade Battle. As part of the clean-energy trade spat between the Obama Administration and China, the Commerce Department will give its final ruling today on whether to slap Chinese firms with anti-dumping penalties on utility-scale wind tower imports. The tariffs could be as high as 73% for Chinese wind towers that generate at least 100 kilowatts, and could top out at 60% for Vietnamese imports. 

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