The decision by Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, to retire at the end of his term could be key to implementing a comprehensive overhaul of the tax system. Baucus has promised to devote his remaining time in office to rewriting the tax code. Many see such a revision as a way to break the fiscal standoff between Democrats and Republicans.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has introduced a bill that would require background checks on anyone seeking to buy explosives. The bill, crafted by Sen. Frank Lautenberg of New Jersey, would revise current laws that let people buy up to 50 pounds of black powder, no questions asked. "It defies common sense that anyone, even a terrorist, can walk into a store in America and buy explosive powders without a background check," Lautenberg said.
President Barack Obama says that if his daughters, Malia and Sasha, show up one day with a tattoo, then he and Michelle will head straight to the nearest tattoo parlor and get the exact same inkwork done on their own bodies. "We'll go on YouTube and show it off as a family tattoo," he warned.
Going it alone or with an accountant, Americans spend long hours preparing their tax returns. Add them up, in fact, and the total tops 6.1 billion hours annually. Contributing to the challenge: the steady addition of tax code changes -- 4,680 since 2001.