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Stephen Asbel
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Many fairly wealthy individuals have pulled back on estate planning for reducing estate taxes in the past year with the exemption amount at $5 million. However, that law as it stands is temporary and will go away at the end of 2012 unless it is extended. If Congress does nothing, the exemption will drop back down to $1 million - an amount which could impact many middle class families. A paid-off home and a life insurance policy could put many taxpayers over that $1 million mark even though they only have incomes that would be considered middle class.

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Even if the hostages had agreed to hide the perpetrator from police, the agreement could not be binding because it was made under duress. http://www.kansascity.com/2012/01/16/3374065/fugitives-lawsuit-against-kansas.html

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My firm now has a page on Google+. Check it out.

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Same-sex couple wins custody of child that one of them fathered with help of a surrogate, but surrogate was still declared legal mother despite surrogacy contract. Father's partner is surrogate's brother; surrogate claimed coercion in signing contract due to financial dependence on her brother.

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If you listened to Speaker John Boehner’s speech before the D.C. Economic Club today, you heard a very specific story explaining why unemployment is stuck at 9 percent: “it’s not because the American people have lost their way,” he said. “It’s because their government has let them down.” But Boehner never mentioned Wall Street, or foreclosures. There was no talk of consumer debt or weak demand. Nothing about underwater homeowners or European crises. If liberals sometimes go too far in thinking the government can solve every problem, conservatives sometimes go too far in thinking the government causes every problem. And that’s where Boehner went today.

To read Boehner’s speech, the economy can’t grow because government won’t let it. On the margins, there’s something to that analysis. There’s no doubt that government policy could be more growth-oriented than it is today. But consumer spending is being held back by housing and credit-card debt much more than it is by abstract fears of future actions to reduce the deficit. Major corporations that export products and worry about the cost of credit are primarily concerned with Greece defaulting and emerging economies slowing down, not with coal regulations.

The Economic Club of Washington, D.C., was, in a sense, the perfect venue for a speech such as Boehner’s. “Organized in 1986,” the venue’s Web site reads, “the Economic Club of Washington was established in recognition of the unique and critical role that Washington plays in the national and world economies.” But Boehner overstated that role today. Washington plays a unique and critical role in national and world economies, but what happens in Washington is not the single factor deciding what happens in national and world economies. This is not a criticism you can typically make of Boehner, but today, he gave the government too much credit.

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Thanks to +Doug Coulson for this interesting item. Did lunchtime change the course of history?
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