Cliff notes…’Downton’ update…& more

Taxes Fiscal Cliff

Photo Source: Rex Features via AP Images

The short version. The nation’s collective cliffhanger is resolved (sort of). What do you need to know? Here’s a super-short primer, courtesy of Reuters.

In addition to a higher tax rate on family incomes of $450,000-plus (to 39.6%, up from 35%), the payroll tax cut is being rolled back, so you’ll see 2% more taken out of each check on the first $113,700 of income, just like old times.

On the upside the Cliff deal will extend the child tax credit, unemployment benefits, and it includes a permanent patch for the “wicked witch of the tax code”: the alternative minimum tax (AMT). If everyone signs off, the AMT will be indexed for inflation, making it less likely that middle-class earners will get hit by it. (Reuters, ABC)

She was a hero. Never heard of Beate Sirota Gordon? Neither had we, until we read the obituary of her extraordinary life today. At 22, Gordon was part of a team that helped rebuild Japan after World War II—and she wrote part of Japan’s constitution that created rights for women that exist to this day. An incredible story. (NYT)

Get Down(ton). As @JeanChatzky tweeted yesterday, “Downton’s January 6. Can’t wait.” Now that’s a cliffhanger we can all look forward to.

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