Congressional Research Service. September 22, 2014.

Since 1971, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been a self-supporting government agency that covers its operating costs with revenues generated through the sales of postage and related products and services. The USPS is experiencing significant financial challenges. After running modest profits from FY2003 through FY2006, the USPS lost $45.6 billion between FY2007 and FY2013. Since FY2011, the USPS has defaulted on $16.7 billion in payments to its Retiree Health Benefits Fund (RHBF). The agency reached its $15 billion borrowing limit in FY2012 and did not reduce its total debt in FY2013. In October 2012, the USPS bolstered its liquidity by withdrawing all of the cash from its competitive products fund. This fund has not been replenished since that time. [PDF format, 14 pages].

Congressional Research Service. May 27, 2014.

The U.S. corporate income tax is based on worldwide economic activity. If all of a corporation’s economic activity is in the United States, then tax administration and compliance is, relatively, straight-forward. Many corporations, however, operate in several jurisdictions, which creates complications for tax administration and compliance. Further, corporations may actively choose where and how to organize to reduce their U.S. and worldwide tax liabilities. Some of these strategies have been referred to as expatriation, inversions, and mergers. This report examines them in light of recent expansion of their use and growing congressional interest. [PDF format, 14 pages].

Congressional Research Service. June 15, 2012.

The practice of granting a company’s employees options to purchase the company’s stock has become widespread among American businesses. Employee stock options have been praised as innovative compensation plans that help align the interests of the employees with those of the shareholders. They have also been condemned as schemes to enrich insiders and avoid company taxes. [PDF format, 20 pages].

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Congressional Research Service. May 10, 2012.

Foreign direct investment in the U.S. declined sharply after 2000, when a record $300 billion was invested in U.S. businesses and real estate. In 2010, according to U.S. Department of Commerce data, foreigners invested $236 billion in U.S. businesses and real estate. Foreign direct investments are highly sought after by many state and local governments that are struggling to create additional jobs in their localities. While some in Congress encourage such investment to offset the perceived negative economic effects of U.S. firms investing abroad, others are concerned about foreign acquisitions of U.S. firms that are considered essential to U.S. national and economic security. [PDF format, 11 pages].

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Rising Gasoline Prices 2012

On March 15, 2012, in Economy, Energy, by editor1

Congressional Research Service. March 1, 2012. 

Average national gasoline prices have increased by $0.46 to $3.78 per gallon between the end of December 2011 and the end of February 2012. Higher gasoline prices burden the budgets of households and businesses. Higher gasoline costs can increase indebtedness or reduce spending on other goods and services. Many of the policies that may address rising gasoline prices are long term. This report briefly covers several short-term options that have been considered by policy makers: Strategic Petroleum Reserve Release, Gasoline Tax Holiday, Relaxing Fuel Specifications, Restricting Refined Products Exports, Limit Financial Speculation, Diplomatic Measures. [PDF format, 16 pages].