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Do you live in fear of an IRS audit?

auditfear 600It is no secret that one of the biggest fears people have is receiving an audit notice from the IRS. It ranks right up there with being diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. Of course, the IRS does nothing to alleviate this fear because the more frightened you are, the less likely you will be to cheat on your taxes.

The IRS audited one out of every 104 tax returns in federal fiscal year 2013. It's becoming increasingly evident that the greater your total income, the more you'll attract the agency's attention. Last year, the IRS audited about 10.85 percent of taxpayers with income greater than $1 million. The audit rate dropped to 0.88 percent for those with income less than $200,000.

Some of the audits were taxpayers pulled at random. The rest of the returns are selected for examination in a variety of ways.

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Health crisis is real

fletcher 600My friend is awaiting health insurance. This is not academic. She's afraid that she might have cancer. Think about what it says about a society that someone concerned about a serious illness has to wait to see whether they have the right insurance to cover a potentially life-threatening crisis.

For those who are procrastinating in getting your personal health insurance, I would suggest that you are gambling. And while the "cards" may play out in your favor, they also may not.

My friend has to wait till she gets her health insurance because, like many other workers, she is employed by a company that does not offer health insurance. They do not offer much in the way of time-off either. It is all part of a larger pattern. Each day that passes, workers find that they have to cover more and more of what, at one point, people took for granted. No health insurance; no pension; no sick time; little, if any, vacation. It starts to feel like the days prior to the advent of labor unions.

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8 sneaky racial code words and why politicians love them

codeword 600When Paul Ryan talked about a "real culture problem" in "our inner cities in particular" this week, he wasn't the first American politician to be slammed for using racially coded language to get a point across. Far from it.

Ian Haney López, author of "Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class," says it's not just the promotion of old-fashioned racial stereotypes that we need to worry about. Rather, he argues, it's the manipulation of racism in service of very specific goals.

López's book focuses on elected officials' ability to tap into bias without being explicit about it, all to gain support for what he calls "regressive policies," which, ironically, hurt working-class white people as much as people of color.

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NCAA bound Tigers headed to Raleigh

tigersdance 600The University of Memphis will play George Washington Friday in the Second Round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament in Raleigh, N.C. The Tigers (23-9) learned their fate during the Division I Men's Basketball Selection Show broadcast by March Madness Live and CBS on Sunday.

Memphis is the East Region's No. 8 seed. The winner of Friday's game between No. 9 seed George Washington and the Tigers will take on the winner of Friday's game pitting No. 1 Virginia vs. No. 16 Coastal Carolina on Sunday. The games in Raleigh will be played at PNC Arena.

Times for Thursday and Friday's NCAA Second Round games are still to be determined.

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It’s called class warfare

spriggclasswarfare 600Everyone knows America has a hyper inequality problem. The six Walton family heirs who own Walmart have the same wealth as the bottom 42 percent of Americans. In the latest data through 2011, researchers Emmanuel Saez and Thomas Piketty show the top 1 percent of income earners in the U.S. get 20 percent of all the income. Both the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD-the organization of the advanced industrialized democratic countries) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recognize that high levels of inequality hurt economic growth.

The question is: What do we do about the inequality?

Understanding the need to explain inequality, we now hear from Republican House Budget chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in an interview on Bill Bennett's "Morning in America" radio show that the problem is rooted in the cultural inferiority of inner city men:

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