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Federal cash to ward off Medicare Advantage cuts

Millions of seniors in popular private insurance plans offered through Medicare will get a reprieve from some of the most controversial cuts in President Barack Obama’s health care law. Get the full story »

S&P threatens to cut U.S. credit rating on deficit

Standard & Poor’s threatened Monday to downgrade the United States’ prized AAA credit rating unless the Obama administration and Congress find a way to slash the yawning federal budget deficit within two years. Get the full story »

State acts to protect car buyers when dealers close

A Viking Dodge dealership in Crystal Lake that closed in 2009. (Stacey Wescott/Chicago Tribune)

Illinois lawmakers are considering legislation that would protect consumers when auto dealerships close and fail to pay liens on trade-in vehicles.

In several instances, according to Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan, lien holders have sought payments from consumers who traded in their vehicles to buy new ones. At least 60 dealerships have gone out of business since 2000 without paying off trade-ins, according to Madigan. Get the full story »

White House unveils ‘receipt’ for taxes you pay

On the eve of tax day, the White House unveiled a new online tool that estimates how much of an individual’s taxes pay for things such as war, NASA and the interest on the deficit.

However, the online calculator obscures how much of an individual’s tax dollars goes to a controversial expense that Republicans have been railing about — bailing out government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — by lumping it with other expense such as commerce, transportation and government administration. Get the full story »

Durbin to JPMorgan CEO Dimon: Stop whining

Sen. Dick Durbin, left, has criticized JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon for his bank's swipe fees, among other issues. (Michael Tercha/Chicago Tribune; Bloomberg News)

JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, who is critical of a key provision in the financial reform law, has been taken to task by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D.-Ill.) in a scathing letter.

“There is no need for you to threaten your customers with higher fees when you and your bank are already making money hand-over-fist,” Durbin wrote to Dimon about the threat of higher debit card fees. “And there is no need to make such threats in response to reform that simply tries to spare consumers from bearing the cost of interchange fees that are anticompetitive and unreasonably high.” Get the full story »

SBA to hold Chicago forum on loans, new jobs act

Representatives of the Small Business Administration plan a free-one day forum in Chicago Friday to discuss opportunities for business owners and entrepreneurs as a result of the Small Business Jobs Act. Get the full story »

Heartland to take over Western Springs bank

U.S. regulators announced the failure of an Illinois bank Friday, the fourth in that state to be shuttered this year. Get the full story »

USDA to help gas stations fund new ethanol pumps

The Department of Agriculture will soon begin helping gasoline stations install new pumps that can dispense ethanol to curtail the nation’s dependence on petroleum-based fuel, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said Friday. Get the full story »

IRS awards $4.5M to whistleblower

An in-house accountant who raised a red flag about a tax lapse that his employer then ignored, leading him to tip off the IRS, has received $4.5 million in the first IRS whistleblower award. The accountant’s tip netted the IRS $20 million in taxes and interest from the errant financial-services firm. Get the full story »

Social Security to stop mailing statements

Social Security statements mailed each year. (Tribune)

Those yearly statements that Social Security mails out — here’s what you’d get if you retired at 62, at 66, at 70 — will soon stop arriving in workers’ mailboxes. It’s an effort to save money and steer more people to the agency’s website. Get the full story »

Ill. House may scrap workers’ compensation

Illinois Rep. John Bradley. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

The Illinois House is considering a plan to scrap the state’s much-criticized workers’ compensation system. That means workers and employers would have to battle in court over each injury and whether the worker should be compensated.

Legislation ending the system was given tentative approval Thursday. Rep. John Bradley says he plans to hold a final vote as soon as possible. Get the full story »

Illinois looks for savings in currency trades

William Atwood, head of the $11.2 billion Illinois investment board, has taken a crash course in discovering his portfolio’s currency-trading costs — and he doesn’t like what he sees.

A consultant said his fund paid $2 million more than the average of other institutional investors on currency transactions during most of last year. When Atwood tried to figure out the costs on his own, he received a two-foot-high stack of trading documents he didn’t know how to interpret. Get the full story »

JPMorgan CEO: Wealthy should carry tax burden

The wealthy should pay the largest portion of U.S. taxes, JPMorgan Chase Chief Executive Jamie Dimon said Tuesday, injecting himself into the budget debate as the threat of a government shutdown looms. Get the full story »

Fed officials split on easy money, minutes show

Some Federal Reserve officials last month believed they would have to hold to an easy monetary policy course beyond this year while a few said the central bank should move to tighter conditions before year-end. Get the full story »

Caterpillar CEO, Quinn meeting today

Gov. Pat Quinn plans to talk to the head of Caterpillar Inc. about Illinois business climate, countering the efforts of other states to lure the company away. Quinn and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman are scheduled to meet Tuesday morning. Get the full story »