KeatsConnelly Cross-Border Weekly Best of the Web 2016-9-16

web-search-greyEvery week we share news stories, blog articles and other interesting stuff from around the web that received the most views, shares, comments and overall interest on various KeatsConnelly social media outlets.

This week, we highlight three articles. The first brings to attention a piece on the mortgage lending practices of two large Canadian banks. The second article takes on a common tax misconception in the United States. And the final article provides an alternative view to the common narrative on the impact of the US trade deficit.

Canadian banks’ mortgage guidelines favour foreign home buyers (www.theglobeandmail.com) – Canadian banks allow foreign clients with no credit history, including students, to qualify for uninsured mortgages without proving the sources of their income – a practice that exempts non-Canadians who have money in the bank from the scrutiny domestic borrowers face when buying a home or an investment property. Those exceptions to the regular rules are outlined in internal documents from Scotiabank and the Bank of Montreal reviewed by The Globe and Mail…

Think you pay a lot in income taxes? You might pay more in this tax (www.cnn.com) – That’s according to Roberton Williams, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center. Williams estimates that this year close to two-thirds of all households (62.3%) will end up owing more in payroll taxes than federal income taxes. Generally speaking, the less you make, the more likely you are to be in this group. For Social Security the payroll tax amounts to 12.4% of your first $118,500 in wages. Half of that is deducted directly from your paycheck and half is paid by your employer. The Medicare tax, meanwhile, is 2.9% on all your wages — again with your employer picking up half the tab…

Is the U.S. Trade Deficit a Problem to Solve? (www.cato.org) – Since 1975 – for 41 straight years – the United States has registered annual trade deficits with the rest of the world.  That means that year after year, Americans spend more on foreign-produced goods and services than foreigners spend on U.S.-produced goods and services or, put simply, the dollar value of U.S. imports exceeds the dollar value of U.S. exports. For almost as long, some economists have been arguing that trade deficits are unsustainable – they sap economic growth, bleed jobs, and saddle our descendants with debt.  Perhaps if one looks at the trade deficit (or the slightly broader current account deficit) in isolation, these concerns might seem to have merit.  But looking at the U.S. trade or current account deficits without considering the capital account surplus is a meaningless, misleading exercise…

Come back next week for more interesting news and articles. Enjoy your weekend!

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