Morning Briefing: August 5, 2011

The economy added 117,000 jobs in July, bringing the unemployment rate down slightly to 9.1 percent, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The private sector added 154,000 jobs, while the public sector lost 37,000, following a trend of government job losses undercutting relatively strong private sector growth. June job growth was also revised upward from 18,000 to 46,000 jobs gained.

Stocks plunged yesterday and the market ended its worst day in more than two years amid fresh concerns about deep economic problems in the U.S. and Europe. The Dow Jones plummeted 512 points and markets declined around 5 percent on Thursday. Stocks have now fallen nearly 11 percent in two weeks as investors seek safer havens for their money.

The Justice Department is being asked to investigate a mysterious $1 million contribution to a Super PAC supporting Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign. Two campaign reform groups say the contribution from a company that shut down shortly after making the donation is highly suspicious. Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21, said the contribution was “blatantly” designed to circumvent campaign disclosure laws.

The Affordable Care Act has already saved seniors $460 million in prescription drug costs, according to a report by the Department of Health and Human Services. The law provides a 50 percent discount on name-brand prescription drugs, a change that has benefited more than 900,000 seniors.

More than 1,400 households that earned at least $1 million paid no income taxes in 2009, according to data released by the IRS. The tax rate for for millionaires is 24.4 percent — four points lower than it was in 2002 — but 1,470 of the nation’s 235,000 millionaires avoided income taxes altogether. In 2007, 959 millionaires reported paying no income taxes.

Former Beatle Paul McCartney will contact police over his ex-wife’s claim that a News Corp British newspaper “The Daily Mirror” hacked the couple’s private phone messages. McCartney said, “I do think it is a horrendous violation of privacy, and I do think it’s been going on a long time, and I do think more people than we know knew about it.” Before joining CNN, host Piers Morgan was once the editor of the Daily Mirror.

President Obama will propose a $120 million package of new tax credits for businesses that hire U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. With the jobless rate for veterans standing at 13.3 percent, Obama’s measures will include improved retraining and education to “help smooth the way for service members entering a tight U.S. job market.”

The “Department of the Interior on Thursday granted Royal Dutch Shell conditional approval of its plan to begin drilling exploratory wells in the Arctic Ocean next summer.” The New York Times notes this is a “strong sign that the Obama administration is easing a regulatory clampdown on offshore oil drilling.”

And finally: The Republican presidential candidates better watch out, as a new formidable candidate is about to enter the ring. Not Rick Perry nor Sarah Palin, but actress Roseanne Barr, who announced her “totally serious” candidacy on the Tonight Show last night. “My announcement is that I am running for president of the United States,” Roseanne said, adding that she also plans to run for prime minister of Israel.

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