stock market

No question, this was a traumatic, sad week because of the mass shooting in San Bernardino, Calif. It's not easy to turn to good news.

But putting grief aside for a moment, there were indeed positive developments for the country in recent days. With cheaper energy, more jobs and higher stock prices, most Americans have been seeing their financial situations improve. Here are some of this week's highlights:

On December 31st, the George W. Bush era tax cuts will expire and new tax hikes take effect. The combination of the two will send the effective top tax bracket rate on stock dividends up to over 43 percent, from 15 percent.