Saturday, September 1, 2012

How To Make It Work

A friend of accountant and CPA posted this on my church's web board.

There is a reason why Romney won't get specific on his budget plans. They won't work, and he knows it. He also knows that, like with GW Bush, if Republicans are in power, they go back to the famous Dick Cheney quote that "deficits don't matter." They certainly won't reduce military spending, indeed, they want to increase it.

On tax reform, the real money in tax deduction/tax credit removal is in:

1. Mortgage interest deduction. Democrats would love to limit this on high-value mortgages, but no one will touch middle class mortgages with a ten-foot pole. Republicans won't touch it at all.

2. 401K deductions. Killing this kills the viability of the whole voluntary savings system. If Social Security gets cut, then we rely more on this program. As it is, this means nothing to lower-middle-class people. One large company with a dominance of retail workers that my wife worked for until recently had an average employee savings rate of 2% of income.

3. The earned income tax credit. This is what keeps poor people from having to pay federal income taxes (though they still pay payroll taxes at a rate 10 times or more higher than Mitt Romney's payroll taxes). Cutting this creates a huge tax burden on the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder.

4. Exclusion of employer contributions for medical insurance. If you cut this, millions of people likely get dumped off employer-provided health insurance.

5. Step-up basis of capital gains at death. This means that the $100 million IRA that Romney established with stock passes tax-free to his heirs, with no tax ever paid on any of its growth. Republicans won't touch it. Democrats might means-test it, applying it only to the richest Americans.

6. Deduction of charitable contributions. No one wants to touch this, although I can make a very good argument that only a small amount of people's contributions to their church is really "charitable." For us, most of it goes to pay for a warm place for you to worship, and pays the salaries of the World Church staff. For protestants, it pays for their building and their full-time minister. For Mormons it funds huge investments in land and businesses.

7. Deductibility of state and local taxes. No one will touch this.

8. Accelerated depreciation of business equipment. This has turned into a huge tax hole. Business can treat major purchases as if they were ordinary expenses and get an immediate tax savings. Republicans will never touch this. It is so bad as an accounting practice that companies cannot use this on their financial statements.

9. Tax-favorability of capital gains. This made Mitt Romney rich and keeps his tax rate below 14%. Republicans will never touch it.

10. Thousands of small special-interest tax deductions. These are deductions and credits that less than one in 1000 individuals or companiess are allowed to take. These were usually snuck into the tax code by lobbyists and Jack Abramoff-style crooks. Republicans will never touch most of these. In total, they are worth quite a lot of money, and would reduce the complexity of the tax code by a huge amount if they were gone. Individually, they are small enough to escape most reform plans.

My proposal has been to put all of #10 en masse into the hands of a "military base closure-type" commission where they are all sunsetted automatically unless they come back up individually before congress. By definition, these are "special interest" and the best examples we have of bribery working in congress.

Means-test the rest, and you have a decent tax system.

Boring Saturday

I'm not sure what I will do this morning after breakfast with Bob. I hate to just stay home again. On the other hand, we are going to Joplin on Monday so I really don't need to go out of town again. I was just in Bartlesville on Thursday to take Juanita to the doctor. The only other place we went was to Dink's for barbeque for lunch. Then I took her home and came home to go to work. I know...I bore easily.

We have decided to go to Joplin today instead of Monday and I am glad. We will save our ribs until Monday. They are still thawing in the frig anyhow.

The Democrat's Convention begins on Monday. It will be interesting to see how Obama approaches the terrible criticism he received from the Republicans last week. If he is smart, he will stick to the issues and reveal his plans for the next four years and not try to answer all the many criticisms they rose, may of which were lies and misconceptions, as I learned by reading where the real facts were revealed. They will do the same thing for the Democrat's Convention. After all, many of those issues they rose with his presidency were caused by their complete lack of cooperation to allow him to get anything done. Their entire plan the past four years was to stalemate him. In my opinion, much of that is caused by hidden racism. To complete his plans, under those circumstances, he needs the Democrats to gain control of the house. That probably won't happen.

I watched much of the Republican Convention so I will watch this one too.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Different Friday

It was a little strange Friday. I went to get my hair done in Independence this morning and then immediately went to work for one hour after I got back to town. I missed one hour of work yesterday taking Juanita to the doctor.

Then I came home and checked on my beans. I soaked them overnight and then put them on in the slow cooker before I left for Independence. When they were finished, I turned them down on low and let them stay warm. Bob came over about 9:30 or so and stayed until after lunch. We sat on the patio under the shelter and enjoyed the rain. Later I made cornbread to go with our beans and also used the rest of the ham he brought last week. The beans were good and we had the rest of the pudding I made a couple of days ago with some of those cookies.

This afternoon I sat and watched TV and napped. I had risen at 4:30 this morning and was tired. Earlier I also went over to the antique mall and browsed around. It was just something to do this afternoon. It's been a rather laid back day. I did clean the small bathroom but that was about all I did besides dinner.

I will watch the weather and then later go to bed.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Republican Convention

I've been watching the convention. Many of the stories shared there were about Mitt Romney's experience in his church and when he was pastor (Bishop, in their church) and the many good things he did as he served his pastorate.

One thing no one shared was that they do not ordain women in their church. Only men can serve in that way.

The Mormon church takes care of their own. They do not want any of their people to go on public assistance. They are required to tithe 10% of their total income. And they are also expected to give extra money and time too. Mormons are generally very good people. I know many of them because I belong to a historical society that they share. ...John Whitmer Historical Association.

I suggest that anyone interested in voting for him read the book, "The Real Romney".

There are good things about him, that's true. But he cannot relate to the poor or middle class because he has never "been there". In fact, the Mormon Church and the entire Republican party believes that people should pull themselves up by their own bootstraps. Sometimes no matter how hard one works, they cannot become rich. Sometimes they can only just make ends meet.

Some folks don't seem to realize that the Republican party would like to change Medicare in such a way that folks would be given vouchers to use to purchase their own health care. That would do away with Medicare as we know it. They would really like to eliminate social security altogether too but instead will have to raise the premiums to make it last longer. The answer is to raise the ceiling on the amount to pay into social security and that would ensure it for generations to come.

I've mentioned this before but I'll say it again.

Social Security can be easily fixed for a couple decades past the 2032 date usually cited (and it doesn't actually crash at that point, rather, like defense costs, we will need to budget for the expenditures). During the Clinton administration, 90% of employment income was subject to Social Security tax. But because top management salaries went through the roof in the last couple of decades, only about 83% of employment income is now being taxed. If we went back to the 90%, mainly by raising the cap to rise with the inflation of management salaries, the "problem" goes away.

Busy Thursday

Today will be extra busy. This morning I will leave about 8:45 to go pick up Juanita to take her to Bartlesville to the dermatologist. She has a place on her skin that needs to be examined. The last time I took her last year, she had a melanoma on her hip that had been missed. They took it off and biopsied it. Sure enough, it was a very thin melanoma. I noticed it and pointed it out while the PA was looking elsewhere. Juanita has no one else to take her to the doctor. I told my boss of her dilemma and she said it was not a problem. I will make up any time I miss at work today tomorrow morning.

I am putting beans on to soak this evening. I will fix cornbread and we will have cornbread and beans with the rest of Bob's ham. I also have pudding left in the frig.

I didn't have a lot to do yesterday at work. My boss was on vacation and because of that it was a slow day.

Last night after I had my salad and even my smoothy, I still wanted something cool. So I called Bob and picked him up for ice cream at Brahms.

I tried to watch the Republican Convention last night but it was full of half truths and downright lies. Many people who don't do their own research will buy into that rhetoric. That's tragic. I check everything out at They expose the outright lies and even the half truths. And according to the Republican convention speakers' speeches are full of those.

As just one example, Paul Ryan talked about a plant in his home town that closed after Obama had predicted it would be around for years to come. The plant closed before Obama even became president. There are lots of half truths and downright lies in those speeches. This is my party and I am so ashamed of it.

More later...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Hump Day Again

I'm always glad to see Wednesday come. That means I have just Wednesday and Thursday before my long weekend. This will be a particularly long weekend because of the Labor Day holiday. Bob and I plan to go to Joplin this Labor Day and eat out and go out to the mall and walk around. It's something to get out of town and see some different places.

Yesterday I didn't have a lot to do. I was pretty much out of work to do by 4:00 and had to just hunt work after that.

I picked up my car at 5:00 and paid the bill. It was just $65. Brandon said it was a good thing that I saved my receipt from 2007 when they replaced that starter initially. I usually don't save receipts but I have saved everything I've had done to that car. Now I need to replace the timing belt. I replaced it at 90,000 miles a few years back. Now that it has 161,000 miles on it, it's past time for another new one. They are supposed to be replaced every 60,000 miles but since it costs $250, I have hesitated getting it done. But if it breaks, in a Honda, it will destroy the motor. That's what Brandon told me yesterday. He said if it were a Toyota, it would do no damage. I will get that scheduled this next week after the holiday.

I watched some of the Republican Convention last night. I enjoyed Mrs. Romney's speech about her husband and also some of Chris Christy's too. I also watched Mia Love's speech. As she spoke of getting ahead on our own without government assistance, I wondered how many in the audience had attended college on the GI Bill. I wondered how many of those white haired delegates depended on Social Security and Medicare.

I also thought the blame game should have been over. For example, the state of the economy is a shared responsibility. It was lack of regulation that caused the crisis to begin with. It would be ideal if we could depend on big business to do the right thing without regulation, but let's face it, capitalism is greed driven. Big business will do whatever they can get away with to make big profits....sending jobs overseas where they can get very cheap labor, credit default swaps....anything to make a profit without regulations.

All of that was caused by the Bush administration and their lack of regulation and even the regulators that remained looked the other way while big business and big banks actually broke the law to make huge profits that put our very country's economy at risk. Two unfunded wars and an unfunded prescription drug program just compounded the problem.

President Obama's response was the same as Bush's. Bail them out instead of letting them fail. The answer now should be to break them up so it won't happen again. No one business should get so large that they can endanger our very economy. And all that money should be repaid as a loan. No one gives us, as individuals, a free bailout if we get in over our heads.

More later....

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Busy Tuesday

This morning Bob will pick me up about 9:30 to go to Independence for my hair appointment. While I am doing that, he will go shop their Wal Mart. Then we will eat at Big Cheese. After we eat, we will come back and pick up my car at Gary's Automotive. Then I will go to work.

He came over last night and we ate our leftovers from Sunday and his salad from yesterday's dinner. Then we watched a music show video that he had from Branson. There was nothing to watch on TV because of the scheduling for the Republican Convention. Of course, yesterday that lasted about 10 minutes. They are watching for a storm associated with the storm. This will be a difficult week for those of us who do not want to watch the convention. And next week is the Democrat's convention.

It will be interesting to see if Romney is able to "connect" with folks during this convention. We now know next to nothing about him personally unless we have read a book about him or his own book. He appears to have a "flat" personality. He just can't "connect". It will be interesting to see if he can finally do that during this convention. He avoids talking about his religion and that is very important to who he is since Mormonism simply infiltrates every part of his life. That is true of all Mormons who have a Temple recommend. Otherwise, they can't get a Temple recommend. Not only do they pay 10% of their total income to the church but they are also expected to spend 20 hours a week doing "church work" of some kind and make other philanthropic donations. This includes everyone...regardless of household income. And their men expect to become gods of their own planets in the afterlife. They have a very strange religion with lots of secrets about their "Temple work".

More later....

Monday, August 27, 2012

Another Monday

I've been busy today. I have cleaned house and done a load of laundry too. I still need to do bathrooms but I will do them tomorrow. I still have dinner to put together.

I also got the bulletin ready to go for Sunday and e-mailed it to Johnna, who has the sermon on Sunday. I have my sermon about ready for the following Sunday too. This Sunday we serve the communion so I will need to remember to take bread.

I heard from Gary's this morning. It was my starter on the car. I had just replaced it in 2007 so I was surprised. Brandon said it would have a warranty so maybe it won't cost me an arm and a leg. Even if the starter is mostly no charge, I will still have the labor to pay. But that's upkeep when the car has 161,000 miles on it.

Brandon just called to say it would be "labor only"... about $70. The starter was warrantied. What a relief! And I should have my car before noon tomorrow. Sometimes things do work out.

More later...

Sunday, August 26, 2012

It's Sunday!

Yes, I know I missed posting yesterday. Leslie and I were in Independence, Missouri, attending that Health and Spirituality Workshop. I enjoyed the time with my daughter but only really enjoyed two of the four workshops. It was something I won't attend again. It was mostly about what's going on in Jackson County Missouri. Not a lot of it (only the two I enjoyed) related to anything we could use in our area.

Anyhow, I'm back now. I will have Church School and Church today and then some of us will go to eat dinner out. I'll then come home to write my newsletters. Tonight I have Living the Questions group at Jack and Marilyn's home. Marilyn called me yesterday and left a message on my machine. I called her back when I got in. She wanted me to send out the reminder e-mail about the meeting tonight. I did that last night. I will pick up Gary this evening for that.

It's finally raining. It began on the way home last evening. I believe it's rained all night. We certainly needed it! I went out to get my newspaper and it was still raining. I fed both cats, Missy and Inky, and came back in the kitchen to finish this and drink my coffee. I wish I could go out on the patio and enjoy the rain but it's too damp out there.

I noticed on the way home last evening that my older son, who posts here as chuck fu, had tried to call me while I had my phone on vibrate yesterday afternoon. If he had read this blog, he would have known where I was. :)

More later....

Well, I had another set back this afternoon. I went out to start my car and it was deader then a doornail. A friend came to give me a jump but it wouldn't jump and appeared to have plenty of charge. So it's something more serious. I had it towed to my mechanic. I called and left a message on his machine. I will call him again in the morning. It's always something. It's a good thing I didn't take my car to Independence, Missouri this weekend.

Bob A. will pick me up for the Living the Questions class tonight.

He will also take me to work after dinner tomorrow morning and pick me up afterward.

Thank God for friends.