Posts Tagged With: taxes

COMMON SENSE

I received a letter from Alan Grayson, a missive that made such good sense, I thought I’d reprint it here. I’m a fan of his even though he is from Florida. They don’t often make sense there, it seems to me, but Alan always does.

Dear Mary,

I think that LeBron James should pay the same percentage of his income in Social Security taxes as everyone else does.

He doesn’t. Not by a long shot. In fact, not by a 90-footer.

Most Americans pay 6.20% of their incomes to Social Security taxes. LeBron James pays 0.03% of his income toward Social Security taxes. In fact, he is finished paying his Social Security taxes in the second quarter of his first game of his season. Then he’s done for the rest of the game, and the rest of the season – including the playoffs. Even the offseason.

“Wow,” you say. Yes, “wow” indeed.

I want to make this clear – this is nothing personal. I love to watch LeBron James play basketball. I forgive him for taking his talents to South Beach, but then taking them right back to Cleveland. I look forward to his becoming the all-time NBA scoring champion, during the 2021-22 season.

But I think that he should have to pay the same percentage in Social Security taxes as others do.

The Social Security tax applies only to the first $118,500 of income (the “cap”). As soon as LeBron and anyone else reaches that limit, they’re done for the year.

Which is precisely why some people fret about the system going broke. The solution is obvious. No cap, no problem. In addition to making our tax system more fair, scrapping the cap would make Social Security solvent forever and ever. And ever. So I have introduced a bill to do that, and the Social Security Administration has confirmed that it solves the problem once and for all. Sure, some Republicans would be sad — they’d have no excuse to push sadistic cuts in Social Security benefits. But the rest of us would be thrilled.

Q. When does a teacher stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.

Q. When does a nurse stop paying Social Security taxes? A. Never.

Q. Why do only the rich get this huge tax break, threatening the solvency of the program? A. I wish I knew.

Grayson is pushing a bill through congress called Scrap the Cap. I hope it passes.

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THE COSTS OF WAR.

We know that the costs of war are ugly, horrendous deaths, as in the recent American hit that caused “collateral damage”. We have witnessed too many soldiers coming home maimed, blind, without limbs. Thousands suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Technology for artificial limbs has gone beyond anything we could have imagined just 15 years ago. Those things are all “costs of war”.  A friend of mine sent me a video where Democrat, Adam West is urging us not to trust or deal peaceably with Iran, and urging no peace agreement or nuclear disarmament with similar countries in the East.  Some Republicans are intent on eliminating Social Security and Planned Parenthood. They’ve cut food stamps for the poor.

Let us consider another cost of war. The Annual military spending: $653,110,000,000. That equates to$1.2 million per minute.

We are cutting school budgets, facing joblessness, hunger and the numbers of homeless people have increased?

Just one minute for peace, 1.2 millions dollars, could do a lot of good for our country. To quote President Eisenhower:

Every gun made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed.

It was also Eisenhower who warned us of the Military Complex, that strives to thrive on war. His dire warnings have come true.

Our taxes shell out like this:  (From Obama’s budget request for 2015 in rounded numbers.)

55% Military

6.2% for Education

5.6% for Veterans Benefits

5.5% for Government

5.3 % for housing

4.9% for health

4.8% for labor

3.3% for International Affairs

3% % for Energy and Environment

2.5% for Science

2.3% for Transportation

1% for Food and Agriculture

Please take the time to urge Obama to redirect a fraction of that military budget to programs that benefit children, the elderly and all Americans. I know I don’t want 55% of my tax dollars spent on the war machine.

In the time it took you to read this, we’ve spent 1.2million dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

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TAX DAY IS OVER, SORT OF.

We tend to think of taxes as our own personal burden. But,  tax accountants routinely give extensions to people so tax day can be different for some people. Good for them, because their work is so concentrated in three months, it is hard to get the job done. And it gives us a bit of extra time to gather our paperwork as well.

This poem has been around a lot. It has no attributable author and is presumed to be in the public domain but it kind of expresses most of the pain of paying our taxes.

Tax his land, tax his wage,
Tax his bed in which he lays.
Tax his tractor, tax his mule,
Teach him taxes is the rule.

Tax his cow, tax his goat,
Tax his pants, tax his coat.
Tax his ties, tax his shirts,
Tax his work, tax his dirt.

Tax his chew, tax his smoke,
Teach him taxes are no joke.
Tax his car, tax his grass,
Tax the roads he must pass.

Tax his food, tax his drink,
Tax him if he tries to think.
Tax his sodas, tax his beers,
If he cries, tax his tears.

Tax his bills, tax his gas,
Tax his notes, tax his cash.
Tax him good and let him know
That after taxes, he has no dough.

If he hollers, tax him more,
Tax him until he’s good and sore.
Tax his coffin, tax his grave,
Tax the sod in which he lays.

Put these words upon his tomb,
“Taxes drove me to my doom!”
And when he’s gone, we won’t relax,
We’ll still be after the inheritance tax.

As for me, I don’t mind paying as much as I mind the process because I’m not very mathematical and I hate DOING my taxes. I only met one man who claimed not to mind paying his taxes. His parents were immigrants from Portugal and he claimed to be ever grateful to live in a country like ours that provides us enough opportunity to earn a good living and pay taxes. He is unique. He is a friend gone, now. And I salute  his memory every year at tax time.  Larry Santos, a deputy sheriff from Alameda County.

 

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SUGAR BATTERIES.

I love Science magazines because I always find seemingly impossible things that could come true. From Virginia Tech’s Y. H. Percival Zhang comes this information:

Even today’s best rechargeable lithium batteries do lose their ability to hold a charge after a while, and are considered toxic waste once discarded. In just a few years, they may be replaced by batteries that are refillable and biodegradable, and that will also have a higher energy density yet a lower price … and they’ll run on sugar.

 

“Sugar is a perfect energy storage compound in nature,” says  Zhang, who is leading the research. “So it’s only logical that we try to harness this natural power in an environmentally friendly way to produce a battery.”Its energy density is “an order of magnitude higher than others,  a type of enzymatic fuel cell.” The catalyst in its anode is made from inexpensive enzymes, as opposed to the costly platinum that’s used in regular batteries. When the maltodextrin is combined with air, water and electricity are produced. Unlike the hydrogen fuel cell, the sugar battery is non-explosive and non-flammable.

 

Zhang envisions users refilling the batteries with sugar when they need refueling, “much like filling a printer cartridge with ink.” He hopes that they may be powering electronic devices in as little as three years.

 

A paper on his research was published today in the journal Nature Communications.

Well, shoot, I guess pouring sugar in your gas tank isn’t going to happen.  I was hopeful, though until that last sentence, “electronic devices.”  But then, sugar batteries would probably make our chocolate bars, candy, and sweet rolls  VEEERRRRYY expensive if we tried to run cars on sugar. Maybe solve the obesity problem. Reminds me of that song, “….sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening, sugar in the sumertime…” I think that was a different kind of sugar though.

Sugar does alleviate boredom between a doctor’s appointment, taxes and my haircut yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

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MEET AND DINE AND DON’T WHINE.

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There are times the only opportunity I get to be with some friends is at a meeting. Pam Quyle’s hours are long, John and Wanda Hofstetter stick close to home when they are home or they go away for months at a time, like me.

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So, even if we have business, it makes sense to have some social time and enjoy a meal together. Wanda brought us a beautiful dessert.

It was quite nice since most of my day was taxes, insurance, logistics on the new building in Oregon,  problems at the television studio with their brand new equipment, and so it went. In fact, the new equipment was part of the reason for the meeting.  Resolutions in sight.

My seven-foot long table is covered with paperwork. Hopefully by next week we’ll actually be able to eat there. Oh, oh!  I think I’m whining.

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Time to appreciate my Christmas poinsettia. I love them because they keep their bright beauty until late July. Cheers.

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DESIGNING A HOUSE

I worked two days on designing a small house to replace the flooded mobile home for my Oregon property.  I wanted to limit it to 1000 square feet or under. Plus, I wanted to make it wheel chair accessible which calls for wider doorways and hallways. My thought was that as the population ages, handicapped accessible dwellings, will be in more demand. Who knows, it might be me? I love Portland and looked to buy a retirement condo there, but Oregon is an unfriendly tax state for retirees if you make over 250,000. While that doesn’t affect me, the Beaver State shares with Hawaii the distinction of imposing the highest tax rate on personal income in the nation for incomes over $250,000. No tax on social security, but, Oregon’s inheritance tax even applies to investments and bank accounts. They have no sales tax, but property taxes are high.  If you love Portland its best to buy in Van Couver, WA. and trip over to Portland by bus and cross the border to buy non-taxable items. Hmmm! I f I ever sell my house, that is what I’m going to do.

Hey, Oregon isn’t the worst.  Vermont has the highest property tax in the nation.

Minnesota taxes social security, and all retirement income no matter where it was earned.

Nebraska is slightly worse than Oregon, then comes California ranking number 5 with its top income tax rate kicking in for folks earning $46,767.  An odd number.

Or maybe I’ll go where the good food is.  Louisiana is so friendly and fun besides. But, in summer, they have mosquitoes as big as helicopters.

If you love Thai food, my recommendation is retire to Mission Viejo for the best Thai Food ever. I’ve been to at least 30 different Thai restaurants not counting those I visited while in Thailand. There is only one entre, fried squash blossoms,  superior in Thailand to this restaurant in Mission Viejo. Siam Cuisine Restaurant, 27001 La Paz Dr. I never miss it when I travel there.

If you are a barbecue fan, I have a friend, Bud Harlan, who says the best is in Crawfordsville, GA. at a place called Heavys Bar-B-Que. It is where they filmed part of Sweet Home Alabama.

Well, now that I’m on the subject of food, they say Diamond Jim was a big eater, but how about this bit of trivia:

An average dinner eaten by King Louis XVI (1643-1715) consisted of four plates of soup, a whole partridge, a whole pheasant, two slices of ham, a salad, mutton with garlic, pastry and hard-boiled eggs. At his death it was discovered that the king’s stomach was twice the size of a normal stomach.   (It would have tripled if he’d lived in Louisiana.)

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