Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Insurance, for food?

Check out this article on food insurance. It highlights a point I have tried to make for some time. It seems ridiculous at first and you can't exactly predict what would happen if we actually had food insurance, but when you begin to compare the idea with our current health care-insurance relationships, you realize how the lack of competition and over-reliance on insurance drives prices high and makes it nearly impossible to manage...yet our government keeps on trying by making bureaucracies ever bigger.

Cash is King...to any business. Show the money up front and see what kind of deals can be had. Our recent dealings with certain healthcare costs prove that hospitals realize when people have limited coverage, they simply can't pay the same high price that the insurance company blindly forks over. They realize they will have to change the rules a bit, or get nothing at all.

Free(er) Market Health Care would amaze everyone.

When decisions start being made between the doctor and patient, without other entities like insurance companies and government getting involved, the results will be better, smarter, and cheaper. It would HAVE to be so.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Quote of the Day

"I cannot undertake to lay my finger on that article of the Constitution which granted a
right to Congress of expending, on objects of benevolence, the money of their constituents."
- James Madison

Think about that one for a minute. What "charity" programs can you think of that our government spends money on?

Monday, July 19, 2010

When do we call it a Lie?

Keeping with the tax theme that I started in the last post, it seems that what we were told about the new Health Insurance Mandates being a penalty, not a tax, is really not true. At least, in the eyes of the law, there is no difference.

The line I find most interesting in this NYT article is:
'When Mr. Stephanopoulos said the penalty appeared to fit the dictionary definition of a tax, Mr. Obama replied, “I absolutely reject that notion.” '

Now the administrations department of justice is saying:
'...the requirement for people to carry insurance or pay the penalty is “a valid exercise” of Congress’s power to impose taxes.'

What goes through your mind when I say that "the president is lying?" Is that too strong of a word?

Lying is way to common in Washington and amongst our leaders, why do many people seem to be OK with it? After lies are discovered, are we really so naive that we will assume that person is telling the truth in everything else they say. Very disturbing. There are plenty of guilty parties beyond our current president, but he has the most readily available example.

Instead of calling it what it is, a lie, we say things like the administration is "changing its stance."

Changing Stance, Administration Now Defends Insurance Mandate as a Tax

Friday, July 2, 2010

NOTICE: Tax Increases

The following is a an article from Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) on tax increases that will begin happening next year. I find these stats useful and we decide how/what to invest, save and spend. Plus it's always nice to see how much we all contribute to the government.


First Wave: Expiration of 2001 and 2003 Tax Relief

In 2001 and 2003, the GOP Congress enacted several tax cuts for investors, small business owners, and families. These will all expire on January 1, 2011:

Personal income tax rates will rise. The top income tax rate will rise from 35 to 39.6 percent (this is also the rate at which two-thirds of small business profits are taxed). The lowest rate will rise from 10 to 15 percent. All the rates in between will also rise. Itemized deductions and personal exemptions will again phase out, which has the same mathematical effect as higher marginal tax rates. The full list of marginal rate hikes is below:

- The 10% bracket rises to an expanded 15%
- The 25% bracket rises to 28%
- The 28% bracket rises to 31%
- The 33% bracket rises to 36%
- The 35% bracket rises to 39.6%

Higher taxes on marriage and family. The “marriage penalty” (narrower tax brackets for married couples) will return from the first dollar of income. The child tax credit will be cut in half from $1000 to $500 per child. The standard deduction will no longer be doubled for married couples relative to the single level. The dependent care and adoption tax credits will be cut.

The return of the Death Tax. This year, there is no death tax. For those dying on or after January 1 2011, there is a 55 percent top death tax rate on estates over $1 million. A person leaving behind two homes and a retirement account could easily pass along a death tax bill to their loved ones.

Higher tax rates on savers and investors. The capital gains tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 20 percent in 2011. The dividends tax will rise from 15 percent this year to 39.6 percent in 2011. These rates will rise another 3.8 percent in 2013.

Second Wave: Obamacare

There are over twenty new or higher taxes in Obamacare. Several will first go into effect on January 1, 2011. They include:

The “Medicine Cabinet Tax” Thanks to Obamacare, Americans will no longer be able to use health savings account (HSA), flexible spending account (FSA), or health reimbursement (HRA) pre-tax dollars to purchase non-prescription, over-the-counter medicines (except insulin).

The “Special Needs Kids Tax” This provision of Obamacare imposes a cap on flexible spending accounts (FSAs) of $2500 (Currently, there is no federal government limit). There is one group of FSA owners for whom this new cap will be particularly cruel and onerous: parents of special needs children. There are thousands of families with special needs children in the United States, and many of them use FSAs to pay for special needs education. Tuition rates at one leading school that teaches special needs children in Washington, D.C. (National Child Research Center) can easily exceed $14,000 per year. Under tax rules, FSA dollars can be used to pay for this type of special needs education.

The HSA Withdrawal Tax Hike. This provision of Obamacare increases the additional tax on non-medical early withdrawals from an HSA from 10 to 20 percent, disadvantaging them relative to IRAs and other tax-advantaged accounts, which remain at 10 percent.

Third Wave: The Alternative Minimum Tax and Employer Tax Hikes

When Americans prepare to file their tax returns in January of 2011, they’ll be in for a nasty surprise—the AMT won’t be held harmless, and many tax relief provisions will have expired. The major items include:

The AMT will ensnare over 28 million families, up from 4 million last year. According to the left-leaning Tax Policy Center, Congress’ failure to index the AMT will lead to an explosion of AMT taxpaying families—rising from 4 million last year to 28.5 million. These families will have to calculate their tax burdens twice, and pay taxes at the higher level. The AMT was created in 1969 to ensnare a handful of taxpayers.

Small business expensing will be slashed and 50% expensing will disappear. Small businesses can normally expense (rather than slowly-deduct, or “depreciate”) equipment purchases up to $250,000. This will be cut all the way down to $25,000. Larger businesses can expense half of their purchases of equipment. In January of 2011, all of it will have to be “depreciated.”

Taxes will be raised on all types of businesses. There are literally scores of tax hikes on business that will take place. The biggest is the loss of the “research and experimentation tax credit,” but there are many, many others. Combining high marginal tax rates with the loss of this tax relief will cost jobs.

Tax Benefits for Education and Teaching Reduced. The deduction for tuition and fees will not be available. Tax credits for education will be limited. Teachers will no longer be able to deduct classroom expenses. Coverdell Education Savings Accounts will be cut. Employer-provided educational assistance is curtailed. The student loan interest deduction will be disallowed for hundreds of thousands of families.

Charitable Contributions from IRAs no longer allowed. Under current law, a retired person with an IRA can contribute up to $100,000 per year directly to a charity from their IRA. This contribution also counts toward an annual “required minimum distribution.” This ability will no longer be there.

Read more: http://www.atr.org/six-months-untilbr-largest-tax-hikes-a5171##ixzz0sX6XTRyc

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Religious Freedom Day

"According to the Liberty Counsel, the Collier County School Board allowed World Changers to distribute free Bibles to students during off-school hours on Religious Freedom Day, but now the school officials claim that Bibles do not provide any educational benefit to the students and the distribution should stop.

The Collier County School District policy specifically allows the distribution of literature by nonprofit organizations, but only with the approval of the superintendent and the Community Request Committee, whose members are appointed by the superintendent. Approval was denied to World Changers, despite the fact that its distribution included a disclaimer of any school endorsement or sponsorship and that receiving a Bible was purely voluntary. "