So, How’s That Tax Break Working Out For You? #GOPTaxScam

Last year everyone was so flustered, excited, taken back, so in love with the 2017 Trump Tax Break for the “middle class”.  (Really????  3% is all it takes to get you excited?????). I quickly criticized it for what is blatantly was, a tax cut for the mega rich that was to be paid for by the middle class.  I further pointed out the great tax break you were getting would slowly disappear after 5 years.  Well, I’ll be the first to admit it when I’m wrong.  You see it won’t disappear after 5 years.  IT DISAPPEARED THIS YEAR.  Essentially, you were tricked by a scam artist whose only interest is in himself and his mega rich family and friends.  Already, millions are taking to social media blaming Trump and the GOP.  Most use the GOPTaxScam hash tag.  You got screwed in that you didn’t realize a tax cut has nothing to do with your tax liability on your return.  In fact, your LIABILITY WENT UP !!!

That’s right, already hundreds millions of middle class tax payers OWE MORE THIS YEAR (or, in some cases, are getting significantly less back). The IRS is reporting for 2019 the average tax refund check is down 8 percent ($170) this year versus last.  The number of people receiving a refund has dropped by 25%!!!!!  How can that be????  You were supposed to get a break in the taxes applied to your pay check and you were supposed to get a higher standard deduction on your actual tax return calculations.

The most significant changes to the U.S. tax code in decades created lower tax brackets and higher standard deductions.  However, it took away personal exemptions and limited the amount middle class taxpayers could deduct for real estate taxes and state and local taxes.  More or less a break even calculation.  Essentially, you got screwed.

Here are the 9 most popular deductions you can no longer take (that is, you got screwed).

  • Personal exemptions.
  • Home equity interest
  • Moving expenses
  • Job expenses
  • Tax preparation fees
  • IRA account fees – wow, if you ever got screwed, it’s on this one!!
  • Parking and transit reimbursements
  • Casualty and Theft losses
  • Certain college donations

So, let’s review.

  1. If your standard deduction went up, great.   But, if you then lost one of your write offs (this year you can no longer write off a home office if you work for someone else, and next year you can no longer write off medical expenses) then, you essentially got screwed.
  2. If your pay check was a little higher (the average is $24) because less taxes were taken out, then great.  However, the combination of larger paychecks and smaller deductions are leaving some middle class taxpayers that usually get a refund owing hundreds — even thousands — of dollars on April 15, 2019.  If you were then told “you forgot to file a new W4 and have additional amounts taken out”, then, you essentially got screwed.
  3. The Government Accounting Office is reporting 4.6 MILLION fewer people will receive a refund.  That means 4.6 million people GOT SCREWED.

A Blast From The Past

Picture a group of teenagers. Any where. At the mall, at the coffee store, at the movies….. they all have their heads buried in their phones. Texting, posting to Instagram, checking status on Twitter.

“1984”, a book by George Orwell, was written in 1949. NINETEEN FORTY NINE!! 1949!!!!!

And I quote, “The people will not revolt. They will not look up from their screens long enough to notice what’s happening”.

Found Notes

In the middle of my New Year Clean Out I stumbled across an old note book with some thoughts I wrote down from reading various articles in 2012 and 2013.  Most of it was hype but there were some tidbits of good stuff there. Here is some of it. 

 Make your own happiness.  That is, you and you alone are responsible for your own happiness.  Sure, someone can do something to make you sad but genetically, we aren’t pre disposed to making ourselves sad.  However, we are solely responsible for putting ourselves in positions where we create happiness.   

Remain calm in the face of adversity.  I know that remaining calm assists you in thinking and reacting more clearly than when crazed. 

Don’t worry about what you can’t control.  If you think you’re going to lose your job, for example, due to layoffs, worrying about it doesn’t help.  Rather, start looking for another job while you have a job.   

Don’t over think issues and create scenarios.  Unless you need to have B and C plans based upon contingencies. 

Try not to be hypersensitive.  We have too may politically correct people as it is.  Never mind the “oh, I’m offended by a Christmas song written over 50 years ago”. 

What others think about you does not define who you are.   

Self Motivation Items 

  • Have a cause. 
  • Have a dream.  Imagine how your world will be in the future. 
  • Be hungry.  Your desire must be absolutely compelling. 
  • Run your own race.  The only one to really beat is yourself and how you did yesterday. 
  • Take one more step.  Have the courage to continue. 
  • Let go of the past.  Finish each day be done with it.  You have done what you could. 
  • Live fully in the present moment. 
  • Stay confident.  Think Dean Martin. 
  • Take pride in your work. 

 Speaking of confidence… 

  • Dress sharp 
  • Walk fast 
  • Good posture 
  • Have a personal commercial 
  • Gratitude – what are you thankful for in life. 
  • Compliment others 
  • Sit in the front row 
  • Speak up and contribute 
  • Have a high personal perception of yourself 
  • Fake it – Always display a positive attitude. 

Happy New Year 2019 

 

 

Veterans Day 2018

Nuille le Jalais is a small village in the upper north west quarter of France.  It has a population of 529 people year ’round.  In 1918, its population was 432.  Except on 11/11/1918 when its population was about 15 or so more.  For on that day, Company B, 1st Battalion, 106th Infantry Regiment, 27th Division, 53rd Brigade billeted there.  An entire company.  Only 15 guys left.  John Driscoll, a 20 year old from Brooklyn, NY, was there.  He was my grandfather.

I never met my grandfather.  He died about 10 years before I was born.  Nobody in the family ever really talked about his service.  No war stories.  No tales of glory.

Last year, starting around Father’s Day 2017, I conducted exhaustive research into the 106th.  It appears the unit saw heavy action in Flanders from September 24th through October 1st.  Killed in Action Reports show Company B was fighting the German 93rd Infantry on the Hindenburg Line on September 27th.  They suffered heavy losses and were taken off the line.  6 days later they went back to the front and broke the Hindenburg Line.

I can tell you where my grandfather was, within 2 miles or so, from the day he enlisted until the day he boarded a Long Island Railroad train after being discharged from Camp Upton, Long Island, to when he got off on Nostrand Avenue somewhere near Prospect Park.  This stop was very close to where he served in the NY Army National Guard’s 14th Regiment.  (When they were federalized, the switched from the 14th Regiment to the 27th Division.)

What I can’t tell you is if he ever won any medals, if he was ever cited, nor who the guys were in his squad.  He is not mentioned in any of the reports, Gas Light Newsletters (the 27th Divisions monthly news letter), books, magazines or NY Times articles of the day.  It appears he simply marched where he was told to march.  Shoot where he was ordered to shoot and marched back to where he was told to rest.  Then, he quietly came home, put on a gun and shield and patrolled the Prospect Park area of Brooklyn from 1920 to 1940 on a horse named “Reggie”.

He married, raised three children, retired and became a bank guard on Wall Street.  He died of congestive heart failure / pneumonia at Kings County Veterans Hospital in June 1953.

Perhaps he is representative of the vast majority of heroes we honor today, this Veterans Day, 2018.  For guys like my brother, Gerard; friends like George Slabowski, Kerry Tierman, Jim Bernard, Keith Foster, Lenny Esposito, Terry Spannagle and many many more that I can’t recall at this God awful early 4:08am I’ll keep it simple as well – thanks.

 

 

 

I Voted Gray

I saw a lot of stickers yesterday, one this morning (in fact) declaring, “I Voted Republican” or “I Voted Democrat”. I’m not sure that’s something to be proud of. If your sticker said, “I voted intelligently after understanding the issues and the ramifications of my vote” (Probably too long of a sticker) then I would be impressed.

Just to click off the switches in the Republican column or blacken in all the Democrat boxes in their column is not impressive. It says you really didn’t care what those people or those issues stood for. You just voted for them because they were “Republican” or “Democrat” or what ever. That’s not something you should brag about. All it says is that you’re a follower who will believe what ever propaganda is put in front of you. All it says is that your not intelligent enough to see through illogical arguments, lies, and exaggerations. It tells everyone you’re not an independent thinker who can, for example, believe in the death penalty while also believing in right to life (not actually my believes, just an example). Finally, it’s a further example of why we need to make sure education in this country is properly funded and provided.

All sides, I’m afraid to say, are depending on an intellectually weak constituency. This way, they can just put what every they want in front of you, and you’ll buy it. I challenge you all, for the following election cycles, to remain current on the issues; know who your public officials are; and read your pre-vote booklets thoroughly. Make intelligent, well thought out decisions. Don’t just vote blue or red or purple for that matter. Vote gray. (As in gray matter, as in – with your brain.)