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.

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.)

Trade War Taxes

Tariffs are an interesting phenomena.  At first glance, one thinks the “bad guys” have to pay to get their product into the country.  Actually, it is the local IMPORTER who has to pay these taxes and he / she / it simply raises prices and YOU end up paying for it.  So, in the end, you, the consumer pay these taxes.

Unless, that is, you decide to buy American.  Now, the problem is America is not known for its manufacturing prowess anymore.  In addition, there are some countries that are putting out electronic products (think Japan and South Korea) that we could never duplicate (not because we literally couldn’t, but because we’re too lazy to do what it takes to learn a trade and get our hands dirty).

In today’s paper of record there is an article suggesting China is running out of ammunition in the trade war.  They simply can’t match the monetary amount of tariffs our administration is placing on them.  Do you know why?  Because 1) we don’t manufacture as much as the Chinese, 2) there is a significant trade deficit between our two countries, and 3) they don’t want to buy our stuff anyway.

As we seem to fall deeper into our protectionist, America First (which I really don’t have too much of a problem with) and tariff policies, we have to realize all those great tax breaks we think we received last year are getting absorbed by the taxes we’re now paying on imported goods.

Taxing imports is not the answer.  Forcing companies to manufacture here and forcing companies to recruit and / or train the labor force should be “first”.  By doing so we get the following: lower unemployment / increase in a skilled workforce; an increased tax base; more factories and resources necessary to protect ourselves in the face of threatened war (think WWII when car companies quickly converted to machines necessary to support the war effort).

If we’re going to pay taxes, let’s get the taxes working for us !!!!

There’s No Such Thing As Objective Truth – WTF????

Can the world actually believe the absolute insanity that is coming out of Giuliani’s mouth lately. Truth isn’t truth. Everyone has their own truth. Oh man. There’s no such thing as objective truth. This guy is losing it too.

No Rudy. Truth is truth. Period. Alternative facts are lies. Period. Objective truth is exactly that – objective, verifiable, proven. Objective truth is fact. Period.

Again, only the uneducated are falling for this garbage.

Helsinki ? No Helsucki !

It’s clear.  Even Republicans are agreeing Trump committed diplomatic malpractice on multiple fronts.  One, he never reviewed any of the briefing books provided prior to the meeting; two, he didn’t bring note takers into the meeting; three, he didn’t bring subject matter experts into the meeting; four he didn’t come out of the meeting with any notes.  No one, not even the Director of National Intelligence, I’ll repeat for emphasis – THE DIRECTOR OF NATIONAL INTELLIGENCE, knows what was discussed.  His supporters will argue, “He’s Potus, he doesn’t need to answer to anyone”.  Wrong, he answers to me, to you, to every American citizen.  And, we want to know what the hell went on in there.

If Trump had one iota of intelligence, diplomatic savvy, or concern about American interests he would have covered, at minimum, the following topics.

Meddling in the 2018 Elections -Trump’s refusal to defend the intelligence community, retaliate other than sanctions, warn, no – threaten that it better never happen again is bordering on giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

NATO – Trump’s interview with his propaganda machine at Fox News, including Tucker Carlson, made NATO a weaker institution.  European leaders are experiencing difficulties in getting their defense budgets increased as European citizens simply revote against anything “Trump”.  This gives aid and comfort to the enemy.

Baltic States – when President Kennedy presented a less than aggressive approach to Khrushchev, the Russian leader built the Berlin Wall.  Trump’s practical cow towing to Putin emboldens Putin to increase his aggression in the Baltic Region.  This is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

Syria / The Middle East in General – well, no one really knows what Trump agreed to other than to allow the Russians to enjoy further influence in the region.  This is giving aid and comfort to the enemy.

“Incredible Offer” – to allow Russians to interrogate American citizens, essentially turning them over to Putin in exchange for sending American investigators to Russia to interview the Russian hackers.  The citizens Putin wants to interrogate (torture, and then make disappear) are, amongst others, Bill Browder, one of the backers of legislation that sanctions Russia and American ambassador to Russia Michael McFaul who has always been a touch critic of the Putin regime.  Trump thinks that is an “incredible offer”.  Indeed, incredible that an American President would even consider turning over American citizens to Putin.  If this isn’t giving aid and comfort to the enemy, I don’t know what is.

No one knows what went on in that room.  Maybe we’ll know shortly when Congress gets the balls to subpoena the American interpreter.  But, there are some guesses.  Putin reminded Trump of all the things he has on Trump.  Then he gave him a list of talking points.  Now, Putin isn’t dumb enough to think what ever Trump says goes, but he directed Trump to at least throw it out there.  Maybe Trump’s uneducated base will try to support Putin’s wishes.