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Thread: Taxes: Opening myself up to eggs, tomatoes, and who knows what else...

  1. #16
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Many great points...

    It's not the spending we do Federally to provide Medicare, Education, etc. etc. etc. that bugs me. It's all the wasteful stuff that drives me nuts. Several BIG examples were cited that are important. And then there is all the "little" pork projects that get worked into nearly every piece of legislation that gets passed. A few examples I recall hearing about last year include:

    An indoor rain forest in Iowa
    A Greyhound Bus Museum in Minnesota
    Some sort of huge celebration for something in Alaska

    I'm sure there are THOUSANDS of these types of things funded every year with Federal tax dollars. Why should money from citizens and businesses all over the USA be used to fund local / state pet projects?? All of congress is responsible for this cr@p, not just a President.

    There are also significant tax dollars allocated to programs that SHOULD be worthy, but with all the government beaurocracy and irresposible oversight (or no oversight), money disappears with no results. I think this is a significant issue with money we send to other countries for various purposes, but I think it's also a problem right here at home.

    I'm way more interested in some serious SPENDING reform as a priority over tax reform. When I hear that we need tax increases for ANY income levels of our society, knowing how much wasteful or ineffective spending goes on just drives me nuts.

    Thanks for listening!!

    DG

  2. #17
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Senator William Proxmire used to give out 'Golden Fleece' awards for the worst uses of federal money. Unfortunately, he has been retired for some time, and no one took over the Golden Fleece.

    All congresspeople are responsible for the pork. It is not the responsibility of one party or another. The party in power gets all the pork.

    When the Republicans were in the minority, they floated the idea of the line item veto so that the President (Reagan, Bush Sr) could veto the Democrats' pork. However, now that the Republicans are in power, they have taken the old Democrats' seats at the barbecue, and proposals for the line item veto are no where in sight.

    Clinton was able to balance the budget after the horrendous Reagan deficit. It definitely helped that Ross Perot had heightened the nation's consciousness of the deficit, and that the Republican requests for fiscal responsibility under Gingrich were still remembered. It was great that the Internet stock bubble was going on, so that the whole country made more money, and was paying more taxes. It also was easier for Clinton, since he was a Democrat and for 6 of his 8 years, the House was Republican, so the pork had a Republican slant, and was no skin off his nose to cut.

    George W. Bush had the opportunity to continue in the tradition of Clinton, Perot, and Gingrich and go for fiscal responsibility, but instead he decided to follow the examples of Lyndon Johnson and Reagan to go with huge deficit spending. As an ex-moderate-Republican, this is one of 4 things that I cannot forgive him for.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doggygirl

    Here's what I'm doing about it. I am working toward a 10% tithe to a local church. I'm not there yet, but I'm in the range of 7% working upwards.
    Congrats, 7 % and upwards, goal is 10% gross not after tax right?

    I am currently paying very close to 50% of my income in taxes between Federal, State, Local, Payroll, etc.
    Actually congratulations . I am not trying to be funny. I have a strange idea that the more tax or the higher income bracket I am in, the happier, because that is an indirect or direct indication that I am making more $$$

    I'm just tired of hearing about how "the wealthy" should carry the burden to support the poor, the needy, the health insurance, etc.
    About supporting the poor, I do not mind insurance and education. LOL the real estate market is going up and up, I don't see much benefit for me as a homeowner at least not in the near future. We are not going to sell the house, and if we do, it takes twice more $$ to buy a new one. Meanwhile real estate tax is going up. OTOH, no one in our family attend the local public schools, we pay tuition out of pocket. But I won't whine about real estate tax b/c it is keeping local school education standard up. I don't mind too much about helping the poor with insurance. However, I think recepients of insurance benefits should IMHO (and throw eggs if anyone wants to) try to begin to keep up with healthy preventive measures. How about quit smoking as starters??


    I'm way more interested in some serious SPENDING reform as a priority over tax reform. When I hear that we need tax increases for ANY income levels of our society, knowing how much wasteful or ineffective spending goes on just drives me nuts
    ITA.

    Quote Originally Posted by MM

    The majority of Americans re-elected president Bush in substantial part because they support the Iraq war. In that case, they should be willing to pay for it
    Where did you get the statistics that Bush won the popular vote because the majority of Americans support war on Iraq??

    Off topic and curious. How did you or other posters here invest / spend the $300 to $600 tax refund Bush gave us in his first term?
    1. Into a savings account
    2. Into a mutual fund / stock / bond for investment
    3. Pay bills
    4. On a color TV for personal pleasure
    5. Others, and please specify
    Last edited by gezando; 11-18-2004 at 05:02 PM.

  4. #19
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    Actually, I got no meaningful refund. Because of unfunded mandates, which previously had been paid for by federal money, I got 300$ but the net rise in my property taxes to covered unfunded No Child Left Behind testing and unfunded ADA stuff was $2000. I used the 300$ to lower my real estate tax bump to $1700.

    Not a good deal.

    Plus my husband's medical insurance was allowed to be cancelled due to Republican Equal Opportunity Commission's (3 Reps 1Dem) ruling that discriminating against older retirees is not discrimination. This means he had no drug coverage. Net additional cost $3000. This was really sweet, because the Congress refused to pass this as part of the Social Security Bill, so the administration backdoored it with the Equal Opportunity Commission.

    Net, due to changes by the current administration, as a retired person, I am $4700 in the hole and my social security, which is 9 years in the future, is severely threatened by the huge deficitis.

    Not happy, am I? Rule of thumb, if you make less than $200,000 you probably lost money in the last 4 years. If you earn $200,000 or more, it depends on where you live and how much you pay in real estate taxes whether you made money or not on the refunds.

    About 95% got totally screwed, but never added up to find that when $300 went into their left pocket, $4700 (or whatever their ticket was) got taken out of their right pocket.

    Plus this morning's Washington Post says that the corporate tax deduction for health insurance is going to be dropped. This means most of us, me included, will lose our medical coverage too, as companies that have med coverage will be even less able to compete with the companies that have no coverage.

    .

  5. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by DORISPULASKI
    Plus my husband's medical insurance was allowed to be cancelled due to Republican Equal Opportunity Commission's (3 Reps 1Dem) ruling that discriminating against older retirees is not discrimination.
    Prior to that, how was his insurance covered? I mean private insurance, federal??

    is morning's Washington Post says that the corporate tax deduction for health insurance is going to be dropped. This means most of us, me included, will lose our medical coverage too, as companies that have med coverage will be even less able to compete with the companies that have no coverage.
    Ouch!!!

  6. #21
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Hi Gezando and Doris....

    Doris, you raise great points. It is difficult to "follow the money" and many people don't bother to keep track of things. I'm sorry that the changes over the last few years have worked out very negatively in your (and many people's) situation.

    Yes Gezando, that tithing business is on "gross" according to every biblical scholar I've talked to. (believe me, I was sort of hoping for a different answer, so did talk to as many people as I could dig up LOL!). While I call myself spiritually confused, I am trying much harder these days to study and learn, etc. I have been richly blessed in MANY ways in my life, and so "giving back" has become a priority for me.

    I still have a "corporate job." I've been in sales or sales management most of my post - college career, so that always comes with financial ups and downs. Up until a little over a year ago, my husband also had a corporate job that was mostly salary and paid well. Yes, we definitely considered ourselves blessed. BUT...we realized a few years ago that mathematically, the gross earnings of my husband equalled our Federal Income Tax bill. We got to keep whatever was left of my earnings after state taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, etc. went bye bye. That was the point where we it was time for hubby to start his own business.

    There is an interesting book, one of the many we read on the path to our own business that I recommend. Rich Dad / Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. It is written so it's easy to understand, and it describes his journey starting as a young boy learning about money, how to make it, and how to keep it.

    Both of us came from lower middle class families who urged us both to achieve the American Dream of ending up better off than they were. On one hand, it's so exciting to work hard and achieve a better income situation than your parents ever had. For us, that joy was diminished by understanding what the tax implications are. So I guess we're just trying to get smarter about "working the system" that we have been given to work with.

    Gotta run and see if the Men's comp is underway!

    DG

  7. #22
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Doris,

    ICK! You are absolutely right about how the continuing loss of health insurance is hurting the poor and the elderly. My own case is an example. Because of multiple health issues ( the biggest being that no insurance company will insure me because no company wants to pay for dialysis or a kidney transplant) I can't work full time. But if I work part-time and actually could keep the job, I' d lose Medicaid. I could not make enough to pay for prescription drugs or regular visits I need, let alone another major health crisis that might require hospitalization, etc. Therefore, I'm stuck. In order to live, I gotta live poor and can't even work at all. (that doesn't prevent me from "working" at volunteer work)

    Just to totally gross you out: today on the Fox News Network, Steve Forbes claims that we can reduce the cost of health care by requiring everyone to pay for their own. Yes, you heard it. Mr. Silver-Spoon thinks that everyone should pay for their own. He doesn't even think it should be paid for by businesses as a part of the cost of doing business. Just how he sees that working is a mystery to me. Guess he's one of those people who think the poor and sick should just die and clean up the gene pool.

    And Lad, you are also right to point out that "we" in the US actually pay less of our income in taxes than not only Canada, but also the rest of the so-called "industrialized world." And even those people would be astonished if they had to pay the taxes of the past. Those taxes might have built things like pyramids, but also went to pointless wars and luxury for the ruling classes. The poor were constantly at risk of disease (more that the rich) and starvation. I remember an economics history course where we looked at other countries and other times, in terms of taxation and health care and the other basics of life. Actually, I think the poor of the past took some comfort when the "equal opportunity" diseases hurt the rich as well as the poor (think Black Death, smallpox and syphilis).

    For all our complaining, we actually have it better than nearly all the world and much better than most individuals had it in the past. Now, if there was actually some kind of accountability for those big corporate expenses (back to Halliburton, but also to this weeks villain, Boeing) I doubt we'd all be upset for the relatively "small" expenses of a Greyhound Bus Museum.

  8. #23
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Hi JOHIO2...

    Quote Originally Posted by JOHIO2
    Doris,

    ICK! You are absolutely right about how the continuing loss of health insurance is hurting the poor and the elderly. My own case is an example. Because of multiple health issues ( the biggest being that no insurance company will insure me because no company wants to pay for dialysis or a kidney transplant) I can't work full time. But if I work part-time and actually could keep the job, I' d lose Medicaid. I could not make enough to pay for prescription drugs or regular visits I need, let alone another major health crisis that might require hospitalization, etc. Therefore, I'm stuck. In order to live, I gotta live poor and can't even work at all. (that doesn't prevent me from "working" at volunteer work)

    For all our complaining, we actually have it better than nearly all the world and much better than most individuals had it in the past. Now, if there was actually some kind of accountability for those big corporate expenses (back to Halliburton, but also to this weeks villain, Boeing) I doubt we'd all be upset for the relatively "small" expenses of a Greyhound Bus Museum.
    You bring up a great example of a big problem with our health care system. You sound like a person who WANTS to work, but it would be financially stupid for you to do so because of health insurance realities (and I believe you!). That is something that depresses me every time I hear it. That's a HUGE imperfection in the flawed health care situation around here. (one of many IMO)

    I'm curious why you think that tax payers all over America should pay for a Greyhound Bus Museum anyway? Just because one thing stinks, or is a bigger problem (or several things, including big corporate shenanigans), does using the collective taxes of hard working Americans for frivolous things make the health care situation any better?

    Reducing frivolous (IMO) spending doesn't fix other things per se. But... wasted money is wasted money in my opinion, no matter what it is wasted on. If more of our hard earned tax dollars SHOULD (and I think they should) be directed more to situations like yours, how do things like Bus Museums and Indoor Rain Forests, etc. help that?

    Just wondering...

    DG
    Last edited by Doggygirl; 11-20-2004 at 03:45 PM.

  9. #24
    Custom Title heyang's Avatar
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    DG,

    Thanks for expressing appreciation for my charitable efforts. It's quite wonderful of you to contribute as much as you do, too.

    The work or not work issue drives me crazy. There are people who want to work, but can't because they will lose their aid. This drives me nuts when people who are absolutely healthy don't work to keep their welfare money. I know there are people who really need the assistance and do not begrudge them, but there are just as many people who are just taking advantage. There's got to be rule changes to break the cycle.

    I really wish that it were possible to require someone to use birth control if they are on welfare. Some say they can't work because they can't afford day care and then they go have more babies. You can't deny the baby financial assistance; so , it just goes on.

    Just spouting off. The rules are to complex to comprehend and I am definitely not a subject matter expert. Nothing mentioned here refers to anyone on this board.

  10. #25
    Keeper of La Khok's Tutus Doggygirl's Avatar
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    Heyang...

    You've taken an issue that is certainly at the heart of the matter for me. Abuses of government sponsored / dictated programs.

    I have no problem at all knowing that my tax dollars go to support people who are in need. Unfortunately, I personally know a number of people who are absolutely abusing the systems and programs in place. A few bad apples truly can spoil the whole bunch IMO.

    I know people who are collecting unemployment while working for unreported cash on the side. I know people who are collecting disability payments either through social security or private insurance while working on the side for cash. I know people who by design, work intermittently - just enough to qualify for unemployment payments, and then "suddenly" they are unemployed once again. But they are miraculously re-employed the moment those benefits run out.

    I'm really stepping out here inviting tomatoes and rotten eggs, but I wish our whole our society was more honest. I HATE my tax dollars going to support those who are just "working" the system. Sadly, I think that the fraudulent activity on the part of what it probably a minority works to the detriment of those who are truly in need of community / society support. That's a major reason why I'm working hard to reduce my tax situation, while increasing contributions to charities where I have more confidence that the dollars are being wisely spent for those who are the most in need.

    DG
    Last edited by Doggygirl; 11-21-2004 at 01:11 PM.

  11. #26
    Wicked Yankee Girl dorispulaski's Avatar
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    gezando, My husband retired after 30 years at IBM. IBM told us continually that we were all paid less than average because they were going to give us dental and medical for the rest of our lives. For many years, the medical and dental plan were free. A few years ago we started having to pay for them, and have been paying more and more each year.

    As soon as Ski went on Social Security, not only couldn't he buy anything but drug insurance via the IBM programs, I (as another IBM retiree, but not on Social Security) also couldn't buy him either the IBM regular or various HMO options IBM offered either). Double whammy there. At this point, he buys Medicare A&B via Blue Cross and Blue Shield, and then buys the IBM drug insurance.

    Now that we have retired, they have rewritten the medical coverage so that if you are on Social Security, you don't get the opportunity to buy meaningful medical coverage. There has been a long running IBM court suit about age discrimination and pension and medical coverage changes with age, so I have been following what goes on quite closely. The court case found for the older IBM employees and retirees, but the administration has been cancelling the rules and laws that require big corporations to deal honestly with employees and retirees at a furious rate.

    I expect firmly that as soon as the 2006 version of the Medicare Drug Bill comes up, IBM retirees will be forced on to that too. This is a really bad thing, because there is no way he will be able to be part of the program, since he does not qualify for an HMO due to very bad health (the new version requires you to be on the HMO version of Medicare rather than regular Medicare to get the puny drug benefit). We will lose another 3K a year at least on this.

    OTOH Doggygirl is right-the people gaming the system by working under the table are more and more numerous. The kind of welfare I worry about is corporate welfare. It's amazing how many large companies even pay no income taxes any more, due to various loopholes and offshoring of income.

    And yes, the Steve Forbes vision of no corporate medical plans is exactly what the Bush administration is supposedly considering when they cancel the tax deductibility of corporate medical plans. The idea is supposed to be that if you were paying for your own medical problems that the doctors and hospitals would charge you less, and they point to the lower cost of plastic surgery versus other forms of surgery in some kind of 'proof'. It is the idea behind the private medical accounts. I find this attitude totally appalling.

    JOHIO, I really feel for your situation. America is no country for the sick, as I know well by now. Problems like this are what universal health care programs are about. If everyone had health care, no one would have to stay poor to stay healthy.

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