Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Refund or Pay: Where are the advantages?

Everyone seems to be all excited about getting their tax refund back. Is this a good thing? I mean, when it is all said and done, who really makes out. If you were to actually do the math, would this be a good deal?

WARNING I am about to do Math. Some may want to look away.

If you look to the tax code you will find the federal government will allow you to owe up to $500 without penalties or interest and most states will allow you $100 or more. At first glance we can see this as an interest free loan. That’s $600 you could use or simply keep in savings; at 3% you could earn an additional $18. Honestly, since you would only be collecting it a little at a time in your payroll, you would earn a little less. Yet, you do get to use it for an extra 3.5 months. (Let’s call it $12.)
Another plus is the payment of past taxes is a direct write off. It is a line item deduction when you pay past taxes. So paying last year’s tax, the above mentioned $600, would come right off the top of your gross income line. That could net you a savings of $60 on this year’s tax. (12 + 60 = $72 in savings)

Let’s look at the refund side. The average refund is around a thousand dollars. That means you don’t have access to your money and the government does. This is your money. If we were to account for simple interest of 3%, you would have lost about $30. If that wasn’t enough of a burden, some states (like Oregon) treat refunds as additional earnings in the year they are received and demand further tax on the money. In Oregon that would be about $80. (30 + 80=$110 in loss)
Those of you taking the refund have another burden to bear. In simple economic terms, Money Today is Worth more than Money Tomorrow. Why is that you ask? Simple inflation steals a little of each dollar each year. We may only have a 1% inflation rate but that $1000 refund lost about $10 in market value. If you are lucky enough to not live in a state like Oregon then you only have suffered a loss of $40. (Oregon resident $120 loss)

The tax payer has got to fully use their money for the whole year, plus took advantage of a free government loan and came out about $72 ahead. They might look a little depressed having to a cut that check to Uncle Sam but they are the real winner.
The person who received the refund may be thrilled to receive that fat check but after careful review, that smile will flip over knowing they just lost $112. (40 + 72 = $112) This may look like small potatoes in the grand scheme of things but over a fifty year work cycle this could develop into a nice nest egg of $5600. If we were to place this in an IRA at 6% the net balance would be $34,469.

I think you might be able to find a use for this small contribution. If not I could give you an account number to place it in. I can think of all sorts of ideas.

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

State of the Union

Transcript of President's Address
Transcript of Democratic Response

Once again that time of year has come where the President stands before both houses of congress and gives the annual address. This year, like every year, the president attempts to promote his aggenda and sway both the voters and the representatives. This time the tone was different. This was not a speach of unbridled authority but one where strength and timidness teatered back and forth. In previous years he had the congress and his direction was more apt to be followed. Now he must persuade the oposing party to follow his lead. This will definately be tough to do when you are polling in the basement.

I didn't find anything new until we got to the topic of healthcare. Why choose this as a topic of tax cuts? I find it rather bold to go before the Democratic congress and suggest a tax cut to achieve what has been their dream government program. As a conservative I was impressed that someone would offer something without creating a whole new level of burocracy. I don't want government run healthcare. As great as our nation is, when ever the government runs it, it costs to much and you get to little. There are already plenty of systems for delivering healthcare, all we need is better cost control.
I haven't heard anything about how this proposal was recieved. My favorate line on the subject was this..
And in all we do, we must remember that the best healthcare decisions are
made not by government and insurance companies, but by patients and their
Our HMO system seems to have forgotten who the customer is and what basic front line healthcare really is. Let us not forget that the patient is ultimately the paying customer and more needs to be done in the area of customer service.

Then we went off on immigration. This is one area that the president and I don't see eye to eye. You see, we already have a guest worker program in our VISA system. Employers that need help can request someone from outside our nation. The problem is that no one knows how many people we need or at what jobs because we have so many illegally here gumming up the system. If we need more workers, then by all means increase the number of entry. Let them follow our laws and meet our requirements as workers wishing to come to our nation under our systems. Don't expect me to welcome anyone who has lied, cheated, and broken countless laws. How are we to ever trust a person who has found it so easy to be untrustworthy? They did not have charactor enough to avoid breaking our laws in the first place.
I constantly hear that this problem can not simply be solved by walls and fences. The problem is easily solved by denying wage deductions for non matching employees. The problem is easily solved by denying housing to non sponsored workers. If we take away housing and enployment then they will deport themselves as readily as they imported themselves. We will then be able to create a guest worker program Mr. President. We will then know how many guests we need.

Let's talk energy. We have plenty of oil right here in the good old US. We really don't need to encircle the globe with tankers. We simply need to drill. How many times will the congress deny us the right to do just that. "The Not In My Back Yard" mentality is slowly destroying our nation. I have offered up solutions to this before. I wont repeat them here but we must do more to manage our own energy here at home.
Oregon State University perfected a plan for creating a Nuclear reactor energy producing station that would reduce our hazzardous waste issues to about a hundred years. Far reducing the waste issue of tens of thousands that the current designs all over the planet are utilizing. If we truly want to do something great for our planet, why don't we take advantage of this technology.

I'll stop here for today. I know there is much more that needs saying.
What say you, so far?

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

Star Wars

Ronald Reagan would have shouted "I told you so" after the Chinese shot down one of their aging satilites on the eleventh of January. The Chinese have taken many steps to provoke a discussion on space weapons and technology. Perhaps this will start the conversation.

Article of Interest

Ron was way ahead of his time. We only hope that follow through on the wishes of this great man will not leave us lacking.

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The New Congress and Iraq

All week long the various news sources have been talking about who is for the troop build up and who is against. We have heard inflamed redderick on both sides. We have also seen quotes by generals placing a short time line on the increase. The question in my mind is how much is politicing and how much is actually focusing on getting it done? I want the thing over with and done. I have already pointed out many mistakes made to this point. Who has pointed out the successes?
There has been many success stories in Iraq but they don't make it in the news. Dilivering to America a non stop broadcast of doom and gloom has both emboldened the enemy and weakened our resolve. Everyday the headlines are filled with the numbers who died in Iraq. We are constantly told of another bombing or shooting. Has anyone actually pointed out that 95% of this violence takes place in a small area of Iraq? We have failed to notice that 99% of Iraq is actually doing quite well. Yes there is an occasional incident but the same could be said for anywhere on the globe. It is far more dangerous to live in Washington DC then most of Iraq.

The scary question is, who do the nay sayers want to win in Iraq? The US has taken every possible precaution to protect the people of Iraq. From the initial bombing, with percision acuracy to the day to day patrols, the people of Iraq have been held to the highest regard. The enemy has made sure the exact oposite is true from their ranks. They have saught to kill the maximum number of civilians at every turn. The more women and children the better the target of those we seek. While we have taken steps to improve the lives of Iraqi the enemy chooses every possible way to make their lives miserable. Shear observation would make one want to stop these people not allow them greater freedom to do the harm.
Yet, our own representatives fail to notice. They speak as if we are the core problem. As if our exit would solve the problem and make the iraqi people more safe. Others speak out boldly telling us that we are the only reason the terrorists are there. The terrorists are there because they seek to kill and destroy.
Do those who speak against us here in America realize that they would be prime targets if the terrorists could get here? The liberal mindset is the very target that these radical groups seek. Everything the liberal stands for the terrorists stand against. These two groups who should be great enemys instead are working together. Has insanity took hold of those in power? Both sides of the isle have lost sight of who the enemy is and what this ultimately means to America.
Please drop your elected leader a note and remind them who the enemy is and why. We stand on the edge of a great fall and unless we reunite America and face the enemy as one we may fall.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

The End of the World is Coming

Since 1947 the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has kept a clock called the "Doomsday Clock". The clock is only symbolic but it has represented the tension around the planet. They are currently considering moving us closer to the end.
Article of Interest Here
With all the termoil in the world, how close do you think we are to the end? I can't count the number of commentators who have questioned how long the US can last given our divided stand on most major issues. Yet, the clock is aimed at the whole world and the many conflicts that are escalating. Most point to the fact that the clock points to nuclear weapons as the end all. The current climate places many who want or have nuclear capability as aggressors who may push the button.
We have North Korea, who has demonstrated a small detonation, wanting a method for getting what they want. Nuclear blackmail looks like the terror of the future. This would allow small groups to weild incredible power in the global market. No longer will just a few people be at risk but vast numbers of people, probably not knowing, could be on the edge at any moment. Nuclear weapons also offer secondary consequences that could have a very long term effect on a country. Governments have to develop plans on how they will deal with these threats. We are electing leaders who will be making this decision for us. Are you comfortable with those over you elected to office to make this decision?
Countries like Iran who speak out and act out when opertunity arrises, should never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. Anyone who thinks that Iran wouldn't use it hasn't been paying attention. Look at the number of times Iranian leaders have threatened others. Yes, the bulk of the threats are aimed at Isreal, but we and others have been on their list. With their known conection to terrorists they don't even need a high tech delivery system. We have invested millions into stopping balistic missles but our open borders make missles a thing of the past.

Once again the same issues that upset the average American are still the big issues today.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Here We Go Again

I was a front runner in complaining about how this war was handled. Let me make it clear that I have no problem with the war in Iraq. This needed doing in 1992 when Saddam started breaking all the UN resolutions. We have the mess we have for two reasons. The first is for waiting so long and letting thousands more die at the hands of Saddam. The second is due to a poor war plan at best.
I have posted various issues but let me sum up some of the key screw ups. Never give the enemy back their guns. Never leave a major weapons cache unprotected. Never leave your supply lines unprotected. Never allow militias to develop in your theatre of operation.
We set ourselves up for desastor from day one and we have enjoyed the full carnige of our mistakes. Pardon me for being a little less then impressed with the new path for Iraq.

If real progress is to be made we need to take steps to actually secure Iraq from those who seek to do harm. We could start by doing the one thing we fail at at home, secure the border. It has been demonstrated that Iran is supplying both expertise and weapons to the insurgent groups in Iraq. We have the technology and assets to patrol and secure Iraq. We have Un-manned and Manned assets, satillites and troops who can stop this. Why do we continue to allow this to go on.
Make Bagdad a Gun free zone for a set period of time. If you are seen with a gun you are shot on sight. The very presence of a gun is treated as a threat and dealt with. We need to stop waiting to be shot at before responding. Having are best take a hit before dishing out the punishment is unacceptable. These are our trained soldiers, they know a threat. Allow them to deal with it as the situation would allow. Untie their hands and let them do the job we sent them to do.
We need more MacAuthor and less PC nonsense. I don't know if sending more troops will help unless they are free to do the job. By freedom I would also suggest removing our troops from the burden of persection for doing this job. If the president wants to lend full support to our troops than stop the nonsense and let them deal with the problem.

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