(News & editorial/ Fiscal cliff issues solved? (chuckle))
A. 13 Tax Increases that Took Effect January 1
10 Jan 2013, OffTheGridNews.com, by Tim George
Pasted from: http://www.offthegridnews.com/2013/01/10/13-tax-increases-that-took-effect-january-1/
WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Obama and legislators who passed the bill that supposedly averted the so-called “Fiscal Cliff” believe higher taxes are not only necessary but should be welcomed.
Before the bill was passed a few days ago, the president linked a willingness to pay higher taxes with both Hurricane Sandy and the killing of innocent children at Sandy Hook Elementary School:
“After what we’ve gone through over the past several months, a devastating hurricane and now one of the worse tragedies in our memory, the country deserves the folks to be willing to compromise for the greater good.” [Some will suggest there should temporarily be less government spending on other things; if the local popuylation can’t deal with the financial aftermath, use those revenues for these one-hit events. Maybe government spending programs should be willing to compromise for the greater good? Just a thought. Mr. Larry]
Washington continued its mantra that it only wanted to raise taxes for the top 2% while guaranteeing taxes would not go up for the middle class. In fact, there were 13 tax raises that when into effect on January 1, 2013 and a number of them that directly affect those not considered part of the 2%.
1. Payroll tax: increase in the Social Security portion of the payroll tax from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent for workers. This hits all Americans earning a paycheck—not just the “wealthy.” For example, The Wall Street Journal calculated that the “typical U.S. family earning $50,000 a year” will lose “an annual income boost of $1,000.” Obviously this tax increase hits the lower income and middle class wage earners the hardest.
2. Top marginal tax rate: increase from 35 percent to 39.6 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).
3. Phase out of personal exemptions for adjusted gross income (AGI) over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).
4. Phase down of itemized deductions for AGI over $300,000 ($250,000 for single filers).
5. Tax rates on investment: increase in the rate on dividends and capital gains from 15 percent to 20 percent for taxable incomes over $450,000 ($400,000 for single filers).
6. Death tax: increase in the rate (on estates larger than $5 million) from 35 percent to 40 percent.
7. Taxes on business investment: expiration of full expensing—the immediate deduction of capital purchases by businesses. There is a myth being perpetrated by both the president and the media that all business owners are wealthy. Mom and pop businesses require capital purchases just like corporations, but can no longer find tax relief when those improvements need to be made.
***Obamacare tax increases that took effect: Obamacare contains twenty new or higher taxes. Five of the taxes hit for the first time on January 1. In total, for the years 2013-2022, Americans face a net $1 trillion tax hike for the years 2013-2022.
8. Another investment tax increase: 3.8 percent surtax on investment income for taxpayers with taxable income exceeding $250,000 ($200,000 for singles).
9. Another payroll tax hike: 0.9 percent increase in the Hospital Insurance portion of the payroll tax for incomes over $250,000 ($200,000 for single filers).
10. Medical device tax: 2.3 percent excise tax paid by medical device manufacturers and importers on all their sales. Anyone needing a knee or hip replacement will see that expense passed down to them regardless of their income.
11. Reducing the income tax deduction for individuals’ medical expenses.
12. Elimination of the corporate income tax deduction for expenses related to the Medicare Part D subsidy.
13. Limitation of the corporate income tax deduction for compensation that health insurance companies pay to their executives.
B. Latest News on the Fiscal Cliff II (Feb/March 2013), Debt ceiling will likely need to be addressed in the latter half of February.
10 January, 2013, usbudgetalert.com, Debt ceiling FAQs from Jeanne Sahadi
Excerpts taken from: http://usbudgetalert.com/
Does this stabilize the nation’s economy? No, it does not. It partially avoids an immediate fiscal crisis that could have pushed the nation into recession during the first half of 2013, and even there, immediate risks to the economic recovery remain with automatic cuts scheduled for March, a potential debt ceiling crisis, and the payroll tax cut having expired.
• For the long-term, the U.S. debt remains unsustainable. To be sure, significant progress was made in 2011 by placing caps on defense and nondefense discretionary spending, saving about $1 trillion over 10 years. In addition, the January 1st fiscal cliff deal will raise about $600 billion over 10 years in new revenues by allowing rates to rise on incomes above 400k/450k. However, the largest portion of the budget — entitlement spending — remains unaddressed.
• The rapid growth of Medicare and Medicaid due to fast-rising healthcare costs and the aging of the population remains largely unaddressed.
• In addition, annual cash deficits of the Social Security program will rapidly increase due to the aging of the population and the program’s solvency is therefore at risk.
• And reforms to other “mandatory spending” such as farm programs and federal retirement programs remain unaddressed.
All of these areas — Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, other mandatory spending, as well as tax expenditures — need to be addressed in order to stabilize the long-term debt and ensure long-term economic stability and growth. Proposals to reform each of these areas are laid out in the two major deficit reduction plans: Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin
C. SAVED FROM THE FISCAL CLIFF!
7 January 2013, Gold-Eagle.com editorial, by Roxanne Lewis
Pasted from: http://www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_12/lewisr010713.html
Don’t you just feel warm all over? Our House and Senate representatives finally got their act together and came to an agreement so our country didn’t go over the financial cliff. We all now have our direct line fix, for at least the next 2 months that is, until they have to deal with the next self imposed crisis, the debt ceiling. Everyone feels better until we all feel the pain in the next few months from the business owner to the wage earner.
• They passed an additional year of unemployment benefits for those who have been out of work for the past 4 years and they used yours and my social security funds, or at least what was is left in the funds account.
• They retained the death tax that was set to expire from $5 million and return to $1 million this time permanently. If they had not there would be more people out of work as they lose their farms to the government and our country would lose even more G.D.P. that comes from these family farms.
• Payroll taxes went up as well for the business owners. At least we have one more year before Obama Care starts in 2014.
• They raised taxes on everyone from $50,000 and up and kicked the real problem down the road once again and saved their own jobs.
What purpose does a government serve anyway? It seems they steal from the halves and give to the have not’s. There are literally hundreds of programs that give money away to the population who have no money, no jobs and never completed their free high school education. There are job training programs, which are proven to do little and a Department of Education which educates only a few and not the millions it should. Today we have 47 million people using food stamps, with no jobs to be found, who live in government funded housing and receive Medicaid for their broods. They were raised by a government that told them, we will take care of you because we know you can’t do it yourself and they despise us for it. Just like the countries that we give billions to every year whom won’t vote with us and hate us.
• We are addicted to credit and finance homes through a government owned Freddy and Fanny who failed years ago but is still propped up by our government. • Our farmers are subsidized by our government not to farm and then have prices guaranteed for their crops.
• We have a tax code that is 6 feet tall, which no one understands except a computer program. Accountants would be out of tax work if the code was simplified but then maybe they could go back to doing what accountants do such as keeping business books. That is, if there were any businesses left after the economic tsunami the bank bailouts caused and all the government regulations they impose on those nasty capitalists.
• We fly on subsidized airlines whose fares are lower than they should be, because our government also runs the costly air traffic control system and maintains our airports.
• We ride to work on subsidized transit systems, after privately owned ones went bankrupt because our government built roads paved roads.
• We receive mail from a government postman, because it is illegal for a private company to deliver the mail.
• We watch TV and listen to radio on government licensed and owned frequencies.
• We are prescribed drugs approved by the government that control us, numb us and poison us. We purchase alcohol, cigarettes and now marijuana in Colorado that is taxed by our government to escape and relax from the stresses caused by too much work and worry.
• We conform to rules made up by our government in an effort, they say, to keep us safe.
• Our homes and businesses are required to be built correctly to their standards out of the right material, in the right color within the right area of a lot.
• Our businesses must have the right number of fire extinguishers or a costly fire suppression sprinkling system they warrant right for our protection.
• We are required by law to pay a state inspector $150 to inspect our boiler even when they are new, in order to keep us safe.
• We must drive cars and trucks designed to burn fuels approved by government.
We are the ones who serve them, we fix it what is broke, we never complain, we do as we are told. We pay for the roads we drive on and the police that are supposed to keep us safe. We purchase electricity, operate stores to sell goods, operate restaurants that feed others, we hire and pay wages, use electricity, buy cars and pay to have them fixed, buy for our families and are totally controlled in every minute of our life by a government regulation. Their rules are made to control and infect every aspect of our lives in an attempt to tax and take from us every last cent they can. Never in history, has a nation which dared to call itself “free,” been so controlled, dictated to and harassed by a government. We don’t like it but we accept it as it has encroached insidiously and now overbearingly into every crevasse of our lives and so we accept it.
We are but a nation of servants indentured to a mindless, useless, and all powerful, wealth consuming, and enslaving government without any vote from its citizens it is supposed to serve. Our entire life is controlled by Washington D.C. and its army of drones, regulation writing, dictators that work against us for their entire lives, and suck us dry. Just think, counting Income taxes, Social Security taxes, Medicare taxes, plus literally hundreds of other federal taxes on our beverages, phone lines, gas, clothing, cars, homes and everything else imaginable. We give Caesar what Caesar is owed and then some more of our money to a government in Washington D.C. that never is satiated. They constantly borrow and print what they haven’t already stolen from their servants.
Today, even our best creditors no longer want to mortgage our debt. Our Treasury is buying its own debt, if you can imagine such a thing. Kind of like a business that buys what it makes and calls itself a success, reminds me of General Motors and the “Cash for Clunkers” program sold to the masses to sell the cars they were now producing. America is the largest employer and debtor nation on earth. Our debt is so large, that it can never be repaid. Our government is a bloated aristocracy that has absolute control over us in all phases of our lives, from birth to death.
The question is what does our government even produce? Do they raise livestock, plant crops, manufacture anything, sell anything, or create any service for mankind? It is the business creators, the entrepreneurs and inventors who create and invent products or services that benefit literally everyone enriching and raising our quality of life. Yet what has government given us? Absolutely nothing, but law books by the millions, a 6 foot tax code, regulations we must comply with or be shut down, wars over money, bail outs to the wealthiest to keep for themselves and gifts to foreigners who don’t deserve or appreciate it. The great Henry Ford who created the modern day assembly line stated, “Any man who thinks he can be happy and prosperous by letting the government take care of him; better take a closer look at the American Indian.”
If one is robbed today, the criminal gets a slap on the wrist, probation and a fine. Likewise if you don’t file and pay your taxes you will find an alert I.R.S. agent at your door ready to camp out at your business to audit your books and slap you with a big penalty. I am positive that if I hired five tax accountants and gave them my taxes I would get five different answers. Then what do they do with our tax money? Mainly they use it for subsidize their life styles with cushy retirement, medical plans and retirement packages for their spouses when they die. They plan and spend for the so called military defense of the world and hire more cronies to legislate more rules and regulations on the trembling masses without the consent of those who paid the taxes in the first place. They steal from you and I just like that criminal that robbed you and received no punishment.
Government has never made or accomplished anything at a profit. They merely dole out money for votes, so the process can continue year after year. A hundred years ago, government didn’t have programs to give handouts to the sick and the poor, the elderly or the hungry, the unions or the farmers. There were no huge bureaucracies devoted to weakening our populace. We were the strongest, wealthiest, most self sufficient nation on earth. We are still the land of the free but I fear not for long. We still have a beautiful country, with immense natural resources given to us by our maker to use and enrich our lives. We are still a capable nation of smart, intelligent and diligent workers. We are brainwashed into thinking that what our government gives us is free, never recognizing that it was at first taken from us to re-gift to others. The printing press keeps running day to night and night to day diluting our dollars just as a tax is collected without our permission. The more they steal to redistribute, the weaker and poorer we all become. They give to them the bread we make yet never ask nor require anything from those who take! Today’s Americans are becoming weary, as Atlas was weary, in attempting to keep up our role in building and caring for the world we live in. Our governing officials are nothing more than charlatans who attempt to fool us into thinking that what they accomplish is sophisticated, life saving and all important to preserve our way of life.
My father always said, “The government should only do for the people what the people are unable to do for themselves.” Instead it seems our government has created more havoc in the past century than we could have possibly done on our own. They have no conscience, no representation of their constituency and fail miserably day after day and month after month and year after year. Our government’s motto seems to be, “If it moves tax it, if it slows subsidize it and if it stops bail it out!” Well, what if the average American worker, all of us just stopped moving, stopped working, stopped filing taxes and got on the same gravy train our government officials and welfare recipients are on? What would happen then? Makes you think who really is in charge and if the people could wag the dog without picking up arms? What is it going to take to make the changes needed to get our country back on the right track?
Until then I will protect my family and buy silver and gold!