Archive for ‘Taxes’

October 26, 2008

Waukesha Carnival 10-26-2008

by thoughtfulconservative

Where to begin? How about where we’re all hit–the wallet.

Dad29 exposes the Democrats plans for 401(k)s.

The Asian Badger links to a Wall Street Journal article that shows

that high tax rates on the “producers” cause dis-incentives on those who are the payors of those tax rates. At some point, they either stop producing or, move out of the country.

At Waukesha FYI, Darryl Enriquez notes that a local lady got her letter about the bailout printed in TIME magazine.

Politics are always on the mind. Kyle Prast wonders at Practically Speaking why Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama matters.

JJ Gravelle muses in his own inimitable way about Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama at The Daily Scoff.

Alex has a nice poll over at Hobo Springs. Go vote.

Locally, Wiggy gives us a short rant on yard signs at Wigderson’s Library & Pub.

Cindy Kilkenny at Fairly Conservative takes a critical look at Brookfield’s Vision 2035.

Meanwhile, Mayor Larry Nelson continues his steady stream of mayor memos. He’s a busy guy, I guess.

In miscellaneous posts, Bryon Houlgrave has some high school football “hits.”

MommaBlogger wonders what so secret about the 10 secrets of the effortlessly thin. You can read her thoughts at Homemaker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

At Inside New Berlin, Linda Richter informs about a year-round costume company. In New Berlin.

Find a tree? Curt Otto has reported one missing. A replacement is in the works. See Maple & Main for details.

Huckberry Dumbell adds a touch to his Ghost Blogging and Sunday Scan features. Go to Spring City Chronicle to find out.

That’s it for this week. If you see an interesting post, drop the link in a comment and I’ll add it to next week’s carnival.

October 20, 2008

What the $700 billion bailout does for taxpayers

by thoughtfulconservative

A summary follows. More in depth explanation can be found at CNNMoney.com.

  • A quick fix for the AMT to keep many middle-class taxpayers out of the reach of the alternative minimum tax in 2008.
  • Mortgage debt forgiveness, normally taxable income, won’t be. For awhile.
  • A break on education for some people.
  • The sales tax deduction, which expired last year, returns.
  • Homeowners who do not itemize can deduct up to $500 ($1,000 for joint filers) of property taxes in addition to the standard deduction.
  • If you’re 70.5 years or older you can withdraw up to $100,000 from an IRA and donate it to charity, tax-free.
  • In 2009 (they skipped over 2008, says Luscombe) you can qualify for a credit of up to $500 for qualified improvements to make your home more energy efficient.
  • If you were affected by Hurricane Ike or this year’s floods or tornadoes in the Midwest, you may qualify fortax benefits.
September 20, 2008

Wall Street bailout – more questions than answers

by thoughtfulconservative

While I don’t agree with everything in this post, he asks a lot of good questions at the beginning.

Why is that every time bad investments made by private institutions go belly up, the U.S. taxpayers are called upon to socialize the financial risk? WHY?

Why is it that suddenly, government isn’t the problem, it’s the solution? [Ed.-My word, even Krugman has some good stuff here. Is the world going to end?]

Democrats and Republican lawmakers are to blame for the current mortgage and investment banking crisis. From a legislative perspective, they saw this coming years ago and did nothing to stop it. This has happened before. Remember when taxpayers were called upon to bailout the Resolution Trust Corporation and the S&L crisis in the 1990s?

I think he gives legislators too much credit. Maybe some saw what was coming. Most just hoped something would happen (like maybe they would get their pensions) before the worst happened.

Fannie and Freddie were worthy of rescue but not Lehman Bros. Then AIG and finally the whole ball of wax is going to get rescued. Will Lehman Bros. get a do over?

Cindy Kilkenny raises the question of financial terrorism. It didn’t originate with her; see her post for more links. I’m still not so sure, but it bears watching.

The Asian Badger (who, let’s say, knows what he’s talking about) had this to say,

In a way, over-regulation was how we got here (goes back to Congress mandating the underwriting of mortgages to non-qualified buyers…so all kinds of lax standards, shady brokers, swaps to manage the new risk, etc. sprang up).

See his post for his remedies. You may not agree with all of them, but many of them are common sense solutions, e.g., #6,

6) In line with #5, above, draw the line in the sand and announce the end of the “Greenspan Put” i.e. no more bailouts…period. I’ve written about the Greenspan Put and how it erases the “stupid penalty”. Put the stupid penalty back into the markets and watch the moronic risk-taking dry up. Risk-taking would still occur…it has to for the economy to move forward…but firms would have to adequately access the risk and price it accordingly. The end of the Greenspan Put would have the added effect of enabling shareholders and potential sharebuyers to realistically evaluate financial firms. [Ed.-Emphasis mine]

McCain told us what his plans were (other than Fire Chris Cox, that is). Obama is keeping his secret (a tip of the conservative hat to Nick). Unless you can get something from this.

Cato gives another result (H/T again to Nick),

In the process of turning US taxpayers into involuntary stockholders in AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, federal bullies shoved the voluntary stockholders into the ditch. Bear Stearns stockholders weren’t treated much better.

If you’re still brave enough to own stock in other financial firms not yet blessed with such enlightened assistance from the feds, those precedents should make you nervous. So how could anyone possibly expect these “bailouts” to improve market confidence. [Ed.-emphasis mine]

I find myself agreeing somewhat with Patrick Buchanon states,

Notice who is managing the crisis. Not our elected leaders. Nancy Pelosi says she had nothing to do with it. Congress is paralyzed and heading home. President Bush is nowhere to be seen.

Hank Paulson of Goldman Sachs and Ben Bernanke of the Fed chose to bail out Bear Sterns but let Lehman go under. They decided to nationalize Fannie and Freddie at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions, putting the U.S. government behind $5 trillion in mortgages. They decided to buy AIG with $85 billion rather than see the insurance giant sink beneath the waves.

An unelected financial elite is now entrusted with the assignment of getting us out of a disaster into which an unelected financial elite plunged the nation. We are just spectators.

Are we?

And what about the CEO’s who got large buyouts from these companies?

In conclusion, I know this post has been long and filled with contradictory statements from different folks. They offer different causes for the problem and propose different solutions. It demonstrates where I’ve been searching for answers.

June 7, 2008

One more thing from Missouri

by thoughtfulconservative

A friend brought us a case of bottled water (Is bottled water against the law, yet?) that the Columbian fire department had given her because they had the water turned off for a couple of hours flushing the hydrants.

In the socialist state of Wisconsin, why don’t I get bottled water when flushing mains turns mine a deep shade of brown?

Don’t I pay more tax dollars than Missouri?

May 19, 2008

“Referendum talk divides board”

by thoughtfulconservative

From the Waukesha Freeman.

Very interesting quotes here.

Board members Kurt O’Bryan and Frank Finman said they question the quality of education for students entering the district, saying they were glad some of their children are getting out before it collapses.

“I look at my two children in the school district, I see my 11th-grader, who I think is going to escape out the door before the roof caves in,” Finman said. “And I look at my eighth-grader and the education she’s getting, and compare that to the education her older sister’s getting, and they aren’t even comparable.”

O’Bryan said part of a referendum is about how it is presented to residents.

“If we all agree that our backs are against the wall, then I think we should pursue one,” O’Bryan said. “The scenario you have to give them is that it’s either this or it’s this. One option is the referendum and the other is to shut this district down, which this board has the power to do.”

Time is also an issue for board members because they blame the failure of the 2005 referendum on a lack of planning. While they didn’t come up with an exact date, the November election was mentioned several times.

Yeah, lack of planning. Or perhaps, Roger Danielson. Anything except that Waukesha residents are opposed to seeing their taxes go up just “to see the roof cave in” or to see it “shut down” when the next one fails.

Is Mr. O’Bryan’s comment the nuclear option? Is he calling the voters’ bluff?

Way to instill confidence in the schools.

March 8, 2008

And they didn’t even need a sales tax increase

by thoughtfulconservative

Milwaukee Public Museum pays off loans.

For the first time since the financial crisis hit, the museum’s net worth has moved into positive numbers – $607,000 as of last month. The county owns most of the museum building and all of the collection, while the nonprofit Milwaukee Public Museum Inc. operates the museum and its planetarium and IMAX theater.

The next big financial step for the museum will be launching a major capital campaign this year, with a goal of raising $25 million over three to five years.

Good news, indeed.

The loan payoff is a milestone, but the museum still has a long road before it’s financially set, county Auditor Jerome Heer said.

“The big question is, is (the recovery) sustainable,” Heer said. “It’s going to continue to be a marathon.”