Taxed. Again and Again and Again.

We the Overtaxed People dread most April fifteenths but that terrible day has been delayed to April 18 again this year.

“Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya tomorrow
You’re always a day away …”

Form 1040Emancipation Day, a little-known holiday beyond the Beltway, is the primary reason the tax deadline changed this year. Slavery was formally abolished in the United States December 6, 1865, when the 13th Amendment was ratified, but it occurred much earlier in the District of Columbia: President Abraham Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act on April 16, 1862, freeing the thousands of slaves who lived in the district. Now a legal holiday in Washington, government offices and other public services do not operate on Emancipation Day, usually celebrated April 16. Emancipation Day falls back to April 15 or ahead to April 17 when it falls on a weekend because we couldn’t deprive civil servants in that city of a holiday.

This is the second year in a row.

In other tax news, tax-refund fraud continues to soar this tax season. It will top $21 billion this year, up from “just” $6.5 billion three years ago, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The IRS’ own “Dirty Dozen” lists the common scams that peak during filing season as people prepare their returns or hire someone to help with their taxes. Half are crimes against us including phishing, phone scams, and identity theft.

Elian Matlovsky of Staten Island was found guilty in what the prosecutor described as “one of the nation’s largest and longest running stolen identity tax refund fraud schemes.”

Here’s how it worked. Ms. Matlovsky and the other defendants were found to have filed more than 8,000 fraudulent federal income tax returns for more than $65 million in tax refunds. They did it by stealing Social Security numbers and dates of birth and using that information to file the false returns claiming refunds.

My liberal friends like to make hay on the fact that the rich don’t pay taxes but my liberal friends are wrong.

I ran a quick guestimate for the fabled “one percenter” with a gross annual income of $1,260,508, a $10,000 retirement plan contribution, $26,690 in itemized deductions, and two kids. That taxpayer has $1,152,975 in taxable income and will pay about $411,339 in taxes. The effective tax rate is 32.6% and the marginal tax rate is 39.6%. (That gross annual income is the least that qualifies for “one percent” status.)

Now look at a “ten percenter,” a married engineer earning $133,445 in salary with no investment income, a $5,000 retirement plan contribution, $13,345 in itemized deductions, and two kids. That taxpayer has $107,000 in taxable income and will pay about $17,465 in taxes tomorrow. The effective tax rate is 13.1% and the marginal tax rate is 25.0%. (That gross annual income is the least that qualifies for “ten percent” status.)

“The tax code is about 2-1/2 times the length of Stephen King’s It–except you replace ‘scary clown’ with ‘accounting methods’.”

Finally, consider the married person who earned $40,190 in wages with no other income, no retirement plan contribution, taking the standard deduction, and two kids. That taxpayer has $19,490 in taxable income and will pay about $0 in taxes tomorrow. The effective tax rate is 0.0% although the marginal tax rate is still 15.0%. (That gross annual income is about the most a family of four can make before paying $12 in income tax for the year.)

Want to tell me again who pays the least taxes?

There are now more than a thousand pages of tax forms.

Slate, apologizing again for Big Government, would have us believe the tax code wasn’t 70,000 pages long in 2013. It was “only” 4,037 pages then. Oh, goody.

Want to tell me again why this is fair.

Just remember, the very same people who want nationalized, government-run, single-payer health care (“Medicare for All”) oppose the simple, fair flat tax. I’m pretty sure there is a moral in there somewhere.

SCOTUS Upholds Obamacare: It's a tax
Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow
your bottom dollar will be gone!


Random Inflation

I live in the middle of the Florida Keys where I have flood insurance and windstorm insurance as separate policies from my “traditional” homeowner’s insurance.

The premiums went up this year.


A lot.

FEMA runs the National Flood Insurance Program which “aims to reduce the impact of flooding on private and public structures. It does so by providing affordable insurance to property owners…” They have lousy aim.
The state-run Citizens Property Insurance Corp provides windstorm insurance protection to Florida policyholders. The “financial responsibilities [imposed by the Florida law] drive Citizens’ commitment to quality customer service and rigorously sound financial management.” Their aim is much better since premiums have skyrocketed. They have 459,797 windstorm policies in Florida overall and 17,264 of the 22,663 wind policies here in the Keys.

When I realized how much my premiums went up and how much my Social Security didn’t, I got to wondering why. After all, these are all government programs, driven to customer service and affordability. And we know the government ties everything to the Consumer Price Index, right?

Inflation and its Effect on Premiums

The Bureau of Labor Statistics “is the principal Federal agency responsible for measuring labor market activity, working conditions, and price changes in the economy.” They collect and analyze that data and then tell us about it. We the Overtaxed People as well as the U.S. Congress, other Federal agencies, and State and local governments depend on BLS data every day. The Consumer Price Index may be their best known number among older Americans. Current Employment Statistics may be the most quoted in the press. They have more.

The official BLS inflation calculator shows there has been 14% change in the CPI since 2009.

The official Cost Of Living Adjustment (based on the CPI) increased 0.0% in 2009, 0.0% in 2010, 3.6% in 2011, 1.7% in 2012, 1.5% in 2013, 1.7% in 2014, 0.0% in 2015, and 0.3% in 2016. Because “inflation has been very low in recent years,” Social Security recipients did not get a COLA increase in 2010 or 2011. SWMBO, who received about the average monthly Social Security through that entire period, has seen her check increase 7.7% from 2009 through 2017. Recipients did (sort of) receive a cost of living adjustment this January but most saw no increase in their monthly check because the government’s own Medicare Part B insurance premium went up more than the COLA.

Meanwhile, my FEMA-run flood insurance has risen 75% from $1,173 in 2009 to $2,051 today. Citizens more than doubled my windstorm premium, a 224% hike, from $2,149 in 2009 to $4,816 last year. It will be even more this year.

The liberal ideal is “Medicare for all” because they say it will drive costs down, but if FEMA and Citizens are examples of efficient, affordable government programs, we should be very, very afraid of all of these “ideal” liberal programs.


We’ve Stopped Hanging Car Thieves

Now we give them pensions and Secret Service protection.

In addition to directly stealing from Americans, the Obama White House did more to take away our rights, steal our privacy, and spy on us than any other administration. Ever.

Until now.

The U.S. Senate voted this morning to repeal the FCC’s Internet service provider privacy regs. The vote was on straight party lines: 50 Republicans approved the measure and 48 Democrats rejected it. (Two Republicans were absent and did not vote.)

These FCC privacy rules protects consumers. Without them, your ISP will be able to sell records about what you look at, what you purchase, and who you talk to online.

The bill now goes to the House. If passed and signed by the President, !@#$%^Comcast wins. And we all lose.


Lying Liars #2,749

Welcome to the first day of Spring, the day when day and night are the same length and politicians tell you one is the other.

“The affordable health care’s purpose was to lower costs, expand access, and improve benefits,” Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said on Face the Nation yesterday. “It has succeeded in all three.”

It has succeeded? Succeeded? Really?

Let’s take how Ms. Pelosi knew the facts and said just the opposite. Out here outside the Beltway, we call that “Lying.”

• “[Its purpose was to] lower costs…
Health care cost Americans $2 trillion in 2008; ObamaDidn’tCare grew it every year so health care will cost Americans $3.6 trillion in 2017. Alabama premiums jumped 28% from 2015 to 2016 for individual plans purchased through the marketplace. They went up another 36% this year. The cheapest “Bronze” plan here in south Florida costs $4,660 this year, almost double the unsubsidized cost in 2013. A Bronze plan comes with a $6,000 medical and $500 prescription deductible and $12,500 out of pocket maximum costs. And your premium skyrocketed anyway! True believers can’t accept those facts but the NY Times does.
Nancy Pelosi - Pants on Fire
• “[Its purpose was to] expand access…
Enrollment tumbled in 2016 at a faster rate of decline than in 2015 as people got kicked off for not paying premiums. UnitedHealth Group dropped out of almost every ObamaDidn’tCare market.
The Congressional Budget Office estimated in 2016 that ObamaDidn’tCare would leave 27 million uninsured through 2019.

• “[Its purpose was to] improve benefits…
Slightly true. Some of the 20 million folks who never had insurance before ObamaDidn’tCare definitely got better benefits. Anything more than nothing is “better.” The rest got stuck with far less. And for the 75 million Americans who got their insurance through large companies in 2013, according to NBC News, ObamaDidn’tCare caused companies with the most generous plans to cut benefits.

Lying liars who lie a lot.

Ms. Pelosi’s definition of “success” seems a wee bit different than ours, I’m thinking.

“[The Unaffordable Care Act] should be respected for what it does,” she said.

We’ve seen what it does. In that, for once in the past nine years, Ms. Pelosi told the truth.

No matter what the true believers think, ObamaDidn’tCare — the original Unaffordable Care Act — is disintegrating. It’s collapsing politically. It’s collapsing financially. It’s collapsing medically.

As we learned last week, the new Unaffordable American Health Care Act doesn’t address the biggest issue: cost. It needs bring costs down and to do that it needs to address [wait for it] American Health Care. So far it doesn’t do that any better than what we had foisted on us in 2013.