Friday, November 23, 2012

Johnny O'Bloggin's Funny Ass Friday....

 A plane takes off, with a Jewish pilot and Chinese co-pilot. There is a frosty atmosphere in the cockpit until eventually the Jewish pilot speaks. ‘I don’t like the Chinese,’ he says. ‘Why is that?’ asks the copilot. ‘You bombed Pearl Harbor,’ says the captain. ‘That’s why I don’t like the Chinese.’ ‘No, you got it wrong. It was the Japanese who bombed Pearl Harbor,’ explains the co-pilot. The captain replies: ‘Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese… It doesn’t matter, they’re all the same.’ Silence falls in the cockpit.
 Finally the co-pilot says, ‘I don’t like Jews.’ ‘Why not?’ asks the captain. ‘Because they sunk the Titanic,’ replies the Chinese co-pilot. ‘No, no, no,’ the captain corrects him. ‘Jews did not sink the Titanic. It was an iceberg.’ ‘Iceberg, Goldberg, Rosenberg… It doesn’t matter, they're all the same.’ replies the co-pilot.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving......

This year, I would like to give thanks to all of you. I have had some great conversations with everyone and it has helped to make for a great learning experience. For that I thank all of you................................
 Happy Thanksgiving to Tenth, CS, Sepp, Dottie, Pal, Lisa, Bill, H/Nox, Gunny, MrsAl, Engineer, Muddy, NON, Pen, DG, Silver, Squatty, Patricia, Gene, Fringe, Red, CI, Les, and Kevin.
 Now I ask all of you, to keep Sarge in your prayers. He is in the process of losing his Father. And let us all give thanks to our parents, for our life. Lots of love this holiday season.

                The O'Bloggin's

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Johnny O'Bloggin's Musical Monday

In 1992, I discovered the music of Tori Amos and was instantly attracted for obvious reasons. She is the only modern day Pop singer that I know of that incorporates piano into all of her music. I do find it hard to label her a Pop musician though. Her music is dark in nature, stemming from a sexual assault when she was 22. Plus,she is also a beautiful composer. Last year she released "Night of Hunters", which is a tribute to such classical artists as Bach, Chopin, and Granados. This is "Silent all these years". I hope you enjoy.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Entitlements

Noun:
  1. The fact of having a right to something.
  2. The amount to which a person has a right
529 or Coverdell
Home Mortgage Interest Deduction
Hope or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit
Student Loans


 Politicians talk about entitlement programs, but they are never specific. The only problem I see with entitlement programs, is the abuse of them.

1. 529 program: I know this one well. A college savings account that is great for taxes. I'm guessing this is considered an entitlement because of the tax situation. You pay no taxes on earnings, and you can roll the whole investment into other tax deferred accounts, such as IRA and other retirement accounts. However, you do invest your own money, after taxes. I have paid no taxes on the earnings since opening this account in '04. My financial adviser (loving brother) assures me that I will not pay taxes until retirement age, as long as I keep rolling it over. But that's if the Princess doesn't attend college. If she goes to college, the fund is transferred, 100% tax free.
 Verdict:  I feel that my daughter is entitled to not have to worry about paying for college. But that entitlement is paid for by her work horse Father, and financially brilliant Uncle.
2. Home Mortgage Interest Deduction:  Most of us know this one. There have been two arguments on the deduction. The arguments against is that the deduction inflates property values, as well as creating a sort of welfare state. In fact, Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, argues that the deduction artificially inflates home prices and is in effect a government subsidy of the real estate industry. Of course, eliminating this deduction could lead to a better revenue stream for the Federal Government, which I'm sure will be wasted. The argument in favor of  is obviously led by the National Association of Realtors. The standard justification for the deduction is that it gives an incentive for home ownership. The NAR strongly opposes eliminating the mortgage interest deduction, claiming, "Housing is the engine that drives the economy, and to even mention reducing the tax benefits of home ownership could endanger property values. Home prices, particularly in high cost areas, could decline 15 percent if recommendations to convert the mortgage interest deduction to a tax credit are implemented. I think this statement alone proves that the Home Mortgage Deduction does inflate real estate value.
 Verdict: Not sure if I would call this an entitlement. In order to receive the benefits of this deduction, you still have to invest your own money into a home. I would also like to add that the home mortgage deduction had nothing to do with my decision to purchase property.
3. Hope or Lifetime Learning Tax Credit: This is available to taxpayers who have incurred education expenses. For this credit to be claimed by a taxpayer, the student must attend school on at least a part-time basis. The credit can be claimed for education expenses incurred by the taxpayer, the taxpayer’s spouse, or the taxpayer’s dependent. This credit allows for a 20% tax credit for first $10,000 of qualified tuition and expenses to be fully creditable against the taxpayer’s total tax liability. The maximum amount of the credit is $2000 per household. The credit is available for net tuition and fees (less grant aid) paid for post-secondary enrollment. The credit is available on a per-taxpayer (family) basis, and is phased out at the same income levels as the Hope Scholarship Credit.
 Verdict: From what I read, my biggest issue with this entitlement is that it seems like a reward for going into debt. This credit may also be responsible for inflating the cost of higher education.
4. Student Loans: Student loans come in several varieties in the United States.
Federal student loans made to students directly: The student makes no payments while enrolled in at least half time status. If a student drops below half time, the account goes into a six-month grace period. If the student re-enrolls in at least half time status, the loans are deferred, but when they drop below half time again they no longer have access to a grace period. Amounts are quite limited as well. There are many deferments and a number of forbearances one can get in the Direct Loan program. For those who are disabled, there is also the possibility of 100% loan discharge if you meet the requirements. Due to changes by the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, it became easier to get one of these discharges after July 1, 2010. There are loan forgiveness provisions for teachers and health professionals serving low-income areas. Currently, certain loan forgiveness or discharges are considered income by the Internal Revenue Service due to 26 U.S.C. 108(f).
Federal student loans made to parents: Much higher limit, but payments start immediately
Private student loans made to students or parents: Higher limits and no payments until after graduation, although interest starts to accrue immediately. Private loans may be used for any education related expenses, such as tuition, room and board, books, computers, and past due balances. Students can also use private loans to supplement federal student loans when federal loans, grants, and other forms of financial aid are insufficient to cover the full cost.
The federal student loan program has been criticized for not adjusting interest rates according to the riskiness of factors that are under students' control, such as choice of major. Critics have contended that this lack of risk-based pricing contributes to inefficiency and misallocation of resources in higher education, and lower productivity in the labor market. However, recent research indicates that while high levels of student loan debt, coupled with high default rates, present a number of challenges for individual student loan borrowers, they do not necessarily place a substantial burden on society at large.
 Verdict: This one is tricky, because it is a loan that needs to be repaid. However there is evidence of abuse. I like to play poker. One night at the local casino I was playing a $5-$10 NL Hold em game. Across from me was a guy and girl who were wearing New York Giants jerseys. After a few hours someone at this table asked about the jerseys. Turns out they were both from New York. They came to Chicago to go to college. Why? Because Illinois has the BEST debt forgiveness programs. So here I am playing poker with two kids who are worried about not being able to pay back their loans. Or are they planning on just defaulting so they don't have to pay back that loan? I should mention that they both bought into the game for the maximum amount, which is $1000. I believe this would be a case of abuse, and maybe should be viewed as an entitlement, considering default would only place a bigger burden on the tax payer.

 ................To be continued. We have a lot more to cover.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Happy Veterans Day

Let's take some time out today to say thank you to our veterans. Those who served, and those who are currently serving. They have given a piece of themselves so that we can enjoy the most basic freedoms and I for one just want to say......................

Thank you so very much. I will never take your sacrifice for granted.



Veterans Day taking the hill veterans-day.jpg photo   Veterans Day veterans-day.gif photo

Saturday, November 10, 2012

New Blog Roll

Sometime today, or within the next few days, I will be updating my blog roll. All the blogs you see now will stay, but I will be adding some. If you see your blog on this site, but do not want the traffic, let me know and I will take it off. I dedicate my blog to open dialogue with all political beliefs, but if you're a blogger and do not share that thought, I will understand. My blog roll reflects the sites that I like to read and comment on. Thanks and I hope you enjoy.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Winner is ?? Drum Roll Please !!!

 The beat-off of the month for October is odd. I had the winner wrapped up by the 3rd week. But then, on the second to last day of the month, a new candidate and repeat award winner took the beat-off ball, and slam dunked it........................................................................................................
                                         Rahm Emanuel

 Congratulations, you are the BEAT-OFF of the month for October. I have discussed welfare numerous times, on this blog and others. Conservatives hate the very idea of welfare. They don't like the idea of their tax dollars going to support "Deadbeats". I can understand their point of view. Liberals believe welfare is necessary for the general well being of society as a WHOLE. I can understand their point of view. My own personal thoughts, I hate welfare, at least the system as we know it. Not enough money is put into programs to help welfare recipients gain useful and gainful employment. Legislation here is Illinois, that would fund work programs and education programs are consistently voted down in the state HOR. And it's voted down by Democrats! Which leads me to believe that they just want the vote. Maybe the Democrats are afraid of losing that voter base. It's my opinion that welfare recipients are not proud of their situations. They just have no means to a decent end. That is what is truly bothersome to me about welfare. If I look at it through a distant lens, Conservatives want to rid these "parasites" from our country. And Liberals just want to keep them beaten and broken, and VOTING.

 But then Our glorious mayor decide to kick it up a notch. Whether you agree with welfare, or not. No matter what the reason is. How can you defend THIS ? Welfare is meant to keep people off the streets. Government housing so people don't have to live in a box. Food stamps, so people don't go hungry. Low monthly income for everyday expenses. But now, welfare will be used in Chicago in order to create better parents. You have kids, but don't find it necessary to get involved in their education. No problem, we'll give you a $25 gift card to Walgreens if you pick up your child's report card and participate in conferences.

 Obviously, these parents are exceptions to the welfare rule. They have been programmed, and it has worked. They have become victims of their own upbringing. If I may make a suggestion for your gift card.
Use it to purchase birth control. Because you clearly have no chance at being a decent parent.

 Congratulations Mayor Emanuel. Not only have you helped in keeping a community down on there luck. But now you get to reward them for their awful parenting. At OUR expense. You are such a BEAT-OFF.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Debates today and tomorrow

There is a debate today at 6:30 CST. The link to watch the debate is HERE.
The participants for this debate are the same as the October 23rd debate. However, Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson will not appear on the California ballots because they did not meet the requirements.

The last debate will be held tomorrow, Monday, November 5th at 8:00 P.M. CST. you can find the link for it HERE.
This debate will be between Jill Stein (Green Party) and Gary Johnson (Libertarian Party). These two candidates won the online voting after their first debate. Since Virgil Goode and Rocky Anderson lost, they were not invited to participate.

Friday, November 2, 2012