Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The State of the Union is...

The President just finished his speech. What did we learn? Not much, sadly.

More of the same calls for tax reform: the middle class is getting punished, everyone should pay their "fair share, " and even a cameo for Warren Buffet's secretary.

The Positives: The President did comment on the continued discrepancy in out nation's taxation of corporations verses others, and the losses of American jobs and tax revenue to foreign nations based solely on corporate tax rates. This has to change, and I think it will, regardless of who is in the White House for the next term.

The Negatives: Of course Warren Buffet's secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than her boss. See my previous post.  To fix this, you would have to call every type of income: earned wages, investments, rents, etc.,  the same. This would punish the middle class even more, as their potential retirement savings would be hit with an additional penalty. That won't work.

Of course Mitt Romney is only going to have an effective tax rate of 14% or so.  He is a millionaire, and he makes his money through investments. The super rich are not the problem per se, they are just doing what is legal, and what everyone else wishes they could do: not work, and just watch their money grow.

The President has come out and said publicly that millionaires such as Romney should send at least 30% of their income to Washington, and GOP hopefully Gingrich has taken the other route, saying that investment income should not be taxed at all.

Without running the numbers, it is difficult to endorse either of those programs. However, with the current state of affairs, it is difficult to endorse the status quo. It will be interesting to see what policy ends up in effect.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Breaking, News, First

I know I don't post all that often, but when I do, I hope you know that you are getting original thought and analysis.

If I am going to use someone else's thoughts, I give them credit. So yesterday, when I talked about Mitt Romney, I didn't expect CNN to copy and paste my thoughts onto their website.

Call me crazy, but my thoughts yesterday seem oddly similar to this article written by a Charles Riley for CNNMoney.com, published today. From the Herman Cain references to the Grover Norquist bit, I'm wondering if he consulted yourtexasestateplan.com before submitting his piece.

Either that, or maybe I should get a syndicated column. Thanks for nothing, CNN. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

8 votes...

The Iowa Caucuses are over. What does it mean? Not much, really, unless you are Michelle (o) Bachman, or maybe Rick Perry, who didn't do so hot. Newt is apparently mad, which is a shame, because I like Newt. He even posed for a picture with me, (see below).

But I digress. The winner, and the leader for now in the GOP carousel of candidates is Mitt Romney. Unlike our previous post's subject, who sadly is no longer with us in the race, Romney's website is not emblazoned with a three-digit tax plan and analysis. So, we have to go elsewhere to see what President Romney would have our tax system look like.

No thanks to http://www.mittromney.com/, lots of thanks to http://irs-hitman.blogspot.com/2011/11/mitt-romney-tax-plan.html for outlining what he thinks.

The Basics:

Romney, like every Republican held by the shorts of THIS GUY>>>
(if you don't know who the man to the right is, see his bio here)
can't really say he will raise taxes, else face political doom. So, he sticks to the general basics of eliminating capital gains tax and estate tax, lowering the corporate tax rate to 25%, and eliminating capital gains for earners of less than $200k. (assuming my source is accurate). Another source claims most of the same, and that he opposes the flat tax, and is neutral on the alternative minimum tax (which, if you don't know what it is, it probably deserves its own post.)

Real World Analysis:

I know I was harsh on Herman Cain, but at least the guy thought about taxes, and had enough gumption to make his own plan, however flawed it was. Maybe I'll retroactively bump his grade up for effort. Romney hasn't really said anything, except the basic Republican party line jargon of "hey let's cut taxes."

For a guy who panders to the middle class, and was recently quoted as saying on a visit to Florida this summer "I'm also unemployed" to a group of jobless workers. This, from a governor and guy who is allegedly worth around $200 million, and also has recently been called out for not releasing his own tax returns, is tough to swallow.

The Verdict:

Does he have a plan? Maybe, but I don't know what it is. He wants to cut taxes and balance the budget. Can you do that? At the same time? Not unless you cut the defense budget, health care, or a lot of pork from somewhere else. I love tax cuts, who doesn't? But I also enjoy paved roads. And school. And going to sleep at night with a decent confidence that our boys/girls in uniform have my back. Mitt Romney receives an INCOMPLETE, pending further assessment of unsubmitted work.

Disclaimer: YourTexasEstatePlan, or its author, does not endorse any political candidate, party, or ideal. Publicly.

Newt Gingrich did take the time to take a picture with me, which does get him somewhere.