Thursday, October 14, 2004

Upward wealth redistribution

Take from the poor:

Donating a clunker won't be as good a deal after Jan. 1

Tucked into the American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 - the big corporate tax-break bill that Congress passed this week - is a crackdown on a feel-good practice that has fast become one of America's favorite tax deductions: donating an old car to charity. The bill says that as of Jan. 1, you can take a tax deduction only for what a car sells for at auction after you give it to a charity. Under the old law, you could deduct what you could document as "fair market value."

The result of the change to taxpayers: The amount you can deduct is going to plummet. For instance, a $1,500 clunker likely will sell at auction for about $500. You'll get a letter from the charity after it sells telling you the price. There goes your fat deduction.


Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, author of the provision, said in a statement this week that he hopes the change will shut down "billions of dollars in tax shelters and shady tax practices."

Yes, let us assume everyone is guilty of cheating on their taxes using cars. Screw you, Grassley and the entire Congress (and likely President Bush or Kerry while we're at it 'cuz I am sure one will sign it). This is the same kind of BS deal tax raise they put on us when we bought our 90+% furnace a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to a change passed last year, in order to get our $350 tax credit for energy efficiency, we had to purchase a $1000+ commutating reversible motor with a negligible effect on efficiency. Yeah, that's worth it. Gov. Kulongoski and the state legislature snuck that little tax increase in.

Although it is eliminating a cut, I call it an increase because Republicans tend to call any elimination of cuts against the rich a tax increase so I figure, what the hell, the same should apply to us riff-raff. God, those people are whiny. They are among the most comfortable people living in the free-est country on Earth and they can't stop whining. They have the best that creation has to offer. Their kids seldom do the dying either, so shut up already. Give me a couple million; I'll never whine about money again.

Give to the rich:

Of course, I can't find it now, but the big tech firms (Microsoft, Intel, etc.) claim that they have billions of dollars off-shore because of the high tax rate. This act is supposed to give them a big tax break to claim that money in America, thus bringing the reinvestment here. Critics say that the money can be used for other purposes and that job creation here rather than off shore is a myth. (If someone recalls the article, please send it to me so I don't look as stupid as I do now). Of course there is a loophole and of course there won't be a flood of tech jobs in America, much as I personally would love it since I haven't had a freakin' salary increase since Clinton was President. Heck, I'm one of the lucky ones who never lost his job during that period...most of my colleagues did.

The Minstrel recently made a point to me about our two-party system here. I paraphrase it as Heads they win, Tails you lose.

Since this post isn't about Bush or Iraq, but about corporate shill bipartisanship, I will keep comments open...


ElTigris said...

well I have to remind everyone that there are two ways to get rich in america. One is work hard and be virtuous and smart. The second is sell out everyone that you dont need (including your mother), whine about spending your money (have someone else spend theirs for you), lie, cheat, steal to make an unreformed scrooge smile in his grave. Practice a god fearing moral upstanding face for a front. Any takers on which is more prominent?

ladybug said...

The other people who don't have a voice in this; the charities themselves! The list of charities who do this is long, even here in Portland. The Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, ARC, and many others used this way to raise fund. It was useful (got rid of 2 clunkers you could not drive off our driveway), free, and was simple to do. It was win-win for everyone concerned. Leave it to the rich to break what don't need fixin'.

Anonymous said...

Relatively Exact:

I have to take issue with what ElTigre has said. He said that one way to get rich in America is be virtuous and smart. Wrong. In my college days, I was often told by my friends on the campus that I was way too virtuous for my own good. (Yes, I'm quite serious. Actually, the word they used was "chivalrous".) They insisted that I had to learn to be more selfish and predatory in order to survive. They finally all but hog-tied me and dragged me off to talk to a psychological therapist (not that I didn't help them...). What did that enlightened counselor have to say? To paraphrase a little (and cut out the more esoteric, specialist bowlshyte):
"You listened to your Sunday School teachers too much, and thus you allowed yourself to be broken. It's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and unless you wake up, smell the coffee, and ditch those lame-arse principles of yours, you're never going to make it in society. I don't think I can trust you to be responsible enough to get with it on your own, so I'd like to recommend a therapist who can help you face the facts of life."

(No, I didn't go to that therapist. I value my "immature" principles too much.)

I knew others that, for various reasons, ended up talking to that same counselor, and he told them all more or less the same thing. Having principles equals having a disease. Being virtuous equals being a maladjusted failure. Morals are immature. Love is stupidity. You are normal and sane only if you treat all other human beings as background scenery, rivals, or prey. Welcome to the jungle.

Listen to the words of a certified expert at a respected institute of higher learning, ElTigre. Being virtuous and smart will not get you rich, it will get you institutionalized...or killed. That leaves only the other option you mentioned. The Ferengi option.

Vulgarius said...

Ive only missed one raise personally. But I know what the rest of you are going through. But working my hide thin while supporting a wife and 3 kids has payed off a little. I'm not exactly rich though....closer to comfy. Im glad to say that the hiring freeze is over here and I wont have to be pulling 3 or 4 peoples work load for very much longer....More later on this...They havent hired those people yet :)

ElTigris said...

I admot you wont find many of the was actually more sarcasm then anything *S*... well if our Imperious leader steals the "election" look for the guest worker visa bill agian to be resurrected ...and then we will all know in part what its like to be Iraqi in one respect. You get to watch a foreign worker who will be payed much less replace your position. Im sure you will be told this would make "sound economic sense" ....for your employer. Many large employers gripe about the limited number of visas available now. Th supposed reason for the argument about going outside is "there isnt enough trained people here" ....aka enough trained and skilled that work for low wages. Hold onto the clunker.. you made need it next year.

ElTigris said...

The analogy for being iraqi isnt perfect... since the contractors are paid more than less. Still they are displacing many domestically... I would say this is weird permutation. Usually you import cheap labor to break the domestic footholds