I don’t really want to do sports topics here.  However, this one is quasi-political due to the inevitable taxpayer money that will be used for it.  Once again, the Milwaukee Bucks have begun the drive, again, for a new arena in Milwaukee.  It has been a non-starter the last few times because it comes down to the fact that the Bradley Center (I refuse to put the BMO Harris in front of it.  Nothing against BMO Harris…It’s still the Rosemont Horizon to me as well as the San Jose Arena.  Unless it’s a new building, I’m not going to use a corporate name for the most part), a wonderful gift to the city by Jane and Lloyd Pettit, while old by NBA standards, is still a very good building for basketball.  In my opinion, another reason for the city/state to not give them a new arena is that, deep down, they knew that Senator Herb Kohl, owner of the Bucks, wouldn’t really move the team out of the city.  Now, with Senator Kohl retiring from the Senate, the possibility that the team could leave is now more real. To this I say…See the title.

Now, this would be a little different if the Bucks would be a top shelf team.  Of course, if the were I’m sure that they would have had enough capital to fund their own arena by now.  While they have been decent, they are not what one would call elite.  Here’s a little pop quiz for you.  Of the the following teams, which one would you rather have playing in your city? All data is since 2000. (phraseology has been adjusted to prevent telegraphing the teams)

Team 1

5 playoff births, 1 division title, 6 .500 or better records, 0 championships.

Team 2

11 playoff births, 4 division titles, 8 .500 or better seasons, 1 championship

Team 3

9 playoff births, 1 division title, 12 .500 or better seasons, 0 championships

Team 4

2 playoff berths, 1 division title, 5 .500 or better seasons, 0 championships

So, which one? 1, 2, 3, or 4?  Well, Senator Kohl has said in the past that he was for doing everything he could to keep the Bucks in Milwaukee.  As recently as May 4th, Senator Kohl has stated as much publicly.  What wasn’t stated, however, was what would happen if a new arena wasn’t built.  For me, why should the public who may not give a rip about pro basketball (and with an overall attendance ranked 27th out of 30 last season, that seems to be a majority of the city) fund an arena for team #1 up there (the other teams are: #2 – Milwaukee Admirals, #3 – Marquette Warriors Men’s basketball [both in the Bradley Center as well], and #4 – Milwaukee Brewers [now in a new, publicly funded stadium])?  I can hear the arguments now.  “But, but, but…The Thunder got a new arena with just a one penny tax increase!”  It’s not the amount of the tax.  It’s the fact that it’s a tax at all.  Around here, once a tax goes into affect, it’s always will be there no matter the sunset date (see the Miller Park stadium tax and the exposition tax).  If Senator Kohl can get a sweet new arena in, say, Las Vegas, Cincinnati, St. Louis, or Kansas City, more power to him.  The NBA is full of examples of teams moving.  The Lakers, Clippers, Thunder, Grizzlies, Hornets, Kings, Nets, Jazz, Rockets, Wizards, Hawks, 76ers, Warriors, and Pistons franchises have all moved at least once since the formation of the NBA in 1949 with the NBL-BAA merger.

I know there is a certain prestige attached to having a professional sports franchise in your city.  I do get it.  Growing up less than a 30 minute drive from Green Bay I understand what a source of pride is attached to it.  However, when the fan base dwindles and the on court product is sub-par, how long before the prestige dwindles?  How many years did the Clippers spend with the image as the ugly step-sister to the more fashionable Lakers?  Who remembers the pathetic ‘Save the Oilers’ rally  back in 1995?   Or how about the current struggles of the Jacksonville Jaguars?  At some point, however, it’s best for both parties to have a somewhat clean break (not like the Whalers/Hurricanes debacle from the NHL) and start fresh.  That time may be now for the Bucks.  Let’s just hope it doesn’t drag out or become a fiasco like the Oilers/Titans train wreck.

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I know that I haven’t been writing a lot lately.  It’s because I have been doing research in what little free time I have.  Research on three different posts that may not see the light of day.  Why?  Well, it seems that the people/institutions that I e-mailed looking for some information were either unable or unwilling to respond.  Is it because the word has been spread that I am an evil conservative and people have been told not to answer my questions?  Honestly, I know that I do not have as wide a reach as that.  I’m no Rush Limbaugh.  I would like to be…I have a lot to say about all sorts of different topics.  Many views are not mainstream, but will speak to a wide audience.  Maybe, just maybe, I could change a mind or two.  Open one or two sets of eyes.  But alas, I have been ignored.

To be fair, one of the e-mails was very recently sent out.  I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt still.  However, the other two have been out for over two weeks (one has been over a month).  You would think that you could at least send out a form rejection letter.  Something along the lines of, “I’m sorry, we cannot divulge that information.”  I don’t mind.  I might be a bit peeved that they wouldn’t answer my very basic questions, but at least they were courteous enough to give me a response.  I’m not hiding either.  I signed each e-mail with my real name and location (city and state).  The saddest part?  One of the long term ones is a US Federal office.  No, I wasn’t asking for any classified information.  If I was I’m sure I would have had a nice visit by one of the 3 letter groups (CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.) by now.  Yea, my name is pretty common, but I’m sure that if they have the resources (and the government does) they could track me down.  I’m not really hiding very hard online.

So what’s the deal?  I don’t e-mail very much at all (and to companies/institutions even less) but I would think if somebody has a ‘contact us’ link on their website (as all did) that they would respond to people contacting them.  Am I naive?  Am I expecting too much from people here?  I know I like to ask questions that people are uncomfortable answering, but come on…all of the inquiries that I have made over the last month were for, in my opinion, very basic information.  I wasn’t looking for national secrets.  I didn’t want propitiatory information.  I wasn’t looking for trade secrets.  I just wanted a few basic questions answered,  Bur alas, I am just one of the little people…unworthy of a simple rejection letter.  I might call them out…I might not.  I’m still a bit pissed that I was ignored.  I did waste a decent amount of time on research and the start of the posts.  I’m not sure what calling them out would do other than guarantee that I get less responses in the future.  Oh well…I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised.  Aren’t we all getting conditioned to be ignored and to like it or accept it?

I know that this information (at least some of it) has been out there in other media sources.  Not all of this is news, but I felt the need to get it out there with an experts viewpoint.  We all know that we are facing a fiscal cliff and the 1,000 pound gorilla in the room is where is the money going to come from to pay for ObamaCare.  Well, thanks to a bit of digging and with some help from my lovely assistant (who has nearly two decades of experience in the tax prep field specializing in small businesses) I will show where exactly where at least some of the revenue will come from to pay for ObamaCare.  From what I have seen so far, most of you will be less than impressed.

I have received some notes from a seminar that was given by the vendor of a major tax prep software company.  This seminar was a prepper course for CPA’s about what they will see not only this tax season, but in tax seasons to come.  The following bullet points (with a layman’s explanation provided by my lovely assistant) are things that most people, if they knew ahead of time, may just have changed their minds on November 6th.  Are you ready kids?  Well, ready or not, here we go…

There are 93 expiring or already expired tax items

Now, some of them do not affect the majority of people.  Several have to do with estate taxes.  However, there are quite a few that do affect the average person.  Whether these are taken care of by the President and Congress before January 1st is yet to be seen.  If not, the tax season could be delayed while the proper forms are created and made available to tax preparers.  If there is a significant delay, will there also be a corresponding extension to the filing deadline?  I doubt it…

No itemized deduction for Sales Tax

This one affects more people than you would first think.  Up until this year, if you bought a car (for example), you could write off the sales tax.  So, instead of getting a credit of up to a few thousand dollars you get to pay for money you spent in taxes.  I’m betting this one doesn’t get fixed.  On the left, if you say ‘itemized deductions’ they assume you are talking about tax loopholes for the rich.  Yep, that family who is making $50,000 who needs to buy a car to get to work and the kids to school is rich.

10% credit for low speed electric vehicles and plug in electric conversion

People wondered why the Nissan Leaf is going to fall way short of sales goals for the year.  This hits the liberals twice.  It reduces the amount of sales taxes collected (the average price of a hybrid/electric car is 2-10 thousand more than a gasoline car) and it proves that without massive tax credits, people don’t want to buy their green cars.

Energy efficient home credit

Again, here’s another way to soak middle-class families who are trying to do the right thing.  It was reduced in 2011 and has disappeared totally.  It wasn’t much of a credit (30%/$1,500) but it was a little something to help the average family offset the costs of making energy efficient choices for their homes.

Energy efficient appliance manufacturer credit

This one is a little involved, so try to stay with me here. There was a credit given to producers of energy efficient appliances.  The credit per unit (maxed out at 4% of gross sales) was given foe every unit produced over the average production in that industry over the previous two years.  So, if the average production of energy efficient refrigerators was, for example, 3,000 units and a company ramped up production to 3,500 units, they would get a tax credit for the extra 500 units.  I’m guessing the credit was put in place, partially, to help offset the overtime given to the workers to make the extra units.  Now, with the credit gone, it creates a disincentive for these manufacturers to give out the overtime.  So, a credit given to “evil” corporations and greedy millionaires turns out to hit the blue collar manufacturers the hardest.  I have known many workers over the years that count on that overtime for various reasons.  Now, with it gone, the discretionary spending does way down, affecting the small businesses that rely on that spending.

Mortgage insurance deductable as mortgage interest

In past years, if you paid for mortgage insurance you could deduct the premiums paid along with the mortgage interest.  Considering that the premiums could easily climb over $1,000 per year, that is a real tax savings for the average family.  This one was started in 2007…sounds like another ‘evil’ Bush tax cut on those greedy rich.  Nevermind the fact that the people that buy mortgage insurance are, for the most part, not rich.  It’s against the liberal talking points.

Coverdell savings accounts limits lowering

For any of you who have been using the Coverdell savings accounts to pay for a dependents future education costs, you better pay close attention to this.  Up through year, you are able to contribute $2,000 into the accounts.  If things are not changed, this amount will lower to $500.  With the rate of inflation on it’s way up, this limit won’t even cover the rise in inflation.  Once again, the people that are trying to be responsible and do the right thing take it in the shorts.

Student loan deduction adjusted

After this year, student loan interest will not be able to be deducted for interest payed after the first 60 months of the loan.  Now, I have never had a student loan, so I don’t know how long it takes to pay off the average loan, but with the average debt that today’s college graduates face, I can imagine that a decent percentage of graduates take more than 5 years to pay off all of their student debt.  Here’s another deduction that helps the middle-class folks that (likely) will not be adjusted mostly because of the low profile of it.

Child tax credits

There are a couple here that I know hit every middle class family.  First, the Child Tax Credit.  After this year, the amount will be cut in half (to $500 from $1,000) if there’s no adjustment.  This tax rarely went to high income earners.  This was put in for the low to middle class workers.  In addition, the Child and Dependent Care credit will also be reduced.  After this year, it will be 30% (instead of 35%) on the first $2,400 (instead of $3,000) spent on child care.  As someone who has taken advantage of both these credits in the past, these are both very important credits for people that are counting on a refund.

OASDI rate increases

After this year, the 2% cut to the Social Security tax put in place in during the Obama stimulus package will expire.  Funny, a flat tax like this was supposed to affect the rich more than the poor.  So why would Obama give a tax credit to rich people?  Oh yea…it was supposed to help spur economic development.  Now, he wants to soak the rich, hoping that what the cut failed to do an increase will accomplish.  Makes sense to me.

AMT threshhold lowered

Ahh, the AMT.  No one single aspect of the tax code causes more frustration to those that have to pay it than the Alternative Minimum Tax.  Currently the exemption sits at $48,450 (for unmarried) with a patch in place (a patch is an adjustment put in by Congress to adjust for inflation).  The president proposes lowering this to $33,750 without a patch.  Now, I have no way of knowing how much the rate will be after a patch (if they add one on).  I don’t claim to know very much about the AMT, but anyone who does, these numbers mean a lot.  To me, it looks like a lot more people will be subject to the AMT.

Medical expense limit to increase in 2013

For anyone that has chronic, ongoing medical expenses, you know that there is a bit of relief.  If your medical expenses exceed a certain percentage of your income, you can deduct it from your income tax.  Unfortunately, in 2013, that percentage will jump from 7.5% to 10%.  How many elderly and disabled people will be affected by this?  How many on a fixed SSI income will suddenly find themselves upside down?

Now, these are just some of the changes to the tax code that are either up for expiration or that have already been put in by the current administration.  For all the talk of giving breaks to the middle class, I don’t see a lot of it.  I can’t say for sure if all of these will continue to either go away or be applied, but my guess is if you don’t hear about an increase or renewing a decrease, there won’t be a change.  Jobs are down, wages are down, and taxes are going up (I only grazed the surface of ObamaCare).  It is often said that we live in a Nanny State.  I agree with the local radio host who disagreed…We are in a Mommy State.  We want the government to take care of us from cradle to grave.  Just like Julia…Only much, much worse….

I have been tossing this post around my head ever since the election.  I have a pretty big decision to make.  Do I stand by my beliefs and convictions or do I sell out (unlike many people that use those words, I do mean it in the real meaning) to try to protect my job.  It’s harder than you think, and what makes it worse, I may not have a job either way.

Just to bring everyone up to speed, I am currently part of a public sector union working in a local school district.  As many of you know, Wisconsin passed what is called Act 10 which, among other things, removed the collective bargaining from most public sector workers.  It did not ‘bust’ the unions.  It did not remove any actual rights.  It did take away perceived rights, the kinds of things that liberal union members like to call rights.  However, one liberal, Dane County judge stepped in and declared that parts of Act 10 was unconstitutional.  So, for the moment, the act is in limbo.  Now, the union contract that I am under expires in July 2013.  I support Act 10.  It frees up local government when they are attempting to reduce the burden of taxpayers.  Don’t believe the liberal hype.  Act 10 savings have surpassed $2 billion.  That’s an average of $350 for every man, woman, and child in the state.  That will only get better.  When the state Supreme Court steps in and declares that Act 10 is just fine, that savings will grow as contracts expire.  Now, there is a problem here.  I am so new in the system and in such a low ranked position that I would likely be one of the first ones let go.  I could change my stance.  I could stick with the union and hope they get a new contract in July with the collective bargaining intact.  The problem there is, they have been cutting back on hours under the current contract.  They haven’t been cutting anyone or reducing anyone’s hours, but as soon as a person leaves, they either cut the hours of that position or eliminate it all together.  I have been making myself stand out in a good way (I have no other setting…it’s just the way I am) but I am afraid that it is not good enough.  With the contract, seniority trumps all.

So what to do?  Do I stick with my guns and back the policies that will be good for all, or do I look out for what’s best for me?  It’s so hard to decide.  I can see situations where I could lose my job either way.  I do feel that I have a better chance with the union, despite how much I hate to admit that.  I know that the union isn’t the monolith for liberalism that many think, but there are so few of us conservatives that it makes no difference.  In fact, it may be counterproductive as it does nothing more than highlight us for retribution.  I have never before felt afraid for my job due to circumstances beyond my control…until now.  I wish I knew what do do.  All I can do is to work my ass off until July and hope…except we saw how much hope has got us over the last four years…

Who knew that George Lucas was such a savant.  I have been trying to analyse the election results ever since the election was called for Obama.  Despite how much I look at numbers and no matter how many analyses I hear, I keep coming back to Rush Limbaugh.  I truly feel that he has nailed it better than anyone else.  This is why Obama won:

You just can’t beat Santa.  Why would anyone want to have to work for what they have when they can vote in an administration that will take form the people that did work hard and give it to the slackers?

The saddest part?  There is one large minority group that should be conservative…but isn’t.  I’m sure that you have heard many, many national talking heads talking about how the Republicans can court the Hispanic vote.  Most revolve around some kind of amnesty package.  I’m not the first to say this, but here’s the cold, hard truth.  It didn’t work in ’86 and it won’t work today.  The best argument I have read about how to get the Hispanic vote came out just today:

http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/333319/gop-s-hispanic-opportunity-rachel-campos-duffy#

A wonderful article written by Rachel Campos-Duffy, Hispanic wife of Sean Duffy, Wisconsin’s representative from the 7th district.  She states it far better than I ever could with a better perspective.

I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the reports of fraud.  There are way too many to be coincidence and too far reaching to be insignificant.  However, the fact that less than 100k more people voted for Mitt Romney than did John McCain.  For all the talk of voter motivation among conservatives, the truth was far from the groundswell that we needed.

So, do we need to violently remake ourselves?  No.  Do we need to pander to minorities to get their votes?  Of course not.  besides, the liberals are much better at it anyway.  What we need to do is do a better job of showing why our beliefs are not only good for an individual, but for everyone as a whole.

I’m really not sure where to go from here.  I really don’t.  We tried telling you before the election.  Dozens of outlets warned you of the consequences.  62 million people voted for Obama anyway.  Now, businesses are either laying off or preparing to lay off workers and the same 62 million are calling for boycotts of these businesses for trying to save their business.  Millions of people pay only sales taxes and get more on their federal and state income tax returns than they paid in, but still want more.  “Take it from the rich!” they scream.  “Give me my free birth control, abortion, food, rent, phones and utilities!” they whine.  The one thing they never say is where the ‘rich’ begin.  Is it at $250k a year?  $100k?  $50k?  At what point are the makers bled dry by the takers?

I am not against giving to the truly needy.  I myself have been on food assistance in the past.  If I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t have been able to eat.  However, I have been working to better myself and have gotten off of the assistance.  It’s a struggle, but it’s not dire anymore for me.  However, having multi-generational families living off of the government for all of their lives.  Millions of people that do not want to work.  I know that there are very few places hiring (and it’s only going to get worse) and it is very difficult for those that want to work to get work.  These are the people that need and should get our help.  Those that will not go out and even try to get work should not.

Even still, the government assistance should be extremely limited.  Basic food, basic shelter, utilities, and maybe a nice set of clothes for interviewing and to get you started on anew job.  That’s it.  Free phones should not be a government handout.  Free birth control should not be a government handout.  Free abortions should not be a government handout.  It seems like everyone has their hand out for something for free.

Where will the money come from all of the liberals free handouts in the near future when the taxes for Obamacare truly hit.  How many whiners will there be when the programs that they are relying on are cut or done away with because the government doesn’t have the money for it anymore?  And what about Medicare?  A program that I somewhat agree with, has been savaged by the Great O to begin to pay for his grandest handout, Obamacare.  What about the other ‘free’ services?  With more and more employers cutting more and more jobs putting more and more people on unemployment and potentially on government programs, there will just not be the tax revenue available to pay for all of it.

There is only so much you can tax too.  Business owners will start to sell off their businesses and sit on the profits until the times get better (if they ever do).  A ‘rich’ person with 5 million in the bank but no income (other than bank interest, if any) pays no income tax.  Kinda hard to tax the rich that way.  What about the uninvested capital that is out there?  What incentive is there for anyone to start a business now?  A higher than average failure rate?  Massive tax burdens?  Sluggish economic growth?  Do you think that any investor would take a chance in that environment?

I have heard mentioned in several places that, in the long run, it would help the country had the Democrats taken over control of the House as well as the Senate.  Yea, it would have been hell for a few years, but I think that is exactly what we need to show all the liberal votes just exactly who they voted for without the safety net of blaming the Republicans.  I think Rush Limbaugh had it right…Every Republican in the House should just vote present for every ultra liberal bill that comes down from on high.  Give no resistance whatsoever.  None.  Let everything pass.  We are already facing economic ruin as it is.  Let them drive us off the cliff.  In 2014, it is possible (not likely nor impossible) that the Republicans can retake the Senate and keep the house (the Senate is 51D, 47R and 2 Ind. who caucus with the Dems.)  In my humble opinion, there are 6 Democratic Senators and one Republican who could be vulnerable in the 2014 election.  More than enough for a party switch of the Senate.

So…where do we go from here?  I really don’t know.  All I see is a very dark passage ahead with a very faint light at the very far end.  Is it a light of hope, or the headlamp of an oncoming train?  We shall have to see…

…We will see unemployment at or above 9.5% (and, the real kicker, the U-6 number could easily top 20%)

…The Dow Jones average will be under 9,000

…We will see a net loss of 50,000 physicians (this is a bit optimistic…this will happen by 4Q of 2013)

…The price of gold will top $2,000 and ounce and silver will top $50

…The price of a barrel of crude oil will top $150 (if we are lucky, it won’t stay over that for long, but…)

…The average residential electric bill will increase by 25%

…The value of the US dollar will set an all time low

…The federal gas tax will be increased for the first time since 1993 (interestingly, it was under a Democratic president [Clinton] and for the exact same reason that it will be raised again [deficit reduction])

…New car sales will slip by nearly 15% off of current (2012) sales figures

…New home construction will be virtually non-existent.

…Food prices will increase, on average, 30% (some items like beef, produce, and dairy products could see higher spikes)

…The amount of jobs in the service sector will drop by 15%

…Green energy companies will experience a bubble burst greater than the dot com burst of the ’90’s

…High end retailers (Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Saks, etc) will see a 20% drop in sales revenue over current revenue levels

I can hear you now.  These are unfounded, fearmongering estimates.  Really?  Who is to say that these are not optimistic estimates?  We are entering an era in this country like no other.  This country has never flexed it’s muscles in quite this way before.  Not even the auto insurance mandates have gone quite as far as Obamacare goes.  Trillions of dollars is needed to fund and manage this program. It has to come from somewhere and with the federal government  that somewhere is always the taxpayers.  Incomes are not growing, so the amount of flexibility that the average person has to absorb the taxes is limited.  What’s worse, there are currently 4.5 million subchapter S corporations in this country.  As we know, these corporations provide a vast number of jobs.  The easiest way for these corporations to absorb the tax increases that will be needed to pay for the liberal agenda that Obama wants to pass is to reduce employee counts.  Additionally, approximately one third of all banks in the US are classified as subchapter S corps. What will that mean for interest rates for savings accounts, CD’s, mortgages, auto loans, and all the other products that your bank provides you?  Sure, we will have universal health care, but what good is that when you are looking for a job that isn’t there?

I was chatting with a coworker the other day and he brought up a rather scary scenario.  Let’s explore a quick hypothetical.  Let’s say that your current employer lets you keep your job, but elects to drop health care coverage in exchange for paying the fine.  So, that leaves you at the mercy of the system. Now, it may start off as free, but if you are still employed, the government may ask you to contribute, say, $1,000 a year for your health care.  Not horrible considering that most people pay at least that much right now.  So, you pay your money and get your health care.  Next year, the government looks at it’s books and determines that they haven’t collected enough taxes to cover everything. You still have your job, so they ask you to kick in a bit more.  It’s $1,500 this year.  Still no big deal.  Next year, they want to cover more and more treatments, but they need a little more.  Now it’s up to $2,000.  Now, you think that this is getting a bit much.  You decide not to pay and take your chance.  Not so fast!  The government says, “If you don’t take the health care, it’s a $3,000 fine.”  Well, in that case, you have to pay the $2,000 so you don’t lose the coverage and the extra grand.  Can you see how this progresses?  Each year the fee goes up, but so will the fine.  Once they got you, you are finished.

So, you think I am wrong?  Prove me wrong.  If you have solid facts that disprove anything that I have said, feel free to post them in the comment section.  As always, if you play nice (no vulgarity or name calling) and you have facts (links too would be nice) I will approve them and show them to the world. To be honest, I want you to prove me wrong.  I really do.  I am terrified that the above examples are not a worse case scenario,  It could be much, much worse.  If, somehow, the Democrats take control of the House in 2014 (a 76 seat swing not real likely, but not impossible…The Republicans gained 63 in 2010) they could ram through anything they wanted.  If you thought 2008-2010 was bad, you haven’t seen anything yet.  This will be a very rough four years.  I just hope most of us survive it.  Many won’t…

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