Archive for October, 2010

Health Care Reform

I’m going to jump into the health care reform topic, just for a brief minute. Frankly, here’s my stand on this issue. While I’m ALL FOR everyone having the availability of health care, I can’t say that I agree at all with the way things have recently been done. (Another subject-for another Blog post!)

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that anytime the federal government takes charge of anything, it becomes a HUGE bureaucratic and EXPENSIVE mess! Can we at least agree on that much?

As a tax professional for many years, I have often said that if the IRS would begin by doing one simple thing, it would be a nice step in the right direction. I bet you’re wondering what I’m talking about. I’ll explain.

As you may or may not know, medical expenses are typically a deductible expense on your tax return. In order for this to be deductible though, you must be one of those taxpayer’s that itemizes deductions on Sch A. Furthermore, your medical expenses (this includes doctor’s visits, trips to the dentist & eye doctor, prescription drugs, co-pays, etc) are only deductible on your tax return once you hit that magic number (it’s different for everyone)~That is, 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). Did I lose some of you here?

Let me illustrate this for you. Let’s say that you have an AGI of $50K. Simple multiplication: $50,000 x 7.5% = $3750. Any medical expenses that you have that are above and beyond $3750 become a tax deduction on your tax return~but, only if you can itemize. If you can’t itemize, then you don’t have the benefit of this deduction. Nice, huh?

So, back to my original thought from many years ago. If the IRS would do away with this 7.5% floor, and allow EVERYONE (whether you can itemize or not) to take a deduction for legitimate medical expenses, that would at least be a step in the right direction. Doesn’t this just make sense? Well, doesn’t it?

Well, hold on to your hat. That 7.5% floor is scheduled to become a 10% floor in the near future. Moving in the wrong direction here… Hey, it’s just my opinion!

Gratitude-Paying It Forward

October 21, 2010 1 comment

I recently received a card in the mail from somebody that I didn’t recognize at first. I opened it and as I read the words that were written I was both astonished and filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude for this person~a woman whom I just happen to meet several weeks earlier at a department store check out line.

Let me explain. It was late at night. This particular department store was having one of their big sales and they were open late. It must have been around 10PM, if my memory serves me correct. Anyway, as I was standing in line waiting to check out, a conversation was struck with the woman in line behind me. Those of you who know me understand this much about my personality~that I live by this mantra: “There are no strangers in life-only friends I haven’t met yet!” As was this case, we talked about her recent move to the area, how her husband was in active military, the weather, etc. A very pleasant conversation with a sweet soul. As I finished paying for my items, I turned around and handed her my 30% OFF coupon. I didn’t need it anymore and that was the last night that any of us could use it. She gladly accepted and we parted ways.

Evidently, my name and address were on that card. Hence, the nice card I received. Here is what it said:

Dear Mrs. Hastings,
I stood behind you in line at ABC Dept Store (NO~Not the liquor
store!) last month. We exchanged a few friendly words and then
to my surprise, you shared your coupon with me.

You saved me close to $30, and more than that, you touched my
heart. To a one income, active duty Army family, $30 is alot! 😉
I prayed a special blessing for you and your family. Your kindness
was unexpected and I greatly appreciated it and felt the need to
tell you so.

I have already paid it forward, to say the least. Random Acts of
Kindness are heart warming and inspiring. In my case, it was also
a blessing. Thank you so much! Take care and God Bless.

This woman could have gone the rest of her life, never sharing her heart with me about this incident. I so appreciated her taking the time to let me know that this seemingly insignificant act on my part touched her in a sweet and special way. I am the one who was touched by her!

I keep this card tucked away in a very special place. I see it often and it serves to remind me that we all have those “Divine Appointments” in life. Whom will you run into tomorrow? Under what circumstance? How will you respond? How will I respond. Will I be kind? Or, will I be hot and bothered that day about God knows what? I hope that I choose kindness. How about you?

Please~Share your thoughts by hitting the “Leave A Comment” button at the top of this page.

The 545 People Responsible for All of America’s Woes

A friend sent me the following article. AMAZING!! This was written in 1985 by journalist and columnist Charley Reese. Since we are in an election year, I thought it fitting to re-post this classic, with just a few alterations to reflect current names and military occupations.

I don’t know about you, but he hits the nail on the proverbial nail head and for the most part, I couldn’t agree with him more. Please POST YOUR COMMENTS! Let’s talk!

By: Charley Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them.

Have you ever wondered why, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, we have deficits? Have you ever wondered why, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The president does. You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does. You and I don’t write the tax code. Congress does. You and I don’t set fiscal policy. Congress does. You and I don’t control monetary policy. The Federal Reserve Bank does.

One hundred senators, 435 congressmen, one president and nine Supreme Court justices – 545 human beings out of the 235 million – are directly, legally, morally and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered but private central bank.

I excluded all but the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman or a president to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it.

No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislation’s responsibility to determine how he votes.


Don’t you see how the con game is played on the people by the politicians? Those 545 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of Tip O’Neill, who stood up and criticized Ronald Reagan for creating deficits.

The president can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it. The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating appropriations and taxes.

Nancy Pelosi is the speaker of the House. She is the leader of the majority party. She and her fellow House Members, not the president, can approve any budget they want. If the president vetoes it, they can pass it~ over his veto.


It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 235 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted – by present facts – of incompetence and irresponsibility.

I can’t think of a single domestic problem, from an unfair tax code to defense overruns, that is not traceable directly to those 545 people.

When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair. If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red. If the Army & Marines are in Iraq & Afghanistan, it’s because they want them there.

There are no insoluble government problems. Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take it.

Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exist disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people and they alone are responsible. They and they alone have the power. They and they alone should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses – provided they have the gumption to manage their own employees.

This was written in September 1985.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

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