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Stealth economic stimulus uncovered?

The IRS has dramatically lowered the federal withholding rates for 2010, supposedly to align with the “making work pay” tax credit; however that credit is capped at 6.2% or $400 for individuals or $800 for married couples. The reduction in withholding for most is much more than this, and will cause most people to have an unexpected tax burden come filing time.

One possibility worth exploring is that the administration needs the people to believe they are doing better financially by increasing their take home pay in the hopes that they will feel everything must be better, and would then go forth and spend. This may well work in the short term; however the piper must be paid. To understand the damage that this will cause, realize that aside from the 6.2% credit, the deductions and exemptions have not changed. So if they are taking much less from your paycheck and you have the same tax burden, come tax time in early 2011 most people will wind up with a rather unpleasant surprise (just after the elections, oddly enough). Some will owe hundreds, some thousands, and some even more. Not everyone has the ability to come up with these sums on demand which would then lead to what may be prong number two in this attack, penalties and interest.

Then there is what is called the “safe harbor” rule, which is based on how much you paid in versus how much you owe. If you owe the same or less than last year and paid in the same amount, and owe the IRS money at the end of the year, you could wind up with penalties. If you owe more, and paid in the same or 10% more in withholding, then you are much less likely to have trouble. This change will likely cause many people to wind up on the wrong side of this penalty, which is subjective on the part of the IRS leaving room for abuse.

I would also like to point out that as an employer NO mention of this has been made to me, which would have allowed me to inform my employees to adjust their withholding to a level that is appropriate to their anticipated tax burden. I have spoken with a long time friend of mine who is a CEO, and he has heard rumors to this same effect and also believes that it is stealth stimulus. As soon as he confirmed what I had found, he immediately walked to the payroll department to issue a memo to all employees to examine their withholding and make necessary adjustments. My accountant advised me to use the 2009 tables for consenting employees to allow me to withhold for them at what would be the normal rate for them to avoid any issues come tax time.

The change is closer to, but predominantly still more than the 6.2% credit in the higher income brackets, but for people with lower incomes, or those with several jobs, and therefore lower income per withholding event the changes are quite significant.

Here are a few examples:

At the mean (average) income of $41,732 (last available data from the census bureau) a married person with zero exemptions, paid $802 weekly has 13% less federal withholding, more than double the “making work pay” tax credit, and with 2 exemptions the change is 18%, almost triple the credit. Keep in mind 1 exemption is for you, 2 is yourself and a non working spouse or single with one dependent.

For someone paid $500 every two weeks (a lower paying job, or a part-time job) the rates dropped much more: Single with zero exemptions 28%, 1 exemption 48%, and 2 exemptions zero withholding, and all married persons in this bracket are now at zero withholding. These people are the most likely to have problems, and in this economy a lot of folks have lower paying or several part time jobs.

This unconscionable manipulation, cloaked in a tax credit, is in my opinion, going to cause trouble in the lives of citizens who have a right to know that they are being used as unwitting pawns in an economic shell game. Any administration willing to do something like this to prop itself up with an artificially created ‘recovery’ at the expense of the people should be investigated by Congress and corrected immediately.

The 2010 tables are found in Publication 15, circular ‘E’
http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p15.pdf

The 2009 Publication 15 (for comparison) is no longer available from the IRS, archived by the author at:
http://www.rstevenrogers.com/reference/p15_2009.pdf

Mean income data from: http://www.census.gov/hhes/www/cpstables/032009/perinc/new10_001.htm

© 2010 R. Steven Rogers

Mar. 22nd, 2010

So I applied to the Minneapolis Police Civilian Review Authority, after being encouraged by some friends, who felt I had the right combination of skills and experience.

I am going to list some of them here, and I hope you will choose to support me or at least wish me luck.

I believe that civilian review is a very good idea, however it must be understood that democracy has its failings due to an uneducated electorate, and a body like this can have similar issues. The problems that officers face are not really well known to most people. I do not and will not excuse bad behavior on the part of anyone, civilian or officer, but I do understand the stresses that both sides face when an encounter occurs.

I own a company that is certified under the Minnesota Personal Protection Act to train instructors for the permit to carry certification, and my course includes a chapter specifically on police encounters. I have taught use of force to civilians, military, police, fire, EMS, and more. I have co-authored a for credit college course I helped to teach on self defense for paramedics at a MN college, so I can see both sides of this type of issue and have no problem being objective. I have also been retained as an expert witness in firearm and force related matters, been a licensed EMT since 1997, and worked protective detail for a Congressman and Presidential candidate on numerous occasions.

On the governance side, I have served as director, officer, business, legal or tax advisor to several charity & non-profits, sit on several for-profit boards, run elections for publicly held companies, as well as running small businesses of my own.
I believe that a strong and active CRA will help strengthen the department, and reduce the likelihood of frivolous lawsuits by increasing the ‘presumption of innocence factor’ for the department as a whole by showing that any actions not in keeping with the standards are met with fair discipline, while clearing those officers falsely accused.

That’s my $.02

If you live in Minneapolis, and choose to support me, you can call the city council member for your ward, and / or the Mayor’s office to voice your support.

Here is a link to the appointments page from the city's website.
http://www.ci.minneapolis.mn.us/council/2010-meetings/20100402/Docs/CRA-RCA.pdf

The public hearing is Wednesday, March 24, 1:30 P.M.
Council Chamber, Room 317, City Hall 350 South 5th Street

Thanks!

The two party paradigm

One of the problems we have faced, and will continue to face with this political model is the ‘backlash’ reaction. When Bill Clinton was considered too far left, we got the ‘anti-Clinton’ – George Bush, who was able to do most of the things that Clinton could not without a peep from the GOP. When Bush got too far to the perceived right, we elected Obama who is, from a policy perspective, not that far removed from either of his predecessors.

This happens on every level from municipal to federal, and it is a false paradigm. The two parties have so much in common that it is no longer anything but a totalitarian regime.
I recently received a report from my state’s GOP executive committee stating their intent to have a candidate in every race, without mention of whether they will follow the platform, or even be conservative. This shows the same failed strategy that brought them the loss of respect and influence of the value system that the GOP once represented.

When will these fools learn that quality over quantity is what matters? That a fraction of the available offices won and held by principled conservatives who will not compromise can do far more to restore the liberties of the people, the economies of the states, and reclaim the Republic than a majority that happens to claim a particular party as their newfound religion?
Look at those who switch back and forth between parties with the winds to keep their power, those who never held the liberties of the people as a core belief, those who would barter our freedoms to gain a benefit for their state, district, or city.

I have said it many times from blogs to radio shows, “Party before principle is tantamount to treason”.

I encourage all people, from all parties to get involved, make their voice heard, and make only informed votes based on their conscience, whether it be as a delegate or in the ballot box. We must end the two party paradigm either by taking the parties back, or making them irrelevant before this country is lost forever.

Understanding parliamentary procedure

Lately I been wondering why, if the Minnesota GOP wants new members to participate in the political process, and based on the radio ads prior to the recent caucuses I will assume that they do, that they do not make much of an effort to ensure that these new members feel a part of the process. For example, at my recent convention several newcomers approached me feeling lost and not understanding the basics of how a convention worked.

In response, several folks from the Minnesota Campaign for Liberty and myself created a video series on understanding the basics of parliamentary procedure. This gives a solid overview of the basics of conventions with its primary focus on Robert’s Rules of Order, so as to help newcomers to the political process not only be more comfortable, but also better able to fulfill their role as a delegate.

I am frankly astonished that no such tool, even a paper handout, is made available by the MNGOP, and to my understanding none of the other major political parties, to their convention delegates. Is it any wonder that politics in any party is run by “the old guard”? In my short involvement in the game, I have seen a large percentage of newcomers fail to return, often not even coming to the next convention to which they were elected. While there are many reasons to be disgusted by politics, this, at least, is correctable rather easily.

Along with the video series, we have also made available a powerpoint presentation and a one page table of motions that is a very handy reference to have at a convention.

I hope you find this helpful, and if so, please feel free to pass it along as we go into the spring convention season.

Links to the vids and the files can be found at http://www.mnc4l.org/parliamentary-procedure/
A lot of folks pay lip service to the Constitution, perhaps most. Despite an oath to obey it, and protect this once great nation, our nation is deep in economic turmoil with a federal government run amok well outside its authorized powers and apparently without any restraint at all.
It’s bad enough that those entrusted with the right and responsibility to vote, for the most part, have never read this document, but for the people given the awesome mantle of leadership to not only ignore it, but actually work to subvert it, should be held as treason.
My first foray into politics was during the summer of 2007 working on the Presidential campaign for Ron Paul. I had been aware of Dr. Paul for around a decade through Gun Owners of America, who held him as the only man in congress who, like they, did not compromise. I had actually called his office a number of times over the years requesting that he run for President. Imagine my surprise when he did. I figured I would hand out some flyers and try to help an honest man win. Little did I know about what was to happen to my understanding of politics.
I quickly discovered that, as most seem to know but few truly understand politics is a game full of compromise, dirty dealings, lies and deceit. The number of times I was pressured to change my course, quit, subvert my cause or outright sell out was quite astonishing. The amount of treachery I witnessed to put a stop to the will of the electorate was even more so, to a level that I had some trouble accepting.
It was then that I realized the difficulty that this road held, when I succeeded in winning the election to represent Dr. Paul at the Republican National Convention I was congratulated by many who said that I had fought my way there while upholding the ethics and values I purported to represent. My response was “Yeah, I made it 3 months; let’s see if I can keep it up for another 20 years”.
Now I understand, at least on a basic level, what it is to fight and win without compromise of one’s values, and the difficulty that those throughout history faced every day. To think of the honor, dignity, and sheer stubbornness of those that have gone before me that is almost gone from today’s ethical compass makes me weep for the present, and fear for the future.
I now truly believe that all of the founding documents that so many fought so hard to obtain the ability to write are worthless without an electorate that is both informed and moral. We have changed the meaning of too many words, and diluted the concept of what is acceptable and good, and if this does not change I fear all the written concepts are worthless, and we are lost.
As I sally forth into the maw of the beast we call politics, I hope I remain up to the challenge.
And to those who paved the way with their honor, and their lives, I salute you.

Minneapolis Update

The court has now ruled in the case of Hoyt v. Minneapolis

http://www.startribune.com/local/59513832.html?page=1&c=y

from an email: Goodman, who served on the council's Zoning and Planning Committee, e-mailed one constituent: "Please do not be spreading the word that I have made up my mind and am working to oppose the variance on this project. If the developer hears this, they will rightfully question that they didn't get a fair hearing and that I made up my mind before the hearing."

from the judge : Hennepin County District Judge Stephen C. Aldrich determined that Goodman improperly organized neighborhood opposition to Hoyt's Loring Hill project and tried to sway fellow council members against it while she was supposed to keep a quasi-judicial neutrality. He cited a series of Goodman's e-mails that an investigator for Hoyt dug out of the city's electronic archives shortly before a nine-day civil trial that began in June.

Oops. One has to wonder if a criminal investigation will now begin..

The government of the city of Minneapolis is desperately in need of some hope and change.

The Minneapolis Rant

Once again, I have seen with my own eyes the duplicitous nature of the Minneapolis city government.

Last year, they sold us the $60 Million per year referendum to increase funding for the Minneapolis Public Schools, assuring us that it would help do things like buy needed books, supplies, and manage class sizes.

Then they closed 4 more schools. That makes for 10 since April of 2007. And at the Folwell School, they are throwing away an entire school, one dumpster at a time. Perfectly good books, tables, sewing machines, sporting equipment, you name it. All of this could be donated to charities, other schools, youth groups; the list of people in need is quite long, especially these days.





The government of this city lies so often they should call it Minnochio.

Our graduation rate ranked 45th out of 50 in a study released 3/31/08 by America’s Promise Alliance with the 2009 report showing us in a mighty 40th. The schools defend themselves by saying the graduation rate is much higher, 67% - despite all the money they are taking from us two thirds is close enough by golly.

Besides, these mighty civic leaders have many more important things to be concerned about.
Like doing little to nothing about the well above average crime rates such as rape at 2.79 times the national average, or robbery at 2.64 times the national average.

Or the corruption that is rife in the city council;
 In 2001, Brian Herron pled guilty to accepting a $10,000 bribe & felony extortion and served a year in federal prison.
 In 2002, Joe Biernat (10 year member) was convicted of five federal felonies and served 21 months in prison, and was fined $10,000
 In 2005, Dean Zimmerman was convicted in Federal court on 3 felony counts of accepting money from a developer, and served 30 months in federal prison.
 And in 2009, Lisa Goodman is at the heart of a lawsuit for allegedly unfairly rejecting a developer’s plan. http://www.startribune.com/local/47266612.html

Mind you these are the ones that got caught, and we all know little crime is ever discovered or prosecuted, especially within a government.

The Mayor and City Council should be ashamed, but that is a human emotion, and not for these creatures of avarice. They feed upon the citizens like soulless vampires while all the time smiling and telling you how wonderful everything is.

Well, I for one cry foul. I live in a war zone, hardly ever see police, still have last winter’s sand on my street and alley – IN SEPTEMBER, the roads are crap, the list goes one ad infinitum. When I was assaulted by a group of teenagers, they refused to investigate, when I was the victim of a death threat, they refused to investigate.

It is time for a good old fashioned revolt. Throw the bastards out, or we just stop paying our taxes until we can figure out exactly what they are going to.
$500,000 for 10 drinking fountains?
9.2 million for 1 mile of bike path?
How about $200,000 to promote drinking tap water? - $75k alone for a website (I got a really nice website for a couple hundred bucks for my business) Sure!! Let the money flow freely!

But can we perform basic civic functions?

If you live in Minneapolis, you know the answer to that.

Independence

While on this historic day, I am unsure that we have the freedoms left that countless patriots died for, I will still honor their sacrifices. I will also use this time to restore my faith in that small, tireless minority who will continue the fight for liberty, and remind all tyrants that their days are numbered.

No longer will we suffer your lies, your oppression, and your treason.

No longer will we allow our nation's youth to be thrown upon the altar of your imperialism, giving their hearts, minds, and lives to their country in good faith only to be cast into the web of lies spun by the few who rule without the informed consent of the governed.

Today we stand fast, resolute in our determination to right the course of this once great nation on a heading toward the ideals upon which she was founded. Although the battle ahead will be long and costly, the true Patriots among us will continue to fight no matter how weary they grow, no matter the losses endured, until Liberty is achieved for all, or none remain standing.

Today we declare our Independence.

Today we are free.