Friday 11/9/2012 Open Thread

Since it appears that Brent is still on the left coast, I figured I would do an open thread for today.

First up, the drug war ramifications of the election.

Mexico says marijuana legalization in U.S. could change anti-drug strategies

Should this be true, it’s a major vindication of the ballot initiative process as a way to end run around the two parties on specific issues.

Tax Law Changes

Now that the election is over, it’s time to turn to more important matters, namely avoiding being stuck with the bill.

I’m going to start compiling a list of links to the various tax law changes that are currently scheduled to take effect in 2013, both from the potential expiration of the Bush tax cuts and the implementation of the new Obamacare taxes. Comments on tax planning strategies are welcome.

We’ll start with wikipedia:

  • In 2008–2012, the tax rate on qualified dividends and long term capital gains is 0% for those in the 10% and 15% income tax brackets.
  • After 2012, dividends will be taxed at the taxpayer’s ordinary income tax rate, regardless of his or her tax bracket.
  • After 2012, the long-term capital gains tax rate will be 20% (10% for taxpayers in the 15% tax bracket).
  • After 2012, the qualified five-year 18% capital gains rate (8% for taxpayers in the 15% tax bracket) will be reinstated.

Wikipedia – Capital Gains

Marginal rate tables under three scenarios:

Scenario 1: Tax cuts under the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for all

Rate Single Filers Married Joint Filers Head of Household Filers
10% $0 to $8,950 $0 to $17,900 $0 to $12,750
15% $8,950 to $36,250 $17,900 to $72,500 $12,750 to $48,600
25% $36,250 to $87,850 $72,500 to $146,400 $48,600 to $125,450
28% $87,850 to $183,250 $146,400 to $223,050 $125,450 to $203,150
33% $183,250 to $398,350 $223,050 to $398,350 $203,150 to $398,350
35% $398,350 and up $398,350 and up $398,350 and up

Scenario 2: Tax brackets under the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for all

Rate Single Filers Married Joint Filers Head of Household Filers
15% $0 to $36,250 $0 to $60,550 $0 to $48,600
28% $36,250 to $87,850 $60,550 to $146,400 $48,600 to $125,450
31% $87,850 to $183,250 $146,400 to $223,050 $125,450 to $203,150
36% $183,250 to $398,350 $223,050 to $398,350 $203,150 to $398,350
39.60% $398,350 and up $398,350 and up $398,350 and up

Scenario 3: Tax brackets under the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts for high-income

Rate Single Filers Married Joint Filers Head of Household Filers
10% $0 to $8,950 $0 to $17,900 $0 to $12,750
15% $8,950 to $36,250 $17,900 to $72,500 $12,750 to $48,600
25% $36,250 to $87,850 $72,500 to $146,400 $48,600 to $125,450
28% $87,850 to $183,250 $146,400 to $223,050 $125,450 to $203,150
33% $183,250 to $203,600 $223,050 to $247,000 $203,150 to $227,300
36% $203,600 to $398,350 $247,000 to $398,350 $227,300 to $398,350
39.60% $398,350 and up $398,350 and up $398,350 and up

Forbes Tax Table
Obamacare taxes:

Main individual ones are these:

A 3.8% surtax on “investment income” when your adjusted gross income is more than $200,000 ($250,000 for joint-filers). What is “investment income?” Dividends, interest, rent, capital gains, annuities, house sales, partnerships, etc. Taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to 18.8%–if Congress extends the Bush tax cuts. If Congress does not extend the Bush tax cuts, taxes on dividends will rise from 15% to 43.8%

A 0.9% surtax on Medicare taxes for those making $200,000 or more ($250,000 joint). You already pay Medicare tax of 1.45%, and your employer pays another 1.45% for you (unless you’re self-employed, in which case you pay the whole 2.9% yourself). Next year, your Medicare bill will be 2.35%.

Yahoo Finance

Business Insider

longinvestmentadvisory.com

Anyone know of any I missed?

Post Romney Options

To start the Romney campaign postmortems a little early, I’ll throw this out:

Romney was a horrible candidate for small government conservatives because everything he targeted in the budget for cuts was either insignificant symbolism (PBS) or what a majority of people consider a core government function (FEMA). That coupled with holding entitlements sacrosanct and increasing defense made his plans implausible to begin with.

No where in a Romney campaign speech was the fact that the average senior takes out three times as much as they have paid in to the entitlement system (here meaning Medicare & Social Security combined) and that is unsustainable. This campaign was not about making tough budget choices.

How Lifetime Benefits and Contributions Point the Way Toward Reforming Our Senior Entitlement Programs

However, the Republicans do have a candidate available to make this argument, and it’s Chris Christie. This piece from the NYTimes magazine is worth a reread:

“How Chris Christie Did His Homework
Mark Peterson for The New York Times
By MATT BAI
Published: February 24, 2011”

How Chris Christie Did His Homework

If anyone can sell entitlment reform, he can:

“Christie, it turns out, has a preternatural gift for making the complex seem deceptively simple. Last month I saw him hold forth at a town-hall meeting in Chesilhurst, a South Jersey borough of about 1,600. Chesilhurst is about half African-American, and I sensed more curiosity than enthusiasm among the racially mixed crowd as it flowed into the little community-center gymnasium. An unusually large number of folding chairs were empty. About 20 minutes after the program was supposed to start, there came over the loudspeakers the kind of melodramatic instrumental that might introduce a local newscast, or maybe an Atlantic City magic show, and in came Christie, taking his position in the center of the crowd. The theme of the week was pension-and-benefits reform, and in his introductory remarks, Christie explained the inefficiency in the state’s health care costs not by wielding a stack of damning statistics, as some politicians might, but by relating a story.

When he was a federal prosecutor, Christie told the audience, he got to choose from about 100 health-insurance plans, ranging from cheap to quite expensive. But as soon as he became governor, the “benefits lady” told him he had only three state plans from which to choose, Goldilocks-style; one was great, one was modestly generous and one was rather miserly. And any of the three would cost him exactly 1.5 percent of his salary.

“ ‘You’re telling me,’ ” Christie said he told the woman, feigning befuddlement, “ ‘that no matter which one I pick, the good one or the O.K. one or the bad one, I’m going to pay 1½ percent of my salary?’ And she said, ‘Yes.’

“And I said, ‘Then everyone picks the really good one, right?’ And she said, ‘Ninety-six percent of state employees pick the really good one.’

“Which led me to have two reactions,” Christie told the crowd. “First, bring those other 4 percent to me! Because when I have to start laying people off, they’re the first ones!” His audience burst into near hysterics. “And the second reaction was, of course I would choose the best plan,” Christie said, “and so would you.

“Now listen, I don’t think this is groundbreaking stuff,” Christie added. “I don’t think this means that instead of being governor, you know, I should be at NASA, working on the space shuttle. I’m no genius. Just seems to me that if you give people an option to get something for nothing, they’ll take it.” Scanning the nodding faces around me, it seemed there wasn’t a person in the gymnasium, at that point, who wouldn’t have voted to make state workers and teachers pay more for the better plan.”

What the @$%?! Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas

Disney buying ‘Star Wars’ maker Lucasfilm for $4.05 billion from George Lucas
By Associated Press, Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 4:37 PM

LOS ANGELES — Disney is paying $4.05 billion to buy Lucasfilm Ltd., the production company behind “Star Wars,” from its chairman and founder, George Lucas. It’s also making a seventh movie in the “Star Wars” series called “Episode 7,” set for release in 2015, with plans to follow it with Episodes 8 and 9 and then one new movie every two or three years.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/disney-says-it-is-buying-star-wars-maker-lucasfilm-for-405-billion-from-george-lucas/2012/10/30/dc0ace18-22cc-11e2-92f8-7f9c4daf276a_story.html?hpid=z4

Monday Open Thread 10/29/2012

On the off chance that Brent can’t do the morning report today due to the hurricane, here’s an open thread. Also, for those who haven’t seen it, I highly recommend the PBS Frontline episode on the 2012 election:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/choice-2012/

YouTube:

Weekend Non-Sports Open Thread

Figured I’d put in a placeholder.

Sunday Links

Some reading material from the Internet today:

1. Interesting profile of Romney’s governorship of Massachusetts in the NYT:

“The Mitt Romney Who Might Have Been
By ROBERT DRAPER
Published: October 2, 2012

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/magazine/mitt-romney.html?hp

It appears to have been written prior to the debate.

2. I’m shocked that businesses would figure out how to circumvent the ACA’s mandates by self insuring.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/10/07/could-small-businesses-skirt-obamacares-mandates/

http://healthpolicyandmarket.blogspot.com/2012/10/will-smallest-employers-circumvent.html

3. Steve Pearlstein on job creators:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/i-am-a-job-creator-a-manifesto-for-the-entitled/2012/09/28/756f2e90-07ee-11e2-858a-5311df86ab04_story.html

and the side effects of cost reduction in non-labor intensive industries

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/steven-pearlstein-why-cheaper-computers-lead-to-higher-tuition/2012/10/05/5dced2a0-0fd6-11e2-acc1-e927767f41cd_story.html

%d bloggers like this: