Friday, February 26, 2016

Election 2016

Please GOD, give us a President who loves America first. Give us a Pro-American, and America-First strong leader; give us an American Nationalist; not an apologist, who wants to fundamentally change this beautiful free country; not someone who does not believe in the Rule of Law, individual freedoms, free enterprise, innocent until proven guilty, equal justice under the Law, and upward mobility.
Please God, give us Donald Trump. Please do not give us a first generation immigrant who has not had enough time to learn and to appreciate the beauty of the American Culture.
And, Lord God, please give us a man of integrity, good judgement, discernment, and a man who loves and respects You, the only True God and the Creator of the Universe.
Don't give us someone like Marco Rubio who is a Con Artist,  Light-Weight, A Destroyer and not a Builder. This man has never accomplished anything in his life. He has not built a business, built a building, or created a service or a product that any people have ever wanted or needed. He has never hired anyone. He has never had to make a payroll. No families have ever depended on his judgement or work product.
Yet, he has the nerve to attack a builder, like Donald J. Trump​. Trump is Pro-American; he is an American Nationalist. He loves his country. He is not beholden to anyone. Unlike, Marco Rubio, who has been bought and paid for by people who hate America. Shame on Marco Rubio. You are finished. Your political career will go downhill from here. It will be a miracle if you get re-elected in Florida. You certainly will never be the President of the USA.This is my Prayer, Oh Lord, and I ask it all in the precious and loving name of Jesus.
I ask this in all humility.
Please Go, Bless America, again.
Make America Great Again.
This is my fervent prayer. 

(An anonymous FB member stated the Case for Trump for President most eloquently. He said:QUOTE:
I've been thinking a lot about Donald Trump, people say that he doesn't have a platform, that he just wants to make America great again. I have something to say about that. 
Donald Trump is not telling you his plan he's giving you an outline. Why? Every time he brought something to the table, the other candidates took it and ran. Such as immigration, the wall and other issues. 
I can guarantee you that he won't give you his full plans in detail until he is standing at the podium next to one of the Democrats. That is when he will reveal everything. He doesn't need to do that now. Donald Trump is a visionary. He doesn't go into business without a strategy, and a form of negotiation already set. This man is prepared in business and he will be prepared when the time is right in a debate. 
He is a brilliant man, and he will not reveal his hand. He doesn't have to, he has his supporters. They believe in him, they know he could be the Commander-in-Chief and lead this country in the right direction. 
As far foreign policy, you say he lacks. What I say is he knows the economy; he knows the about taxes, trade, laws, foreign values; he knows that inside and out because he's dealt with them for so many years. 
Now if he hadn't been good with dealing with the foreign market, he wouldn't be the billionaire that he is now. He is a international brand. He knows leaders and foreign dignitaries. 
He is an economic genius with the skills to "make this country great again '. By bringing businesses back into this country and creating jobs. This will only help our economy.
He would protect the United States from those who want to do us harm. He loves this country, and. will do what he has to do to protect it. 
HE IS bold and brash, he says what he means it means what it says, and that is what we like about him so much. He will be a tough negotiator and our allies will know where he stands at all times. They know his word will mean something, and so will our enemies. 
This is a brilliant man who has focus and he is pragmatic. He knows how to solve problems quickly. He will surround himself with the best of the best in all branches of the government. 
You will not see our soldiers kneeling at the feet of Iranians, nor will you see Isis take over the world. You haven't seen the guy work yet. All you've seen is a businessman turned politician before your eyes. His supporters are standing shoulder to shoulder with him and will not sway. 
Lobbyist and special interest groups will no longer be able to line the pockets of our House and Senate representatives. Because when they do, the Senators and congressmen will pass a bill and legislation and it will be a conflict of interest to the United States. 
No more will you have super PACs running this country. The media can ridicule Donald Trump and his supporters all they want, But we are digging in our heels. We will not be deterred. The fact of the matter is, you think Americans are stupid. But we are the backbone of this country. 
Americans will determine the vote, not the special interest groups or the lobbyists. They will finally understand clearly. Our voices will be heard. 
We will support our troops and build up our military and take care of our vets. Because this administration has not had their backs, nor have they listened to our top military leaders. No longer will our military hands be tied. 
He will secure our borders and revamp our visa program. He will do everything in his power to keep American safe. He will call our enemies by name, radical jihadists. There will no longer be political correctness, for it is destroying our country and dividing us. Americans are finally pulling together as one, United we stand, shoulder to shoulder with Donald Trump!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

The Rich Keep Getting Richer and The Poor Are Getting Poorer

Inequality, class and life expectancy in America

15 February 2016
A study by Brookings Institution economists released Friday documents a sharp increase in life span divergences between the rich and the poor in America. The report, based on an analysis of Census Bureau and Social Security Administration data, concludes that for men born in 1950, the gap in life expectancy between the top 10 percent of wage earners and the bottom 10 percent is more than double the gap for their counterparts born in 1920.
 (DISCLAIMER: I neither agree nor disagree with the social or political philosophy expressed in this article. It is presented merely to disclose the underlying factual basis of the arguments put forth. The Facts and the Statistics speak for themselves.)
For those born in 1920, there was a six-year differential between rich and poor. For those born in 1950, that difference had reached 14 years. For women, the gap grew from 4.7 years to 13 years, almost tripling.
Overall, life expectancy for the bottom 10 percent improved by just 3 percent for men born in 1950 over those born in 1920. For the top 10 percent, it soared by about 28 percent.
Life expectancy for the bottom 10 percent of male wage earners born in 1950 rose by less than one year compared to that for male workers born 40 years earlier—to 73.6 from 72.9. But for the top 10 percent, life expectancy leapt to 87.2 from 79.1.
The United States ranks among the worst so-called rich countries when it comes to life expectancy. But its low ranking is entirely due to the poor health and high mortality of low-income Americans. According to the Social Security Administration, life expectancy for the wealthiest US men at age 60 was just below the rates for Iceland and Japan, two countries with the highest levels. Americans in the bottom quarter of the wage scale, on the other hand, ranked just above Poland and the Czech Republic.
Life-expectancy is the most basic indicator of social well-being. The minimal increase for low-income workers and the widening disparity between the poor and the rich is a stark commentary on the immense growth of social inequality and class polarization in the United States. It underscores the fact that socioeconomic class is the fundamental category of social life under capitalism—one that conditions every aspect of life, including its length.
The Brookings Institution findings shed further light on the catastrophic decline in the social position of the American working class. They follow recent reports showing a sharp rise in death rates for both young and middle-aged white workers, primarily due to drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide. Other recent reports have shown a dramatic decline in life expectancy for poorer middle-aged Americans and a reversal of decades of declining infant mortality.
It is no mystery what is behind this vast social retrogression. It is the product of the decay of American capitalism and a four-decade-long offensive by the ruling elite against the working class. From Reagan to the Obama administration, Democrats and Republicans alike have overseen a corporate-government assault on the jobs, wages, pensions and health benefits of working people.
The ruling elite has dismantled the bulk of the country’s industrial infrastructure, destroying decent-paying jobs by the millions, and turned to the most parasitic and criminal forms of financial speculation as the main source of its profit and private wealth. Untold trillions have been squandered to finance perpetual war and the maniacal self-enrichment of the top 1 percent and 0.1 percent.
The basic infrastructure of the country has been starved of funds and left to rot, to the point where uncounted millions of people are being poisoned with lead and other toxins from corroded water systems. Flint, Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg.
Under Obama, this social counterrevolution has been intensified. The financial meltdown of 2008 has been utilized by the same forces that precipitated the crash to carry through a reordering of social relations aimed at reversing every social gain won by the working class in the course of a century of struggle. A central target of the attack is health care for working people.
Obamacare is the spearhead of a worked-out strategy to reduce the quantity and quality of health care available to workers and reorganize the health care system directly on a class basis. Corporate and government costs are to be slashed by gutting employer-paid health care, forcing workers individually to buy expensive, bare-bones plans from the insurance monopolies, and rationing drugs, tests and medical procedures to make them inaccessible to workers.
The rise in mortality for workers and the widening of the life span gap between rich and poor are not simply the outcome of impersonal economic forces. In corporate boardrooms, think tanks and state agencies, the ruling class is working to lower working class life expectancy. In late 2013, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank with the closest ties to the Pentagon and the CIA, published two policy papers decrying the “waste” of money on health care for the elderly. The clear message was that ordinary people were living much too long and diverting resources needed by the military to wage war around the world.
The social and economic chasm in America finds a political expression in the vast disconnect between the entire political establishment and the masses of working people. Neither party nor any of their presidential candidates, the self-described “socialist” Bernie Sanders included, can seriously address the real state of social conditions or offer a serious program to address the crisis.
In his final State of the Union Address last month, Obama presented an absurd picture of a resurgent economy. “The United States of America, right now,” he declared, “has the strongest, most durable economy in the world… Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction.”
In the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, Hillary Clinton and Sanders are seeking to outdo one another in seizing the mantle of the Obama administration and praising its supposed social and economic achievements.
They cannot address the real conditions facing the masses of working people because they defend the capitalist system, which is the source of the social disaster. The remedy must be based on an understanding of the disease. It is the building of an independent socialist and revolutionary movement uniting the entire working class, in the US and around the world.
(Barry Grey, World Socialist Web Site)
(DISCLAIMER: I neither agree nor disagree with the social or political philosophy expressed in this article. It is presented merely to disclose the underlying factual basis of the arguments put forth. The Facts and the Statistics speak for themselves.)

You Have To Pay Taxes On Your Social Security Retirement Benefits

Tax On Social Security May Come As Surprise

The requirement to pay income tax on Social Security Retirement benefits may come as a surprise to many retirees. Baby boomers beware. It is a fact.
Many Americans don't realize that the Social Security benefits they receive in retirement can be subject to income tax. But millions of Americans will find out in the years to come, because the percentage of Social Security benefits that they'll end up returning to Uncle Sam in the form of income taxes will rise dramatically, according to a study from the Social Security Administration.
How much will income taxes on Social Security rise?
In the past, most of those who paid income taxes on their Social Security benefits are among the top half of income earners. The quarter of the American population that had the highest income paid about 14% of their benefits to the government in 2010 in the form of income taxes. That compared to just 5% for those in the second-highest 25% of the population, and the bottom half of the income distribution paid 0.5% or less of their benefits in income tax.
But the SSA sees that percentage rising dramatically, and most of the additional burden will be on the middle class. By 2025, the percentage of benefits that upper-middle class Americans pay in taxes on their benefits will have doubled to almost 10%, and families in the second-lowest 25% of the income distribution will have seen their tax liability rise sixfold to 3%.

The main reason why people will pay more of their Social Security benefits in income taxes has to do with the formula the IRS uses. In order to figure out how much of your benefits you have to include in taxable income, you have to total up all of your taxable income, and then add in half of your Social Security benefits. If that figure is more than $25,000 for single filers or $32,000 for joint filers, then up to half of your benefits can get taxed. If it's above $34,000 for singles or $44,000 for joint filers, the maximum percentage of your benefits included in taxable income rises to 85%.
Most IRS formulas are indexed for inflation, but the one that calculates Social Security taxation isn't. Therefore, as inflation pulls wages up, more people will pass the dollar thresholds listed above. Unless lawmakers add an inflation index provision, a law that initially affected only high-income taxpayers will slowly but surely affect all Americans.

For an individual, 50 percent of Social Security benefits are subject to income tax if the individual’s income is more than $25,000 a year and 85 percent of benefits are subject to tax if the income is more than $34,000 a year, according to the Social Security Administration.
For a couple, the respective income levels are $32,000 and $44,000. Income for these purposes includes adjusted gross income, tax-exempt interest income and half of the Social Security benefits.
 Social Security is a primary source of retirement income for tens of millions of Americans, and financial planners urge people to take maximum advantage of the Social Security benefits they've earned. For many planners, that means advising their clients to wait beyond the early claiming age of 62 before taking their benefits. But even though waiting can be smart for some people, there are good reasons for others to go ahead and take benefits as soon as possible.
These are desperate times for many people in America who were once considered among the Middle Class. They have seen their living standards decline and are struggling to make ends meet. Many were laid off in the last eight years and have not been able to find new jobs. They are not counted in the Unemployment Statistics because they have dropped out of the labor pool. Many are between the ages of 50 and 65 and do not yet qualify for Social Security Retirement Benefits. They have not even reached the age when they would be eligible to apply for early retirement. For many Baby Boomers that is around age 62.
Social Security pays out smaller monthly benefits to those who claim early, but the extra payments give early claimers a head start over those who wait. The Social Security Administration's goal initially was to set things up so that timing didn't have a material impact on how much you would receive in benefits over your lifetime.
If you don't expect you'll live as long as the typical Social Security recipient, then claiming early can make sense. Keep in mind, though, that if you have a spouse or other loved ones who will claim benefits based on your work record, your decision can affect their benefits as well. But if you don't have family members who will claim survivor benefits, then you'll end up better off claiming early if you expect not to reach the age that the SSA's life expectancy projections would predict.

The primary reason to wait to take Social Security benefits is one based on mathematics and maximizing your family's total benefits. For some, however, getting the biggest check possible isn't as valuable as living the life they want.
For many, taking Social Security early allows them to retire at an earlier age or cut back on their hours. Others prefer to use the additional cash early in their retirement when they can still enjoy it the most. Financial planners would tell you that you're leaving money on the table in many cases, but the actual value of those additional dollars might not be as much as getting to pick the time when the money will have the greatest impact.
People who die earlier should start drawing their Social Security Retirement Benefits earlier. Life-expectancy is the most basic indicator of social well-being. The minimal increase for low-income workers and the widening disparity between the poor and the rich is a stark commentary on the immense growth of social inequality and class polarization in the United States. It underscores the fact that socioeconomic class is the fundamental category of social life under capitalism—one that conditions every aspect of life, including its length.
The Brookings Institution findings shed further light on the catastrophic decline in the social position of the American working class. They follow recent reports showing a sharp rise in death rates for both young and middle-aged white workers, primarily due to drug abuse, alcoholism and suicide. Other recent reports have shown a dramatic decline in life expectancy for poorer middle-aged Americans and a reversal of decades of declining infant mortality.
Late last year, lawmakers made changes to benefits available to Social Security participants who waited until full retirement age to claim benefits. Among them were the repeal of the restricted application or file-as-a-spouse-first strategy and the file-and-suspend strategy. Under a restricted application, those who reached full retirement age could elect to claim only spousal benefits, leaving their own retirement benefits untouched. Similarly, using file and suspend, someone at full retirement age or older could file for benefits but immediately suspend them and still allow a spouse to claim spousal benefits.
As a result of these legal changes, there's no longer as much incentive for married couples to wait until full retirement age -- currently age 66 -- to claim their benefits. The thousands of dollars that these couples will no longer be eligible to receive could be enough to push the balance toward claiming earlier rather than waiting, especially if some of the other factors above would ordinarily lead them to take benefits at 62.
When to claim Social Security is a tough decision that involves plenty of variables. But even though many financial planners urge their clients to think twice before claiming benefits at the earliest possible age, there are situations where it makes more sense to go ahead and take Social Security at 62 rather than waiting.
Financial advisors need to know this and be prepared to warn clients about the issue. Tax planning affects when a person should take Social Security Retirement benefits and when benefits should be delayed and that money instead taken from an investment portfolio.
In most situations, a retiree is better off delaying receiving Social Security benefits until he or she is 70 years old because benefits grow by about 8 percent a year until the recipient reaches 70.
In addition, with the current high market value, taking withdrawals from a portfolio now will not deplete the portfolio as much as they would if the market makes a correction. When a retiree hits 70.5 years of age, a minimum distribution amount is required to be taken from an IRA or 401(k). If some money has already been withdrawn before the person reaches 70.5, the required minimum distribution will be less and the tax burden decreased accordingly.
Each client’s situation is different. The tax implications must be determined for each retiree. But advisors may want to help their clients build an income bridge so Social Security Retirement benefits can be delayed until they reach their maximum.

Oldest Boomers Face Big Birthday

The oldest Baby Boomers are facing a big birthday this year as they turn 70, which brings with it some forced financial decisions.
The oldest boomers will have to start taking required minimum distributions (RMDs) from their qualified retirement accounts and those who have delayed receiving their Social Security benefits will start receiving that money.
Ideally, the oldest baby boomers began talking with their financial advisors and planning for retirement a decade ago, says Bill Van Sant, senior vice president at Girard Partners Ltd., a Univest Wealth Management company in King of Prussia, Pa.
“This is an important birthday. Those turning 70.5 years old can take their RMD the next year but we advise them to take it the year they turn 70.5 or they will have to take two in the following year, which could push them into a higher tax bracket for that one year,” Van Sant says.
The RMD for retirement plans is determined by a formula based on the value of the assets in the plan. In most cases, the money was not taxed when it was contributed, so it is taxed as it is taken out.
If an annual withdrawal is missed, the penalty is a stiff one, says Mike Piershale, president of Piershale Financial Group in Crystal Lake, Ill. Piershale had a client who was unaware of the required withdrawal, which in her case turned out to be $16,000 for the first year.
“She would have been penalized $8,000 or 50 percent because no one had told her she was required to take money out of her tax qualified plan. We managed to get the money back for her by explaining to the IRS that it was a mistake on her part that first year,” Piershale says.
Withdrawals are required from traditional IRAs and also from company 401(k) plans, if the person is no longer working for the company.
“We make sure we remind our clients of the required withdrawals before they turn 70,” says Piershale.
Ellen Jordan, senior vice president at Bryn Mawr Trust, a wealth management firm in Bryn Mawr, Pa., notes that baby boomers are the first generation that has saved in tax deferred accounts because companies phased out pensions.
“Now they have to start spending what they accumulated and the big scare is that they will not have enough money for the rest of their lives,” Jordan says. “Depending on their health, they may want to continue working.”
Jordan says Bryn Mawr sometimes advises clients to start taking distributions from tax-deferred accounts gradually before they turn 70.5 so they are not pushed into a higher tax bracket when they begin required withdrawals.
Advisors also need to remind clients that Social Security benefits can be taxed. For an individual, 50 percent of Social Security benefit is subject to federal income tax if the income is above $25,000 and 85 percent is taxed if the income exceeds $34,000, according to the Social Security Administration. The limits for couples are $32,000 and $44,000, respectively.
This year presents another deadline as well, advisors are reminding their clients. The Social Security Administration is phasing out the strategy known as file and suspend. Under this strategy, one spouse is able to file and suspend his benefits to allow the other person to collect spousal benefits. This allows the first spouse’s benefits to grow until age 70.
The SSA has given couples until the end of April to file for this benefit, after which it will no longer be available.
(In part Based on Articles By Karen DeMasters)