Friday, December 19, 2014

We pay insurers' $100 Billion taxes

Taxpayers help insurance corporations avoid $100 Billion in taxes
Each state has passed special laws to allow insurers to use the reserves they are required to keep to pay claims. With accounting tricks, they use the money to pay CEO bonuses, shareholder dividends, acquisitions and other projects, and thus escape federal taxation. WE pick up the tab. Insurers don’t have to move overseas; just across state lines. For instance, TransAmerica Life used a state law in Iowa last year to reap $1.8 billion from its reserves while also avoiding an estimated $640 million in federal taxes. Iowa, for the moment, appears to have "state-of-the-art statutes and regulations." That is what the Symetra Life said in explaining last January why it was moving its legal domicile from Bellevue, Wash., to Des Moines. Because they are an ordinary business expense, reserves are tax deductible — the higher the reserves, the bigger the federal deduction. The IRS does not understand the tricks so never prosecutes tax avoidance.

Big Banks back to old tricks … that cost US the integrity of America
After Citibank wrote and passed the rider on the new budget, banks will go back to gambling with our money. The 2008 bailout is now likely since banks can’t restrain themselves and Congress won’t. Banks have also gone back to using their analyst recommendations to help sell new stock offerings. The law says banks can’t have the research department pump up the new stocks they research. In 2003, 10 firms and two analysts struck a settlement with regulators over these practices, paying $1.4 billion. 
Big banks act as if breaking the law and paying fines are just cost of doing business. Since we taxpayers ultimately pay, bankers know they won’t go to jail. Laws ignored.

Money scams take $40 billions of our retirement dollars
It is hard to spot fraud when it is happening. The Federal Trade Commission estimates that consumers lose more than $40 billion a year to telemarketing fraud alone. And, if you are over age 65, you are a special target for those offering bogus prizes or selling bogus products and services.
Avoid “Money Scams” by making YOUR plan and sticking to it:

Your vote counts even less with your ‘representative’ now
Congress just passed a law that lets the wealthy give a staggering $777,600—a couple could give $3.1 million to party committees. This ends any pretense to contribution limits enacted after Watergate. Corporations and people can now buy elections. Democracy only exists if there is some reason for elected leaders to listen to the voting public.
Now our “representatives” have more reason to do what contributors tell them to do. Despite the obvious damage bank gambling can do, our “reps” voted for to reinstate it. We will have to pay for banks’ mistakes like in 2008. Senator Warren explains how banks took over the process :

Corporations’ share of US revenue has been driven down from 28% to 10%
We picked up the difference yet our incomes have gone down. Over the past 25 years, the economy has grown 83 percent, after adjusting for inflation — and the typical family’s income hasn’t budged. In that time, corporate profits doubled as a share of the economy. Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% of profits earned from activities within the U.S. in fiscal 2011. Workers today produce nearly twice as many goods and services per hour on the job as they did in 1989, but as a group, they get less of the nation’s economic pie. In 81 percent of America’s counties, the median income is lower today than it was 15 years ago.
Unless you own a business, you are working harder for less. As heiress Helmsley said, "Only the little people pay taxes":

More GOP winners—cut regulations and veterans treatments
The budget cuts the Environmental Protection Agency and allows the mountaintop mining industry to continue dumping toxic coal waste in the streams of Appalachia. It cuts $345.6 million at IRS so more big firms don’t get audited. It gives the gas and oil industry free use of the Western landscapes. The list of special industry giveaways is extensive. Big Banks can again gamble knowing our tax money will bail them out. Under the bill, trustees would be enabled to cut pension benefits to current retirees, reversing a 40-year bond with workers who earned their retirement packages. Trucking companies can make roads less safe by giving their employees 82-hour work weeks without sufficient rest breaks. Pell grants for college students will be cut.
The bill encourages more NSA spying on our private communications. It blocks the EPA from regulating certain water sources. It bans the ban on giving funds to Egypt’s military. It voted against giving veterans treatment for PTSD and suicide (22 veterans kill themselves every day). It voted against improved the energy efficiency of federal buildings. It reduces nutrition requirements of school lunches and WIC food aid program. It halts the listing of new endangered species. More.

DEM winners—ObamaCare gives poor hope for future!
More than 1 million people used the U.S. system to sign up for Obamacare plans in the seven days ending Dec. 12. New York and Idaho — both state-run marketplaces — extended the deadlines to enroll with a 1/1 effective date by a few days.
Congress took the easy way and extended temporary tax benefits for ‘14: Teachers $250, mass-transit commuters, sales/income tax deduction, parents with kids in college, some homeowners and some retirees with IRAs. A new provision will benefit disabled adults. (IRS accepts returns later in January.) Free tax prep at AARP sites:

2008 Bank bailout by US over—stock sold for profit but jobs lost forever!
Our government sold its remaining shares in GM’s old lender, its last remaining major stake from the $426 billion bailout of banks and the U.S. auto industry. Governments like China and Russia own businesses too but it cost us many more jobs and our prestige as being the home of capitalism. During the 1929 Crash, JP Morgan and friends bailed out the failed banks and businesses by loaning them money or taking over their businesses. Capitalism is supposed to work like that not like the Bush-style government bailout/ownership of failed companies. AIG and the banks it insured should have gone to other wealthy people for the bailout. Capitalism is about risk and reward.
Congress last week reversed the Dodd-Frank reg against government bailouts so we will likely have to keep failed bankers alive again in 2016-20.

Hedge funds are shutting at a rate not seen since the financial crisis, as many managers post disappointing returns that averaged 2%. John Bogle, founder, Vanguard, says: "Times of great market turbulence ... are just awful times to make investment decisions." Instead, investors should have a long-term investment strategy and stay the course, he said. Most wealthy people are long-term investors and don’t trade/gamble/hedge.
Vanguard is owned by its shareholders so you can earn more—10-12% per year:

Lockheed Settles Lawsuit—It Shortchanged 120,000 Workers, Retirees
Lockheed agreed to settle a $1.3 billion lawsuit over claims the defense contractor shortchanged the 120,000 workers and retirees who participate in its pension plans as a trial was set to begin this week. Workers accused the company of subjecting them to excessive fees and leaving those investing in its stock fund with returns that were worse than if they had bought shares by themselves.
You have a choice: Low fees always beat high fees—a larger pension:

Did you receive in the snail mail what resembles an invoice from a company to get a copy of your deed? Homeowners beware: It's a scam. Don’t send deed.
Avoid scams of insurance, mutual funds, and all financial services: Money Scams 2014:

Are you ready? HALF of pre-retirees had to retire earlier than planned
Nearly half of survey respondents (45 percent) retired earlier than planned. The most frequently cited reasons for retiring early are changes at one’s company or place of work (44 percent) and being able to afford retirement (39 percent). Nearly 8 in 10 who retired early have no regrets about the decision to retire when they did.
Make sure you have the right strategy to have enough so when you must retire, you can:

CR reports on best and worst value in cars
Make sure you are getting a value in new small cars. Avoid the worst: Fiat, Fiesta, Cruze and get value for as low as $15,000. Better deal: get 3-year-old safe midsize for same price. Don’t be fooled by marketing hypeexpensive is not always safe and reliable.
Here's the BEST list by category:
•Subcompact: Hyundai Accent Sport
•Compact: Toyota Prius Four
•Luxury Compact Cars: Buick Regal Premium I
•Luxury Midsized/Large Cars: Lexus ES 300h
•Large Cars: Chevrolet Impala 2LTZ (3.6)
•Sports Cars/Convertibles: Mazda MX-5 Miata Grand Touring
•Midsized Cars: Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE
•Wagons (AWD): Subaru Outback 2.5i Premium
•Small SUVs: Subaru Forester 2.5i Premium
•Midsized SUVs: Toyota Highlander XLE (V-6)
•Large SUVs: Chevrolet Traverse LT
•Luxury Compact SUVs: BMW X3 xDrive28i (2.0T)
•Luxury Midsized/Large SUVs: Lexus RX 450h
•Pickup Trucks: Nissan Frontier SV (V6)
•Minivan: Mazda5
Save $500 on insurance by using all 15 discounts:

SCAMS           Why are we still paying $700 Billion a year for WWII deployments?
We are paying for 164,253 of our active-duty armed personnel to be in 150 countries around the world. We have about 50,000 in Japan and 50,000 in Germany.
Are we preparing for WWII again? There are 1,208,083[1] armed personnel in the United States. Our taxes pay for about HALF of the WORLD’s military expenditures every year. We have wasted $398.6 billion so far on the F-35 program—they can’t fly safely.
We just can’t afford to pay for everyone else’s defenses anymore.
Japan, Germany and S. Korea can pay for their own defenses.
The War on Terror requires SEALS’ attacks on top terrorists at their homes. Iraq proved converting a nation to Western-style republic doesn’t work.

Congress has changed the definition of America
Do we want to be moral or immoral?
Bush/Cheney and Congress seem to say Torture is OK if we do it in revenge and call it by another name—EIT. If we do what other societies do then we can’t keep telling the world we are better than them. Mrs Palin and Mr Giuliani seem to idolize the Russian dictator Putin and our Congress joins them in criticizing Obama. Do we really want America to invade other countries, shoot down civilian planes, and torture people like Putin? Congress did not condemn Bush/Cheney; let alone prosecute them for war crimes. Do we really want a bully like Putin to be President? Putin is putting Russia back 5 years economically. 

Advisor to athletes gets caught
Bill C. (Billy) Crafton, AKA, Martin Kelly Capital Management pleaded guilty to criminal charges for $1.5 million in kickbacks on investments for professional athletes in Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association, according to the SEC.

Lawyers use our state Attorneys General to create income for themselves
Lawyer are using a new tactic to drum up business. They get our state AG to hire them to file suit against some corporation with deep pockets so they can make extra cash. Our taxes pay the AG to give business to private firms at ridiculous rates. Great work!?

Who owns your account now?
Fireman’s Fund to Ace Ltd. Ace wishes to expand insurance of luxury homes, yachts and art collections because of higher margins.

41 Watchung Plaza, B242
Montclair, NJ 07042

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