Verse of the Day

Sunday, March 29

ONE Trillion Dollars

Got a deacon who is fond of saying, "a billion here, a billion, there...pretty soon you're talking some serious money.

H/T to Soundslikelife a pastor who moved to Mississippi posted a great visual to help us think about our economic life. Hope you enjoy it, pray over it and come to grips with what our grandchildren owe the world. http://www.pagetutor.com/trillion/index.html.

Have a great Sundayjavascript:void(0)

Alan

Saturday, March 28

Shout out for Prayer

We all have friends, family, worshipers and the like that need our prayers. I want to ask the blog community to be in prayer for Will Jackson and his family. Seth, his son, is need of a touch from our Father. You can read about it on his blog.

Peace

Alan

Monday, March 16

Where did all the people go?


Just noted the recent tallies on voting for 08-b and seeing how badly it was passed this past weekend by the Presbytery of the Cascades. The vote wasn't a surprise; the presbytery is blue across the votes. What did catch my eye was the number of those voting.

I couldn't help but wonder why a loss of 210 voters over 11 years. We have had a number of deaths among retired ministers but have also gained more than a few who want to come to the Pacific Northwest.

Maybe people are just tired of the fight. Some are just too busy being a pastor to their members. Saturday afternoon I ran into one member of Presbytery who didn't attend the meeting at an event for one of his members because being with his member was more important. Sadly, I might assume that some figure if they don't go they're not to blame for what happens.

With a presbytery of some 65,000 square miles the place where the vote is held might be an issue as well. The largest turnouts for meetings take place in the Portland area, which is where most of the people are. This last vote was in Salem, only 45 miles from Portland and the worse turnout yet. Hold one out in Klamath Falls or Brookings, way down south and the attendance falls off a whole bunch.

I don't have any great insight or lessons but just sort of surprised and interested what others thought about such a decline.

Peace
Alan

Friday, March 6

Spinning Transparnency 2

From the "Transparency Website" we see listed 288 billion under "Tax Relief" has an * that says:

"Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy."


There are 214 references to "train" and Training. Linking that with "taxes" and I can find no references where the two words are in proximity to one another. There is some reference to training people for jobs but I did not note anything about "tax" incentives in that section of the bill. Section 1828-1833 starting on page 267 is one of the most detailed on "training" I could find. In this section the part dealing with "relocation" section 1833 seems to speak of changing allowances for those who move due to new jobs.

"Energy" has to be one of the watch words in this document with over 270 references to the word. When linked with "taxes" the number of total hits swell to over 700. There are provisions for tax breaks for those who buy Electric plug in vehicles and what is being labled "Green Retrofit Investments" [page 108]. In this place I'd say there is some direct correlation between "Tax Relief" and the footnote.

Closing thoughts. I do not doubt that "Tax Relief" exists within this bill. My concern is the attempt to seemingly lump it with so many programs, ideas, projects and items which, in no way, are associated with income, FICA or Medicare taxes. It sounds a lot like a con job.

Here are my two cents worth for a beginning to get out of this crisis and it's ONLY a start. First amend the tax code to allow the interest on automobile loans for cars manufactured since 2007 to be deducted from one's income even if they do NOT itemize their deductions. Even if it were capped at $2,500 a year and fade away in five years it would be a movement to help get people purchasing in a very fragile segment of our economy.

Secondly, since so many people are coming to rely on non-profits for food, utilities, housing and the like, allow one's "charitable donations" to be deductible regardless of whether deductions are itemized or not. This would allow the smaller gifts of those who rent, who do not have a huge amount of non-insured medical bills to know that they are helping people and get a little bit out of it on their taxes.

Okay, I'm done with this bill. Hope it helps. Please point out those links between tax relief and the footnote I missed.

Peace
Alan

Monday, March 2

Spinning Transparancy...

From the "Transparency Website" we see listed 288 billion under "Tax Relief" has an * that says:

"Tax Relief - includes $15 B for Infrastructure and Science, $61 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $25 B for Education and Training and $22 B for Energy, so total funds are $126 B for Infrastructure and Science, $142 B for Protecting the Vulnerable, $78 B for Education and Training, and $65 B for Energy."


BTW the repetition is in the actual footnote on the website???

Why is this "tax relief?"
Protecting the Vulnerable doesn't appear in the bill at all. In fact "vulnerable" appears nine (9) times of which four (4) deal with television converter boxes or access to broadband; and another three (3) are aimed at HIT "Promotion of Health Information Technology" section of the bill. Two of them do seem to deal with emergency monies for those on TANF "State Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Programs" but that isn't tax relief.

Infrastructure is used 88 times and only one place does it occur near the word tax. It's on page 239 and deals with "Infrastructure Financing Tools"

Searching Education and tax I found one (1) clearly linked connection. A direct link between education and tax relief comes in an expansion of the HOPE credit from two to four years on page 199. Page 202 talks also allows a person to deduct the cost of computer and/or software if purchased for a student [see below for text *]

I'll let you all digest this then I'll take at the rest of the statements in the next week or so.

Peace,
Alan









* ‘‘(i) AMERICAN OPPORTUNITY TAX CREDIT.—In the case of any taxable year beginning in 2009 or 2010—
‘‘(1) INCREASE IN CREDIT.—The Hope Scholarship Credit shall be an amount equal to the sum of—
‘‘(A) 100 percent of so much of the qualified tuition and related expenses paid by the taxpayer during the taxable year (for education furnished to the eligible student
during any academic period beginning in such taxable year)
as does not exceed $2,000, plus
‘‘(B) 25 percent of such expenses so paid as exceeds $2,000 but does not exceed $4,000.
‘‘(2) CREDIT ALLOWED FOR FIRST 4 YEARS OF POST-SECONDARY EDUCATION.—Subparagraphs (A) and (C) of subsection (b)(2) shall be applied by substituting ‘4’ for ‘2’.
‘‘(3) QUALIFIED TUITION AND RELATED EXPENSES TO INCLUDE REQUIRED COURSE MATERIALS.—Subsection (f)(1)(A) shall be applied by substituting ‘tuition, fees, and course materials’ for ‘tuition and fees’.

and

(a) IN GENERAL.—Section 529(e)(3)(A) is amended by striking ‘‘and’’ at the end of clause (i), by striking the period at the end of clause (ii), and by adding at the end the following:
‘‘(iii) expenses paid or incurred in 2009 or 2010 for the purchase of any computer technology or equipment(as defined in section 170(e)(6)(F)(i)) or Internet access and related services, if such technology, equipment,or services are to be used by the beneficiary and the beneficiary’s family during any of the years the beneficiary is enrolled at an eligible educational institution.