Well I have been on a two-month apathy hiatus, and frankly I've really enjoyed it. However, it is time to return to my neglected child. Really not much has been interesting me lately in politics. The voucher debate has fueled up more, however I am so out of touch with the current discussion that attempting to join the debate again would require far more time than I am currently willing to spend. As my father so often said, "it is better to be quiet and appear to be an idiot than to open your mouth and confirm that you are an idiot." So I thought I would simply touch on a few things that have interested me over the past several weeks.
1. President Bush's proposal to offer Federal financing as an option to homeowners in sub prime mortgages who are facing or may face foreclosure -- Unfortunate, but a very predictable result of the mortgage products that were frivolously used to put many people in houses they couldn't afford. The main subject of this problem are ARM's (adjustable rate mortgage's) these loans offered lower interest only payments for a number of years until, after two to five years, the interest rates reset and payments of principal began becoming due. These loans are epidemic in St. George -- for duration of the boom, it was used as the loophole to get lower income families into homes that were ordinarily unaffordable. This is unfortunate, but likely one of the only means of averting epidemic foreclosures. It appears that, at least in Utah, steps are being taken to regulate the mortgage industry and the types of loans that they peddle. (80/20 ARM's may be a thing of the past) I believe I called the housing mess, and I hope it levels out soon.
2. "Barack Obama outlined his plans for changing the tax code, should he become president. Like rival former senator John Edwards (D-NC), Obama proposes to lower the filing burden for taxpayers with simple returns by requiring that the IRS send them pre-prepared returns that would simply require their signatures. Obama also wants to give families a $1,000 tax credit to offset payroll taxes, create a “universal homeowners’ tax credit,” and eliminate income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000. He would raise rates on capital gains and dividends to offset some of his plan’s costs. Notable is Obama’s silence on the AMT, which is recognized almost universally as one of the major problems in the tax code."(NAEA Ealert Newsletter)
I find some of his proposals rather interesting -- some I possible agree with (depending on the specifics) and some I adamantly oppose. First the proposal I oppose, I agree with the Senator that filing a tax return can be difficult and burdensome. However, I have a real problem with the government predetermining my allowable deductions and exemptions. I could see this creating a whole new line of information reporting burdens for businesses and charities, and/or a whole new audit red flag based solely on whether or not you filed the IRS' prefilled tax return. Some of the items I agree with are credits to offset payroll taxes, universal homeowners credit, (depending on specifics) and exempting income tax for seniors with income below 50,000 (although I think he should extend that to single moms and married families). I disagree with increasing the cap gain and dividend rates, but my disagreement is purely ideological -- I think the lower cap gains and dividend rates have been a great benefit to our economy.
3. Rock Concerts are sweet -- In high school during the mid-90's, I was a mosh-pit/rock concert connoisseur. I've mellowed drastically since then -- until September 12th when I attended the Muse concert. It was sweet! The band came back out and performed the BEST encore I have ever enjoyed. My wife (bless her soul didn't know better, it was her first concert) bought reserved seats keeping the kick-arse mosh pits below out of reach, but it brought me to the realization that children and manhood are no reason to stop enjoying the finer things in life.
Anyways, thats my update. I'm trying to care about politics again, but apathy isn't all that bad and I may enjoy it a little longer. To the pro-voucher crusaders -- keep up the fight. To everyone else -- have fun and good luck.