Tag Archives: IRS

A Positive message

With all of the negative rhetoric running rampant in this great country of ours, especially amongst the presidential hopefuls for 2016, I thought it would be refreshing to write something with a positive message. Therefore, I’m not about to mention the ludicrous protesting happening (again) in Ferguson, Missouri. It makes no sense to me why anyone would be against law enforcement protecting law-abiding citizens from people like Michael Brown. Instead, those protesting insist on honoring the deceased delinquent. What’s even worse is combining all White police officer shootings of Black men into one neat little package. Each incident is entirely separate from the others and deserves the respect of being thought of as such. Regardless, all lives matter, yet there are sometimes dire consequences awaiting those who choose to participate in robbery and resisting arrest.

In remaining positive, I also won’t divulge the fact that Donald Trump is constantly applauded as a “self-made” successful businessman, but in reality he came out of his mother’s womb a millionaire, and he has since owned four businesses that have gone bankrupt. Although there’s something to dislike about every candidate, vying for the presidency of the United States of America, I’ll attempt to solely focus on what I actually like about them. Of course, there’s at least one possible foreseeable problem with that; what I might choose to offer as a compliment may indeed be the exact thing someone else despises about the presidential hopeful. However, this blog is about me remaining positive. If a candidate isn’t even mentioned in this piece…I’m sure that speaks volumes as to what I must think of them.

Donald Trump says he’s in favor of repealing America’s birthright citizenship policy. I agree. I’ve been against rewarding newborns (of illegal immigrants) the automatic right to U.S. citizenship, simply because they were born here, for a very long time. I am also on the same page as Mr. Trump when it comes to his disdain for America’s incessant pursuit of political correctness. The Donald made headlines recently (what’s new?) after responding to a tasteless line of questioning, apparently in a politically incorrect manner, during the first Republican debate for 2016. The business mogul absolutely was singled out and attacked by Fox News commentator, Megyn Kelly, so I say what’s good for the goose is good for the gander. I’m not about to disagree with Trump’s unflattering comments about Rosie O’Donnell either. I’ve heard the former co-host of The View publically berate and belittle him, as well as many others, so I’m fairly unsympathetic when people tend to treat her in the same fashion.

Similarly, Kelly Osbourne was recently lambasted, while guest-hosting on The View, after she said what many perceived as being a politically incorrect statement. The irony is Ms. Osbourne was trying to put Donald Trump in his place, concerning his take on our nation’s illegal immigration problem, when she blurted, “If you kick every Latino out of this country, then who is going to be cleaning your toilet, Donald Trump?” I’m not a fan of Kelly Osbourne whatsoever, but I think her comment was totally correct. Every “day laborer” I’ve ever seen, at least in Arizona, has appeared to be of Hispanic descent. The majority of housekeepers in hotels, all across the United States, seem to be of the Latina persuasion as well.

It’s apparent to me many illegal immigrants are content working America’s less than glamorous occupations, at extremely low wages, just as long as they have the opportunity to continue living in this country. My point is I strongly doubt if Mr. Trump could find a White, legal citizen to clean his toilet unless he’s willing to pay a decent wage. People simply need to lighten up and cut Ms. Osbourne some slack. The other thing I appreciate about Donald Trump is due to his immense wealth he doesn’t have to pander to special interest groups to run a legitimate campaign. The Donald is his own special interest. Oops…I forgot…maybe that last comment wasn’t too positive.

Dr. Ben Carson has said he is not a fan of political correctness either. I admire his candidness, and I relish the fact he’s not a seasoned politician. Dr. Carson also boldly refutes the theory of evolution which is my sentiment exactly. Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both have been defending Planned Parenthood recently in the wake of the “scandal” involving the family planning center. Videos have surfaced of Planned Parenthood personnel discussing, in a nonchalant manner, the harvesting of babies’ body parts. At a time when most of the other candidates are threatening to defund the agency’s clinics, across the entire nation, Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton are commending the organization’s existence. The released videos are definitely unfortunate, and maybe the government could reduce the institution’s annual funding a bit, but I think Planned Parenthood is a vital agency especially for the younger generation.

I know I was thankful for the family planning center, in the mid-eighties, when I was dating my girlfriend (aka lovely wife) and even after we got married. Fortunately, we were allowed to obtain birth control without parental consent. Who wants to hear their parents’ lectures (or worse yet – them saying no) when a young couple thinks they’re doing the right thing? After our wedding we were able to continue purchasing birth control from Planned Parenthood at an affordable rate. The clinic enabled my wife and I to responsibly start a family when we were certain we could afford raising a child without any financial assistance.

Hillary Clinton has a reputation of reaching across the aisle to get things done. The same can be said of Jeb Bush although probably not to the extent of some other compromising Republicans namely John Kasich and Chris Christie. I’m an avid supporter of bipartisanship, so I have high regard for anybody who’s willing to negotiate, with the other party, to do what’s best for the United States. Mr. Bush, believe it or not, has sometimes been criticized, by members of his own party, for being too liberal. I admire how the former Governor of Florida dismantled affirmative action in his state. I also fancy how he’s a proponent of “three-strike” laws. I believe if a lawbreaker hasn’t learned to abide by society’s rules after already being convicted of two felonies then the miscreant will most-likely never learn. Therefore, repeat offenders should be subjected to harsher sentencing, on their third strike, and kept isolated from law-abiding citizens.

Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee both seem to have a major problem with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Mr. Paul desires to, at the very least, minimize the government agency, and Mr. Huckabee insists the stressful annual event, of filing tax returns, could easily be simplified. Both candidates are in favor of dismantling the IRS and implementing a fairer tax system. Mike Huckabee envisions a new tax system where all tax returns could effortlessly be completed and returned on a standard postcard. That sounds phenomenal to a guy who spends an enormous amount of time each year sifting through numerous tax forms. Rand Paul wants to eliminate foreign aid, and his non-interventionist attitude relating to war definitely tugs at my heartstrings.

Mike Huckabee and Scott Walker are adamantly opposed to transgenders serving in the United States Armed Forces. I would assume our nation’s military is busy enough without having to be inconvenienced with figuring out how to make a confusing situation (both literally and figuratively) like that comfortable for all concerned. I wish the former “Don’t ask, don’t tell” U.S. policy, instituted by the Clinton Administration in 1994, was still in effect today. I have no problem with homosexuals serving, but I don’t think their sexual preference needs to be identified nor celebrated.

I found out, while researching the presidential hopefuls’ positions, that Mr. Walker returned $60,000. of his annual salary, each year for many years, when he was a Milwaukee county executive. It was a promise he made to his constituents when he first ran for the elected position. He did so because he had previously been an outspoken critic of the pay level for county jobs. I commend the Wisconsin Governor for keeping his selfless campaign promise. Governor Walker and the Governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, have their fondness for the old Patriot Act in common.

The Patriot Act was signed into law by George W. Bush in 2001; however, a key provision of the law that allowed for unlimited access to collected phone data (in essence spying), by the National Security Agency (NSA), was sadly buried in June of this year. The three of us would like to see Section 215 of the Patriot Act resurrected for the sake of America’s national security. To the contrary, Mr. Christie and I dislike famed hacker and traitor, Edward Snowden, for his cunning ways. Hacking into our government’s files and releasing private information is unacceptable under any circumstance. Another thing I like about Governor Christie is that he distinctively advocates for Social Security and Medicare “means testing.” That simply means if people do not need the money they’re receiving, from the entitlement programs, then they should stop accepting the benefits.

Martin O’Malley has a novel idea as well. The Democrat would like to see the Electoral College abolished. I too am in favor of our country’s president being determined by the popular vote instead. I’ve never understood why one person’s vote should be more important than another person’s vote, yet that’s the type of inequality the Electoral College election process promotes. Mr. O’Malley not only has a fine Irish name, but the former Governor of Maryland has stated he “proudly” holds an F rating from the National Rifle Association of America (NRA). I can’t help but fancy his sense of humor.

There you have it: a thorough synopsis of the things I like about many of the candidates who are hoping to occupy the Oval Office in early 2017. It wasn’t all that simple either. However, it’s refreshing to know there are others out there who actually think the same way as I do about certain things. I’m quite aware I offer a glimpse of where I stand, on an array of issues, when revealing all of the aforementioned candidates’ viewpoints I truly respect. I’m proud to be an Independent voter. I’m about the person – not their political affiliation. I’m James McCleary, and I approve this positive message.


Taxes

They say the two certainties of life are death and taxes. I’ve already previously touched on the subject of death, so I guess it’s only fitting I should now discuss the topic of taxes and what better time than the month of April when tax season is in full swing. This time of year I can’t help but feel pretty darn special. Although I have been married to my lovely wife for almost 27 years (yes, I did the math to be absolutely sure since I am writing about taxes and not the death of me) it is still nice to be wanted by someone else. Uncle Sam wants me bad! He wants me to file a federal income tax return, and he insists that I do it very soon. I have heard the argument our government cannot legally force its citizens to pay taxes, so some people choose not to submit a return. I don’t know how true that is because I’m too lazy to do the research, but I do know there are some people sitting in prison for tax evasion, so common sense tells me not to take the chance.

Ever since I was a pimply teenager, earning a paycheck from McDonald’s, I have usually completed the annual tax returns on my own. Call me crazy, I’m sure many people do, but I used to actually enjoy the whole process of filing a return. Gathering pertinent information, organizing numerous receipts, and even filling out all of the forms was kind of fun. The thrill of figuring my own taxes has significantly worn off with the increase in not only the number of forms to fill out but also with the difficulty of trying to comprehend them. Being self-employed for most of our working years, and dabbling in the stock market has only complicated matters. Each year we typically have to file Schedules A,B,C,D,E, and SE, as well as Form 8949. One recent year when my wife was an employee at a salon the owner wrongfully, yet purposefully, claimed her as an independent contractor so she wouldn’t owe as much in taxes. We were forced to dispute the claim by filling out Form SS-8. We did win the case, of course, because we had right on our side.

This year I thought I might have to include Form 8903 which had an attachment number of 143. Really? Attachment #143? You have got to be kidding me! I don’t know exactly how many attachments are possible for a single tax return, again with the laziness, but I am quite aware there should be an easier way for completing them. Like most other things in my life I am very “old school” when it comes to doing my taxes. I still fill out the forms by hand, instead of electronically, and then send them to the Internal Revenue Service via snail-mail. I figure I’m doing my part in helping to keep the United States Postal Service open for business. I also find the “old school” way more convenient by affording me the luxury of viewing both the instructions and the forms at the same time. It is so much easier than having to click back and forth from one to the other on a computer screen. I am constantly hounded by everyone wanting me to do everything through the internet, and the I.R.S. is no exception. I am aware eventually I probably will not have a choice in the matter, that’s what routinely happens with the advancement in technology, but for now I will joyfully continue not banking, paying bills, or filing my tax returns on-line.

However, I do somewhat have a choice in how my tax dollars are spent by who I vote for at the polls. The two major political parties of this country sure do talk a lot about taxes, and even though they differ fundamentally on the amounts and the methods of taxation the truth as I know it is I can always count on them to eagerly spend my money on their agendas. I honestly do not mind paying the government my fair share of taxes, but surely there is a much better and less complicated way of doing so. The one time I made a mistake on my federal tax return the I.R.S. sent me a kind letter stating they had made a correction because they had found an additional deduction I could have taken which then increased the amount of my refund for that year. If Uncle Sam knows my financial situation, even better than myself, then why not simply either send me the dang refund check, or the bill for the amount I owe, instead of placing a giant heap of unnecessary stress on me every April.

A wise woman, my wife’s Grandma Proctor, once said that receiving a refund check from the government at year’s end was not good business sense because that money was rightfully ours to begin with, and they were only using it to their benefit for the entire past year. As much as we used to look forward to the delight of receiving an annual refund check I thought Grandma Proctor’s logic made perfect sense, so now we usually have to make a payment at the year’s end. Considering the aforementioned two certainties of life (death and taxes) I suppose paying taxes is better than the alternative…but not by much.