Patriotic Millionaires

Awesome discovery last June:

Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength

Why do I like them? Well….

When all I hear on the news is “the deficit this,” “the debt ceiling that,” and “more taxes, less taxes, no taxes,” I have to be honest: I’m getting really sick of it. Being toward the bottom of wage earners in the country (but so grateful I’m not the very bottom!), it gets a little annoying hearing legislators fight to let millionaires keep so much of their money. If an average American is supposed to make a living on the minimum wage (yeah right), why can’t those who make so much more than them be the ones to give a little more? Maybe you don’t agree with me. That is totally fine, but it is how I feel. And truly, governing seems complicated and I know I’m probably missing a lot of info from both sides of the aisle. So I am still sitting on the sidelines, learning and forming the most well-rounded opinion I can.

But there is a group of people who have formed an opinion, and I LOVE IT!

These wealthy folks are shouting out to everyone: “Please, pretty please raise our taxes!”

They are standing up as an example for other millionaires to say, “For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you increase taxes on incomes over $1,000,000. We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more…. Our country has been good to us. It provided a foundation through which we could succeed. Now, we want to do our part to keep that foundation strong so that others can succeed as we have.”

This reminds me of when Warren Buffett asked millionaires and billionaires to give their money away. It is inspiring, isn’t it?

I have to say, I support these wealthy people. Not only are they thinking about someone other than themselves, they are wealthy in both funds and in their compassion for the needs of a nation.

Read more about these millionaires on NPR here.

Taxes taxes taxes… with a twist

Happy tax day! You ready for this?  I have posted here a chart that details information released by Senator Bernie Sanders about the top 10 corporations who are worst at paying taxes.

source: MoveOn.org

With businesses like these laying people off and moving their business overseas, it makes you wonder the value of these tax incentives. We all take advantage of deductions, but this corporate behavior calls into question how ethical and legitimate their actions are.

Just doesn’t seem very… nice.

Rather than go on about my own perspective (which I’ve developed with lots of news and informative podcast listening!), I urge you all to inform your opinions with lots of reading and listening. PBS News seems to offer insights on both sides of the issue, but I’m sure there are many other reliable sources out there.

Happy reading/opinion-forming,
Jen

Taxation and niceness

The lotto jackpot in New York reached 144 million last week. As my friend Michele and I drove past the huge billboard reading those unimaginable numbers one evening, Michele said, “I don’t even know what I would do if I won the jackpot.” I said, “I do!” I continued to tell her my plan of paying off my student loans and my immediate family’s mortgages and bills, because I said, “then it’s not a gift and they don’t have to pay taxes on it.” And Michele, financial pro that she is, says, “Actually, that is a gift. Sorry to ruin it for you.” Appalled, I asked, “Even if I didn’t give them the money, I just lightened their burden?!!” 

 “Yup,” she replied. Trying to find a way around the gift tax limitations, I said, “Well, I could put the mortgage in both our names, pay it off, and then sign it back over to them.” She said, “Nope, signing it over to them is a gift.” Ug. I mean, come on!!!  Michele then told me there are limits on personal gifting above which the government taxes you. It seems so unfair. I mean, I know I’ll never win the lottery–because I don’t play!– but just the idea that someone with good monetary fortune cannot help others without being penalized for it depresses me! I’m sure there was logic for the law (such as corporations finding ways to fiddle with their records under the guise of “charitable giving”), but this just seems preposterous!  Our government taxes being nice. I suppose I could live with it more if I knew the taxes I paid went to things I cared about and not things I didn’t approve of, but that is not how things work. 

So where’s the positive? What’s there to be happy about when, if you had money to share, there are rules and regulations that limit your generosity? I have decided I should be grateful I am not wealthy in my finances, because it would be a constant battle to be as “nice” as I would like if I were endowed with uber amounts of moolah.  The government doesn’t blink at the mediocre amounts I can afford to give charitably.

As soon as I realized how lucky I am to just have what I have and to give what I can without worrying about a penalty, I remembered the type of wealth that spans all income brackets. I am wealthy in love and friends and health, and that is such a blessing! My joy, my happiness, my positivity, my appreciation for these things: I can share all those things as much as I can muster! Like the India Arie song There’s Hope goes, “…It doesn’t cost a thing to smile, you don’t have to pay to laugh; you better thank God for that!”