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American Capital Agency Corp. Message Board

  • reits_r_us reits_r_us Nov 28, 2012 2:25 AM Flag

    Fiscal Cliff

    Hi Everyone,

    I consider myself a conservative but I am not dogmatic about my beliefs. I enjoy being stretched by those with liberal views and agree with many of the outspoken hard core, never compromise, liberal "friends" here on the AGNC MB.

    For instance, I would like everyone to have health care, and agree that a one payor system would be the most straight forward and 'simple" method to administrate the same.

    I believe in accessible higher education available to all of those who wish to pursue the same.

    I believe in means tested SS and Medicare.

    I believe that the wealthy should pay more(%) in taxes than Joe Blow making 50k/year.

    How's that for blowing my image as a right wing guy? How I differ from my hard core, never give an inch, liberal "friends" is on the idea of compromise. The debate has gotten a little heated with name calling(?), and adamant "I'm right, you're wrong" rhetoric, which unfortunately, I am afraid, mirrors Congress.

    Aren't our elected officials supposed to compromise? Isn't that the purpose of committee? I think there is too much caucus(partisan) and too little cross partisan committees to work out compromise. Too much special interest and favors and brinkmanship. Hey speaking of brinkmanship...its the purpose of my post.

    What is brinkmanship...you are witnessing its unfolding in time, as I type:

    """the technique or practice of maneuvering a dangerous situation to the limits of tolerance or safety in order to secure the greatest advantage, especially by creating diplomatic crises"""

    The last great example of this was during the debt limit fiasco, this past year. Remember how it came up to the last day, last hour, before it was resolved. The S&P saw it for what it was and got so miffed at the brinkmanship of Congress, they lowered our Sovereign debt rating.

    Did you wonder how the puppet masters were playing the market at that time? Same thing now. Why can't the Republicans give an inch on allowing the wealthy to pay a small % increase in tax to get the middle class extension on Bush tax cuts. Will the increase in tax help...probably not..and that is not even important...what is important is compromise. You give a little and get a little. Why don't we see that unfolding?

    There is such an intransigence in Congress and it is perfectly mirrored in the hard core liberals and conservatives on this board. My goodness, have some wine and chips and relax. Think Congress will...nope...and that is why this crisis will go right up and through Dec 31st. I called the last one with the debt ceiling. Not to hard to do the same now. Compromise is a dirty word apparently...who's listening?

    DocReits

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    • My first and hopefully last political post- I watched the Sunday shows a bit today- maybe that stirred this.

      I disagree with Doc on flat tax- I am in full favor of a flat tax- Why?- because it means everyone has skin in the game. As with most things that are free (e.g. public schools), it's human nature to place less value ton free items than what you pay for. You say you want to raise the tax rate- well now all your constituents are affected and thus harder to do and would force govt to exist within it's means. On the spend side I do not have much to say there other than if I ran my household finances like we run this country- there would be little sleep and alot of hives/rashes form stress/worry.

      I am conservative in nature, very disappointed when the Republicans had both houses and the White House, agast at President's Obama recent request to allow him to raise the debt limit w/o Congressional approval (hello- can you say Constitution?). I served my country willingly and hold it in deep regard compared to what else is out there for habitation.

      Should the "rich" pay more (everyone's definition will vary)- Should we in some people's eye penalize those who worked hard ( in most cases) to achieve?- Maybe- for the benefit of the country. Probably given the depth of our deficit- as long the borrowing stops eventually (yes stops)

      Should we continue to spend our selves into a Greek like event?- No- I do not think so.

      I agree with Doc on compromise- give and get a little and perhaps people will walk away from the table grumbling but the country as a whole will hopefully be better off (isn't that one of the things we owe our kids?)

      Our potential ticket is the natural abundance God has graced us with- latest incarnation is shale gas/oil. Energy is concentrated forms is dangerous. We need concentrated forms of energy to prosper and hopefully pay our debt down. It appears unfortunately that may have to wait another 4 years to get going.

    • Yes, our elected officials SHOULD compromise ... for the sake of our Country. But, today, we see the worst of the two-party system of Government, where elected officials primarily parrot the party line to the exclusion of all else. It would seem that this Country would be better off without ANY political parties ... just officials who have been elected on their own merits and stated beliefs.

      Perhaps then we could get to compromise on a LOT of issues, and move forward. But, as it is now, were stuck in neutral.

      Sentiment: Buy

    • I like Doc's comments. But the widely held view that Democrats and Republicans in congress can't work together is exaggerated. There are a few nuts of course, Of late they have been primarily the T party types. Log on to this site to see an interview John Maldin recently conducted of the chiefs of staff of leaders on both sides. They are working together to find a solution to the fiscal cliff.

      We have serious problems. The solution lies in both revenue enhancement and cost containment. Today our federal revenue is only about 16% of GDP, the lowest in nearly a century. Expenditures are around 24%, 1 or 2% above average. Neither tax increases nor budget cutting can solve the problem alone. Extremism has never solved problems. As Hubert Humphrey said: "compromise is the art of politics."

      Sentiment: Buy

      • 1 Reply to lslats
      • Hey Simpleawright,

        I understand the need for participation in the game of life going forward. I understand that many take advantage of our system and milk it for all they can get. I also see, weekly, those who have menial wage jobs and are trying their darndest to raise their families and somehow pay for the basic necessities of life, such as insurance, groceries, gas, heat and glasses and braces for their kids.

        I see professionals losing their jobs at 50 years of age and not being employable at anything more than Walmart greeter wages, with a mortgage to pay and kids in college. There has to be balance. In a pluralistic society(not totalitarian yet...;-)), it is impossible to avoid the graft of the dishonest. I see patients every week who are trying to get on disability who do not come close to qualifying. It will never go away and you just have to come to terms with it and, in the wisest 3 word advice I ever received, we just must "deal with it"(dwi).

        That is a good segway into taxes. A flat tax is the most unfair form of tax I could imagine(well, I could imagine taxing only the poor as crueler). You don't have to pencil out more than the following to quickly understand my point:

        Romney(Yes, I held my nose and voted for him), makes I think about 60K/day they said. Multiply x 365 and you get about 22 million/year. Don't hold me to his exact personal income but my point applies to those who make the same or more. The people I hang out with make about 60k/year. A lot of good people I know make about 25K/year. A lot of my retired SSI patients make $6,000/year.

        So lets impose a Russian 13% flat tax on everyone. That's fair, right? Everyone will pay an equal percentage of their wages, right? What could be fairer? Here's the result.

        Romney pays $2,860,000 and is left with $19,140,000. My friends pay $7,800 and are left with $52,200. My poorer friends pay $3250 and are left with $21,750. And the poorest pay $780 and are left with $5220.

        DocReits tax system(applying for proprietary patents so I can get some of that Romney Moolah!), would structure these folk's tax liability as follows. It is based on an option derivative matrix with limits from 0(my drunkard uncle) to infinity(the very wealthy...;-)):

        Romney would not be allowed any SS payments nor ex-Governor pension, nor Medicare participation, nor any government assistance for his next of kin to the second generation. If those kin desired higher education Romney would be required to pay for the same at an in state University/College of their choosing, for no more than 4 years total, per kin.

        Their health care and other societal obligations would also fall upon his shoulders if their means did not qualify for their own contributions. He would not be allowed any deductions for dependents, charitable contributions, mortgage interest, etc. His income exceeds DocReits allowance for any, and all deductions.

        Further his tax would be 65% on his total personal income, leaving him with 7.7 million dollars to pay for the aforementioned Docreits requirements(DRR), and to struggle by on the remainder. His tax contribution would change from $2,860,000 under the flat tax to $14,300,000 under DRR, an exact 5x increase over the flat tax.

        Next, my 60k/year buds would be left with all current deductions in force(mort Interest, charitable contributions, etc) and be left with a 12% tax on the balance. My friends making 25k/year would receive subsidized health care, education credits for their dependent children, gas and food stamps, housing and utility assistance, and be exempt from Federal taxes.

        Those poor making only 6,000/year would receive all of the above for the 25k/year, + free HUD housing and utilities, free public transportation, free health care, free food stamps, free public education for dependents(2 years CC first , then 2 years state college). Somewhere someone said, "The poor you shall have with you always", so remember, 'Deal With It'(DWI). And as you might have guessed these folks actually receive money as tax credits back from the government to meet DRR schedules for minimum subsistence parameters. many of these social programs already exist, it is my belief that there is a moral obligation, as a participant, in a free society, to provide for the needy.

        These folks used to have to go to poor houses or moved in with their kids. How many remember? My grandfolks lived with us(my parents) for years. Poor houses were abandoned around the 1950's if I have my history correct, which I may be off by a few years. My point, we can do better.

        Will some game the system? Yes, don't they already? DWI. For a copy of DRR, send 50 cents and two box tops of your favorite cereal, to:

        DRR
        PO BOX 888
        Backwater, GA 30269

        I share a spot in a trailer court with Hgff101, who is presently applying for government assistance using my DRR guidelines.

        Best,

        DocReits

    • We have to eat food for nutrition. We can go out to eat every night at an expensive restaurant and spend $60, or we can eat at home and have healthy food that we make ourselves for $5.

      To me, that is the difference. When I look at how the post office is run, or any government program, they are going out to eat every night.

      You still have to eat, yes. Cut the fat. That's the problem with our government. If we were more efficient with spending, there would be plenty for everyone to have what they need.

      The problem is, everyone but the taxpayer has to get paid.

      Cut spending across the board 20%, make people adjust, go from there. Ya, there will be less dollars and it will take time to adjust, but in the end, do you want to be efficient, or wasteful? When we are wasteful, we owe china more money. That's not the answer.

    • The argument has never been over whether these social programs would be a good thing or not. The argument has been over who will share the burden of paying for them. And there seems to be a huge disconnect in terms of the awareness of how much money there is in taxable individual income and who is making most of it. And their also seems to be a huge disconnect on exactly where the money is going which is not where most of us would have expected nor does it set well with most people, unless of course you are one of the government employees who is ecstatic over their benefits, pension and the wonderful life they will live all at our expense but not a life we ourselves can share yet we pay for it.

      I encourage everyone to do the following search and self educate one’s self on this topic as it seems that if you just tell it to people they assume you are making it up. We all need to be aware of the facts.

      Do a google search for: US tax revenues by income level IRS

      The first link is an IRS stat page for the US government. Go there and then click the link titled “Individual Income Tax” in the “Individual tax statistics” section. Then in the statistical tables area click the link “by size of adjusted gross income.” Then under “All returns: selected income and tax items” click 2009. There are other interesting tables on this page as well. You will need to have Microsoft excel installed as that is the format of the file.

      What you will see is that out of the $7.6 trillion in individual income that only about $2 trillion is made from people who make $200k or more and $1 trillion by people making $500k or more. $6 trillion is made by those who make $50k or more which means that those who make between 50k and 200k account for about $4 trillion in income. Keep in mind that those in the upper income brackets are already paying proportionally more and that any tax increases that are on the table are on the other of 5%. 5% of $2 trillion is $100 billion. Let’s get serious. That’s chump change relative to the $3.6 trillion we spend. It solves nothing. To Obama $100 billion is pocket change.

      Let’s leave the people who make $50k or less out of the discussion. Just how are you going to get $3.6 trillion dollars out of the $6 billion remaining without wiping out the economy? The fact is that we are spending more than our economy can bear. The only reason we are getting away with it now is because we are borrowing the money. The other sources of revenue outside of income tax don't amount to much.

      I seriously wish that people would go to the IRS web page and self educate themselves in the numbers so they can understand the unreasonableness of what they are asking. It is no wonder when you see anchormen go out on the street and interview the people who vote for this stuff that they seem to know next to nothing about these kinds of things. They don’t understand what they are asking for. In my opinion, anyone who has not gone to the IRS web page and made themselves aware of the facts doesn’t have the knowledge to constructively participate any discussion about the US budget. They simply don’t know enough to have an opinion that matters and they are wasting everyone’s time that they talk to. And worse, they are misinforming those around them to be as ill advised as themselves. But then that is typical from what I have seen. And the sad truth is, education level doesn’t seem to mean anything in this regard. It’s frustrating when you think about it too much. That is, all the people going around saying things about what should and should not be with little understanding of what the resulting implications are. If you think about it too much it will drive you crazy.

      The simple fact is that if we want to spend this much we will all have to pay for it. We can spend 50% more than we take in unless most of us pay 50% more in taxes because there are not enough rich people to make up the difference unless you take 100% of what they make and then they will just move to Singapore and you will get 0%.

      • 2 Replies to raybans2
      • I dont know where you cut and pasted that out of, but no amount of propaganda is going to fool smart middle income people into paying more taxes and getting less benefits while high income people are given a pass.

        No amount of verbal acrobatics is going to sell your bill of goods. Even most high income people agree that our taxes must go up no less than mere mortals.

      • I ponder those who want to excuse high income people from commensurate taxation because itssupposedly 'chump change' while focusing on and going after, for instance, Public Broadcasting, which is nothing at all.

        The same people talk with great sympathy about how hard it is to maintain a luxury lifestyle at $250k/yr while being delusionally envious of the imagined luxurious lifestyles of people who eake out their existence in slums.

    • I think that anybody who wants to be a doctor should have to start as a nurse, cleaning bed pans, recording vital signs, etc.The fed govt should then provide education for those who will spend the three or so hours after their paid shift to advance their medical education. after some years, where those who desire to rise will do so through hard work, and become doctors. Since the training is standardized and treatments administered to a real world norm, the concept of 'entitlement' to extravagant wages to what really amounts to highly skilled labor would be dulled, the Church of the Medical Establishment less exalted, and the costs reduced because health care professionals would be that, not pimps for big pharma. The Cuban model..medicine is a trade...
      I live near Oakland..Highland Hospital surgeons are bored unless someone comes in with gunshot wounds... you can get treatment with food stamps..
      now..
      if that is what expert medical attention is, and is worth, because something is worth the lowest price it can be had for, why should healthcare costs sucking dollars out of the middle class economy be viewed any differently than our leaders spending trillions on useless wars.

      • 1 Reply to channelcat57
      • U.S. health care is a highly developed business designed to produce profits. Take a look at the UN World Health Organization (WHO) reports. Out of 195 countries the U.S. and Luxembourg are tied for most costly health costs per capita (about $8000), but are rated under many countries in actual health care delivered to their people. Cuba, for instance, rates higher in several categories than the U.S. at less than 10% of the cost per capita ($700).

    • Reits r us: lonely optometrist guy looking for friends on a messageboard.

      You will be gratified to see all your virtual friends stepping up to defend you, and in your gratified justification, Encourage an increase in the chorus of jerks asking me to leave.

    • Conservatives think the liberals won't compromise, and liberals think the opposite. I heard recently that Dems gave up almost a trillion in spending to get through the last debt crisis ... I had forgotten that. The Dems also believe that the people have spoken re their preference, and it ought to be listened to. Remember W: "I earned political capital during the election, and I intend to spend it." and that was a much closer election than this past one. If we go over the cliff, I don't know how Repubs will turn down the offer to reduce middle-class taxes at that point. Will they insist on cuts for the well-to-do also? I think that would be devastating politically. Would they try to use the coming debt ceiling crisis as leverage? Even more devastating. How about letting taxes go up on income above $250,000 so we can start addressing spending cuts. If they don't, Repubs will become an endangered species.

    • Doc, I think you are a centrist, not right wing. I'm more center left than left, so we share many of the same views.

      It has begun. This week will be small 50 point declines daily, in December we will see the 200 point drops. Even the mighty FB is dipping.

    • I have pretty much written off a resolution of the fiscal cliff by the end of the year. I’m 70% cash and plan on picking up some bargains after the first of the year. My immediate concern is how this will affect the divvy run on AGNC this time – thoughts anyone?
      Best –
      Garbonzo

      Sentiment: Strong Buy

      • 1 Reply to garbonzo_123
      • Dividend payments made out by the REIT are taxed to the unitholder as ordinary income - unless they are considered to be "qualified dividends", which are taxed as capital gains. Otherwise, the dividend will be taxed at the unitholder's top marginal tax rate.

        The proposed dividend tax increase would not have the same effect on REITs as it does to other dividend payers. The actual tax bracket that you fall under might change, however. (Please correct me if I am wrong).

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