Tag Archives: tax relief

Turkey Tax Theory

For over 30 years I have insisted on cooking the Thanksgiving turkey. I say “insisted”. It is my right as the head of the family. As a man. I decide these things. I know better than anyone else how to cook a turkey, so I take control. End of discussion. (Right, dear?)

I have a very sound theory of turkey cooking. First, you buy a turkey.  Then you cook it. Simple. Common sense.

Of course some folks might look to socalled “experts” when it comes to cooking turkey, but not me. They look in cook books and on line videos and some even ask grandma. But not me. I have a theory and I am sticking to it.

Now, the cookbook “experts” will tell you to cook a turkey at 325 degrees for a certain length of time, depending on the size of the bird. So much for experts. I have been using my own theory for 30 years. Ignoring the experts.

Here’s my theory.  I get a 15 pound turkey. Now, the “experts” say that you should cook a 15 pound turkey at 325 degrees for 3-3 1/2 hours. Balderdash. My common sense theory says  this is a waste of time. I don’t want to wait 3 1/2 hours for a turkey.  So, using common sense and math (Well, a calculator) my theory says this.

Cooking a turkey at 650 degrees will shorten the cooking time by exactly one-half. So, my turkey will be ready at 1 1/2 hours or so. No reason to wait for 3 hours. Simple. To the point. Common sense. A theory any idiot can understand.

I have been cooking Thanksgiving birds like this for 30 years and EVERY year, I mean EVERY year, the turkey ends up charred on the outside, partially cooked on the inside and a smoking mess. There is always a problem with the smoke filling the kitchen and the smoke alarm going off. I solve that easily by opening windows and disabling the smoke alarm ahead of time. Clever. The volunteer fire department is on retainer.

Why does the turkey always burn? For the first 20 years I figured it was a bad batch of turkeys. Not my fault. So I tried every turkey under the sun. I cooked each of the following , in order:

Honeysuckle, Butterball, Jennie-O, Norbest, Shay Brook, Riverside, Foster Farms, Boar’s Head, Plainville Farms, Trader Joe’s , Nature’s Promise, Perdue, Smithfield, Organic Prairie, Carolina, Pilgrim’s Pride, Applegate, Private Selection, O Organics, Cooper Farms.

As fate would have it, every one of these turkeys ended up being defective. They all burned.  They all filled my kitchen with smoke. Sad. Very sad. I thought maybe you just can’t get a decent turkey nowadays.

But then I thought. Wait. Maybe it’s the oven. So, I bought a new oven. Nope. Same problem. No matter what turkey I tried or oven I tried the end product was the same. I know that if only I had the right turkey and right oven my theory would be proven. It is just a matter of time. No amount of evidence can dissuade me from my theory.

Which brings us to the latest Tax Plan.

In 1980 Ronald Reagan had a great theory. A SPLENDID theory. Increase spending on the military. Give money to the rich by lowering taxes and they will create jobs. The economy will BOOM and unemployment will disapper. So, he put the theory into practice.  George H W Bush called it “voodoo economics” and said it would not work. By 1982 the US economy had experienced a recession and unemployment had RISEN to 10.8%. The GDP declined 2.7%. Opposite of the growth expected. Still, despite the evidence, it was a good theory.

In 1990 there was another smaller recession. This time George HW Bush was president. He had run on the slogan of “No New Taxes”. A great theory. Unfortunately circumstances beyond his control led him to abandon that theory and call for “revenue increases” to stabilize spending.  But he still had a good theory.

In 2001 George Bush had a theory. If we cut taxes on the wealthy they will invest in US jobs. GREAT! Wonderful theory. So, Congress cut corporate and individual taxes to stimulate the economy.  And he theorized that we needed to de-regulate big business. Too many restrictions were just strangling these major corporate and financial institutions. So, de-regulate we did. Excellent theory. Of course, it would take a few years for the effects to be felt. But the theory was sound.

And the effects were the biggest recession since 1945. Growth tanked to a negative 5.1%. Unemployment rose to 10%. Big money investors with all that extra capital did not create jobs in the US. Deregulated financial institutions simply made bad loans with investors money and went bust. (Well, they didn’t go bust, they got bailed out. Another theory. Too big to fail… even when they do).

When President  Obama left office unemployment was about 4%. A relatively stable rate. And there were no Obama-era recessions.So, the economy is back on track and continues to chug along. No reason to tamper with it.

BUT, we need to follow theories, not evidence. So, Congress is proposing the biggest tax breaks ever while proposing a massive increase in military spending . In 2015 the USA spent more on the military ($ 597,000,000,000 that’s billion) than the next 10 nations combined. The US spent more than the total spent by China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UK, India, France, Germany, Japan, S Korea and Brazil…COMBINED). This is not to suggest the US does not need a strong military, but this seems a bit excessive. Spend more, take in less. Voodoo economics, anyone?

So, once again we are following a theory that has been shown to have no evidence supporting it, IF the goal is a stable , fair economic system. But the theory sounds pretty good.

For my part, I continued to use my theory to cook my Thanksgiving turkey. Despite the naysayers. OK, so it got burned again this year. No turkey for Thanksgiving. On the positive side, my wife has made a standing reservation for Thanksgiving at Hop Sing’s Chinese Restaurant.  She is  no theoretician. And I am developing a taste for Mu Shu Pork.

http://www.butterball.com/how-tos/roast-a-turkey

https://www.ranker.com/list/best-turkey-brands/ranker-shopping

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_recessions_in_the_United_States

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Read_my_lips:_no_new_taxes

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures

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My $17.40 Tax Bill

This is the time of year when property taxes come due. I am not one of those tax complainers. I think we need reasonable taxes to provide a reasonable level of services. My attitude toward the IRS can be found at an oldie but goodie link at the end of this essay.

I am a retired teacher living on a pension and Social Security. Fixed income. My property is evaluated at about $145,000. Fair market value. No problem. My property and school taxes for 2014 were $3,974.45. Let’s round up to $4,000.00.

For this $4,000.00 I paid for a school system . And a county road . My water comes from my own well. My electric I pay for to a private company. I have no kids in school. So, I pay $4,000.00 and get the benefit of the local road crew plowing the road (and dumping piles of snow across my recently plowed driveway) right after their donut run.

And I don’t mind. Kids need an education. A good education. And roads need to be kept in good repair. And the local town road commissioner needs to keep his otherwise unemployable extended family engaged in some meaningful employment. Keeps them off the streets. Or on the streets.

So, unlike many folks I don’t mind paying my fair share of taxes. Which leads me to the following. One of my multitude of  vices is watching some reality TV shows. Not the vulgar ones like the Duggars. But ones like “Cupcake Wars” or “Property Virgins”. People who  are buying homes  or cooking. Pretty mild stuff.

Recently I was watching a “Property Virgins” segment profiling a couple of new home buyers who  were looking to buy in New York City. The Big Apple. They were being shown a brand new apartment in a new condo with a fantastic view. Across the East River. A view of the NYC skyline. A real million dollar apartment with a million dollar view.

The price? A paltry $1,000,000. A wee bit more than we  paid for our first “starter” home, but what the hell. You got? Spend it. And, to be fair,  it was a very nice apartment. Even had windows, floors  and appliances! But the best part. The very BEST part for these new home buyers was that the property was covered by the NYC “tax abatement zone”. So, the average monthly property tax on this $ 1,000,000 condo was, according to the realtor,  about “$10  a month”. For 25 years.

Let’s wait. I know that last two sentences destroyed 1.2 billion brain cells in the area of the brain called the ” Common Sensus Unbelievablus” so I will wait while you recover.  And I repeat. The property tax abatement, for 25 YEARS, meant they would be paying $10 per month. That is (using my calculator) comes to $120 a year. For 25 years.

Some math. Using a calculator again. If I suppose my property tax does not go up and my assessment never goes up for the next 25 years  (LOL) I will pay approximately $100,000 in property taxes. The folks who just moved into the $1,000,000 property with the view of NYC will pay, over the same 25 years , a total  of $3,000 in property taxes. I will pay $970,000 MORE in property taxes than they will. At least. (EDIT: It was pointed out to me that my math is wrong. I will pay $997,000 more).

Now, I don’t begrudge the wealthy their ability to afford a million dollar apartment. Not at all. Nor do I envy them. I like where I live.  But I do think that it may be nice if the top 1% paid their fair share. Or better yet, let ME pay MY fair share,  based on what they pay. If I did, my TOTAL tax bill over the next 25 years would come out to $435.00. American money.

If my tax property bill was the same , per assessed value, as this condo, I would get a tax bill this year for….$17.40. That would be my fair share. I did the math.

I’ll pay it. And I won’t even complain

http://www.nypropertytaxmonitor.com/2012/08/25/avoiding-property-taxes-in-new-york-exemptions-and-abatements-in-the-news/

https://www.habitatnyc.org/pdf/advocate/Pratt421a.pdf

https://josephurban.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/i-love-the-irs/

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