Personal finance: Am I the only one that sees a problem here?

It’s been on at least the last two meeting agendas and sure enough it made it back onto the agenda for tonight’s recessed Bay St Louis Council meeting:

08-09-17 Agenda - recessedWhy on God’s green earth would Councilman Zimmerman’s salary be a topic for discussion? I asked and the answer I got was disturbing on several different levels. It appears Zimmerman took early social security to help make ends meet and now doesn’t want to make too much money and jeopardize his new government check. My instant reaction was to wonder why he did not think about the ramifications of running for office when he qualified for the Ward 5 Council earlier this year.

Normally a politician not wanting to take a paycheck would be refreshing and it could have been for Zimmerman had he thought things through but it is clear he didn’t do that before running to the taxpayers for a solution to his personal financial problem with Social Security. It also carries implications about his financial acumen which, for a councilman in a “strong Mayor” town whose main job responsibilities are financial in nature, (Budget and annual audit) is a must in order to be effective.

I am asked about taking social security early frequently in the day job, in fact the interplay between taking early social security and planning for a steady retirement income stream is the number 1 question I am asked by my individual income tax clients. Since Mr. Zimmerman put his personal finances on display I’ll use the numbers he disclosed to illustrate a point that trying to game social security is a losers game.

First up is the income: Continue reading “Personal finance: Am I the only one that sees a problem here?”

Rebranding the Democrats: Ditch Obama and get behind Elizabeth Warren.

Late last week Times Picayune pundit Stephanie Grace wrote a column on the call to rebrand the Louisiana democrats who are now on life support giving a local flavor to trend toward the southern states once again chipping in solely with one political party.  I thought of it when I saw the name Elizabeth Warren pop up in the news cycle in the aftermath of President Obama’s online conversation at LinkedIn yesterday.

Anyone that has paid attention to the oversight accorded to George Bush’s last major official act in the financial bailout known as TARP well knows the name Elizabeth Warren.  She was born a southern girl to a middle class family in Oklahoma before making good, landing more recently as the chairwoman of the Congressional Oversight Committee for the bailout.  She simply took no prisoners and tackled her job in a nonpartisan way that made her a folks hero of sorts to the ordinary people who paid attention to her work. Following is an exchange with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that illustrates that point:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pz7ruJw6byQ

I say this because Ms Warren was the logical choice to head the new consumer protection bureau at the Department of Treasury but President Obama was sold out before he arrived in the oval office so that job went to someone else.  I’ve often joked the voters are electing republicans to Congress to send President Obama some much-needed help because he acts mostly like a republican and to a certain extent it is true. Obama had the Bush-era tax cuts expire on his watch and he renewed them almost as a matter of routine before he began to clamor to raise tax rates on the wealthy.  To me it comes across as the height of duplicity. Continue reading “Rebranding the Democrats: Ditch Obama and get behind Elizabeth Warren.”

Does John Fleming represent you? Does he “look” like you? Does he identify with you?

Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.

Folks I’ve prepared tax returns since the late 1980’s and worked as a CPA for small businesses both larger and smaller than Louisiana Representative John Flemming’s fast food empire. Back in the 1990s when tax rates were higher 6 figures folks like John absolutely paid more in taxes. Our budget was balanced and the economy was booming.

It is not that Republicans like Fleming are clueless that is scary as plenty of politicians are dumber than posts, even those that manage to run their own businesses. It is that politicians like Fleming are willing to take uncalculated and indeed reckless chances with the economy just so they won’t have to pay more for the mess they created that scares me. Continue reading “Does John Fleming represent you? Does he “look” like you? Does he identify with you?”

A rare glimpse…..

This was the topic of last nights nightmare except the due date in my dream was March 9, 2009 instead of July 30, 2009.

I’ll add a person seriously needs time away when dream fodder is workload planning.

Everyone in the GO Zone that received a homeowners grant owes Gene Taylor a big thank you for getting that bit of relief through Congress last year.

sop