On stimuli

The Republicans in Congress have issued a list of stimulus package line items they consider wasteful . Looking at the list, it’s pretty easy to deduce how Republicans see the world: anything related to energy efficiency, pollution reduction, government infrastructure or public health is “wasteful”. Oh, sure, there are a few stupid items. $246m for Hollywood to buy film with is a waste of money; there are already more crappy Hollywood movies being released than anyone wants to go watch, and film is a dying technology anyway.

Citizenship

In case you missed it: Congress just passed a new law that will stop your capital — or at least a good portion of it — at the border, should you decide not to be a U.S. citizen anymore. Is it, perhaps, in preparation for the possibility that Americans might rebel at the debt and taxes incurred by their government by leaving for lower-tax locales? You probably didn’t notice this little provision inserted into the Heroes Act of 2008, passed by Congress on June 17.

BOHICA

We filed our taxes today. We’ve been hit with a sudden tax bill to the tune of over $20,000. It turns out that after a certain number of years, property you aren’t living in automatically gets taxed on the assumption that it’s a profitable side business, rather than your only piece of real estate. Worse, standard practice in the US is to pay taxes on real estate on the basis that it gradually loses its value (yeah, right), and then pay the difference when you sell it.

Borrow-and-spend Republicanism

The House has passed a $550 billion tax cut. The attempt to remove all taxation from corporate dividends failed, however, as even a few Republicans couldn’t see why people like Bill Gates needed to be given their millions of dollars a year in dividends tax free during a recession.

I get out and do taxes

Yesterday: Random social activity at Jillian’s with Dan and a bunch of her other friends. Pool, video games, food… I was pretty exhausted by late afternoon, and hit the Red Bull. Perked up a bit, more games, came home, some TV and then crashed into bed. Today: Finally got around to my 2001 UK Tax Return. They hadn’t asked me for one, and it says it’s due by “September, or two months after we ask you, whichever is the later”, so I’m taking them at their word.