Real Estate can be Taxing

I recently received an email titled: “UNBELIEVABLE” Fwd: If you own a home, please read this!

It was regarding a hidden real estate tax buried in Obamacare.

“Is it true?”, I was asked.

This should clear things up. Although it is not a new, stand alone tax, the short answer is YES.

Settling the Question of a Real Estate Tax in Obamacare

By Kathryn Nix & Derek Pyburn (IBD)

By now, Americans have become well acquainted with the fact that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) will have a multitude of adverse effects. The new law is certain to add to the federal deficit. It increases taxes on all Americans in a number of different ways, encourages employers to dump coverage, and will cause many to lose their current health plan. However, a circulating claim that the PPACA includes a tax on real estate sales has misinformed the American public.

There is not a new specific tax on all real estate transactions in the PPACA. But that’s not the end of the story. There is a surtax on real estate transactions that are already taxed under current law. Capital gains in excess of $500,000 from the sale of primary residences already face the capital gains tax. The new tax in the PPACA will raise the rate on these gains.

The Tax Foundation clears the air by explaining how the new tax will work:
The bill would impose essentially a capital gains taxes on some home sales made by a limited number of taxpayers. (The health care law contains a new 3.8 percent tax on “unearned income” for high-income taxpayers. Unearned income includes capital gains.) To be hit by the 3.8 percent capital gains tax, you first have to be a married couple making more than $250,000 in adjusted gross income or $200,000 if you are single. The capital gain on the home sale must also exceed $500,000 if this is a primary home and you are a married couple ($250,000 for singles).
Here’s an example of how the tax would work: Say a couple makes $260,000. They purchase a primary residence at $400,000 and sell it for $1,000,000. This would amount to a capital gain from the sale of their home of $600,000. Capital gains tax plus the new Medicare tax would apply to profits over and above the threshold of $500,000. In this case, the couple’s capital gain of $600,000 exceeds the threshold by $100,000. The couple would pay the capital gains tax, which rises to 20 percent in 2011 under President Obama’s tax hike plan, plus the new 3.8 percent tax for a total tax rate of 23.8 percent on that $100,000. Their tax bill in this scenario is $23,800. The PPACA adds $3,800 to the couple’s final tally in this example.

The new Medicare investment tax provides a disincentive for business expansion. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) reports, “The $250,000/$500,000 thresholds only apply to the sale of a primary residence, so the tax will hit other property sales harder.”

NFIB also points out that this tax “marks the first time that non-wage income is designated to fund Medicare.” Beyond its marginal effects on real estate sales, the new application of the Medicare tax to investment income will have substantial effects on the economy at large. Analysts in Heritage’s Center for Data Analysis write, “Raising the tax burden on investment income further damages the economy and ultimately affects all members of society.” Their findings show that this tax will result in lost job opportunities, a reduction in productivity, losses in gross domestic product, and reductions in household income.

So is there a sales tax on real estate included in the health care law? In some cases, yes. But will the same provision that taxes some profits from real estate cause widespread damage to the economy? Absolutely.

The Lost Island of New York

There is a small island not 350 yards from the shore of The Bronx, New York, called North Brother Island. It is situated in the East River between The Bronx and Riker’s Island.

From a distance it’s looks quite peaceful with it’s lush vegetation. It is now, but looks can be deceiving.

At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th, New York welcomed a great many immigrants. The welcome wasn’t always pleasant.

Many of these poor immigrannts were forced to live in very cramped & unsanitary condidtions. Conditions that allowed for sickness and disease.

Diseases would inevitably spread and once the health authorities identified a person as having a communicable disease they were seized and forced to live on North Brother Island, where it was first employed as a quarantine centre in 1885.

Conditions were bad. The mortality rate among patients was high and the recovery rate low.

There was no telephone in the early days, so once people were grabbed and taken there, there familes often never heard from them again.

Its first unfortunate guests were patients with communicable diseases such as smallpox, tuberculosis, scarlet fever and diphtheria. There were six people suffering from leprosy confined there in wooden huts.

Living conditions were poor at best and when bad weather stopped ferries from running there were food shortages and in winter, frequently little heat. Incarceration on North Brother was often a death sentence. Those who did return from its shores spoke of a hellish environment like “the black hole of Calcutta”.

It’s most famous, or infamous resident was Mary Mallon, better known as “Typhoid Mary”. She was forcibly incarcerated on North Brother in 1907 until her release in 1910. She had to promise not to work at her former profession as a cook. She broke her promise and was returned to the island in 1915, where she resided in her own cottage on the island until her death in 1938.

In 1942, the island closed for the first time before being used to house World War II veterans who were studying in the city. That idea was quickly abandoned.

In 1952 it underwent its final transformation, hosting an experimental program to treat juvenile drug addicts. It was finally closed for good in 1963 where it remains abandoned and decaying to this day.

A local historian and photographer Ian Ference was granted access to the island. He states, “In 2008, I managed to get NYC park’s department permission to shoot the island. I’ve visited around 15 times since then, documenting what remains and the process of decay. I’m truly fortunate to have been given this exclusive access to one of America’s most significant forbidden places.”

Attribution: UK Daily Mail

Joke of the Day

Obama goes to a primary school to talk to the kids. After his talk he offers question time. One little boy puts up his hand, and Obama asks him his name.

“Walter,” responds the little boy.

“And what is your question, Walter?”

“I have four questions:

First, Why did the USA Bomb Libya without the support of the Congress?

Second, Why do you keep saying you fixed the economy when it’s actually gotten worse?

Third, Why did you say that Jeremiah Wright was your mentor, then said that you knew nothing about his preaching and beliefs?

Fourth, Why are we lending money to Brazil to drill for oil, but America is not allowed to drill for oil?”

Just then, the bell rings for recess. Obama informs the kiddies that they will continue after recess.

When they resume Obama says, “OK, where were we? Oh, that’s right: question time.. Who has a question?”

Another little boy puts up his hand. Obama points him out and asks him his name.

“Steve,” he responds.

“And what is your question, Steve?”

Actually, I have two questions.

First, Why did the recess bell ring 20 minutes early?

Second, What the heck happened to Walter?”

‘Islamist Firster’ President not What he Claimed

By Charles Hurt, The Washington Times:

GOLAN HEIGHTS — Surveying the live minefields, cratered roads and mortar-pocked concrete buildings along the border here between Syria and Israel, it is hard not to be reminded of the historic and monumental disappointment President Obama has been.

When he was campaigning to become the most powerful man in the last standing superpower on Earth, he spoke passionately about changing the world, restoring America’s greatness and bringing more peace and fairness to everyone.

In both foreign and domestic matters, Mr. Obama had unique credibility to change things as few presidents ever had.

Despite his background as a liberal street organizer, he campaigned on tax cuts and personal
responsibility and preached that the government simply cannot be the answer to every problem. Republicans would have no choice but to go along with an agenda to shrink the tax burden and get the federal government out of our everyday lives.

Instead, Mr. Obama has devoted his administration to raising taxes, adding to the byzantine structure of the federal government, and has created a whole new massive bureaucracy he claims really will cure our every little boo-boo.

As for the rest of the world, Mr. Obama promised to devote himself to healing the grave injustices and halting the atrocities that have afflicted the world since the rise of radical, violent jihadism. With his Muslim roots, Mr. Obama was positioned better than any leader on the global stage to speak with authority to radical Islamists and finally bring about permanent peace.

Instead, Mr. Obama chose to unilaterally alienate perhaps our most strategically important ally in the world and do all he can to cozy up to the very

people who are dedicated to destroying not only Israel, but America as well.

Leading Democrats have been in the news lately sliming Americans who stick up for Israel as being “Israel Firsters.” Well, Mr. Obama has become an “Islamist Firster.”

Since becoming president, he has not once visited our greatest ally in the region. Rather, he has gone to places like Cairo to tell the Muslim world how much he likes it. He also stunningly trashed the oath of office he took by saying it is “part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear.”

And, of course, he apologized for the “sexuality” and “mindless violence” from the West permeating the Internet. But Internet porn and creepy videos are little match for virginity tests, stoning women and beheading Jews — all for the fun of it.

When Mr. Obama finally addressed Israel, he shockingly said the tiny country should further retrench so its well-armed enemies can retake high ground from which to fire rockets at Israelis and move closer so they can hit major population centers such as Tel Aviv.

Such a twisted and half-baked view of justice is bad enough in a president. But things are about to get much more terrifying when Iran finally gets its hands on a nuclear warhead, which appears likely to happen in a matter of months.

It will be a very complicated situation because the most powerful man in the last remaining superpower on the planet is an Islamist Firster

Joke of the Day

After being away on business, Tim thought it would be nice to bring his wife a little gift.

“How about some perfume?” he asked the cosmetics clerk.

She showed him a bottle costing $50.00.

“That’s a bit much,” said Tim, so she returned with a smaller bottle for $30.00.

“That’s still quite a bit,” Tim complained.

Growing annoyed, the clerk brought out a tiny $15.00 bottle.

“What I mean,” said Tim, “is I’d like to see something really cheap.”

The clerk handed him a mirror.

Malkin Beats Me to the Punch

I am a Santorum supporter. Rather than just explaining why I don’t support the other schmoes, I’ve had a request to write an article explaining my support for him.

Well, it appears, I don’t have to. Michelle Malkin has expressed her support for Santorum as well as I ever could.

From Michelle Malkin:

Rick Santorum opposed TARP.

He didn’t cave when Chicken Littles in Washington invoked a manufactured crisis in 2008. He didn’t follow the pro-bailout GOP crowd — including Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich — and he didn’t have to obfuscate or rationalize his position then or now, like Rick Perry and Herman Cain did. He also opposed the auto bailout, Freddie and Fannie bailout, and porkulus bills.

Santorum opposed individual health care mandates — clearly and forcefully — as far back as his 1994 U.S. Senate run. He has launched the most cogent, forceful fusillade against both Romney and Gingrich for their muddied, pro-individual U.S. Senate waters.

He voted against cap and trade in 2003, voted yes to drilling in ANWR, and unlike Romney and Gingrich, Santorum
has never dabbled with eco-radicals like John Holdren, Al Gore and Nancy Pelosi. He hasn’t written any “Contracts with the Earth”, as Newt did.

Santorum is strong on border security, national security, and defense. Mitt the Flip-Flopper and Open Borders-Pandering Newt have been far less trustworthy on immigration enforcement.

Santorum is an eloquent spokesperson for the culture of life. He has been savaged and ridiculed by leftist elites for upholding traditional family values — not just in word, but in deed.

He won Iowa through hard work and competent campaign management. Santorum has improved in every GOP debate and gave his strongest performance last week in Florida, wherein he both dismantled Romneycare and popped the Newt bubble by directly challenging the front-runners’ character and candor without resorting to their petty tactics.

He rose above the fray by sticking to issues.

Most commendably, he refused to join Gingrich and Perry in indulging in the contemptible Occupier rhetoric against Romney. Character and honor matter. Santorum has it.

Of course, Santorum is not perfect. As I’ve said all along, every election cycle is a Pageant of the Imperfects. He lost his Senate re-election bid in 2006, an abysmal year for conservatives. He was a go-along, get-along Big Government Republican in the Bush era. He supported No Child Left Behind, the prescription drug benefit entitlement, steel tariffs, and earmarks and outraged us movement conservatives by endorsing RINO Arlen Specter over stalwart conservative Pat Toomey.

I have no illusions about Rick Santorum. I wish he were as rock-solid on core economic issues as Ron Paul.

And I wish Ron Paul was not the far-out, Alex Jones-panderer on foreign policy, defense, and national security that he is.

If Ron Paul talked more like his son, Rand Paul, about the need for common-sense profiling of jihadists
at our State Department consular offices overseas and if he talked more about the need for strengthened visa screening and airport security scrutiny of international flight manifests, I might have more than a kernel of confidence that he would take post-9/11 precautions to guard against jihadi threats and protect us from our enemies foreign and domestic. But he doesn’t, so I can’t support Ron Paul.

Mitt Romney has the backing of many solid conservatives whom I will always hold in high esteem — including Kansas Secretary of State and immigration enforcement stalwart Kris Kobach, former U.N. ambassador John Bolton, and GOP Govs. Nikki Haley and Bob McDonnell. With such conservative advisers in his camp, Romney would be better than Obama. And a GOP Congress with a staunch Tea Party-backed contingent of fresh-blood leaders in the House and Senate will help keep any GOP president in line. Romney’s private-sector experience and achievements are the best things he’s got going. Only recently has he risen to defend himself effectively. But between his health care debacle, eco-nitwittery, and expedient and unconvincing political metamorphosis, Mitt Romney had way too much ideological baggage for me in 2008 to earn an endorsement — and it still hasn’t

changed for me in 2012.

Lest we forget, this election is not about choosing a showboat candidate to run against John King or Juan Williams or Wolf Blitzer.

It’s not about “raging against” some arbitrarily defined GOP “machine.”

For many grass-roots conservatives across the country, Romney and Gingrich are the machine.

And at this point in the game, Rick Santorum represents the most conservative candidate still standing who can articulate both fiscal and social conservative values — and live them.

A Democracy Held Captive

The U.S. government is trying to lift a travel ban on a number of American citizens who were forbidden from leaving Egypt earlier this week, reports Daniel Tovrov: of the International Business Times (IBT).

At least 10 Americans and Europeans, including the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray Lahood, working with non-governmental
organizations (NGOs) in Egypt were barred from leaving the country after they tried to board a plane in the capital.

“We are urging the government of Egypt to lift these restrictions immediately and allow folks to come home as soon as possible,” State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters on Thursday.

Ah, the U.S. State Department. A collection of silver tongued orators that couldn’t talk their way out of a paper bag. Maybe if they “Stongly Urged” the Egyptians, the radicals in charge would free the captives, or hostages.

Yes, I said captives, hostages. They are being held against their will. What would you call them?

This would be funny if it weren’t so sad. It is, however, all too predictable.

In December, security forces of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) raided NGO
offices and confiscated files, computers and cash. They took the cash too?

“Officials in Washington, Berlin and London expressed alarm and dismay that democracy-building organizations would be subject to search and seizure, especially by a regime that receives so much Western military and economic aid,” The National Interest magazine said.

Do these Egg-Heads in Washington, Berlin & London not see the Egyptian leaders are not interested in “democracy building”? That was a rhetorical question. Are they all so insulated from the real world so as to not realize what is transpiring right in front of them? Another rhetorical question. Sorry.

In total, the U.S. sends more aid to Egypt than any other country except Israel. We’ve also equipped them with fighter jets, tanks, helicopters, surveillance aircrafts and anti-aircraft missiles.

So this is what we get for all the billions of dollars we’ve thrown away on the burgeoning “democracy” in Egypt. Harken back to the “Arab Spring”. The glorious freedom movement. Those were the days. Who could have predicted it would unfold this way? Oh, wait. Lots of us predicted just this!

Some of us didn’t. In February, 2011, Charles Krauthammer wrote,
“Who doesn’t love a democratic revolution? Who is not moved by the renunciation of fear and the reclamation of dignity in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria? … “The Egyptian awakening carries promise and hope and of course merits our support.”

Bill Kristol also writes in Feb. 2011, “The United States…has a paramount moral and strategic interest in real democracy in Egypt and freedom for the Egyptian people.”

At the same time they were crafting those sage words, they were deriding skeptics like Glenn Beck, many others, and me who were convinced it would unfold about as it has thus far.

Here is how the grand democratic experiment is taking shape thus far in the land of the Pharohs.

The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP), which represents Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, has won 47 per cent of all seats in the country’s election for the lower house of parliament.

Freedom & Justice
Party? You’re kidding, right? More like the Freedom from Justice Party.

The hard-line Islamist Salafi al-Nour party has won 24 per cent of all seats.

The FJP has named Saad al-Katatni, a leading Muslim Brotherhood official, as speaker of the assembly.

Radical fundamentalists will now occupy a total of 71% of Parliament seats. Oh good.

Ten seats were reserved for appointees of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military council that has been ruling Egypt since Mubarak fell.

“This parliament, that has its opening session on Monday, has very limited powers,” reported Al Jazeera’s Sherine Tadros from Cairo, the Egyptian capital.
“The most important thing that it will be doing in the coming weeks and months is setting up a 100-member body that will then write the constitution.”

I can’t wait to see that. DEMOCRACY RULES! Right.

Attribution: Aljazeera, International Business Times

Joke du Jour

A mature lady gets pulled over for speeding…

Older Woman: Is there a problem, Officer?
Traffic Cop: Yes ma’am, I’m afraid you were speeding.

Older Woman: Oh, I see.
Traffic Cop: Can I see your license please?

Older Woman: Well, I would give it to you but I don’t have one.

Traffic Cop: Don’t have one?

Older Woman: No. I lost it 4 years ago for drunk driving.

Traffic Cop: I see…Can I see your vehicle registration papers please..

Older Woman: I can’t do that.

Traffic Cop: Why not?

Older Woman: I stole this car.

Traffic Cop: Stole it?

Older Woman: Yes, and I killed and hacked up the owner.

Traffic Cop: You what!?
Older Woman: His body parts are in plastic bags in the trunk if you want to see

The traffic cop looks at the woman and slowly backs away to his car while calling for back up. Within minutes 5 police cars circle the car. A senior officer slowly approaches the car, clasping his half drawn gun.

Officer 2: Ma’am, could you step out of your vehicle please!
The woman steps out of her vehicle.

Older woman: Is there a problem sir?

Officer 2: My colleague here tells me that you have stolen this car and murdered the owner.

Older Woman: Murdered the owner? Are you serious?!

Officer 2: Yes, could you please open the trunk of your car, please.

The woman opens the trunk, revealing nothing but an empty trunk.

Officer 2: Is this your car, ma’am?

Older Woman: Yes, here are the registration papers.
The traffic cop is quite stunned.

Officer 2: My colleague claims that you do not have a driving license.

The woman digs into her handbag and pulls out her license and hands it to the officer.

The officer examines the license quizzically.

Officer 2: Thank you ma’am, but I am puzzled, as I was told by my officer here that you didn’t have a license, that you stole this car, and that you murdered and hacked up the owner!

Older Woman: Bet the lying bastard told you I was speeding, too.

Just Another Peaceful Gathering

From Common Constitutionalst contributing writer, Beverly Smith:

Why does the left always resort to violence, vandalism and mayhem?

On Saturday, in Oakland, the peace loving occupy wall streeters took to the streets and city hall, reeking havoc for the police, citizenry and government officials.

Naturally the taxpayers will, once again, be stuck with the cleanup bill.

They burned flags, smashed glass and scrawled graffiti. Why? No one ever asks why. What’s the point they are trying to make with the violence?

Didn’t they tell the world, when the movement began last summer, their protests would be peaceful? I swear I read that somewhere, way back when.

The mayor of Oakland, Jean Quon, is now at her wits end. She has called for an end to the violence saying, “Stop using Oakland as it’s [OWS] playground.”

Can you imagine if kids acted like this at a real playground?

That’s a marked change from her unwavering support of the movement in October(2011).

At the protests inception Quon said, “We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement: We have high levels of unemployment and we have high levels of foreclosure that makes Oakland part of the 99% too. We are a progressive city and tolerant of many opinions. We may not always agree, but we all have a right to be heard”.

Tolerant of many opinions, eh. I wonder what opinions they wouldn’t tolerate? That was a rhetorical question.

Now that the OWS crowd has predictably turned violent, Quon says, “People in the community and in the occupy movement have to stop making excuses for this behavior.”

So also must all government officials everywhere, as well as the media.

The OWSers actually had the nerve to criticize the behavior of the police! Isn’t that rich?

Of course, what we do hear is dead silence. Nothing from our fearless leader Obama, Pelosi (her home state), Eric Holder, etc. Where’s governor Moonbeam, Jerry Brown?
Mayor Quon is left dangling in the wind and the more deafening the silence becomes, the more emboldened the protesters become.

Chaos is just what the left truly wants. Let the violence escalate, suspend habeas corpus, declare martial law and Obama becomes dictator.

Maybe I just answered my own question. After all, some of the originators of this movement are confidants of “The One”.

Of Course You Know, This Means War

From Madeleine Morgenstern of The Blaze:

Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) had a strong message Saturday for President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz: “Get the hell out.”

West made the comments during a speech at a Palm Beach County GOP event in West Palm Beach.

“This is a battlefield that we must stand upon. And we need to let President Obama, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi and my dear friend, chairman of the Democrat National Committee, we need to let them know that Florida ain’t on the table,” West said.

The audience was booing by the time West got to Pelosi’s name.

“Take your message of equality of achievement, take your message of economic dependency, take your message of enslaving the entrepreneurial will and spirit of the American people somewhere else,” he continued. “You can take it to Europe, you can take it to the bottom of the sea, you can take it to the North Pole, but get the hell out of the United States of America.”

As the audience cheered and many rose to their feet, West added, “Yeah I said ‘hell.’”

“This is not about 1 percent or 99 percent. This is about 100 percent. It’s about 100 percent America. And I will not stand back and watch anyone defame, degrade or destroy that which my father fought for, my older brother, my father-in-law, myself, my nephew and all my friend still in uniform,” he said.

“I will not allow President Obama to take the United States of America and destroy it. If that means I’m the No. 1 target for the Democrat Party, all I got to say is one thing: Bring it on, baby.”