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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: Part 1

This week I was reviewing some old radio show notes, and came across my 2002 Christmas Wish List from the early G.W. Bush Administration, and my review of that list 10 years later in 2012.  It was so interesting that I thought I’d share it, and at the same time bring it up to date. I will present the first 5 today and the second 5 next week.

Some of the review was depressing, as 13 years later little had changed. Some of the requests we received, but in a limited fashion. But did we really win anything?  Remember that 13 years ago we were coming off 9/11 and the dismal year after (2002), in which the economy and the stock market were hurting. Much of my list was due to the need for economic revival. For 2015, I will update the term “revival” to “survival." 

Here’s my 2015 Clint Eastwood review, i.e. “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly”

  • Wish # 1 was to accelerate the tax cuts that had already passed, retroactive to the first day of July for withholding, but retroactive to January 1 for taxation
  1. This meant that many people got not only a weekly take-home pay increase, but a better refund in subsequent years
  2. Changes were made, and the economy moved forward rapidly after these changes – this was scored “Good”
  3. 2015 update - Then along came Obama, and rates were put right back up to where they were before, but with some added taxes on the most successful Americans – the updated score is “Bad”
  • Wish # 2 was to cut the Capital Gains Tax Rate to 10% for everyone
  1. The rate for the lowest 2 brackets was set to 10%, but the highest rate was 15%
  2. This was scored “partly Bad”
  3. 2015 update - Since then, top brackets have moved up to 20%, plus a 3.8% surcharge for many people, including a penalty for high earners under Obamacare, but the lower 2 tax brackets were set at Zero for Capital Gains – the score remains “ partly Bad"
  • Wish # 3 was to index the amount of the actual capital gains to the rate of inflation by adjusting the cost basis
  1. The reason was to mitigate the results of taxes that are due purely to inflation
  2. I scored this one “Ugly” – it has never been done
  3. 2015 update - I suppose it goes without saying that it still hasn’t happened, and is not on any radar screen I have seen – the score remains an “Ugly”
  • Wish # 4 was to privatize part of Social Security
  1. This would add wealth to the average American, as well as most likely saving the entire Social Security System
  2. Bush was in favor of some privatization
  3. He got slapped down by both sides of the aisle
  4. I put this one in the “Ugly” category as well
  5. 2015 update – This one is going nowhere, even as the Social Security System as we know it is in progressively more trouble – Yes, the pun is intended!  "Ugly" it is
  • Wish # 5 was to increase the IRA deduction to at least $8000
  1. Didn’t happen!
  2. However, the contribution limit has been adjusted for inflation
  3. But, the government lies about inflation, always understating the truth
  4. So, I scored this one “Bad”
  5. 2015 update – In a world where our country is in fiscal disarray, we are all in need of taking care of our own futures, and the relatively small contribution limits are an impediment to that goal – still “Bad”

Next week I will explore and present the remaining 5 Wishes.  Right now I could “Wish” that you will like the results better.  Check back next week!