Saturday, January 5, 2013

Limb breaks; pundit crashes, burns

My trusted editor, Sandy Stewart, e-mailed me after the election.

“Did you get hurt when the limb broke?” she asked.


I’m older now, so it took me a few minutes. Then I remembered: I blew the prediction.

I wrote a few weeks ago that I would go out on a limb and predict that Mitt Romney would be victorious in Ohio.

Not surprisingly, I was wrong. I’ve been wrong before with political predictions. And I’d like to think that when I’m wrong, I have enough guts to admit it. Not like Karl Rove, the Republican guru who beat up his own Fox News because, he said, it predicted prematurely that Obama would take Ohio.

(And a hats-off to Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who asked Rove on election night: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better?”)

Late on Tuesday, when everyone in the free world – heck, the whole world – knew that Obama took Ohio, Rove was holding out.

“Karl, Karl! Get a grip. It’s over. Romney lost!”

Now what?

The folks in Congress had better get along and fast.

Here’s a list of tax deductions, courtesy of the New Philadelphia accounting firm Rea & Associates, that have or will expire by the end of 2012. There’s always the possibility that some will be extended if not for 2012, then in 2013, if and when Congress actually gets back to work.

Maybe a little e-mail message from the constituents would help…

– Reduced Social Security tax rate (also known as the Payroll Tax Holiday)

– Reduced long-term capital gains rates

– Reduced dividend rate

– Alternative minimum tax patch

– Option to deduct state and local sales taxes

– Tax-free treatment for forgiven principal residence mortgage debt

– Charitable donations from IRAs

– Favorable child credit rules

– Favorable earned income credit rules

– Favorable dependent care credit rules

– Tax breaks for adoptive parents

– The American Opportunity Higher Education Credit

– Higher education tuition deduction

– Favorable student loan interest rules

– Favorable Coverdell Education Savings Account contribution rules

– Section 127 educational assistance plans

– $500 energy-efficient home improvement credit

– Larger salary reduction opportunity for transit passes

– $250 deduction for teachers’ school expenses

– Deduction for home mortgage insurance premiums

– Charitable qualified conservation contributions

The rest of us – those of us not serving in Congress -- would do well to turn off Fox News and MSNBC. You know, get away from the propaganda.

Fox News president Roger Ailes underscored the problem in this country when he said Republican New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie would be held at least partly responsible for Obama’s re-election because Christie was complimentary toward the president during the Hurricane Sandy crisis days before the election.

That kind of stuff makes me crazy. Both men were doing their jobs – finally – without allowing politics to get in the way. And their reward is they are criticized. Sometimes I think the country has gone bonkers.

Wait a minute. The political parties and Super PACs spent $2.5 billion on the presidential campaigns -- $5.8 billion if you include the congressional campaigns.

Oh, yeah. And someone in the Republican party thought Josh Mandel would make a good candidate for U.S. Senate.

Yes, the country has gone bonkers.

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