Friday, December 28, 2012

Your Taxes are going up in 2013 regardless of the Fiscal Cliff

At some point, the House of Cards will fall apart. 

America has been operating without a budget since 2011. During that year, the Congress, Senate, and President tried to negotiate a budget, but continually failed because President Obama and the Treasury Department wanted to raise the debt ceiling (Fear Not: the Federal Government has shutdown before and Social Security checks kept flowing). By August 2011, an agreement was reached. The debt ceiling was allowed to be raised to $16.3 trillion, and a "Super Committee" was formed to to address fiscal reform. In the event that the committee failed to agree on a solution, mandatory budget cuts in 2013 would take effect as a safeguard to our economy.

The Super Committee talks collapsed after a short while, and the economy has been running on auto pilot since then.

Now we are approaching the beginning of 2013 and the 2011 budget cuts, now called the Fiscal Cliff, are scheduled to go into effect. Although Ben Bernanke, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, and other economists were concerned that these cuts would trigger a new recession, our elected lawmakers have again failed to resolve this critical issue. President Obama's solution is to raise taxes on those individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and has requested the authority to increase the debt ceiling at his discretion, with an unlimited topside amount. Republicans in the House of Representatives do not want to raise taxes on anyone. And, conservatives want to limit entitlement spending.

In an attempt to bully the Republican Congressmen, the Democratic leadership has led a campaign against the Republicans, convincing the American public that it is the Republican Party who is responsible for failing to resolve the budget issue.

To complicate matters, the Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy Geithner, warned that the U.S. budget ceiling would be reached on December 30th, 2012, just two days before the mandatory budget cuts are implemented. 

Needless to say, the Democrats are beginning to panic at the thought of being constrained by the required budget. This is why President Obama cut his Hawaiian Vacation short and returned to Washington DC yesterday. 

Mr. Obama had campaigned on raising the taxes on the rich. He carefully avoided informing the public that new ObamaCare taxes on all income earning Americans, regardless of income level, would also become effective in the beginning of 2013.

This means that everyone who generates income will be paying more in taxes beginning 2013. The only question is how much more will be paid. If the legislature fails to avert the "fiscal cliff", the Obama give-away program begin to come to an end while all those who are still working will help to reduce the national debt.

If a new budget agreement is reached, current taxpayers will begin to pay these new taxes in 2013 due to ObamaCare:
  • Medical-device excise tax 2.3%, paid by elderly, sick, injured, needy
  • Limited Flexible Spending Accounts (30 million working Americans) tax deductions for health care costs will be capped at $2,500 rather than unlimited
  • Tax deduction for medical expenses exceeding 10% of annual income (up from 7.5 %)
  • Increase in Medicare tax from 1.45% to 2.35%
  • Tax increase of 3.8% on investment income for those earning $250,000 or more. Capital gains increase from 15% to 20%. Dividends tax rises from 15 to 39.6%. Plus, with ObamaCare, capital gains tax rate raised to 23.8% and dividends raised to 43.4%.
  • Employer Payroll tax increase

However, if we do go over the fiscal cliff, all working taxpayers will be subjected to these additional taxes as well (see What falling ...)
  • Income of $20,000 to $30,000: $1,064 average tax increase
  • Income of $40,000 to $50,000: $1,729 average tax increase
  • Income of $50,000 to $75,000: $2,399 average tax increase
  • Income of $75,000 to $100,000: $3,688 average tax increase
  • Income of $100,000 to $200,000: $6,662 average tax increase
  • Income of $200,000 to $500,000: $14,643 average tax increase
  • Income of $500,000 to $1 million: $38,969 average tax increase
  • Income of more than $1 million: $254,637 average tax increase

So, in summary, our legislative and executive body struck a budget agreement in 2011 which will now become effective in 2013. Taxes are going up on everyone whether we go over the fiscal cliff or not. This goes beyond a Republican verses Democrat debate. The budget ceiling is reached and now the future is here for our President and congressional leaders to begin spending in a rational and responsible manner. The House of Cards is about to fall apart, but the only question is when it will collapse: Now or Later? 

Sources: ObamaCare Taxes

Sources: Fiscal Cliff


Thursday, December 20, 2012

Merry Christmas. Christ is Born!

Two thousand twelve years ago, our Savior, Jesus Christ, was born in a manger in Bethlehem. Since that time, we have celebrated his birth. Originally religiously, we now remember this miraculous event in grandiose fashion. Christmas! A day of giving! A day symbolized by Santa Clause, Christmas trees, outdoor lighting, caroling, and feasting.

It is also a day for us to remember our lost ones. Jesus was born to die for our sins.

Even in black times, our spirits turn back to this marvelous event. A child is born. A child who will change the world. A child who will later die for us. A child who will receive our souls and give us eternal life in a spiritual world.

With hope of life, this young innocent child protects our spirit, and oversees our daily lives. He's there for us whenever we need him. He is there when we are born. He is there when we die.

So as we celebrate this holiday season, preparing our gifts for Christmas day, its time to remember the meaning of Christmas.

This has been a difficult year for many Americans. Natural disasters and human carnage have tested our faith. Many have lost their physical possessions. And, many have lost their mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and children.

But time marches on, and God is still with us. While we cannot understand the reasoning, our faith must remain strong.

We look to new life as the world will soon celebrate the birth of our Christ and renews our faith that God is still there.

Yes, Christ is born. Glorify him!

Merry Christmas to all!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Merry Christmas to Hostway, the best web hosting company in America

Everyone takes IT for granted. They expect their computers to be running 100% of the time. Rarely, if ever, does anyone contact their support staff just to say "Thanks".

So, as this Holiday Season draws to a close, it is time to for to wish its web hosting company, Hostway, and its staff: "a Very Merry Christmas" and to say "Thank-you" for your continuous services and your committment to excellence.

Hostway Logo

The Lottery Power Picks Story
Seven years ago, I was developing my website and I planned to launch it during the summer of 2006. Since most of the programming was done on my personal PC, I needed to select a web hosting company to bring this to life.

Although I am an experienced programmer, I had never developed a website. I did not have a budget and did not want to spend a lot of money on this venture. After all, I was not sure if my new site would be a success or not.

The choices of web hosting companies was daunting. My search efforts seemed to always produce the same list of providers. I found that I would need to spend $5 to $50 per month for hosting. The cheaper sites had limits on the number of pages or files I could create and the amount of disk space I could use. Many hosts had a promotional price structure during the first year which would then increase. As I continued my search, I learned that most of the references that ranked web hosting services were only promoting affiliate advertisers. They did not care which of the companies I selected because they would earn a commission on all of them.

I felt somewhat lost. But then I found Hostway!

Hostway was not listed on most of the websites, but it seemed to offer everything that I needed. At the time, they offered a "Super Power Plan". For approximately $150 per year, I could have 150 GB of disk space, email, 25,000 files, unlimited data transfer, PHP, MySQL, Perl, ftp and ssh access, and much more. If my site required more services in the future, I could incrementally purchase what I needed.

So in August 2006, it was time for me to make a final committment. I called Hostway and the person who helped me calmed all my fears. I'll never forget that when I selected my site name, they told me I was lucky, was now mine!

Hostway set up the site and I uploaded all my files. Within a day, my site was on the web. They submitted my site's url to the various search engines and soon web surfers were able to find me.

During the past 6 1/2 years that the site has been live, the up-time has been nearly 100%. I have never run out of disk space and the site is always accessable.  Increadibly, they have never raised their fees and I still pay the same $150 per year. In return, I have 24/7 support and the ability to grow my site at will. 

Hostway Staff
I have only needed to contact Hostway a few times.  What impresses me most is that whenever I have a question or problem, I speak to the same people. Their staff has relatively little turnover and is therefore highly skilled and experienced. They are familiar with the company and their services which makes it easy to resolve most problems within a very short time.

Personal Example 
Last winter, two things happened almost at once. First, Mr. John Martis was named President of Hostway. One of the first things he did was to send all of the customers an email introducing himself and asking us for company feedback. He said that he was always available to answer our questions or provide us with help.

Second, I found that my site lost certain functionality within days after his email. Once I restored my website's functionality, I wrote to Mr. Martis and described the problem I experienced. The very next day, I received a telephone call from a second level support person who explained the cause of my problem and its resolution. I was also given his direct support number for future reference. Since that time, I have never had a problem again.

Testimonial Summary
What impresses me most about Hostway is their people. They are very friendly and are always available. They always follow through with all communication and they make their customers feel important. As I told Mr. Martis, I am only one of thousands of customers, and I only pay a relatively small amount for their services. But Mr. Martis's response to my problem and the follow through with his staff illustrated their commitment to their product and dedication to all of their customers.

In summary, Hostway has been an integral partner of For the past 6.5 years, they have hosted my website and insured that it is available every single day, 24 hours per day. I could not imagine what I would do without them. Their equipment is up to date and their staff second to none. I consider myself lucky to have found them and hope they will continue to be there in all the years to come!

Thank-you Hostway!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

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John Lottery

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