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Thread: House Panel Backs Major Military Retirement Overhaul

  1. #141
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Oh...I don't even know if the VA does dental. To find out what your Tricare Dental plan would cost you have to check with Tricare not the VA.
    Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare status?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    The amount of debt matters in how we plan to (if ever) pay it off. Eventually we (the country) will have to put money towards paying the debt, money that is not currently budgeted or appropriated, so that means one of two things have to happen:

    -decrease spending
    -raise taxes
    I personally would be ok with a 2% across the board increase in EVERYONE's taxes (no loop holes to get out of it, no credits etc to get around it) as long as that increase was ONLY used to pay down the principle of our debt. BUT as we have seen for a long time, ANY cash flow increase the govt gets seems to never go to what it was said for, but to all sorts of pet projects.


    Quote Originally Posted by Stalwart View Post
    Like you, I am kind of indifferent because I know I am not making that decision. I don't mind people being frustrated about the situation, I find it frustrating that people don't understand that if we are unwilling to do anything, the problem doesn't go away. I am nearly as equally frustrated with people who want to solve the problem ... as long as the impact is not on them.
    Exactly.. Its like all those who gripe about there being not enough prisons to house all the criminals, so many have to get let out of prison cause of over crowding, but then bitch and moan when someone wants to build one "In their back yard" even when it maybe 25+ miles away.

  2. #142
    Banned sandsjames's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garhkal View Post
    Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare status?
    No, not at all. VA has nothing to do with it.

  3. #143
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    I wonder why mine is so much higher?

    Looking at my statment it shows the payee as "Delta Dental of CA"...maybe it's different depending on where you live????

    ...maybe it's because I still have 2 kids on there
    Mine is Delta Dental of CA as well. I think that's just the company name because I'm in Texas. I pay around $58, but it's just me and my wife. Not sure if the kids factor into it. Probably.

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    Senior Member CYBERFX1024's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    Carry on then, Chicken Little, carry on...meanwhile, Social Security increased it's surplus this year...and next.
    ...as for me, I believe all of these problems are things to deal with, but not insurmountable and greatly exaggerated by people who want to get elected, nothing more.
    Ohh..but all the Republicans signed Grover Norquists "No Tax Increase" pledge...
    Believe what you wanna believe...cheers.
    Dude, have you seen how many people are claiming Social Security now? I am not just talking about the retired either, I am talking about all the people that are getting SSDI or some form of "Disability" payment through Social Security. The only thing that is growing is the amount of the shortfall going in to whats coming out.

  5. #145
    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by garhkal View Post
    Don't i go through the VA to change my tricare staus?.
    No...VA has nothing to do with Tricare. if you are near a base, they have a Tricare office in or near the clinic....that's where you sign up
    The Voice of Reason

  6. #146
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    It could also come without raising tax RATES on anything at all...by the expansion of the economy and therefore the tax base=more tax money coming in.



    I never understood all the tax hullaboo until I retired. Active duty people have no idea...such a large portion of AD income is tax free. (BAH/BAS)...the first year I retired I thought I was going okay, but come tax day I owed $10K extra...what a kick in the shorts that was


    ]
    This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.

    The Make-Believe In American Taxation: With President Barack Obama expected to announce a proposal to increase federal taxes on the wealthy, another round of commentary about tax-and-spend Washington is likely. The 114th Congress is sworn in, so anti-Washington rhetoric is sure to ramp up. Governors Scott Walker and Chris Christie are possible 2016 presidential contenders, while former governors Jeb Bush and Rick Perry MIGHT declare. All are likely to denounce the nation's capital and praise states as models of responsible government. Here's the catch -- Washington is financing the states, while local government is more overstaffed than federal. The structure of American fiscal politics is based on a fairy tale of lean states and cities, and bloated Washington. In many respects, it's the other way around.

    Consider taxes. Many Americans complain bitterly about federal taxes. Yet with three federal income tax cuts since 2000 -- two under George W. Bush and one under Barack Obama -- about half the American population pays no federal income taxes, while everyone pays state and local taxes.

    This breakdown of effective tax rates shows the bottom 20 percent of the ladder pays to Washington negative-9.2 percent on income taxes (mainly by receiving the Earned Income Tax Credit, checks that constitute a "negative tax"), 8.4 percent as social insurance taxes (mainly Social Security) and 1.6 percent in federal excises taxes. That adds up to the bottom quintile paying Washington a net of about 1 percent of its income in exchange for all federal government (national defense, air traffic control, highways, space exploration, medical research) while receiving Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other benefits.

    The same group pays state and local government about 10.9 of its income. For low earners, federal income taxes are essentially waived while benefits are generous. Yet no one can escape state and local sales taxes, energy taxes, excise taxes and property taxes, and most state and local governments don't provide anything like the cash benefits that flow through Social Security and related federal programs.

    The tax numbers become more progressive as household income rises, but the same basic story remains until the upper middle class is reached: Tens of millions of Americans get more from the federal government than they pay for, while most Americans pay more to state and local government than they get.

    Next, consider federal revenue distribution to states. Governors shake one fist at Washington while using the other hand to accept lavish checks. Most states receive about 30 percent of their revenue as distribution of federal taxes. In 2012, Texas and New Jersey, home to Washington-denouncers Perry and Christie, were handed nearly $51 billion combined by Washington, or about 30 percent of the states' total revenue that year. Since 2000, Washington has passed around $5.3 trillion to the states. That's more than a quarter of the national debt. If Washington did not subsidize state and local governments, the national debt would be far smaller and no longer viewed as an emergency.

    Governors of both parties boast about balancing their states' budgets, then denounce Washington as spendthrift. Actually, Washington borrows money so the states can pretend to operate in the black. The whole structure of taxation and revenue distribution is a switcheroo. The states appear to be efficient compared to their tax rates; Washington appears to be wasteful. If state and local government really were self-sufficient, state and local taxes would shoot up while federal taxes dropped.

    But people want to believe the states are honorable while Washington is out of control. In the new "Washington Monthly," social scientist John Dilulio Jr., a former George W. Bush administration official, asks why Congress can get a rock-bottom approval rating yet nearly all congressional incumbents are re-elected. His answer is voters like the fact that Congress sustains the make-believe of low taxes and high spending: "For all the mass public's anti-Washington sentiments, most American voters are getting precisely what they want from the federal government, namely, ever more benefits without ever higher taxes." The make-believe is possible only via ruinous borrowing that burdens Americans not yet born. Because voters don't want to think about that, they prefer the switcheroo structure in which their hometown governments appear blameless while far-off Washington is sinister.

    Dilulio adds that voters also want Congress to hold down the size of the federal bureaucracy: "The federal workforce was smaller in 2013 than it was in twenty-six of the fifty-three years since 1960, and much smaller than it was in 1960 relative to annual federal expenditures... [While the] federal civilian workforce has hovered around two million full-time bureaucrats, the state and local government workforce roughly tripled, to more than 18 million."

    But the narrative America prefers is that Washington bureaucracy is the problem, while state and local bureaucracy is modest -- some kindly guy named Sparky who repairs lights in the park. Last week on the NBC hit show "Chicago PD," an oily federal official said to a virtuous Chicago street cop, "Everything you hear about Washington is true. The federal bureaucracy is big, slow and inefficient, not like the way you run things here in Chicago."

    Really? Cook County has about 5.2 million people, or 1.7 percent of the nation's population. Per capita, Cook County accounts for about 33,000 of the two million federal employees. Cook County has about 41 percent of the population of Illinois, which in 2013 (most recent year for which Census Bureau data is available) had 561,864 state and local employees. Per capita, Cook County accounts for about 230,000 state and local government workers. That equates to Chicago having about seven times as many state and local employees as its share of federal employees.

    And don't get me started on state and local government-worker pension problems! The big number is at least $1.3 trillion in unfunded liabilities for which mayors and governors, not anyone in Washington, should be blamed. Mayors and governors wanted the make-believe of low taxes plus high pensions for government employees, with the bill sent to Americans unborn. Trillions are hard to grasp, so consider a small number. The Chicago Transit Authority, which runs the L, by the most recent data has 8,317 active employees and 7,794 pensioned employees -- nearly as many drawing subsidies as working. The CTA's retirement fund has $1.7 billion in assets and $2.9 billion in liabilities. That's about 40 percent unfunded. Compared to local chicanery like this, the Social Security Administration is a model of probity.

    Yet Americans want to believe states are well-run and Washington is a mess. As the next presidential election season heats up, we'll hear more of this popular nonsense.

  7. #147
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.
    We should pay more state and local taxes. Those are the agencies that SHOULD play a larger role in our lives, when compared to federal.

  8. #148
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    Quote Originally Posted by sandsjames View Post
    We should pay more state and local taxes. Those are the agencies that SHOULD play a larger role in our lives, when compared to federal.
    I agree with that. The same author also has a nice piece about what different tax brackets actually get for what they are paying. All things considered it's pretty odd that taxes are a constant complaint but in reality all of us are getting one hell of deal. Roads to drive on, National defense, infrastructure, Social programs, Police and fire, prisons, Medicaid, medicare, social security, etc, etc, etc.

    I think I paid roughly $5-6K in federal taxes last year. That sounds like a lot on the surface but really its a huge bargain when I think about everything I get back in return.

  9. #149
    Senior Member Bos Mutus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SomeRandomGuy View Post
    This is probably the best commentary I have ever read on taxes. Ironically, it was hidden in the middle of an NFL article on ESPN.com. Gregg Easterbrook writes a weekly column and talks about sports as well as politics.
    Thanks, I enjoyed that.
    The Voice of Reason

  10. #150
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bos Mutus View Post
    No...VA has nothing to do with Tricare. if you are near a base, they have a Tricare office in or near the clinic....that's where you sign up
    Muchas gracias. So i guess i need to take a trip out to Wright Patterson to do any changes.

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