Ask TaxMama Issue 476 – He Said – She Said – the Vice Presidential Debate

Wishing you a year of sweetness, peace and love - 5769

Dear Family,

We’re heading into the final stretch. The last 2007 tax returns will need to be filed by October 15th; Except, of course for those folks in all those disaster zones, or in active military service. You know who you are. (i.e. if you have to ask – you don’t qualify for the extra time.)

Did you see the debate between Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden (or O’Biden, as Ms. Palin called him once)?

[Note: You can stop reading right here if you don’t want any political commentary. Just skip the next several paragraphs – or even this issue. If you DO read it and have something to say, please post your comments on the site. Thanks.]

They both made an impressive showing. Sarah Palin is a bit ingenuous – spelling out that she may not answer all the questions asked. Instead, she will address issues or topics she sees fit. Why ingenuous? Well, that’s exactly what all politicians are trained to do during interviews. Palin is the only person who’s ever actually admitted to be doing this, in so many words. You’ve got to appreciate the level of directness.

Who won the debate? Neither, really. Nor did anyone lose. The discussions were lively, though Biden was excessively repetitive about some things. They were both shrewd enough to go after the black vote, supporting help for Darfur – and the Jewish vote, supporting Israel. However, they both agreed, in no uncertain terms, that they will not support same-sex marriage – and neither will their presidential counterparts. (See, three things they agreed on, firmly.) The abortion issue was not brought up at all. Except for avoiding that issue, moderator Gwen Ifill did a pretty good job with her selection of questions – and trying to keep them on topic.

The two vice-presidential nominees demonstrated a comfortable sense of humor – and excellent control of their tempers. I’ve got to admire the fluency of their responses. Both of them did much better than I could ever have done under those circumstances. Barely an ‘uh’ the entire time.

One thing is really clear, though. Obama’s team does not understand how to finesse diplomatic and military matters. You really don’t want to be revealing your entire strategy (attack or exit), if you want any chance of success. Nor do you want your opponent to be doing that. That’s dangerously naive. On the other hand, after the things Sarah Palin said about Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Korea’s Kim Jong Il and the ‘Castro Brothers’ of Cuba…how will McCain’s administration ever effectively work with those leaders?

The scariest thing? McCain’s lack of understanding about the cost of health care. If McCain really thinks that a $5,000 tax credit per household will provide health insurance for every American, he’s out of touch with reality. Look at your own costs – or what your employer spends on your coverage (if you’re lucky enough to have some). Does McCain really not understand that workers who presently get employer medical coverage will lose over $14,000 worth of family coverage (about $300 per month, per person x family of four = $14,400)? Or that that they will be taxed on it…and will that tax include Social Security and Medicare tax, like all payroll (7.65%), plus it will increase their income and perhaps their tax bracket – pushing them up to 25% instead of 15% – plus the state taxes. Hmmm…that adds up to more than $5,000 worth of taxes if the benefits are taxed. Good trade.

You can read the transcript of the debate – and watch it here – (I found it online, within hours of the debate. Ain’t technology grand?)

Please take the time to read or view it if you haven’t already done so.

As Joe Biden pointed out, this year’s presidential election is one of the most important ever. Whoever wins, it will change the world as we know it. You need to be engaged in this election. You must be informed – and vote – one way or the other.

Incidentally, Readers Digest has interviews with the two presidential wives – Cindy McCain and Michelle Obama. Both of these women are pretty impressive. They have run major budgets, inspired and managed teams of workers and volunteers. I’d vote for either of these ladies for president before I’d vote for either of their husbands.

If these candidates do not suit you, remember America has more than two parties. You can find information about all the other candidates here – at

Our Job Advice of the Week teaches you about the compensation discussion. This is the most subtle part of the whole interview process, isn’t it?

In today’s Money Funny you’ll learn what would happen if Microsoft operated a restaurant.

Today’s IRS News is superceded by the bailout issues. The bailout debate isn’t over yet. The bill has grown from 110 pages to over 400! You can see it all here and on the Thomas site. So much has been added to it, it will take a magnifying glass to what all the compromises are!

Nothing for you this week in IRS News.

Tax Education this week includes two opportunities to learn more about how to get things right. IRS has a phone forum this month about recordkeeping. And TaxTalk Today covers the new Form 990 – reporting for Non-Profits. It costs you nothing to participate, but your time.

TaxQuips this week teaches us divorce and how to file – and the first version of the bailout, and several of the flaws. Please, do weigh in.

As always, we love your feedback, opinions and ideas.
You are what makes all this fun – and interesting!

Please use the Comments link online.

And remember, when you buy any TaxNerd item, TaxMama will donate all the profits to the Central Asia Institute, where they are building schools for girls in Asia. The best way to achieve peace to earn the love and trust of people around the world by helping them improve their own lives.

Hugs from your favorite TaxNerd,

Eva Rosenberg, EA

Your TaxMama is watching…out for you.


10.15.2008 Personal and Partnership Returns – FINAL DEADLINE

10.15.2008 Employers Make monthly Payroll tax deposit

10.31.2008 3rd Quarter Payroll Taxes Due

10.31.2008 3rd Quarter Sales Taxes Due



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