The Federal Reserve's money machine has been in high gear lately. Although the the real effect of the following transactions on taxpayers is still being debated, it is still instructive to see the large amount of public money that is being put into play and is at risk.

Bail-out / Transaction                 Total    Per Family
Fannie Mae & Fredie Mac $100 Bil $  878
9/15 Fed Cash Infusion  $ 70 Bil $  615
IndyMac Bank Failure    $  9 Bil $   78
AIG Bail-out            $ 85 Bil $  746
Pork & Bailout Bill     $810 Bil $7,113

Editor's Analysis:
We should all be concerned about the financial mess we have allowed to be created by the good intention of trying to make home ownership affordable by everyone.

October 4, 2008

The Federal Reserve ATM Update:
It has been hard to keep up with the huge bailout numbers being thrown around. Here are those numbers from an average family persective. Data was obtained from an article at

Bail-out / Transaction             Total Bil   Per Family
Citigroup Inc. Bailout  $  306  $ 2,687  Amount tapped by banks  $3,180  $27,924
Total pledged funds     $7,760  $68,142

Editor's Analysis:
The numbers speak for themselves!

November 24, 2008
The total cost of the recently passed Economic Recovery Bill included a bunch of totally unrelated amendments that raised the original cost from $700 Billion or $6115 per average family to an estimated $810 Billion or $7113 per average family. This is only about another $1000 per family. This article will not cover the pros and the cons regarding this bill but will provide a detailed listing of all the additional provisions that were added to this "emergency" bill.

Sec. 101: Extension of alternative minimum tax relief for nonrefundable personal credits.
Sec. 102: Extension of increased alternative minimum tax exemption amount.
Sec. 201: Deduction for state and local sales taxes.
Sec. 202: Deduction of qualified tuition and related expenses.
Sec. 203: Deduction for certain expenses of elementary and secondary school teachers.
Sec. 204: Additional standard deduction for real property taxes for nonitemizers.
Sec. 205: Tax-free distributions from individual retirement plans for charitable purposes.
Sec. 304: Extension of look-thru rule for related controlled foreign corporations.
Sec. 305: Extension of 15-year straight-line cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements and qualified restaurant improvements; 15-year straight-line cost recovery for certain improvements to retail space.
Sec. 307: Basis adjustment to stock of S corporations making charitable contributions of property.
Sec. 308: Increase in limit on cover over of rum excise tax to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands.
Sec. 309: Extension of economic development credit for American Samoa.
Sec. 310: Extension of mine rescue team training credit.
Sec. 311: Extension of election to expense advanced mine safety equipment.
Sec. 312: Deduction allowable with respect to income attributable to domestic production activities in Puerto Rico.
Sec. 314: Indian employment credit.
Sec. 315: Accelerated depreciation for business property on Indian reservations.
Sec. 316: Railroad track maintenance.
Sec. 317: Seven-year cost recovery period for motorsports racing track facility.
Sec. 318: Expensing of environmental remediation costs.
Sec. 319: Extension of work opportunity tax credit for Hurricane Katrina employees.
Sec. 320: Extension of increased rehabilitation credit for structures in the Gulf Opportunity Zone.
Sec. 321: Enhanced deduction for qualified computer contributions.
Sec. 322: Tax incentives for investment in the District of Columbia.
Sec. 323: Enhanced charitable deductions for contributions of food inventory.
Sec. 324: Extension of enhanced charitable deduction for contributions of book inventory.
Sec. 325: Extension and modification of duty suspension on wool products; wool research fund; wool duty refunds.
Sec. 401: Permanent authority for undercover operations [as related to tax provisions].
Sec. 402: Permanent authority for disclosure of information relating to terrorist activities [as related to tax provisions].
Sec. 501: $8,500 income threshold used to calculate refundable portion of child tax credit.
Sec. 502: Provisions related to film and television productions.
Sec. 503: Exemption from excise tax for certain wooden arrows designed for use by children.
Sec. 504: Income averaging for amounts received in connection with the Exxon Valdez litigation.
Sec. 505: Certain farming business machinery and equipment treated as five-year property.
Sec. 506: Modification of penalty on understatement of taxpayer's liability by tax return preparer.
Sec. 601: Secure rural schools and community self-determination program.
Sec. 602: Transfer to abandoned mine reclamation fund.
Sec. 702: Temporary tax relief for areas damaged by 2008 Midwestern severe storms, tornados and flooding.
Sec. 704: Temporary tax-exempt bond financing and low-income housing tax relief for areas.
Sec. 709: Waiver of certain mortgage revenue bond requirements following federally declared disasters.
Sec. 710: Special depreciation allowance for qualified disaster property.
Sec. 711: Increased expensing for qualified disaster assistance property.

Editor's Opinion:
I am sickened by the whole process. Although some of these provisions might be good law, but adding them to this "emergency" bill encourages wasteful spending. The non-related provisions should be able to stand on their own. We deserve better from our elected officials.

October 14, 2008
The 2008 campaign was the most expensive on record. The primary source for this article is Since August, it seems that we were constantly barraged by political ads on TV, radio, newspapers, direct mail and even the web. The cost shown only covers the Presidential and Congressional elections and not state or local races.
Expenditures                         Total $Mil  Per Family                  
Total Federal Campaigns $5,300   $46.54
Barak Obama Campaign    $  580   $ 5.09
John McCain Campaign    $  296   $ 2.60

The much of the money for campaigns comes from businesses and business groups that hope to influence government policy. The web site includes a listing of the top 100 donors. While some companies split their contributions relatively evenly, others show a definite preference for one party or the other. The following is a listing of the top business related groups that are listed as "Strongly" or "Solidly" supporting one party.

Organization                                  Party   $Mil 
Goldman Sachs              Dem  $4.961
Electricians Union         Dem  $2.712
Operating Engineers Union  Dem  $2.605
Lehman Brothers            Dem  $2.352
Air Line Pilots Assn       Dem  $2.313
American Assn for Justice
(Trial Lawyer Association) Dem  $2.288
Comcast Corp               Dem  $2.258
Microsoft Corp             Dem  $2.223
Intl Assn of Fire Fighters Dem  $2.186
Time Warner                Dem  $2.139
Elliot Management
(Credit card processor)    Rep  $2.116
Service Employees Union    Dem  $1.993
Machinists Union           Dem  $1.964
Laborers Union             Dem  $1.948
Air Traffic Controllers    Dem  $1.935
Sheetmetal Workers Union   Dem  $1.919
National Amusements
(Movie Theaters)           Dem  $1.870
Plumbers Union             Dem  $1.852
DLA Piper (Law Firm)       Dem  $1.826
American Fed of Teachers   Dem  $1.725
State/Cnty Employee Union  Dem  $1.721
Food Workers Union         Dem  $1.676
Communication Worker Union Dem  $1.640
Carpenters Union           Dem  $1.550
Patton Boggs (Law Firm)    Dem  $1.517
Skadden, Arps (Law Firm)   Dem  $1.481
Ironworkers Union          Dem  $1.460
Teamsters Union            Dem  $1.445
Koch Industries (Oil)      Rep  $1.320
Associated Builders        Rep  $1.292
United Auto Workers Union  Dem  $1.280
Rothstein, Rosenfeldt(Law) Rep  $1.271
Letter Carrier Union       Dem  $1.245
National Education Assn    Dem  $1.235
Deutsche Bank AG           Dem  $1.222
Kirkland & Ellis (Law)     Dem  $1.219
Google                     Dem  $1.205
Latham & Watkins (Law)     Dem  $1.204
Sidley Austin LLP (Law)    Dem  $1.203
Kohlberg, Kravis
(Corporate buyouts)        Rep  $1.116
Hogan & Hartson (Law Firm) Dem  $1.105
PMA Group (Insurance)      Dem  $1.098

Editor's Analysis:
It is very interesting that the vast majority of the heavily partisan special interest business groups are aligned with the Democratic party. If the Republican party is supposably the party of big business, big business does not support them. Even "Big Oil" is absent. Koch Industries was the only oil related company to make the list.

November 13, 2008
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