Congress


2010 Homebuyer Tax Credits

It wasn’t really surprising to hear that home sales declined nationally in December 2009 as the First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit were set to expire and right on cue, Congress extended them to people who have signed a contract by April 30, 2010 on a new home (and closed by June 30, 2010).

I know we are looking to purchase a home relatively soon and hopefully everything should get wrapped up quickly so I don’t think this deadline will be an issue for us. For those of the homeowners who may have already owned a place in the past three years, there is also a rebate for them but it is a little less than the $8,000 rebate for first time buyers.

The official name of the tax credit is “The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009” which has been extended into this year has established a tax credit of up to $6,500 for qualified move-up/repeat home buyers (existing home owners) purchasing a principal residence after November 6, 2009 and on or before April 30, 2010 (or purchased by June 30, 2010 with a binding sales contract signed by April 30, 2010).

The federal income tax credit for homebuyers has been extended and expanded to now include homeowners who wish to “move on” after 5 years of living in their current property, as well as first-time homebuyers.

  • First-time homebuyers, or those who have not owned in the last three years, can receive up to an $8,000 tax credit
  • Homeowners who have lived in a current home consecutively for 5 of the past 8 years can receive up to a $6,500 tax credit
  • Income limits are now $125,000 for singles, $225,000 for married couples

 

 

For more information, feel free to visit http://bit.ly/5D6mKg and review the 2010 Homebuyer Tax Credit details or check out a whole number of different places that have same information available..


Does the 2010 Census Violate the US Constitution? 1

I got this article this past weekend from my friend Krishna who showed me a piece by John S. Baker and Elliott Stonecipher from the Wall Street Journal whoraised an interesting question regarding the upcoming census which occurs at the turn of every decade in their opinion piece titled “Our Unconstitutional Census“.

A census, for those of you who are unaware, not only counts the number of people in this country but also determines the allotment of House members and in turn Electoral College votes that each state gets for the next 10 years. Although such a survey is not the most accurate, it is probably still the best way to determine in which areas of the country the population has shifted or increased and deserve their appropriate representation.

All of this seems perfectly fine and this is a process that has been done in this country since the 1700’s. So what’s the big commotion this time?

It turns out that the past few census calculations (since the 1970 one) has not asked a person’s legal status in the country. That right there raises serious questions about who should and should not be included. Should a person who might not be paying taxes and definitely not exercising their civil duty in voting deserve to be included in a measure of how the representation of our congressman and women are redistributed?

It has been the Democrats who have held the majority in the Congress at the turn of each decade (except for 1999 when Republicans held both Senate and House of Representatives), and they technically do “ask” for certain things to be included and not included in the short/long forms. Democrats usually known for their softer stance towards the Latino community but that was not a stance changed by the Republicans when they last had a chance 10 years ago.

By 1980 there were two census forms. The shorter form went to every person physically present in the country and was used to establish congressional apportionment. It had no question pertaining to an individual’s citizenship or legal status as a resident. The longer form gathered various kinds of socioeconomic information including citizenship status, but it went only to a sample of U.S. households. That pattern was repeated for the 1990 and 2000 censuses.

According to that segment from the article, a person’s legal status hasn’t been in question for a census since the 1970 one. Wall Street Journal in its Latino-hating bias just casually drops that line and continues going on with its 2010 census hating bash.

Personally, I don’t think a person who is not of legal status should be included in determining the proportioning of the representatives. However, such a statement or belief begs the question that should any person be counted that is a citizen of the country? How do you determine who is a productive member of society? Is it one who has the paper works to show for it? Is it one that might be doing the job at the bottom of the food chain to keep the foundation of the economy rolling?

This issue is more complicated than a simple yes or no but I believe until a better resolution can be made on how to accurately represent the illegal residents in this country, those bordering or harboring a vast number of the aliens do not deserve to be represented whether it is in the bright blue state of California or the burning red of Texas – neither party should benefit from such an act and the correction should be made to go back to the way it was pre-1970 census.


Sports and Politics: Do They Mix?

We have seen Congress intervene on Major League Baseball’s steroid policy and now Barack Obama is talking about using his influence to finally get rid of the hogwash that is the BCS system. The two ideas could not have been met with receptions from different ends on the spectrum.

The intervention by Congress was met by questions of skepticism and outrage that shouldn’t Congress be doing other things like improve the economy and figure out a way to bring our troops back home. Yet when Barack Obama suggested on Monday Night Football right before the election and on 60 Minutes last night that there should be a playoff in College Football, all hell broke loose and everybody thought it was a great idea.

So why the double standard? Don’t get me wrong, I have been a fan of Obama for President since 2004 when he first gave the speech at John Kerry’s convention but just notice the different that a likability factor or personality factor carries with a person or a body of people. Congress generally has low approval ratings and them trying to mess with America’s pasttime was not going to improve any matters. On the other hand, a well liked President-elect recently getting support of nearly 55% of the American electorate weights on a topic (sports) that politicans usually tend to stay away and he has rattled some sticks.

I certainly hope that college puts BS bowl system away and institutes some sort of playoff format to truly decide a national champion. Maybe this is the President who can cause change all across the board from health care to a vast majority of Americans to improved tax situations for the middle class and even a playoff system for the college football fan.

Conventional wisdmon is out the door with Obama in the White House, and your priorities don’t have to be listed in 1-2-3… they can be 1-1-1. Why not be able to tackle more than one issue at a time and be more efficient?

You’re witnessing history folks, and I have a feeling the next 4 to 8 years are going to be stuff that gets highlighted in history books for all to read when we’re gone.


Bailout Thoughts

Well here is a brief look at how some of the markets did overnight after the massive collapse here yesterday.

It probably wouldn’t surprise me if the markets showed a positive gain here today because after the massive drop off yesterday, there are going to be plenty of bargain hunters who tend to day trade of even trade on a short term thinking they can make major gains after stocks across the board took a hit.

It’s going to be interesting to see how this failed bailout deal affects the voters because until this really starts to impact people’s wallet, I don’t think you’ll see enough people start to base their votes solelyon economic issues. Yea, you are starting to see a trend of voters asking for a change now because the incumbent party will take a hit for failed economic policies even if it is not the candidate’s fault but this race is still too close to call and until the prices of every day goods start going through the roof, until there are more layoffs that start to into effect where more and more peoplpe know someone without a job, it probably won’t affect the voters as much as people think it should.

I think for Congress it probably was a good idea not to pass a bill immediately because the last couple of times that bills of this magnitude were passed overnight, it did not yield great results (look at Patriot Act and the war against Iraq).

Also by not passing the bill, they receive mucho kudos from my buddy Krishna who found a reason to support the congressman from his district but in the same view, found a reason not to like Frank Pallone.


Amendment XX, Section III 1

So an interesting question was raised the other day when it was asked what happens if someone is elected President on election day but dies before the inauguration takes place. It seems like the answer lies in the 20th Amendment, Section 3.

Section 3. If, at the time fixed for the beginning of the term of the President, the President elect shall have died, the Vice President elect shall become President. If a President shall not have been chosen before the time fixed for the beginning of his term, or if the President elect shall have failed to qualify, then the Vice President elect shall act as President until a President shall have qualified; and the Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified, declaring who shall then act as President, or the manner in which one who is to act shall be selected, and such person shall act accordingly until a President or Vice President shall have qualified.

So the Vice President would become President but I’m curious about the next part where it says “Congress may by law provide for the case wherein neither a President elect nor a Vice President elect shall have qualified “. What is the definition of qualified? Does that just mean be eligible to become President or is it a subjective matter that the Congress at the time shall determine whether the Vice President is qualified enough?

Also, take a look at Section 4:

Section 4. The Congress may by law provide for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the House of Representatives may choose a President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them, and for the case of the death of any of the persons from whom the Senate may choose a Vice President whenever the right of choice shall have devolved upon them.

Just something to ponder.