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Thursday, December 13, 2012

3 Ways the Fiscal Cliff May Impact Taxes

3 Ways Fiscal Cliff May Impact Taxes

USAA magazine Dec. 2012

As 2012 draws to a close, Americans watch and wait as a major showdown unfolds in the nation's capital. The stakes are high: If the federal government can't hammer out an agreement by year's end, expiring provisions of the tax code threaten to raise taxes on millions of families at every income level.

To help you anticipate the possible outcome of the "fiscal cliff" -- and how the markets may respond -- USAA experts offer their perspectives on how this legislative negotiation could affect the nation's tax code. While failure to reach agreement by Jan. 1 also will trigger automatic spending cuts, our experts here discuss how Washington's actions could impact your taxes.

Three Potential Outcomes

Dan Brouillette, senior vice president of government and industry relations at USAA, sees three ways the debate could play out during the coming weeks.

1. Most likely: A bridge of compromise

While there's a growing appetite for tax reform, Brouillette believes there simply isn't time for legislators to hammer out a major new agreement before Dec. 31. Democrats and Republicans may agree in principle to forge a wider deal later in 2013 and take the first steps toward it by:

  • Maintaining current income tax rates for all taxpayers, regardless of how much they earn.
  • Collecting more taxes from people at the higher end of the income scale by limiting their deductions and increasing the taxes they pay on investment gains and dividends.
  • Extending many other expiring tax provisions, including those that protect millions of taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax.

"Politically, this allows both parties to claim victory. Democrats will have raised revenue from top earners, while Republicans will have avoided increases in income tax rates," Brouillette says.

This is what investors also are expecting. "At this point, the markets are clearly pricing a compromise that leans toward higher taxes on those at the upper end of the income scale," says Matt Freund, senior vice president of investment portfolio management at USAA. Since it's already reflected in current stock and bond prices, Freund says, this potential outcome isn't likely to prompt a big swing in the markets.

2. Less likely: Full expiration -- but only temporarily

If both parties remain deadlocked on New Year's Eve, Americans will wake the next day to find themselves subject to higher income, investment, payroll and estate taxes.

"If this happens, I'd expect stock and corporate bond prices to fall, as investors anticipate the impact of an additional $500 billion of money being diverted from the economy and into Washington," Freund says. "On the other hand, Treasury bond prices might climb, since the additional federal revenue would put a big dent in the country's trillion-dollar deficits and raise confidence that Uncle Sam will keep making interest payments."

If the tax provisions expire, it probably won't be long until many of them return, Brouillette says. He anticipates Congress would take quick action to turn back the clock and restore 2012 tax rates, except for Americans at the highest income levels.

3. Least likely: The punt

Congress may once again choose to forgo making big tax decisions and simply pass an extension of the existing tax structure that lasts six months or even a year or two. Brouillette and Freund agree that while this outcome may be the least likely, it could be the most harmful to the nation's economy.

"An extension of the status quo might spark a rally in stocks and corporate bonds," Freund says, "but a failure to address the nation's growing $16 trillion-dollar debt could be bad for Treasury bonds in the short run and bad for our economy's fundamentals over the longer haul."


Officers and chapter leaders:

I feel this description and explanation is straight forward. If this is helpful to you, please pass it on to your members.

Thank you.

Respectfully,

Steve Brannon, D.Div.
State Director
DBSA Tennessee

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

DBSA Jackson - I recently contributed to an article: Holiday depression The Jackson Sun jacksonsun.com, Steve

Below is the link to the Jackson Sun news article.
 
 
 
 

Action required: 54 hospitals will close in Tenness without Medicaid expansion

Larry Drain, Legislative Liaision for DBSA Tennessee, provides us the results of his research into the need to expand TennCare.

Thank you, Larry

54 Hospitals will close in Tennessee without Medicaid (TennCare) expansion

by hopeworkscommunity

The following is from the Tennessee Justice Center:

Medicaid Reform is a Lifeline for Tennessee's Hospitals

The Supreme Court ruled in June that the new health reform law permits, rather than requires, states

to reform their Medicaid programs to cover people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal

poverty line. Now, Tennessee must choose whether to expand Medicaid.

If Tennessee does not

expand Medicaid, it could cause many hospitals to close.

That's because some hospitals now

receive disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments for providing care to people without

insurance. When the health law was passed, hospitals agreed to accept cuts in DSH, as well as other

Medicare and Medicaid payment reductions. In a world where almost everybody had insurance, as

envisioned by the law, hospitals could afford to take those cuts. Without the expansion, hospitals

will still be stuck providing care to lots of uninsured patients, but they will have to do it on tighter

budgets. Many hospitals, especially in rural areas, will not be able to survive if Tennessee does not

expand its Medicaid program.

There are 121 general medical and surgical hospitals in Tennessee. Of these,

54 are at risk of

closing

because they have, on average, lost money over the past three years or have only had

positive revenues due to DSH payments. These at-risk hospitals directly employ over 21,000

Tennesseans, and indirectly sustain tens of thousands more jobs. If these hospitals close because the

State does not expand its Medicaid program, it would leave

30 Tennessee counties without a

hospital

and would have a devastating effect on Tennessee's economy.1 Below is a list of the

hospitals at risk of closing if Tennessee does not expand its Medicaid program.

County Hospital Employees

Anderson* Methodist Medical Center of Oak Ridge 925

Bedford* Heritage Medical Center 234

Bledsoe* Erlanger Bledsoe 71

Bradley* Skyridge Medical Center 766

Bradley* Skyridge Medical Center - West 71

Campbell Jellico Community Hospital 225

Carroll* Baptist Memorial - Huntingdon 157

Carroll* McKenzie Regional Hospital 121

Cheatham Centennial Medical Center at Ashland City 48

Claiborne* Claiborne County Hospital 329

Clay* Cumberland River Hospital 213

Cocke* Baptist Hospital 203

Cumberland* Cumberland Medical Center 892

Davidson Metro Nashville General Hospital 649

Davidson Skyline Medical Center Madison Campus 203

Davidson Southern Hills Medical Center 352

Dickson* Horizon Medical Center 413

Fayette* Methodist Healthcare - Fayette 74

Fentress* Jamestown Regional 145

Gibson Gibson General Hospital 69

Gibson Humboldt General 81

Giles* Hillside Hospital 219

Greene* Laughlin Memorial Hospital 590

*Counties that would be left without a hospital if the identified hospital(s) close.

1

Annual financial and employment data on Tennessee hospitals is derived from the Tennessee Joint Annual Reports on

Hospitals,

available at http://health.state.tn.us/PublicJARS/Default.aspx

.

Greene* Takoma Regional 427

Hamblen* Lakeway Regional Hospital 239

Hamblen* Morristown Hamblen Healthcare 647

Hamilton Erlanger East 180

Hamilton Erlanger Medical Center 3280

Hamilton Erlanger North 73

Hancock* Wellmont Hancock County 37

Haywood* Haywood Park Community Hospital 92

Henderson* Henderson County Community Hospital 103

Henry* Henry County Medical Center 515

Hickman* Hickman Community Hospital 110

Humphreys* Three Rivers Hospital 75

Johnson* Johnson County Community Hospital 61

Knox Mercy Medical Center West 345

Loudon* Ft. Loudon Medical Center 194

Macon* Macon County General Hospital 119

Marion* Grandview Medical Center 237

Marshall* Marshall Medical Center 127

McMinn Woods Memorial 289

Roane* Roane Medical Center 298

Sevier* LeConte Medical Center 432

Shelby Baptist Memorial - Collierville 323

Shelby Delta Medical Center 448

Shelby Methodist Hospital - North 1065

Shelby Methodist Hospital - South 728

Shelby Methodist University Healthcare 2332

Smith* Riverview Regional –North 144

Smith* Riverview Regional –South 25

Sumner Sumner Regional Medical Center 711

Unicoi* Unicoi County Memorial Hospital 166

Washington Franklin Woods Community Hospital 388

Friday, December 7, 2012

An excellent poem by William Robertson

A Letter between two travellers (a letter from someone who suffers with depression to one with bi-polar illness.)

From this short and shallow valley ,I write
wondering where you are on this starry night.
On the mountian high,as if to fly?
or in the valley low, is what I need to know.

If I walk on that level plain,
and see you about to take flight again,
I would grab your heels, running as fast as I can,
and if I couldn't hold on, I'd fall in the sand.

And from there I would watch you soar to the sun,
but I know for you what's next is no fun,
into the depths of the valley you will fall,
where there seems to be no help at all.

But in this place I also have been,
and been in parts that can't be seen,
and in those I will look around,
in hope that there you will be found.

For when you soar and burn your wing,
and feel the way the rocks of the valley sting,
when the dwellers of the plain look down,
you know I'll be around.

But if I'm trapped in this crevice you can't see,
please come down and rescue me,
I would do the same for you,
and I know you'd do it to.

For one day we'll walk on another plain,
on a clean clear path, free of pain.
I hope to greet you there,
because I know you care.

A Letter between two travellers (a letter from someone who suffers with depression to one with bi-polar illness.)

From this short and shallow valley ,I write
wondering where you are on this starry night.
On the mountian high,as if to fly?
or in the valley low, is what I need to know.

If I walk on that level plain,
and see you about to take flight again,
I would grab your heels, running as fast as I can,
and if I couldn't hold on, I'd fall in the sand.

And from there I would watch you soar to the sun,
but I know for you what's next is no fun,
into the depths of the valley you will fall,
where there seems to be no help at all.

But in this place I also have been,
and been in parts that can't be seen,
and in those I will look around,
in hope that there you will be found.

For when you soar and burn your wing,
and feel the way the rocks of the valley sting,
when the dwellers of the plain look down,
you know I'll be around.

But if I'm trapped in this crevice you can't see,
please come down and rescue me,
I would do the same for you,
and I know you'd do it to.

For one day we'll walk on another plain,
on a clean clear path, free of pain.
I hope to greet you there,
because I know you care.