ELDERUPUPDATES.COM. NO. 58

  ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 58 January 27, 2015 DEATH with dignity is getting a new push by California lawmakers who propose the End of Life Option Act.  The authors of the act say safeguards have been inserted to prevent abuse by those encouraging the disabled, the elderly and other compromised individuals to end their lives.  (Los Angeles Times, January 22, 2015.) IN STATE of the Union speech President Obama calls for closing some tax “loopholes” and using the savings to provide free community college and a child care tax credit.  (The WEEK, January 30, 2015.) Although President Obama barely touched in immigration, an obvious compromise, unpalatable to everyone, could be to give citizenship to all brought to the U.S. before age 16 and who satisfactorily complete 2 years of college, community service or military service, and deny it to the rest. STUDENTS are being denied entry to schools in Orange County where measles have appeared unless they are vaccinated.  When over 8% of the population is not vaccinated it reduces the “herd immunity”.  More parents are now getting their children vaccinated.  (Los Angeles Times, NBC news.) Fear of autism has prevented many parents from having their children vaccinated.  This fear is based on one study, in which the author later admitted he fabricated the numbers, which showed a connection between autism and vaccines.  As Mark Twain once said “a lie is halfway round the world before the truth gets out of bed” and that is what happened with this study.  Well-meaning parents have put other children, as well as their own, at risk.  (Los Angeles Times, NBC news.) In separate...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 57

ELDERUPDATES.COM, No. 57 January 20, 2015   ONE SWALLOW does not a summer make, but worldwide 2014 was the warmest year since measurements began 135 years ago.  (Los Angeles Times, January 17, 2015.) GOVERNOR BROWN submits $165 billion state budget proposing increases for schools, community colleges, courts and home care workers for the elderly and disabled, but excluding health care for illegal immigrants and doctors participating in the Medi-Cal program.  Not did Brown propose funding the costs of long term health care for public employees.  (Los Angeles Times, January 10, 2015.) PRESIDENT OBAMA’s new tax proposals likely include: * the termination of the “step up in basis” under which values of property owned at death are increased from their purchase value to their date of death value, thus reducing taxes when the property is sold; * an increase in the Earned Income Tax Credit, which encourages the working poor to work instead of relying on government benefits; * increasing the capital gains and dividend tax rates for couples earning more than $500,000 per year; * tripling the Child Care tax deduction to $3,000 per year; and * expenditures to improve infrastructure. Expected to raise $175 billion over 10 years, part of the additional taxes would also be used to fund Obama’s proposed 2-year tuition free Community College plan.  (Los Angeles Times, January 18, 2015, NBC News January 18, 2015.) THE U.S. budget deficit shrank to $483 billion, the lowest level since 2007.  (The WEEK, January 23, 2015.) IRS warns of refund delays due to reduced funding and staffing.  The supposed “silver lining” is there will be less audits (Forbes, cited...

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 56

ELDERUPDATES.COM, NO. 55 January 6, 2015   BEST wishes for a prosperous and healthy 2015 to all blog readers. 2014 roundup by The WEEK finds 28% of voters say their finances improved in 2014, 25% said things were worse.  60% think we are in a state of decline and 54% say the wealth gap is growing.  63% disapprove of President Obama’s handling of the economy; 65% say the outgoing Congress is the worst in their lifetime, and 3% of over 65s have used a cell phone for an intimate photo.  43% are afraid of Ebola hitting their family and 57% worry  they may be killed in a mass shooting.  (The WEEK, December 31, 2014.) Amidst these concerns, the average person with an IRA has a balance less than $25,000. A MINIMAL transaction fee on stock and bond sales could raise $50 billion a year or more, which could be earmarked for higher education, according to columnists Glassman and Scorse, who say 23 other countries already have a financial transactions tax.  (Los Angeles Times, December 30, 2014.) IRS required distributions are now being more closely checked by the IRS.  The penalties are substantial, so check with your adviser to make sure you are taking the proper amount.  (Bob Carlson’s Retirement Watch, received recently but undated.) 6.5 MILLION people signed up for health insurance on the federal websites and an additional 600,000 on the state marketplaces this last enrollment period.  (Nightly Business Report, December 30, 2014.) HIGH EARNERS ($200,000 – single, $250,000 – married filing joint, $125,000 married filing separately), will pay an additional .9% Medicare taxes, which will now range from...