Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Ready, Willing, and ABLE

"State launching tax-free savings plan for disabled residents" by Beth Healy Globe Staff  May 10, 2017

Disabled Massachusetts residents are about to get their own version of a college savings plan: a tax-free account that lets families set aside up to $14,000 a year for an array of expenses ranging from health care to education, without losing federal disability benefits.

It’s a national program some eight years in the works, and the culmination of a tireless effort by families to make their case to Congress. Advocates say the so-called ABLE account will not only help parents save money for children, but also will eliminate a kind of enforced poverty for millions of disabled people.

“The typical person is encouraged to save for their future,’’ said Maureen Gallagher, executive director of the nonprofit Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress in Burlington. But until now, “there was no real savings mechanism for the average family to be able to do that for a disabled family member.”

The Achieving a Better Life Experience act, signed in 2014 by former president Barack Obama, paved the way for the new accounts. Governor Charlie Baker is scheduled to announce the Massachusetts version of the plan Wednesday, as it joins 20 other states that have launched ABLE programs over the past year.

To qualify, participants must have become disabled before age 26, and meet the federal definition of severe physical or mental disability. A key advantage of the new accounts is they allow disabled people to accumulate up to $100,000 without jeopardizing Medicaid coverage or other government-funded services. In the past, a disabled person could have no more than $2,000 in assets to qualify for federal benefits.

In Massachusetts, Fidelity Investments will manage the money....

I $uppo$e at this point if you can't tru$t Fidelity, you can't tru$t any of them.


"Fiscal discipline? Not now, as GOP pushes tax cuts" by Stephen Ohlemacher Associated Press  May 09, 2017

WASHINGTON — The tax cutters are gaining momentum, even though neither Trump nor Republican leaders in Congress are willing to tackle the government’s long-term drivers of debt — Social Security and Medicare.

(Bog editor sighs)

‘‘If you want to have real tax reform and a robust economy, you have to both reduce taxes and reduce spending,’’ said Representative Raul Labrador, Republican of Idaho. ‘‘Now, if we’re not going to reduce spending, I still want to give families their tax cut.’’

The push to cut taxes has picked up an important ally in Senator Orrin Hatch, Republican of Utah, who chairs the powerful Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over taxes.

‘‘Frankly, I think if we can get a tax reform bill that would stimulate the economy, I don’t think it has to be revenue neutral,’’ Hatch said Tuesday.

That’s a big difference from the way Hatch talked about deficits under Obama.

‘‘Continued deficits and accumulated debt are a genuine threat to individual liberty, continued prosperity, and national security,’’ Hatch said in 2011 after Obama released a budget proposal.

The national debt grew from about $10.6 trillion when Obama took office to nearly $20 trillion when he left. Some of the debt came from new spending in the aftermath of the financial crisis. But much of it was from tax cuts approved under President George W. Bush, two wars waged by Bush in Iraq and Afghanistan, and mandatory spending programs initiated decades ago.

Obama DOUBLED the national debt?

Under Obama, the annual budget deficit shrunk to $621 billion last year. That’s lower than the budget deficit in Bush’s last year in office.

Like everything he did, too little, too late.

House Republican leaders have been working for years on ways to overhaul the tax code without adding to the budget deficit. Their goal is to make the tax code simpler, fairer, and more efficient in an effort to spur economic growth.

Their plan is to lower overall tax rates and offset the lost revenue by reducing the number of exemptions, deductions, and credits. In Washington, it’s called revenue neutral, meaning the new tax code would generate about the same amount of revenue as the old one....

They will just be taking more from you and giving it to the wealthy.


NDUSaving for retirement just got a lot harder, thanks to Trump