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John Murray
Bedico, Louisiana
John is a CPA with over 15 years of experience.
Interests: john's passion is delivering a high level of service to each of his clients. he also enjoys fly fishing, kayaking and yoga.
Recent Activity
"History shows again and again how nature points out the folly of man. Godzilla!" So, I was thinking about how to comment on all the recent outcry about climate change (or global warming) brought on by the recent onset of Hurricane Sandy. Then Godzilla by Blue Oyster Cult came on my Pandora and completely brought the whole thing into perspective. Perfect! That's really what the concept of climate change boils down to - complete and absolute folly. To think that humans can warm God's creation of Earth is just plain folly. To think that it can be done by CO2... Continue reading
So I am a bit of a political junkie and actually watch the Sunday morning news shows on occasion. I was a little blurry eyed and not really paying attention which I heard something that alarmed me to the core. George Stephanopoulas was asking Debbie Wasserman Schultz (a Congressman who also runs the Democratic campaign reelection committee) what she thought about Mitt Romney's call for the Federal Reserve not to make any changes into policy until the presidential election. This was her completely nonsensical reply. "The Federal Reserve is an independent financial institution. Its important that we and the Whitehouse... Continue reading
176 days, 4,224 hours, 253,440 minutes. No it's not the countdown to the end of time per the Mayan calender. However, it is a less sinister but altogether real cataclysm. January 1,2013, will be the onset of the expiration of many tax cuts and the enactment date for others. Some of the effects will begin to be felt in your first paycheck of 2013. The pain from the others will only be felt some 16 months later when after filing your tax return, you discover that instead of a small refund you actually owe thousands more to the IRS. Here... Continue reading
I've been thinking a lot lately about President Obama's income equality initiatives. The premise is that certain high wealth individuals are paying lower effective tax rates than those of the middle class. For example, Mitt Romney pays an effective tax rate of 13.9% while billionaire investor Warren Buffet pays 11.03% For comparison purposes, your humble middle-class author's effective tax rate is 22.5% (I include FICA taxes). I have to agree with the President, it does not seem "fair". I must admit that there is some excitement building; surely, the President's solution is to lower my and my middle-class brethern effective... Continue reading
So I received an email yesterday saying that Ron Paul would be speaking at Southeastern LA University. I just got back from attending and am adequately enthused. Of course, given the reality of the times, Ron Paul has very little chance of being elected president. It seems that we are destined to have the choice between a big government-liberal Republican versus a big government-liberal Democrat, but the Ron Paul candidacy has always been more of a movement than anything else. Having followed him for sometime, I was surprised to hear his focus on the middle class. His presumption is that... Continue reading
Rabbits have been much on my mind lately. Recently, I planted my small garden area with spinach, mustard greens, kale, etc. While I am already anticipating the succulent salads and slow cooked greens that I will reap in a few weeks, I am haunted by little furry animals. Yes, these conniving maruaders attack my garden almost every night and I wake every morning with damaged plants and rabbit droppings (come to think of it; they look like gray Trix). Of course, I know what you are thinking "John, why don't you get a dog." Well, the sad fact is that... Continue reading
One thing I notice is that I find myself uttering this phrase more often as I get older. In fact, I don’t ever remember saying it in my 20’s. Recently it’s taken on some rather negative connotations. Something blows up at work – "well, you know it is what it is". You have some issues you’re dealing with in your personal life – "hey, it is what it is. Yesterday, my pastor’s sermon gave me a new spin on "It is what it is". He has been preaching a series entitled Answering God’s Call where each Sunday he preaches on... Continue reading
I realize now that it was wrong to criticise Obama's jobs plan without offering some ideas of my own. I hope this post corrects that error. Our economy has some major systematic problems that will not be corrected by short-term stimulus. For the last 2 decades, we have been riding a debt bubble (government, individual and commercial) and that will not work itself out painlessly or quickly. Energy - Peak oil is in our near future and will profoundly change our systems. No longer will we be able to have our goods shipped across the planet. While solar, wind and... Continue reading
As I am now off of my media diet, I have been taking a look at the new Obama jobs proposal or Stimulus #14, if you prefer. By the way, I strongly recommend that you take a media diet from time to time. It has a detox effect and you will find that you really don't miss anything. In some ways it's like The Bold and The Beautiful, no matter when you check in, one of the Foresters is sleeping with Brook and most everybody else on the show is very angry about it. Now that ARRA and QE2's effect... Continue reading
I would just like to warn you at the start of this blogpost that you probably will not learn anything from me today. Okay, so S&P downgrades US treasuries last Friday afternoon. I'm still not quite sure what message S&P was trying to send. If it was that the U.S. could never retire its national debt, well their right. I told you so at http://johnmurraycpa.typepad.com/blog/2010/06/index.html If it was that the U.S. is likely to pay its obligations back with an ever decreasing value of the dollar, well their right on that score as well. So I wait with some excitement... Continue reading
Local bluesman Kipori Woods has a song that goes like this "Like Crabs in a Bucket; Just can't get to the top. I don't recall the rest of the lyrics and could not find them on the internet. To me, It reminds me of the Matrix, particularly, "You are a slave, Neo" All of this got me thinking, how much freedom have we lost? I know as Americans that we have much more freedom than many in repressed societies such as some countries in the Middle East, China and North Korea and thank God for that. However, if we draw... Continue reading
What is holding back in life? I would bet it is not a lack of knowledge but a lack of action on your part to make meaningful change. One of my favorite movies is Dune (the original one with Patrick Stewart) After an assassination attempt on Paul fails, Duke Atriedes is incensed and says to his advisers "You all know what to do! Do it! To this Patrick Stewart replies " As a wild ass in the desert go I to my labor". And it should really be that easy, you know the proper course, just do it. One of... Continue reading
Bonds of state and local governments used to be a slam dunk. You park your investment and receive a regular semiannual interest payment. Of course, the big advantage is that the interest was tax exempt from federal taxes and from state if you held the bond in the same state of your residence. In fact, I've heard that many baby boomers have fled equities for the perceived safety of all sorts of bonds. The only problem is that the economic downturn has hit state and local governments quite hard. For instance, the City of Vallejo, CA filed for bankruptcy protection... Continue reading
An understatement - the internet was and is an amazing development. Thank you, Al Gore, I don't think I ever expressed my gratitude. Recently, I've been typing in various topics into Wikipedia and delighting in learning various tidbits of knowledge. Recently, I typed in my hometown (Lake Providence, LA) Wikipedia lists famous people from a town. I was amazed to find that 2 billionaires were born and raised for a time from Lake Providence. Two brothers - Sam and Charles Wyly. As it turns out Sam had written an autobiography. While, I initially put it on the backburner, I read... Continue reading
The recent incident at LSU brought back memories of my childhood, when your author himself burned the American flag. During the summer my friend Phillip and I were consigned to roaming the campus of St. Patricks while our mothers worked in their classrooms. It was boring but fun. We had the gym to ourself (i would say average temp was 92). Mrs. Marron, the principal, had just opened a package with a brand new flag in it. She told Phillip and I that as loyal Cub Scouts we were charged with properly disposing of the old flag. We consulted our... Continue reading
The goal would have nothing to do with CO2. The goal would be fairness, energy independence and jobs. A formula would be used to calculate each state's energy contribution (deficit). My home state of Louisiana which has a 16 refineries and massive offshore drilling would get a reduction in its gas tax. California and Florida who are so ecologically concerned would pay additional taxes. The taxes would only be reduced by them drilling an oil well, constructing a nuclear plant, etc. Look at California. They were going to build a solar array in the desert but it would harm a... Continue reading
Although I am a fiscal conservative, one thing I really respect is consistency. The last few days have been quite illuminating. One can find very few pols who are not hypocites. I'll give you three - Dennis Kucinich, Ron Paul, and Joe Sestak. They're against the war in Libya. That's about it. Limbaugh and Hannidy are big hypocrites. These champions of the constitution have critized Obama for not consulting with Congress before military action. Is this ass-backwards or what? Congress' role is to declare war, not talk about it with the President after its already been going on for 24... Continue reading
I don't know about you, but its hard to stay upbeat about our present situation. Only 4 months ago, the Republicans took back the house putting an end to our country's fiscal slide to oblivion - Not! The Republicans have cut the budget by an extraordinary 61 billion. That's 3% of the deficit - not the budget. Its about like a family with both parents unemployed canceling HBO but keeping Showtime. Then, you have the Dem's talking about the cuts being draconian. Obama has pledged to keep the budget at the same level as last year (oh wait, when was... Continue reading
2011 Partially Informed Economic Forecast Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been devouring content from all of the economic prognosticators. With the exception of Gerald Celente, most forecasts were quite positive. It seems all the leading indicators are pointing to continued economic growth in the short term. However, most included possible "black swan" events that could throw a wrench in things. My listing of possible black swans is as follows: Price of Oil. Oil closed at 91.22 Friday. Every indication is that oil will soon exceed $100 a barrel. While everybody blames sub-prime housing for the recession, the effect... Continue reading
Well, it happened again. I broke my news fast and watched about 20 minutes of MSNBC and caught Chris Matthews discussing the tax cut. Chris was flabbergasted ( as he often is) that the President and Congress were going to give billionaires such as Buffet and Gates this huge tax cut and hell, they don’t even want it. "In fact, they think they are not paying enough in taxes" Of course this is maddening. Bill, George, and Warren don’t pay the same effective tax rate that most middle to upper middle class citizens pays. Their effective tax rate is much... Continue reading
I’m sure you’ve seen the slick ING advertisements. A bunch of 50 somethings are walking around with numbers on top of their heads. The numbers are somewhere between 1 and 5 million dollars. On one, a guy says he doesn’t know what his number is; he just throws money at it. I don’t know about you, but I’ve come to doubt the whole retirement savings scheme. You put 15% of your income in an IRA or 401K for the rest of your productive life, and voila, you retire a millionaire. Dave Ramsey and other financial advisors tell us that the... Continue reading
Its one of my favorite movies – Carlito’s Way. In one scene, Al Pacino empties his gun while in the middle of a fire fight in a bar. He escapes to the bathroom and verbally intimidates his attackers into running away. He then yells "Here Comes the Pain" and then opens the door to find everyone gone. Anyway, there is a whole lot of pain on the way. On December 31, 2010, the Bush tax cuts will expire. So what will be the effect of their expiration? The first impact would be twofold – highest marginal tax rates will increase... Continue reading
Today, it’s common to here politicians extol the virtues of paying off the national debt. While I think everyone understands that it’s a political impossibility that our cowardly pols would ever make any meaningful progress in paying down the debt, it is also a theoretical impossibility that the U.S. could pay off the national debt. Why is that do you think? There is not enough cash. If you took all the cash held by U.S. citizens, U.S. Companies, and federal, state, and local governments, you would still fall quite short of the national debt. The Fed defines money into 3... Continue reading
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Mar 15, 2010
I was watching several news reports regarding children orphaned by the Haiti earthquake, and it got me thinking about whether you could take the adoption credit if you adopted a child. The federal adoption credit can be taken for qualifying expenses paid to adopt an eligible child. An eligible child must be under 18 years of age or be physically or mentally incapable of caring for himself. Qualifying expenses include adoption fees, court costs, traveling expenses (including meals and lodging while away from home) and other expenses directly related to and for which the principal purpose of is the legal... Continue reading