I love paying federal taxes

Am I insane? Perhaps, but my insanity doesn't stem from an appreciation of our convoluted tax laws. No, those convoluted tax laws enabled me to have an effective tax rate of just 1.36% for 2006. In fact my taxes (both dollars paid as well as the tax rate itself) were higher 15 years ago than they were last year.

Under our watch, our federal government has racked up a national debt of $9,190,316,700,166.26 as of this morning, which equates to a debt of $30,305 for every man, woman, and child in America. Our representatives are not balancing our federal budget, and federal spending continues to rise. So paying this low of a tax rate scares me, and I'm not alone.

Last year Warren Buffett made news when he suggested that, "The taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last 10 years. It's dramatic and I don't think it's appreciated, and I think it should be addressed." To make his point, he surveyed employees in his office to compare tax rates. Warren found that his total taxes paid (FICA + federal income tax) came to 17.7% vs. an office average of 32.9%, and he paid the lowest tax rate.

For those who think I'm a bleeding heart liberal, here are my politics: I'm for limited government, an equitable tax structure, diplomacy over bombs, and paying off the debt along with balancing the budget. My concerns regarding taxes/tax rates are that they are not equitable and not enough tax income (to the government) is being generated to pay down the national debt.


Life resolutions starting now

No New Year's resolutions for me. I'm not interested in being part of the majority who commits to a new way of life, only to fail. If I'm going to commit to change, I want it to stick. So below are several commitments I've made to myself that my friends and family are welcome to hold me accountable to. And perhaps it's just a symantics game, but I'm not calling these New Year's resolutions, they're life resolutions.

- Pare down. If 2007 was the year to de-clutter, it was just a start. I'm committed to eliminating physical clutter and unnecessary material items which only lead to mental clutter.

- Make running a habit. Since Thanksgiving I've added an extra 15 pounds, and that needs to go permanently.

- Travel more for leisure.

- Reduce my exposure to media/news, more mental clutter.

- Invest more in my community. I need to practice what I preach to my girls.

- Manage my ADHD rather than having it manage me. Two years ago I switched from Adderall to Dexedrine, and while effective, Dexedrine just isn't working as well as Adderall XR did.

- Simplify my investments. For me this means moving cash investments from individual stocks to index funds. This will help avoid mistakes like NovaStar, down 97% over the last 2 years, despite its hefty dividend (recently discontinued). I'd rather have base hits than strike out swinging for the home runs.