Today [Alan Greenspan stated](http://www.reuters.com/article/newsOne/idUSTRE49M58W20081023), "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity (myself especially) are in a state of shocked disbelief." He's shocked? That's surprising. He, himself, wrote about the result of government intervention in the economy, in [Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal](http://www.amazon.com/Capitalism-Ideal-Ayn-Rand/dp/0451147952/mclazarus-20/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1224778300&sr=8-1). Maybe he should pick up a copy and try and understand his role in the destruction.
man am I glad I bought some Apple stock earlier this year. Google too. Sorry nothing useful, just bragging I guess :)
For years I have joked, that if only I could have the money that was collected on my behalf for Social Security and Medicare, I would be wealthy. Today I happened across [IRS form 4029](http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4029.pdf). Which states:
Form 4029 is used by members of recognized religious groups to apply for exemption from social security and Medicare taxes.
Well that is very interesting. Although there are a few requirements, if you ever received payment you are not eligible to abstain. You have to be a member of a *recognized* religion that holds certain beliefs and conforms to some criteria:
> * It is conscientiously opposed to accepting benefits of any private or public insurance that makes payments in the event of death, disability, old age, or retirement; makes payments for the cost of medical care; or provides services for medical care (including social security and Medicare benefits). > * It has provided a reasonable level of living for its dependent members. > * It has existed continuously since December 31, 1950.
The bad news is twofold, all that money you have already paid in, is forfeit. And you kind of get the shaft with your salary, as it is your employer matches all your contributions to Social Security/Medicare, there is nothing that says they have to pay you that money now, but maybe that is a fine tradeoff for you, if you can stop shunting 7.65% of your salary off to some giant account that you may never hear from again.
Also I have no idea what particular religion or religions are referenced by those requirements. And I also don't know what happens if the Feds find out that you have life insurance, yet have filed this claim. Probably nothing unless someone files form 765890-A to preclude your right to file form 4029. ;)
I can't see myself doing this, mainly because it seems a little screwy to join a religion just to get an extra 7.65% - (income tax) out of your pay check. Especially if this religion believes in ritual sacrifice.
There is nothing that makes me feel worse than unexpected bills. And I am not talking about jerks named William, or the Buffalo variety. I got jackasses crawling out of the woodwork to charge me for crap that happened many months ago. The IRS is trying to wing me for a nice chunk of change they claim that I didn't claim correctly. And now apparently Aetna wanted to pay half for home phototherapy to treat Allison's jaundice. Seriously that had to be quite cheaper than her being at the hospital for 3 days to get the same treatment. Would they have half-assed me on that too? And since all of this happened in December, and Aetna decided not to pay in January, how come I don't hear about it until September. Good Grief.
So I have been selling a bunch of my old books and some other stuff lately, all proceeds go to pay for me going to Mexico with my family next June to attend my Brother-in-law's wedding. But I figure I have a few people who read my stuff this, so I might as well see if anyone is interested. If you want to buy it through ebay or amazon go right ahead, **but** if you want to just buy it from me directly I'm hapy to offer a discount. If you want to pay via PayPal, you can take 10% off the price listed, just make sure to tell me first, so I can de-list it from th other site. If you want to pay me directly, cash or whatever (as long as I know you), take a full 15% off, since I don't have to pay the commission. And of course I'll charge you exact cost for the shipping instead of the flat rate, or you can pick it up. If you want to buy my books check it out:
* [half.com listings](http://shops.half.ebay.com/mclazarus) * [amazon listings](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&camp=1789&tag=logicaldiscon-20&creative=9325&path=http://s1.amazon.com/exec/varzea/ts/customer-open-marketplace-items/A2GU5ICV6B4SJ1/ref=fb_comi_spgl)
Generally pretty slim pickings. But maybe there is something that tickles your fancy. Let me know.
If you can't resist the urge to buy shiny new O'Reilly books every time you are within 1 mile of a Barnes & Noble or a Borders, and you are often restraining yourself from purchasing a bunch of new books on [amazon](http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect?link_code=ur2&camp=1789&tag=logicaldiscon-20&creative=9325&path=http://amazon.com/)(then click on the amazon link and buy lots of stuff so I can get referral fees and feed my own demons!) Okay, that's not really the point although I wouldn't mind a few extra bucks toward my Mexico fund. The point is, I have the same problem, I always want to get new books, often the technologies will help me with my work. And the biggest part of the problem is these books are always between 30 and 60 dollars each.
So if you want help resisting this urge to spend money, go to your library and get a library card. There are some good books there, but that is not the only reason. In the [Buck's County Community College Library](http://www.bucks.edu/library/) you have electronic access to the O'Reilly Safari collection. And you don't actually need a card to get in there to use it, just have to drive there. Also if you have a card for any Pennsylvania library you can get to [Access PA Power Library](http://www.powerlibrary.net/) which gives you access to a lot of stuff you would ordinarily have to pay for. Well in this case you are paying for it with tax money, but you aren't using it. Probably the best feature of the Power Library is access to [NetLibrary](http://www.netlibrary.com/) which is chock full of stuff, including some technical books (A search for books with the word "programming" in the title published between 2000-2005 resulted in 49 books.) The downside is you need to read the books on your screen, but they are PDFs so I can read on my Linux desktop.
I can only speak for PA but I am sure that many other states have similar deals, and it can't hurt to go to the library and check it out.
That reminds me of the $5000 challenge. Some dude is trying to turn an initial investment of $20 into $5000 in 6 months. I am trying to do something similar but my goals are a lot less aggressive, $2500 by May 1, 2006, from nothing I will miss, so I can go to Mexico for my brother-in-law's wedding. ...
And if you didn't notice in my previous post, I am doing my part to help the economy, to go along with the new desk I will need, I just got new rugs in the bedrooms. Living room is on backorder to be installed next week. All this goes along with Michelle's new alternator, battery and Fan belts.
Anyone who wants me to continue to help the economy can feel free to aid in funding this spending spree via PayPal.
Well it seems we are running out of justification for the war (undeclared but allowed by those wusses in congress) against Iraq. Here is a quick recap. 1. Saddam Hussein has weapons of Mass Destruction, he may even have or be currently obtaining nuclear weapons. 2. Saddam Hussein and Iraq have ties to the Al Queda terrorist network. 3. The Iraqi people are oppressed by an evil dictator led regime.
Okay so far we have basically established that 1 and 2 were flat out lies made up by the current administration and George W. Bush. And if there isn't undisputible proof that they are lies, there certainly is no information that proves that they are not lies. At best they are gross overstatements, used to manipulate the polls and the citizens to support an unjustified war.
So the propaganda machine has been pushing the third point for a while now, pounding their chests about how they have liberated the Iraqi people and provided them freedom. However, there was a quite a price to be paid, first there are estimates that there were about 10,000 civilian deaths in Iraq, more than three times the human destruction that occured on September 11th, 2001. (source: Iraq Body Count).
And now it seems while there has been a vaccum established in the power structure, of the Iraqi government, and we all know how nature abhors such things. So it seems the religious groups in Iraq our currently seizing power. The Shia and Sunni among others are clamoring to assume the power and have now filled in the missing opression. So if our real goal was to "free" the people of Iraq, we aren't doing so well. You can listen to the story from NPR's Morning Edition from March 23, 2004, if you want to hear a report regarding the opressive religious forces that are seizing power in Iraq.
I would be much more respectful of the leadership if they would stop lying about everything. The only feasible reason for the war, and the only successful part of the operation is the ensured continued flow of the Oil that is in Iraq.
Those of you who really, really want to vote for George Bush again in November, please take five minutes and research some of his claims, and what great good he is going to provide for our nation. Does a man who is fully controlled by the big energy corporations really serve the greater good?
Gonna Check out Peter Kullberg, today. To see if he can help me find a house to buy. I don't know how anyone can pick a realtor without a personal referral, there are millions of these guys. Hopefully, this guy proves to be worthwhile.
Apparently buying a house is the thing to do nowadays. But man there are some people that are out of their mind with their listings. They have houses that just a couple of years ago were worth maybe $125k. And now they are asking $225+. Obviously the astoundingly low interest rates offset that by increasing my buying power. But it makes it nearly impossible to put 20% down which means I either need to get Personal Mortgage Insurace or arrange a separate deal with my lender to get a second mortgage which just covers the difference between my downpayment and what it would take to get to 20%. Not to mention the effect it has on tax. And the other factor is that a house is an investment. Is there any possible way that the cost of a house will go up from what I purchase it at now? It looks to me like RHAT at $160/share or QCOM at $400/share or whatever their outrages all time highs were. If I settle for something I don't really want but can afford, I may be stuck there for a long time unless I want to sell at a loss. (I wonder if there are any tax breaks for people who lose on property investments? And are they limited to some value like $2K a year such as securities investments on the Schedule D). Just more research I need to do.
Well I think the primary key here is patience. Houses are flying on and off the market, I just need to find the right one and negotiate the right deal. If anyone wants to give me 30 or 40 thousand dollars let me know.
BTW, if anyone out there wants to hire a teacher who is excellent yet underpaid and under appretiated by the rotten Philadelphia School district. Let me know.
A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I was quite active in research of the financial sector. I did well in the market, a buy of Dell Computer corporation in 1996 proved to be quite lucrative. But that has since been liquidated, the money spent, I have closed my E*Trade account and actually did a smart thing in working on getting bad debt under control.
Well it is now 3 years since I went on a rampage destroying credit card debt and closing out my brokerage account, and I am in a position to begin research for investments again, among other things that I recently started thinking of, such as life insurance and home ownership. So I turned to an old friend from those days of yore, The Motley Fool. A great site full of wonderful advice and research tips, and places to get started on your research. But to my partial dismay, to make use of their discussion boards, they now are imposing a fee. Of course I understand that the Gardner's would like to make money also, and I know all too well that running a web based service can be a costly endeavor. But I also am a big fan of only paying for things which I deem particularly desirable, probably quite a "Foolish" attitude. So of course I will do some research, and take advantage of their 30 day free trial, but I also wonder if anyone actually reads this and is willing to respond
So I ask anyone who reads this entry, do you make use of this service? Is it worthwhile? (it is generally inexpensive $75 for a 3 year subscription) Did all the great information that used to occur become less frequent when the Gardner's started charging money? Are there any competing services that have built the requisite community and knowledge base for less (read zero) dollars? I guess while I am at it, are there any other great things I should be tapping for research, "The Investor's Business Daily?" (Kind of pricey) or again to The Fool, the monthly, "The Motley Fool Stock Advisor?"
I plan to keep Logical Disconnect updated with my research and maybe even publish a portion of my portfolio so all my friends can marvel at my financial genius.