Friday, October 9, 2009

Care to support a great cause and reduce your taxes by MORE than you give?

Free Money (film)Image via Wikipedia

It's really amazing, but there's a far-too-little-known program in Oregon (and especially in Salem, where the need is high) that helps people with few assets build real savings and improve their lives and offers people at the other end of the spectrum a way to deduct more than the value of their contributions from their taxes!

Oregon has a special savings-match-with- financial-education program called Individual Development Accounts, or IDAs. In Marion County, these agencies participate in the program

Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Farmworker Housing Development Corporation
Housing Authority of the City of Salem
Polk Community Development Corporation
Salem-Keizer Community Development Corporation
West Valley Housing Authority

If you're a person in a household with a total income of 80% or less of the local median income and a net worth of less than $20,000 (not including a house and car), then you may qualify to participate in this amazing program that can quadruple savings towards your goals (starting a business, buying a house, getting an education). Contact any of those groups above. This is FREE MONEY for pursuing your goals.

And if you're on the wealthier end of things and, of course, don't qualify for the IDA program as a participant, you can still benefit big, because contributions to The Neighborhood Partnerships program for IDAs offers you a 75% Oregon State tax credit. So if you give $1,000 you get a tax credit on your Oregon return of $750 (a tax credit comes right off your taxes, dollar for dollar). And this is ON TOP OF the federal deduction you can claim if you itemize. So if you're in a higher tax bracket, you can reduce your total taxes by more than the amount of your contribution (subject to limits your tax adviser can explain to you).

See this page for all the details.
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LOVESalem endorsement for Governor in 2010

While reserving the right to endorse others should they prove worthy, it seems doubtful that any other announced or prospective candidates will ever in a million years be able to bring themselves to propose a platform of such clarity, brilliance, and simplicity:

LOVESalem heartily endorses Jerry Wilson for Governor in 2010 and encourages you to consider him carefully:

Here’s what I will do:

  1. Establish an Oregon Infrastructure Bank: Before we can rebuild our infrastructure and re-tool Oregon for serious manufacturing we need a credit resource with capital sufficient for the job. Conventional financing means everything we build will cost more than if we provide our own credit and make it available without usury (excessive interest). We don’t have to play at someone else’s money-changing table. We can set up our own table. It’s easy to charter a state bank. It will be a first order of business to insure full employment, loans being available exclusively for capital projects in Oregon. This bank would be modeled much like the Bank of North Dakota, the nation’s only state owned bank.
  2. I will pardon all Oregonians ever convicted of a “victimless” crime and strike the laws forbidding the manufacture and sale of hemp, our state’s most valuable agricultural product. It’s a practical business decision. If you knew prohibition was to soon end wouldn’t you run out and get yourself a Budweiser distributorship? Hemp is the most versatile carbohydrate, a renewable resource to make clothing, food, paper, lubricants and thousands of other products. Rising income taxes, the source of 88% of our state’s revenue would fill our coffers. What about the Feds? Well, they can kiss our bootlegging ass. The right to plant is primordial, pre-constitutional and inviolate.

  3. Allow Juries to judge the law: One would think this wouldn’t be necessary as it’s already in our constitution but the lawyer’s union usurped the citizens as the rightful ruler of society in 1905 by fooling us (with their legal mumbo-jumbo) into believing that THEY are the rulers of society! They are now[,] but a single executive order can fix that!

  4. Campaign Finance Reform: One gets the crime out of government the same way one gets the crime out of prohibition; by taking the money out of it. We cannot have paid shills of special interest telling us how to live. How ridiculous!

  5. Legal Reform: It doesn’t take three lawyers to resolve one dispute. Resolving civil disputes without prejudice is a first duty of government. Since ignorance of the law is no excuse and legal knowledge is available only to lawyers it’s a necessary function of any government to provide that service from tax revenue, like highways. This reform would offer all members of the bar who chose to participate a guaranteed and substantial income to serve the public, a single-payer legal system. The contempt of the public towards the bar today is intolerable. Everyone should respect and trust the “priests” in our church of state. This would insure it. It would also put an end to frivolous lawsuits. The clergy must serve the public interest first, not the commercial marketplace.

  6. Healthcare Reform: Access to medical and dental care for all is a moral issue. A Single-Payer system is the most cost-effective way to deliver it. You’ll never be sold anything you don’t actually need and what you do need you will be paid for from state income taxes. If you want cosmetic surgery or other elective procedures, you pay for it. Pharmaceuticals will be procured at world market prices, a few cents on the dollar of what we’re paying now. What about the Federal law saying that is a crime? What are they going to do, put us ALL in jail? I think not.

A measure of how far we've fallen

It's a sad measure of the reduced state of our politics that anyone proposing anything close to what the President of the United States proposed in 1944 would be branded a "Socialist Dreamer" or worse. Given the high concentrations of people in need in Salem, it would be good for all of us if we stopped thinking that "The Market" will provide for us. If we are smart, we can use markets to provide certain things, but while recognizing that markets are like chainsaws -- tools that are supposed to serve us, not objects of veneration that we're supposed to serve.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: 'The Economic Bill of Rights'
For those who saw Kevin Keating's film Giuliani Time some years back and Michael Moore's film out now, there is footage of a speech by F.D.R. calling for a second bill of rights. Most of the media has ignored - if not suppressed - it for years. Here is the text.

Excerpt from 11 January 1944 message to Congress on the State of the Union

It is our duty now to begin to lay the plans and determine the strategy for the winning of a lasting peace and the establishment of an American standard of living higher than ever before known. We cannot be content, no matter how high that general standard of living may be, if some fraction of our people-whether it be one-third or one-fifth or one-tenth-is ill-fed, ill-clothed, ill-housed, and insecure.

This Republic had its beginning, and grew to its present strength, under the protection of certain inalienable political rights-among them the right of free speech, free press, free worship, trial by jury, freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures. They were our rights to life and liberty.

As our nation has grown in size and stature, however-as our industrial economy expanded-these political rights proved inadequate to assure us equality in the pursuit of happiness.

We have come to a clear realization of the fact that true individual freedom cannot exist without economic security and independence. "Necessitous men are not free men." People who are hungry and out of a job are the stuff of which dictatorships are made.

In our day these economic truths have become accepted as self-evident. We have accepted, so to speak, a second Bill of Rights under which a new basis of security and prosperity can be established for all-regardless of station, race, or creed.

Among these are:

The right to a useful and remunerative job in the industries or shops or farms or mines of the nation;

The right to earn enough to provide adequate food and clothing and recreation;

The right of every farmer to raise and sell his products at a return which will give him and his family a decent living;

The right of every businessman, large and small, to trade in an atmosphere of freedom from unfair competition and domination by monopolies at home or abroad;

The right of every family to a decent home;

The right to adequate medical care and the opportunity to achieve and enjoy good health;

The right to adequate protection from the economic fears of old age, sickness, accident, and unemployment;

The right to a good education.

All of these rights spell security. And after this war is won we must be prepared to move forward, in the implementation of these rights, to new goals of human happiness and well-being.

America's own rightful place in the world depends in large part upon how fully these and similar rights have been carried into practice for our citizens.

Source: The Public Papers & Addresses of Franklin D. Roosevelt (Samuel Rosenman, ed.), Vol XIII (NY: Harper, 1950), 40-42