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See How Much Money it Takes to Be Financially Secure in Your Town

What follows is a Family Budge Calculator put out by the Economic Policy Institute. www.epi.org/resources/budget/ The example shown here is for a two parent family with two children living in the capital city of New Jersey, Trenton. A typical family there needs over $75,000 in income per year to be financially secure. That means each parent would have to work full-time and be making at least $18/hour. Or, if only one parent worked, they would need to be pulling in $36/hour for their family to be financially secure. This is a long ways from minimum wage.

Family Budget Calculator

EPI’s Family Budget Calculator measures the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard by estimating community-specific costs of housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, other necessities, and taxes. The budgets, updated for 2013, are calculated for 615 U.S. communities and six family types (either one or two parents with one, two, or three children).

As compared with official poverty thresholds such as the federal poverty line and Supplemental Poverty Measure, EPI’s family budgets offer a higher degree of geographic customization and provide a more accurate measure of economic security. In all cases, they show families need more than twice the amount of the federal poverty line to get by. [To see and use the actual calculator for yourself readers of WordPress must go to the website at  http://www.epi.org/resources/budget/ ]

 

Family Types include:

One Parent, One Child One Parent, Two Children One Parent, Three Children Two Parents, One Child Two Parents, Two Children Two Parents, Three Children

States Include:

AK AL AR AZ CA CO CT DC DE FL GA HI IA ID IL IN KS KY LA MA MD ME MI MN MO MS MT NC ND NE NH NJ NM NV NY OH OK OR PA RI SC SD TN TX UT VA VT WA WI WV WY

Area Names In New Jersey Include:

Atlantic City, NJ MSA Bergen-Passaic, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Jersey City, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Middlesex-Somerset-Hunterdon, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Monmouth-Ocean, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Newark, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area Ocean City, NJ MSA Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington, PA-NJ-DE-MD MSA Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA Vineland-Millville-Bridgeton, NJ MSA Warren County, NJ HUD Metro FMR Area


RESULTS FOR TRENTON, NJ

Trenton-Ewing, NJ MSA (NJ)

Two Parents, Two Children

Item

Cost

Monthly Housing

$1206

Monthly Food

$754

Monthly Child Care

$1258

Monthly Transportation

$607

Monthly Health Care

$1519

Monthly Other Necessities

$502

Monthly Taxes

$447

Monthly Total

$6292

Annual Total

$75508

Family budgets are for 2013.

Learn more about EPI’s Family Budget Calculator

DATA: Download source data (Excel)

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A Flat Tax Payroll Deduction Might Save Social Security

DATA DRIVEN POINT OF VIEW: Don’t be fooled.  Discussions about raising or lowering Federal Income Taxes has little to do with Social Security and Medicare, which are separately funded by payroll deductions.  Is there a funding crisis for Social Security and Medicare?  A long term problem, yes.  A crisis, no.  Can America continue to afford these programs given the number of baby boomer retirements?  The answer is yes, of course we can.  We are the wealthiest county on Earth.  Nations with far less wealthier already provide their citizens with much more generous benefits.  The reason we feel the funding punch is that the structure we’ve enacted to pay for federal insurance benefits is so regressive.

The table below makes obvious that wealthy Americans currently share almost none of the burden for Social Security and Medicare benefits.  The problem is that wealth is concentrated at the top of the income scale while payroll deductions are disproportionately collected from the bottom of the scale.  We can continue to raise the contribution rates but this only hurts those who earn the least.  We can keep raising the income cap but this only marginally increases the number of people pay into the system.

—  OR  —

We could institute a flat tax for Social Security and Medicare.  The table below shows what this might generate in premiums at the current 7.65% rate of payroll deductions.  This plan would clearly generate more revenue than needed for current benefits.  A flat payroll tax of significantly less than the current 7.65% would be all that is needed to fully fund Social Security and Medicare. It would reduce payroll taxes for the majority of Americans.

Payroll Taxes for Social Security and Medicare
Total Income from Wages
Amount Currently Deducted
Contribution As a % of Income
Contribution if deductions were based on a flat tax
$1,000
$77
7.65%
$77
This Segment Represents 57 million households
$10,000
$765
7.65%
$765
$50,000
$3,825
7.65%
$3,825
$100,000
$7,650
7.65%
$7,650
$500,000
$8,423
1.68%
$38,250
$1,000,000
$8,423
0.84%
$76,500
There are at least 100,000 household in this segment
$10,000,000
$8,423
0.084%
$765,000
$50,000,000
$8,423
0.017%
$3,825,000
$100,000,000
$8,423
0.0084%
$7,650,000
$500,000,000
$8,423
0.0017%
$38,250,000
$1,000,000,000
$8,423
0.00084%
$76,500,000
$10,000,000,000
$8,423
0.000084%
$765,000,000

This table assumes that income from wages for the wealthy are at least $110,100, which is the income cap for 2012, and assumes they are not self-employed. Income from investments are not subject to payroll deductions.  Employers pay an additional 7.65% in payroll taxes for their employees. The self employed also pay corresponding more in payroll taxes for their Social Security and Medicare benefits. Additional payroll deductions for unemployment and disability insurance may also apply in certain states and with certain individual.

These programs exist for everyone, and everyone should contribute according to their means. Those who are fortunate enough not to need the benefits still have a moral obligation to assure a minimal level of care to those less fortunate, and a social obligation to contributed to those who gave a lifetime of labor creating the fabulous wealth that the wealthy have accumulated.

Originally posted 14th June by 

Our Long-term Debt Will Be Fixed If Congress Does Nothing – But Don’t Count On that!

 According to the Congressional Budget Office information (see below), it appears that if the “do-nothing” Congress actually does nothing the nation’s long term debt outlook would significantly improve.  As it stands, temporary tax cuts are set to expire and automatic budget cuts already passed by Congress with bi-partisan support are set to take effect.  As a result of laws already on the books our long-term debt problem is about to be fixed.  But Congress will have none of this!  Nor should they!

Letting the temporary tax cuts expire will anger the Republican political activist, Grover Norquist, and cause him to hold congressional Republicans in violation of his Taxpayer Protection Pledge.”
Driconian automatic budget cuts are set to go into effect in January, 2013.  Those cuts aimed at the military will slow, but  still not reverse, the ever rising rate of our military spending.  Never mind that our military spending is already twice the combined military budgets of the industrial world, this slowing of military growth is completely unacceptable to conservative Republicans and many Democrats as well.  Cuts in the military are popular with the electorate  however.  But it is the rest of the automatic budget cuts that will bring extraordinary pain to many citizens.  It will be like preforming surgery with a chainsaw and would devastate much of what we have come to expect from our government.
Congress voted for these automatic budget cuts but never really meant it.  It was a game of fiscal chicken that parties agreed to play.  So here we are on the fiscal cliff about to balance the federal budget with a tax hike and a chainsaw.

The 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook: Infographic

june 5, 2012
The 2012 Long-Term Budget Outlook Infographic
Posted 19th June by 

Fiscal Cliff’s Specific Tax Breaks About to Expire

Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization, and Job Creation Act of 2010

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Key aspects of the law include:

§                    Extending the EGTRRA 2001 income tax rates for two years. Associated changes in itemized deduction and personal exemption rules are also continued for the same period. The total negative revenue impact of this was estimated at $186 billion.[7]

§                    Extending the EGTRRA 2001 and JGTRRA 2003 dividends and capital gains rates for two years. The total negative revenue impact of this was estimated at $53 billion.[7]

§                    Patching the Alternative Minimum Tax to ensure an additional 21 million households will not face a tax increase. This was done by increasing the exemption amount and making other targeted changes. The negative revenue impact of this measure was estimated at $136 billion.[7]

§                                The above three measures are intended to provide relief to more than 100 million middle-class families and prevent an annual tax increase of over $2,000 for the typical family.[8]

§                    A 13-month extension of federal unemployment benefits.[2][9] The cost of this measure was estimated at $56 billion.[7]

§                    A temporary, one-year reduction in the FICA payroll tax. The normal employee rate of 6.2 percent is reduced to 4.2 percent. The rate for self-employed individuals is reduced from 12.4 percent to 10.4 percent.[9] The negative revenue impact of this measure was estimated at $111 billion.[7]

§                    Extension of the Child Tax Credit refundability threshold established by EGTRRA, ARRA, and other measures.[7] According to the White House, this would benefit 10.5 million lower-income families with 18 million children.[2]

§                    Extension of ARRA’s treatment of the Earned Income Tax Credit for two years.[7] According to the White House, this would benefit 6.5 million working parents with 15 million children.[2]

§                    Extension of ARRA’s American opportunity tax credit for two years, including extension of income limits applied thereto.[7] According to the White House, this would benefit more than 8 million students and their families.[2]

§                                The above three provisions, as well as some other similar ones, are intended to provide about $40 billion in tax relief for the hardest-hit families and students.[8]

§                    An extension of the Small Business Jobs and Credit Act of 2010‘s “bonus depreciation” allowance through the end of 2011, and an increase in that amount from that act’s 50 percent to a full 100 percent. For the year of 2012, it returns to 50 percent.[9] The White House hopes the 100 percent expensing change will result in $50 billion in new investments, thus fueling job creation.[2]

§                    An extension of Section 179 depreciation deduction maximum amounts and phase-out thresholds through 2012.[9]

§                                Together, the above two business incentive measures were estimated to have a negative revenue impact of $21 billion.[7]

§                    Various business tax credits for alternative fuels, such as the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit, were also extended.[10] Others extended were credits for biodiesel and renewable diesel, refined coal, manufacture of energy-efficient homes, and properties featuring refueling for alternate vehicles.[9] Also finding an extension was the popular domestic Nonbusiness Energy Property Tax Credit, but with some limitations.[7]

§                    Estate tax adjustment. EGTRRA had gradually reduced estate tax rates until there was none in 2010. After sunsetting, the Clinton-era rate of 55 percent with a $1 million exclusion was due to return for 2011. The compromise package sets for two years a rate of 35 percent with an exclusion amount of $5 million. The negative revenue impact of this provision was estimated at $68 billion.[7][11]

§                    An extension of the 45G short line tax credit, also known as the Railroad Track Maintenance Tax Credit, through January 1, 2012. This credit had been in place since December 31, 2004 and allowed small railroad companies to deduct up to 50% of investments made in track repair and other qualifying infrastructure investments.[12]

       2.  a b c d e f “Tax Cuts, Unemployment Insurance and Jobs”The White House. Retrieved December 17, 2010.

7. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k “Tax Cut Extension Bill Wends Its Way to White House”. Accounting TodayDecember 17, 2010. Retrieved December 17, 2010.

9        ^ a b c d e Dupree, Jamie (December 9, 2010). “Tax Cuts Compromise Package Summary”. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Retrieved December 10, 2010.

One Way State Policies Impacts Children’s Lives

Investing in Public Programs Matters: How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives

Read more here:  http://bit.ly/zbNSSY

 This report focuses on the results of the 2012 STATE Child Well-Being Index (CWI) which is a comprehensive state-level index of child well-being modeled after the Foundation for Child Development’s (FCD) NATIONAL CWI.
The key findings from this study are:
Higher State Taxes Are Better for Children. States that have higher tax rates generate higher revenues and have higher CWI values than states with lower tax rates.
Public Investments in Children Matter.
The amount of public investments in programs is strongly related to CWI values among states. Specifically, higher per-pupil spending on education, higher Medicaid child-eligibility thresholds, and higher levels of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits show a substantial correlation with child well-being across states.
A Child’s Well-Being Is Strongly Related to the State Where He or She Lives. Child well-being varies tremendously from state to state, ranging from a 0.85 index value for New Jersey, the highest ranked state, to a negative 0.96 index value for New Mexico, the lowest-ranked state. The six states that had the highest CWI values were New Jersey, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Utah, Connecticut, and Minnesota. On the other end of the spectrum, Arizona, Nevada, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and New Mexico were found to have the lowest index values.

The STATE CWI draws from the most comprehensive set of data used to form a state index of child well-being. With these data, the STATE CWI ranks children’s well-being in seven different domains for each state and compares them across states. In addition to state rankings, this report includes new findings about the strength of relationships between state policies and selected economic and demographic factors indicative of child well-being.
Read more:

http://bit.ly/yNZiui  – Analyzing State Differences in Child Well-Being
William O’Hare
The Annie E. Casey Foundation
Mark Mather and Genevieve Dupuis
Population Reference Bureau
January 2012
and
http://bit.ly/zbNSSY  –  Investing in Public Programs Matters:

                                      How State Policies Impact Children’s Lives
                                      2012 STATE Child and Youth Well-Being Index (CWI)
                                       Based

Child Well-Being Index (CWI)

The FCD Child Well-Being Index (CWI) is a national, research-based composite measure updated annually that describes how young people in the United States have fared since 1975. The NATIONAL CWI, released publicly for the first time in 2004, is the nation’s most comprehensive measure of trends in the quality of life of children and youth. It combines national data from 28 indicators across seven domains into a single number that reflects overall child well-being. The seven quality-of-life domains are Family Economic Well-Being, Health, Safe/Risky Behavior, Educational Attainment, Community Engagement, Social Relationships, and Emotional/Spiritual Well-Being.