Curmudgeon Rants

A New Tax Season Is Almost Upon Us

irs_logo.pngDue to an upcoming change in income status, we started to review our 2019 and 2020 Income Tax situation. It seems that Damsel will now begin getting back some of her hard-earned money that the .gov stole from her while she was working. I know, there are laws that congress passed that made the removal of money from our earnings “legal” under the Social Security Act or whatever. Still, we as individuals would be better off if we had access to those funds to properly invest and not have them deferred for some of the ridiculous spending by congress. It is tantamount to theft in our opinion.


OK – now that I have that out of my system, I can expound on the tax prep thing. It seems that if we have Damsel’s SSA distributions coming into the household, I have to make adjustments to some things, like withholding and IRA distribution rate. This is to be done in order to attempt to keep us in the current tax brackets and such.

Since the new income will start later this year, I had to analyze whether it would be prudent to make adjustments to those things I mentioned above. Fortunately, for this tax year, that won’t be necessary. It may cause us to owe a little more for 2019, but, as I have said before, we would rather owe a bit than loan the .gov interest free money.

Because of our retirement lifestyle, we set our income rate to accommodate our established needs. Now, because of the increase in available funds, I can reduce the IRA withdrawal rate to the RMD (required minimum distribution) as set by the IRS for retirement accounts. This is a good thing thus preserving those funds for the future while they multiply in our IRA investment pool.

So, until I see some of the exact numbers forthcoming, I have set up a spreadsheet with preliminary numbers to analyze our 2020 income and withholding situation. At first glance, it looks like we’re going to be getting our 2020 tax situation under control. We will fine tune things as soon as the actual numbers can be seen.

Grumpy Veteran T-Shirt

Grumpy Veteran T-Shirt

I have a new acquisition to my T-Shirt collection. The words and images on the back of it say it all from my perspective. And, it’s true that I was born in July. Click on the image to enlarge.

I found it in an ad on the FecesBook™ website and Damsel said I NEEDED to get it. So I did. It was a little spendy, but it is now mine to be worn on whatever occasions for which it may be suitable. I’m not trying to pick a fight, but won’t back down from one either.

Most of the time I am not actually grumpy, but that mood gets set into motion when really stupid people do stupid stuff. It could be in traffic, in the supermarket aisle, or practically anywhere else. As we have said in the past, “STUPID SHOULD HURT.”

Image courtesy of The Damsel.

The Hits Keep On Coming

Anyone who reads our other blog will know how heartbroken that we lost our giant saguaro cactus to root rot this morning. Add to that the 419+ point loss on the Dow today and the day is off to a rotten start.

car-battery.jpgAfter all this heartbreak and aggravation, we got all of our gear and other stuff loaded into the truck at the Arizona house to take to California only to hear stuttering clicks when trying to start the engine; the battery was almost completely dead. We like to get an early start when making the six hour trip and this would add at least another 1.5 hours to the ETA to get Triple-A out to jump us and for a short trip to the automotive shop for a new Interstate Battery.

Of course, on traversing greater California in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas, the afternoon stagnant traffic (due to the miserable infrastructure vs. population syndrome) slowed our ETA even more.

The good news is that we’re in the California house (which we deem ‘the albatross’ for now) safe and sound and we will shortly be joined by family members anxious to see us before we head back after a very short visit.

Film vs. Digital

Can you guess which panel below was imaged by a $500+ Canon Digital Rebel Xsi and which was imaged with a $2.99 Kodak disposable camera?


Near the end of September, the company I worked for threw a retirement luncheon for me. The lady who organized the event brought a bunch of throw-away cameras to be handed out to folks who attended so they could take some candid photos of the party. I grabbed one of them that the boss used to get some shots, so I could get them printed out.

There were about 13 shots left in the camera, so I took it to the Botanic Garden to finish the roll off. I snapped a shot of the Koi pond roughly at the same time that Damsel was shooting it. You can see the result.

The drugstore film possessor offered a Photo CD for a couple of bucks extra, so I went for it since all of our recent media is digital. I got the pix today and they were a disaster. Both the prints and on the CD. It looked like they scanned in the prints after using the grainiest possible print media.

Bottom line: you get what you pay for.

Perfect Timing – No COLA for Me

cola.jpgThere comes a time in our lives when (if we’re lucky) we can hang up our toolbag and start to live the life of leisure. This is my year to put everything in motion to allow me to begin my retirement in just a few weeks. I have pulled all the handles to make things happen – it’s too late for me to stop the train from leaving the station now.

My first Social Security check will be deposited this Thursday.

Now, comes word that the Social Security Administration has suspended Cost Of Living Adjustments (COLA) for the next two years. Oh, by the way, they aren’t going to suspend premium increases for Medicare Part B.

From Yahoo:

Millions of older people face shrinking Social Security checks next year, the first time in a generation that payments would not rise. The trustees who oversee Social Security are projecting there won’t be a cost of living adjustment (COLA) for the next two years. That hasn’t happened since automatic increases were adopted in 1975.

By law, Social Security benefits cannot go down. Nevertheless, monthly payments would drop for millions of people in the Medicare prescription drug program because the premiums, which often are deducted from Social Security payments, are scheduled to go up slightly. …

Advocates say older people still face higher prices because they spend a disproportionate amount of their income on health care, where costs rise faster than inflation. Many also have suffered from declining home values and shrinking stock portfolios just as they are relying on those assets for income.

“For many elderly, they don’t feel that inflation is low because their expenses are still going up,” said David Certner, legislative policy director for AARP. “Anyone who has savings and investments has seen some serious losses.”

Hat Tip – Captain Ed Morrissey.

Back to California

Joshua Tree

We’re back in California (for the time being) and planning to spend our last day on vacation visiting Joshua Tree National Park. We drove through the park from the south entrance today, so we have our preview of tomorrow’s tour. We’re camped in Twentynine Palms, CA, tonight, and plan to head back to the park in the morning. After the visit to the park, we’re headed back to the grind at home – for now.

We enjoyed our trip and look forward to our upcoming retirement and eventual return to Arizona when we get our affairs in order. While in Arizona, we both enjoyed our 2nd amendment rights to carry in a place that gets it. We can hardly wait to get the freak out of liberal California.

Taxes and Tea

tax dayThe taxes are finally done. I procrastinated as long as I reasonably could, but dove into the depths of the IRS and Franchise Tax Board murk last weekend. The results are that both the FTB and IRS vacuumed the funds from my account early today, even before I had a chance to tell my money goodbye.

If anything could turn a mild-mannered nice guy, like me, into a ‘radicalized right-wing extremist,’ it would be tax season. I had a notion to head over to one of those ‘tea parties’ with my fellow extremists, but now that the taxes are done, I’m feeling better. I have to get back to regular life mode and attend to making my living, and the living of numerous deadbeats and financial bailouts that steal need my money.

As for my fellow extremists going to the tea parties, I wish them well. Don’t let ACORN and other communist organizers upset the teacarts. Hang in there and get plenty of media coverage (besides FOX, that is).