ANOTHER PLUS FOR THE ROTH IRA

Fred Jaggi: ‘Because small increments of income cause large amounts of Social Security benefits to be taxed, many seniors find that the effective marginal rate of tax is much higher once they are retired than when they were working. The marginal rate can be as high as 52% for ordinary income, including withdrawal from an IRA, 44% for long-term capital gains, and 24% for ‘tax-free’ bonds! Click here and here to see how that works. Tax-free withdrawals from a Roth do not trigger an increase in amount of Social Security taxed.’

A POSSIBLE MINUS

Jonathan Edwards: ‘I have argued ever since the Roth IRA was created that Congress will eventually have to repeal this feature. Come 2037 when the Social Security Trust Fund runs out of money, I can’t imagine that the working-age public will let Congress continue to allow baby boom retirees to pay no taxes whatsoever on their incomes, no matter how large.’

☞ Well, there are going to be a LOT of seniors voting in the 2038 mid-term elections, so I’m not certain you are right.

AN OPEN LETTER TO CROWN PRINCE ABDULLAH BIN ABDUL AZIZ AL-SAUD

From: The publisher of the Baltimore Jewish Times, Andrew Buerger
February 1, 2002

Dear Crown Prince:

After reading the excerpts from your recent New York Times interview, I have to applaud your efforts to aid your ‘oppressed’ Palestinian brethren. It’s very sad to see those poor children being subjected to violence and poverty.

And, I encourage you to continue to challenge President George W. Bush, as I often do in my column in the Baltimore Jewish Times.

In the interview, you expressed concern that Mr. Bush wasn’t doing enough to help your Palestinians, your fellow Muslim Arabs. I wanted to drop you a line to suggest ways to help them. After all, my people have some experience in this area.

You probably read that Jews, too, were in refugee camps after World War Two, and we got very little help from governments around the world. Diaspora Jews lined up to donate millions of dollars to help resettle them in safe countries. In addition to money, thousands of volunteers worked tirelessly for years to get the Jews out of danger. This was before our people had a homeland. If you have time with your work schedule, I suggest you read Exodus by Baltimore-native Leon Uris.

Recently, Jews lived in threatening places like Ethiopia and the former Soviet Union, let alone Syria and Yemen. We raised millions of dollars, not from the US Government, but from our own people, and used incredible organizational skill to get them to Israel and the US. In the last 50 years, we’ve been fortunate to have a homeland, but before that we placed Jews in Argentina, Canada and the United states, anywhere so we wouldn’t be “oppressed.” Our people, didn’t rest until every Jew was out of harm’s way.

Former JDC president, Jonathan Kolker, recently said that for the first time in 2,000 years all Jews can leave their country if they choose. It took tremendous work and billions of dollars to reach that goal.

I don’t know much about your finances, but you might be able to tap money from your oil revenue. I’ve seen some of your palaces on TV, which look pretty nice. I thought maybe you could use one of them to house 1,000 Palestinian children just as countless Jewish families took in refugees during the Holocaust. I know that Saudi Arabia isn’t a Palestinian State, but it’s home to some pretty important places such as Mecca and Medina.

Perhaps I could recommend the help of Jewish Federations to review your budget and find funds. They have some of the best ratios around when it comes to percentage of donated money going to charitable causes.

To put the Former Soviet Union emigration in perspective, it would be as if the US were to absorb every French citizen. And the Jewish people are a fraction of the Muslim population. Also search the web for information about Operation Moses and Operation Solomon from 1986 and 1991, respectively, to see the amazing story of how world Jewry brought endangered Ethiopian Jews to Israel.

With all due respect, Crown Prince, why haven’t you done more to help your people? Blaming the US and Israel just won’t work. At an Arab nation summit, you and your colleagues pledged $1 billion for Yasser Arafat’s Palestinian Authority. You never delivered it because of fears of corruption. That was probably wise.

But if you’re concerned about their well-being, you should take the Palestinians out of harm’s way. When things calm down, I’m sure the US and Israel would sit down with their leaders — as they keep trying to do—to create a Palestinian homeland. It would be great, too, if you could talk to your colleagues in Jordan, which is mostly Palestinian, to help out here.

To help your people, I suggest your remind them that Islamic law prohibits murder. I respectfully suggest that you become part of the solution, and not just another complainer. After all, it’s worked for the Jews.

 

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