How to Peel a Carrot June 30, 2010March 18, 2017 WINDMILLS Susan: ‘Re yesterday’s column, this shows that Maine voters overwhelmingly support Governor Baldacci’s position on wind power – 88%.’ CARROTS Here’s a real time saver. It turns out you don’t have to peel carrots, which only wastes time and annoys the carrot (or wastes carrot peel, anyway) and leaves you with an idiotic implement to clean. Instead, just rinse, snap off the tip, and chomp. Cooking Like a Guy™. OBAMA AT 18 MONTHS Read Peter Beinart’s take here. ( “So he hasn’t plugged the leak, and his poll numbers are sagging. Truth is, Obama has exceeded in 18 months what Clinton and Carter achieved in a combined 12 years.”) And watch the Rachel Maddow clip I’ve been pushing, here. HEALTH CARE TAX Randy Vanderbeek: “All hell is breaking loose over the proposed taxes on real estate sales in the Obama health care package. Would you please describe the REAL situation?” It’s so discouraging to see so many people either trying to tear the Adminsitraion down (cheering when we lose our bid to host the Olympics), or else falling so gullibly for junk like this. Happily, Randy smells a rat. Here’s the thing he refers to that’s been burning up the Internet: This should help stimulate the Real Estate market! UNDER THE NEW HEALTH CARE BILL – DID YOU KNOW THAT ALL REAL ESTATE TRANSACTIONS ARE SUBJECT TO A 3.8% “SALES TAX”? YOU CAN THANK NANCY, HARRY & BARACK (AND YOUR LOCAL CONGRESSMAN) FOR THIS ONE. IF YOU SELL YOUR $400,000 HOME, THIS WILL BE A $15,200 TAX. Verified Higher taxes on real estate investments. The 3.8% Medicare surtax would hit average, middle-class investors in real estate. A middle-class taxpayer who happens to sell real estate for a gain in a particular year would be liable for this new tax, regardless of how low her income might be in other, more typical years. ☞ In the first place, the added tax applies only to your profit on the sale, not to the whole $400,000 purchase price. In the second place, if it’s your home, the first $250,000 in profit ($500,000 filing jointly) is exempted. And in the third place, the added tax applies only to folks with incomes above $200,000 (or $250,000 filing jointly). So let’s say you’re an average middle-class couple who list your average middle-class home for $995,000 . . . accept $925,00, netting $850,000 after closing costs . . . and thus clear an average middle-class $500,000 profit on your $350,000 purchase price. Your extra Obama health care tax? Zero. No question, some people will have to pay 3.8% extra on their capital gains. If the seller in the example above had been single (or gay), only $250,000 of the $500,000 profit would have been exempt, and 3.8% would clip off an extra $9,500 – on top of the regular 15% capital gains rate that would apply. Total tax on the gain: 18.8%. But to put it in perspective, the tax rate for capital gains under Reagan/Bush was 28%, and under Clinton, 20% . . . so really, 18.8% is not THAT terrible. Even the 23.8% it’s likely to be once the Clinton 20% rate is restored (if it is) will be significantly less than under Reagan. Of course, it’s terrible anyone has to pay any taxes for anything, ever. But I, for one, am happy we’ve finally got the health care train moving toward universal coverage and greater efficiency that, in the long run, will save huge amounts of money – and huge amounts of illness, misery and premature death.