THE TAX ATTIC — with Jerry Coon

Changes not always fair

It must be baseball season. Even George Will, the conservative columnist, devoted his Sunday column to baseball trivia. I don’t always agree with Mr. Will, but I make it a point to read his column. I am one of those life-long baseball fans, but when George said trivia, he wasn’t kidding. They were very tough questions. A couple of them did involve the Detroit Tigers and I did get those right. Ernie Banks, Hank Aaron, and Dave Winfield were answers to three questions that I knew, but the other questions all would have required me to get out the latest edition of Baseball Digest to get the answers correct. Right now, as we close in on April 18, I don’t have the luxury of time, so I just looked at George’s answers.

That is one reason I love baseball. The rules haven’t changed so much that a Lefty Grove, who was a dominant pitcher in the 1920s and 1930s, can be compared to a Bob Gibson, who was a dominant pitcher in the 1960s, and they both can be compared to a Randy Johnson, who is of recent vintage. Pitching is still throwing a ball 60 feet, 6 inches over the home plate and trying to either get the hitter to swing and miss or get him to hit the ball to a fielder. All the hitter wants to do is hit it where the fielders aren’t. Hitting it hard where the fielders aren’t feels better than blooping it where they aren’t, but it’s a hit in the record books all the same.

Not that much has changed in the 100-plus years of baseball other than the games take a whole lot longer to finish and the players make a whole lot more money today. A hitter like Ty Cobb, one of the Detroit Tigers from early in the 1900s, can be statistically compared to a Ralph Kiner of the 1950s, to a Wade Boggs of the 1980s and to a Joe Mauer of today. That’s what makes the game fun.

Sitting around and talking baseball with some guys while perhaps drinking a beer is my idea of heaven down here on Earth. It’s something I’m convinced will happen in the real heaven, too. I’m sure God is a baseball fan; probably not a New York Yankee fan, but a Chicago Cub, Detroit Tiger, and Brooklyn Dodger fan. Those of us who have a long history with baseball know what goes around comes around and every dog has his day, except for the Cubs, who never seem to have their day. This year may be one of those years for Detroit.

That’s another reason I like baseball. There is always the chance that another 1968 will develop or this year will be another 1984. I’m hopeful and will remain that way until the Tigers prove to me it’s hopeless. But then there will always be next year.

Another thing that will be here next year is our tax system. We are assured that our Michigan tax system is going to look different. Our Governor has offered up some pretty bold changes. Some of those changes will stay as presented—some will totally go away—but it appears that most will change in some way. My opinion is that even if Mr. Snyder doesn’t care if he is re-elected, most of the guys and gals who have to actually pass the budget bill do care if they are re-elected.

I think Mr. Snyder is a rare individual. Michigan’s fiscal system is broken. Heck, you don’t have to be an Einstein to see that’s true. What’s different is that Mr. Snyder believes it’s his job to fix that system and fix it today regardless of the hit that he himself takes. We have needed this type of person to step forward.

We need this type of person to step forward on a federal basis as well. The politicians and the bureaucrats of the world are too busy protecting their turf to actually do the things that must be done to solve our gigantic problems. Make no mistake; as soon as the federal government comes to the conclusion that it can’t print an unlimited amount of money, it will be facing the same issues as the states are facing right now because they can’t print money at all. It’s only a matter of time. We need someone to step forward who will at least present solutions that will force the politicians to do something. In Michigan, that person is Rick Snyder.

Now, I don’t believe that drastically cutting school funding at our Rockford level is appropriate—especially when there is no alternative funding available—but there are spending issues that must be faced and they are being faced. I don’t believe in taxing 100% of pensions for our senior citizens, but many states do tax all pensions and Social Security as well. Perhaps what we will see is pensions above $10,000 for singles and $20,000 for joint filers will be taxable. I don’t believe it’s fair to cut corporate taxes to 6% and not tax Sub S corporations at all, but perhaps we will see corporations pay tax at 8% and Sub S corporations pay tax at 6%.

These changes would put some fairness back into the budget. That’s what most of us are looking for. On the other hand, the Cubs never do get to win and how fair is that? This is Jerry Coon signing off.

Jerry Coon is an Enrolled Agent. He owns
Action Tax Service in Rockford. Contact Jerry


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