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Monday, October 1, 2012

Douchebags, Dillweeds, and Political Arguments on Facebook

Last night my husband asked me how much someone could gift to another person without incurring a tax.

Considering my profession (I'm a financial planner), I've had this question before.

I also was very surprised that my husband, who is a teacher, asked me this.

I explained the gift tax laws, the pending sunset, to him.  I will not explain it here because that would require 35 attorneys to review it before I published.

So then I asked him the expected question- why was he interested in this odd piece of information?

Apparently, some right wing nut job (if you're Republican, don't tune out yet....) made some comments on a thread in Facebook.  It's someone that my husband went to high school with and hasn't seen or thought of in 20 years.  But Facebook brought them back together.

ANYHOW, this guy posted something that is a very frequent misunderstanding on gifting.  My husband posted what I said.

Then the douchebag wrote "Well, I'm sure you trust your wife, but my wife said something different and I trust her."  His wife is a secretary in a real estate office.  I used to teach Estate & Gift Tax Planning at the college level.

Hmmm.... who would YOU trust?

So now I'm annoyed.  I'm insulted and I'm not even part of the conversation because FINRA has very strict rules about what I can say online.  I think it's a great policy except it then allows the douchebags and dillweeds to continue to spread bad information.  It's like going to a gun fight with a water gun.

So, because I'm not friends with Mr. Douchebag and I am not allowed to say anything related to my profession, I send my husband the IRS link to the gifting and estate tax tables.

The IR freaking S.

Not MSNBC.  Not MoveOn.Org.

The Internal Revenue Services publication that gives examples, lists the rates and even has the actual tax form.

You know, the facts.

And then the guy wrote "Well, I'm still not voting for Hussein."

Seriously.

So here's my issue- I have many friends that are Republicans.  We often have healthy debates on federal vs. state funding, business issues, etc., etc.  Not one of them, when shown the ACTUAL TAX RATES would continue to argue that they "knew" more than the IRS.  Or their wife did.  Because someone told her that at work.

And here's the funny part....

It wasn't a discussion on if gift taxes or estate tax laws are relevant, useful, etc.  IT WAS A DISCUSSION ON WHAT THEY ARE.

Something that is, to be honest, quite easily determined.

BY THE IRS.

And this guy's go to place is that the president has a non-WASPy middle name?  That's his defense for not understanding a very complex system that quite honestly, 99% of people don't?  Nonny, nonny poppyhead.

I don't get it.

What happened to real debate in this country?  On real issues?  Discussions on policies rather than arguing that every piece of data is some liberal or conservative conspiracy to undermine the goodness of America?

My international friends are shocked at how American politics has gotten so, well, quite honestly- stupid.

Whether it's the Bureau of Labor Statistics "fixing" unemployment numbers- you can actually go to the website and they will explain in normal language how it's calculated or arguing tax rates-  easily found on the IRS website- why is time being spent on that crap rather than the bigger issues- what to DO about unemployment and tax rates?

But how can you even have that conversation when the person you are trying to discuss it with won't believe any actual facts. 

I know statistics can easily be manipulated but tax charts and the actual tax law? 

Have we lost our mind so much that we can't even accept facts?

Some other dillweed talked about how GM was still going broke and hadn't paid back any money.... so I put a link to an actual report on it as well as their annual report because, well, it's not even close to true (they've paid back half the money and regained their position as the world's largest automaker).  The argument wasn't if the bail-out was a good idea, the argument was on facts.  GM reorganized.  This information is easily accessible and available.

I'm not even that especially liberal, but clearly, according to many, I have been brainwashed by the liberal media...

You know....

The Bureau of Labor Statistics
The IRS
General Motors third party accounting annual report

I am stunned.

Am I the only person who actually looks up stuff before I post it?  When did people stop doing research and solely rely on sound bites?

So here's my closing thoughts--

Don't bite when some dillweed starts spewing.  Hide them.  Delete them.  Ignore them.  You can't have a rational argument.

And do some research before you vote.  If your sources are MoveON.org or Cross Roads, get better sources.  Check their footers and read the actual reports.

And if that's too much hassle for you, do me a favor-

Don't vote.

(and as a side note, Mr. Douchebag just now said "Well you should see how Obamacare is going to change it."  Sigh.  I read that one, too.  The Affordable Health Care Act legislation is available online, if you're interested in reading it.  But again, I'm not allowed to comment.  So please, just go ahead and read it for yourself.)

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