Is the Earned Income Credit good tax policy?

While filing my taxes a couple of weeks ago, I notices that the EIC or Earned Income Credit was a major factor in reducing the amount of tax that I owed and greatly increasing the amount of my refund. I have usually assumed that the EIC was simply a liberal-socialist attempt at wealth redistribution and even though I benefit from the policy, I generally voiced opposition to this particular idea because I thought it was a handout and undermined free market principles. However, I started to do a little research into the history of the EIC, I began to realize that this policy gets nearly universal support from both sides of the political spectrum.

Would you take a pay cut to keep your job?

I like my current day job, however, our finances are so tight that if my boss asked me to take a pay cut, it might take me a while to make a decision. Here are some of my possible responses:

I might say “yes” because of our health insurance. Health insurance could be a big factor in this decision. If my family had immediate need of medical care, I might be forced to accept whatever pay I was offered.

My thoughts on the recent healthcare legislation

I have watched more C-SPAN over the last couple of days than in my previous thirty-five years combined. I have been fascinated by this health care debate. I had a traditional personal finance post ready for today, but I am so into the details of what has happened in Washington D.C. over the past months that I just cannot concentrate on anything else.

Obviously, health care and health insurance is a huge concern for all of us. I would love to hear thoughts from some of you who have watched this process. I am not interested in yelling or accusations, just perspective. Here are a few of mine:

Women are best at savings!

I thought I would share this article coming from our Europeans cousins ;-) I don’t think that women are that different in North America; they are definitely best saver than men ;-)

Research in Ireland has found that women tend to be better than men at saving money. Of course, such “˜data’ will likely fuel the old “˜it’s official, women are better than men at something else – add that to the list above driving, multi-tasking and smelling nice,’ argument that has been muttered, countered, and accepted since the dawn of time. Yet, it also shows something more positive, i.e. that a nation also looks to be battling its way out of recession quite successfully – and that more people may now be aware of the importance of savings.

Be a discriminating customer, a diligent employee and a generous entrepreneur


The free market is not perfect. We all know of stories about unethical or corrupt businesses, but lately capitalism has been getting a bad rap. I just thought it might be nice to remind ourselves of a few of the benefits of America’s historic economic system – not because it’s perfect or because it was ordained of God or anything – but just to help us realize that capitalism is not all bad:

Christianity and the Black Market

Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” And they were amazed at him. Mark 12:17

I would like to start a discussion. I honestly do not know exactly where I stand when it comes to some of the ethical questions surrounding government controlled economies, confiscatory tax rates, the black market and necessity. Our American economy has traditionally been laisezz-faire. It called for very little government control. Our tax rates have been low relative to the rest of the world and most goods and services can be obtained at a reasonable price.

Recession Gardening


Given our current economic trend, people are looking for all kinds of ways to save money and reduce expenses. One such way that is being highly touted by the media is Recession Gardening. Recession Gardening is such the fad lately, that even major news outlets like CNN and MSNBC are publishing stories about it.

We started a vegetable garden this year. We’ve wanted a nice one for years but never had the room. When we purchased our current house in October, we finally had the room the grow the garden we had been wanting to for years. Has it helped cut a food bills? Maybe a little, but its been more fun and rewarding than anything.

Is the recession a financial flood?


My family and I were driving somewhere the other day and my 14 year old started asking me some questions about the recession. Questions like: What exactly is a recession? Is it normal? Will the recession stop? After answering his questions he got quiet as he thought about my answers. A few minutes later he said: “Dad, so a recession is sort of like a financial flood.”  Whoa.

The biblical flood

Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights, and I will wipe from the face of the earth every living creature I have made – Genesis 7:4

A depression might force us back to the basics


My family and I are out of town this week, I am posting from my parent’s house. We are traveling to spend time with family and friends in another state. As we visit and reminisce, more than once, the conversation has turned to the state of the economy. Everyone is worried and we are all looking for strategies for surviving if things really get bad.

Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope


Last night I attended a Dave Ramsey Town Hall for Hope at my church. It was an outstanding presentation and I would like to offer a summary to those of you who missed it. Ramsey is a great speaker and this presentation was no exception. He mixed sound principles with humorous, pithy sayings to create an end result that was both calming and inspiring. The key word for the entire meeting was obviously hope and Ramsey started things off by saying that real “hope” comes from the people of our country – not necessarily Washington D.C. or our media.

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