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by Vice President Knight Allen 

Originally published on March 08, 2018 - reprinted with permission

    How about some upbeat news to start? There has been so much noise about the tax cut it has been almost impossible to try and filter through it to find anything that affects us as retirees/seniors. Finally on 2/14/18 the Wall Street Journal had a separate section providing an in depth report on the consequences of the law for everyone. Bottom line, most of the benefits go to capital but the indictment that there is nothing but "crumbs" for middle class working people just doesn't fly and the polls showing it going from firmly negative to a majority favorable position as people start seeing more money in their paychecks proves it.

    Anyway, where are we in this? The one part of the tax code that affects us all is the standard deduction and personal exemption. There the news is good. The standard deduction  is doubled to $24,000 for a married couple and $12,000 for a single. The personal exemption has been repealed BUT not for us. It has been renamed to "Additional Standard Deduction for those over 65." $1,600 for singles and $1,300 for each partner of a married couple.

    For a married couple that's $26,600 total or $2,700 more than in 2017. Not a dream trip to Hawaii but it's money we wouldn't have under the precut system.

      Would like to offer a few follow-ups to previous items.
Brian Greenspun stopped running his "Note from the Sun." He has not reported on how successful his request for the $8.99 a month was nor is he required to. It's his business. Personally, I'm just happy not to have it hitting me in the face every morning.

Bitcoin: What a roller coaster. From mid December 2017 to early February 2018 it sent from a high of $19,782 to $8,567, a loss of 57%. Then Barron's reported it went back over $10,000 the week of 2/12-16/18.
A point to keep in mind is that Bitcoin is what might be called a "brand name." There are multiple other versions of cryptocurrency out there all operating in a nether world with very little transparency and basically no accountability. A Governor of the Bank of England has attacked the "global speculative mania" and our SEC is launching a probe of cryptocurrency promoters here.

German elections: German Chancellor Angela Merkel finally, after six months of trying has been able to form a government. She got her governing coalition with the center-left Social Democrats. This has been the longest time Germany has been without a new government in its postwar history. Germany is the most powerful nation in Europe. It will be interesting to see where it goes and what its relationship with the rest of the EU will be.

    Compare the half year of uncertainty in Germany to our pretty much taken-for-granted system. We will hold an election in November and even if it results in gridlock, which it very well may, we will have a government. It has happened multiple times in the past and very often operated better than when one party controls everything. It might help to keep that in mind when the rhetoric goes nuts as the election gets closer.

   Speaking of our taken-for-granted political system here are three headlines that might give you pause for thought (all from the RJ).
2/7/18 Male, Maldives: Order to free imprisoned opposition pols annulled.
Three Supreme Court Justices annulled their own order to free opposition leaders after two of them were arrested. "The new ruling came as President Gayoom moved to assert his power over the Court . . . . . ordering security forces to raid the court compound  where the Justices were arrested."

3/2/18 Paris, France: Marine LePen tweeted images of Islamic State violence including the brutal murder of American reporter James Foley. She is charged with "distribution of violent images" and faces up to three years in prison and a $90,000 fine.

3/2/18 Warsaw, Poland: " Polish law targeting some Holocaust speech in effect."
The Polish government doesn't like death camps like Auschwitz being called Polish when in fact they were built by the Nazis on occupied Polish territory.
Solution: Make such speech illegal.

  2/11/18 LVRJ:  "Have a cup of joe and take-home Jade or Mia” 
We're getting our own Cat Cafe!! It's going to open in April on East California Ave. with an emphasis on adoption. According to the article it will be in three parts; one for food, a separate room for the cats and a patio outside for cats and customers. I wish them well. It would be great if they can overcome the problems reported in the Wall Street Journal article I reported in last month's Foghorn and make a go of it.

    A note about the Guardianship mess:
A quick review: If you do not have a named guardian on file with the Secretary of State you are totally exposed to the rotten system of guardianship that exists in Nevada. Your Trust means nothing. Power of Attorney means nothing. Even the form you filled and sent to the Vegas Voice now means nothing.

    The very good news is that last session the Legislature passed a law creating a guardianship lock box within the office of Secretary of State. The law voided the form we sent to the Vegas Voice and they have been destroyed.

    We all know government. It's their way or no way. Now we have to do it all over again using their form a procedure.  You can name the same people you did before. Whoever you want and is willing to do it.
I am going to attend a Vegas Voice Seminar and will report to you what I learn in the next issue of the Foghorn. 

              In the meantime, Stay Healthy!!

Vice-President Knight Allen can be reached at: