Monday, December 17, 2012

Transfer of Wealth

Interesting article on regarding some "Super Wealthy" individuals calling for higher estate taxes.

Richard Rockefeller, an heir to Standard Oil founder John D. Rockefeller, noted that a stronger estate tax would also encourage more philanthropy, since charitable gifts can reduce one's taxable estate.
"If the world I leave behind is one of gated communities, growing inequality and misery among the have-nots, downward mobility for the middle class, a degraded environment and a rotting social and physical infrastructure -- then [my children's] inheritance will be a shabby one -- no matter how much money they get," he said.

It's a challenging debate - how much to tax inheritance. The two sides I will discuss:
1) If I manage to save a lot of money over my lifetime, why shouldn't I be able to pass it along to my children if I so choose, and without the government getting their hands all over it?
2) Use it or lose it. Spend it or donate it, but passing it along to perpetuate a block of wealth is not in greater society's best interests.
Let's say that I do really well at my job financially and decide to save a lot of the money I earn rather than spend it as I take it in. With those savings, I did a few things that worked out. The financial tools like stocks, funds, and bonds that I chose, overall, did very well. I purchased some real estate that I turned into rental property and that made some money. The house that we bought and improved over the years is worth much more than the price I paid plus the equity invested. Now it's time for me to decide what to do with my money.
On the one side. . .
I have two children and they're pretty good people, so they get the money. It will not only allow them to lead comfortable lives as well as help provide for their families, but may allow them to pursue an occupation that, perhaps does not pay as well but it what they love to do. Perhaps they will, in turn, invest it effectively and see it grow.
What I don't want to see is the government decide how to spend my money. They already took taxes out of it once, either through income taxes or capital gains taxes. Now they want to tax it again? If I want to donate some of it to schools, medical research, or another benevolent purpose, that is my business.
On the other hand . . .
I want to give some money to my children. Like paying for clothing, food, college and weddings, I enjoy gifting to my children. At some point, though, they need to stand on their own two feet and make their own way. By giving them an abundance of wealth, I am enabling them to live lives of leisure rather than action. I made my money though hard work and making wise investments. Those are the lessons that I want to pass along. By no means do I want my legacy carried on by people who live in the spotlight or at a country club.
Having a higher tax rate will either force me to donate part of my wealth to organizations and groups who have values that I would like perpetuated or it will go toward paying for government expenditures on things that we all need like infrastructure and research.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gimme The Beef

Of course, just after posting something about adding more vegetables to my diet, I am posting something about finding a better way to consume a bane of climate change in roast beef.

It spawned from my desire to get away from consuming meat purchased from a deli counter. I love deli. Love it. The problem is that the stuff behind the counter is preserved with shelf-stabilizing additives that, I believe, are not fit for human consumption. We are able to process these chemicals but, over time, they wear us down. So I began to look for a meat slicer.

As it turns out, my search was happening around the time of my birthday and someone was generous enough to buy a very nice consumer-grade slicer. (If ever my kitchen decides to expand on its own, a commercial-grade slicer may follow.)

The next task was to find recipes for turkey breast and roast beef. Googling "home made deli meat" gave me several hits to roast beef recipes, so that was my first attempt.

One of the things I wondered about was, what cut of beef is used for your typical, sliced roast beef? Top sirloin and eye of round seemed to be two common cuts for the job. While Peoria Packing in the Fulton Market District had it for $3.29/lb, I took the easy road and bought from Costco for $4.89/lb. (If I start doing it more often, I will likely head for savings.)

The recipe I used, from the Hungry Mouse, called for 500 degrees F for 20 minutes, then drop the temp to 300 for another 30 minutes. In re-reading that, I realize that I failed miserably, still achieving good results. Attention to detail is not always my strong suit. I only blasted the meat at 500 for 20 minutes, then took it out. It's on the rare side, all right! But it is delicious.

Back it up. So here I was with this meat and Bunny, my daughter. She loves to cook, so she helped me pour and spread the olive oil. Then I poured some Kosher salt, ground black pepper, and garlic salt into ramekins for her to sprinkle over top. After we seasoned both sides, into the oven they went.

Now I know why I thought the thermometer was broken! After 10 minutes, I expected the temp to start moving. No such luck. After the "full" 20, nothing. So I pulled the meat and tented it, thinking the thermometer was broken. Turns out, I basically seared the stuff.

Still, it was very tasty. Costco sold two eye of round roasts in a package and the total weight was 2.75 lbs. I roasted both at the same time. They were both wrapped in foil and put into the fridge to cool. (Meat is easier to slice when it's cold.) The roast that was not sliced was put into a Ziploc bag and I sucked as much of the air from it as possible before sealing it and placing in the freezer. Maybe after I thaw it, I will put it back in the oven and cook it low and slow. Could be a great way to partially cook and freeze. Will let you know how that turns out.

In the meantime, roast beef sandwiches all week!!!

More veggies!

Many of us struggle to add vegetables to our daily diet. I just made a really yummy veggie dish and wanted to share.

I took I hand full of Normandy vegetables that I bought from Costco which has broccoli, carrots, squash, cauliflower, added in some frozen chopped bell peppers and onions and put them into a pan preheated with olive oil. After reducing the heat to medium low, I covered with a lid. This defrosts the vegetables and steams them in the ice crystals that formed naturally during the freezing process.

After 3 or 4 minutes, I took the lead off, returned the pan to medium heat, added a pinch of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of red chili powder and tossed. After 2 minutes I added a precooked piece of bacon that had been chopped into one inch pieces and cooked with the vegetables for 2 minutes. Then I served myself.

Good stuff.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reliving Other's Experiences

Bunny has been talking about her make-believe dog dying.

This morning, we learned that our friend's dog passed away overnight. He was old and was having a hard time getting around. He was a sweetheart.

Now, Bunny says that her dog ate a bug, started coughing, and died.

I plan to update this with more analysis when I get back to my desktop.

Recent Developments

JD used the house key to open the lock on the front door today.

He has also begun the early stages of reading, as he can see and say somewhere between ten and twenty words.

Seek but not much hiding

Funny how kids think nobody can see them when they close their eyes.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Best Present

My birthday is tomorrow but we had our families over to celebrate today. After opening my gifts, Bunny brought a princess gift bag filled with some of her toys. She said, "Happy birthday, Daddy!" And I opened my gift. It was as sweet as it gets.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Girl's Best Imaginary Friend

Apparently, Bunny has three dogs. Their names are Harley, Gas, and Bass
She also has four cats: Rags, Katy, Hazel, and Bass.

Coincidentally, our Bunny's best friend Hazel and her mom, Katy, recently moved away.