Florida Congressman Proposes Disaster Savings Accounts

By Michael Adams | December 3, 2013
Disaster Savings

  • December 4, 2013 at 9:58 am
    Roland says:
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    Just what we need: another nutty-nanny federal program to make your 1040 even more complicated.
    Those footsteps you hear are the politically-connected financial institutions getting in line for their cut of the “trustee” action.
    Woe to the taxpayer who gets in a financial pinch and has to withdraw money for other purposes. He’ll get clobbered with that 20 percent penalty, and, I assume, also have to pay income tax on it.
    I have a better idea: end any federal government activity that is not specifically authorized by the Constitution, and then end the individual income tax since it will no longer be needed. Most taxpayers will save way more than $5,000 a year, and with no strings attached they can then invest it, spend it or give it away as they see fit.
    Gasp! Letting people do what they want with their own money? What an un-American thought!

    • December 4, 2013 at 2:16 pm
      Ron says:
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      Roland,

      Have you read Article I; Section 8; Line 1?

      1: The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United

      Based on this part of the Constitution, please list the government activities that do not fall into any of these categories and the money saved compared to individual income taxes collected.

      If you want to be a strict Constitutionalist, then you need to embrace the ambiguity of a document that does not specifically authorize activities line by line.

      Who are you to decide what promotes the general Welfare of the United States more than me or anyone else?

      • December 5, 2013 at 9:21 am
        Roland says:
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        “…a document that does not specifically authorize activities line by line.”
        But it is required by the 10th Amendment to authorize line by line exactly what powers the federal government is to have. Everything else is to be left to the states or to the people. Since there is nothing in Article I Section 8 that gives Congress the power to meddle in the saving habits of individuals, it should butt out.
        The promotion of the “general welfare” may only be done within the confines of the enumerated powers. Otherwise, the Constitution might as well have had just one sentence: “The central government of the United States may do whatever it wants to do to promote the general welfare.” BTW, even though the 16th Amendment authorized an income tax, a progressive income tax is still unconstitutional since it is not uniform.
        Having said all that, I no longer believe the Constitution is worth anything when it comes to limiting government. As you correctly point out, it is ambiguous to the point of hilarity. I used to read it frequently and advocate that voters hold politicians to it. That’s a joke. It was a failure from the start, designed intentionally with holes big enough to drive FEMA trailers through. If the framers had really wanted limited government they would have stuck with the Articles of Confederation.
        The Constitution was a huge victory for the centralizers. The Supreme Court’s ruling that the power to tax could be applied to the Obamacare fines to legitimize the whole nutty program should have put to rest once and for all the fantasy that the Constitution can be relied on to impede the federal monstrosity.
        I once made a list of all of the expenditures in George Bush’s budget, and then added up only the ones that are actually authorized by the Constitution. After subtracting that total from revenue, I ended up with a $1.5 trillion surplus.
        Who am I to decide? I don’t want to decide anything for you or anyone else; I am responsible only for myself and my family. Statists, on the other hand, clamor for government to “help” people by having the central authorities decide what is best for them. I appreciate their concern, but no thanks.

        • December 5, 2013 at 11:55 am
          Ron says:
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          “But it is required by the 10th Amendment to authorize line by line exactly what powers the federal government is to have.” Where in the Constitution are the line by line powers of the federal government?

          “BTW, even though the 16th Amendment authorized an income tax, a progressive income tax is still unconstitutional since it is not uniform.”

          The 16th Amendment states:
          “The Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.”

          Based on this terminology, how to you interpret a progressive income tax as unconstitutional?

          If you believe that the Constitution is not worth anything when it comes to limiting government, why do you want to use it as a means to limit government?

          • December 9, 2013 at 2:47 pm
            LiveFree says:
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            The constitution as originally intended was a very good idea to limit government, but had it’s flaws for certain. These flaws were pointed out by the anti-federalist back in the day. Antifederalists opposed the Constitution on the grounds that its checks on federal power would be undermined by expansive interpretations of promoting the “general welfare” (which would be claimed for every law) and the “all laws necessary and proper” clause (which would be used to override limits on delegated federal powers), creating a federal government with unwarranted and undelegated powers that were bound to be abused.

            I believe they were right unfortunately. Also they couldn’t predict back then that the commerce clause was going to be abused to justify almost any conceivable federal intervention; or that the 16th Amendment would open the way for a federal income tax in 1913.

            I used to be a strict constitutionalist, and I still believe is was intended to be interpreted to limit the government effectively but it was ratified without fixing these loopholes to allow the power hungry to gain traction and therefore it only served to catalyze the mess we have today.

          • December 15, 2013 at 3:06 pm
            Roland says:
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            Perhaps “line by line” was not a good choice of words. The specific powers are listed in Article I for Congress, Article II for the executive, etc. If a power ain’t mentioned then they’re not supposed to have it. You listed some of the powers granted to Congress in your previous post, leading me to believe you understood this. Don’t you? The powers of government are supposed to be few, and have to be specifically enumerated. The rights of the people are many, and don’t have to be enumerated.
            Where in the 16th Amendment does it give Congress the power to tax some incomes at a different rate than other incomes? That power is not mentioned, therefore the original requirement that taxes be uniform stands.
            I think it would be fine and dandy if the Constitution were used to limit government, since that’s what its purpose supposedly was (Jefferson used imagery of “chaining down” politicians with it). What I’m saying is that I no longer have any hope that it will be used for that. Politicians and bureaucrats have a vested interest in growing the government, so they’re not going to pay any attention to the concept of enumerated powers, and their lapdog media have apparently convinced most people that there should be no limits on government power at all. You could serve as my Exhibit A. Apologists for the centralized state constantly argue in its favor. They act as though turning back the role of government to what it was 200 years ago would entail turning back all of human progress to what it was 200 years ago. Nonsense. Why you think it’s a good idea to have 545 self-interested demagogues in one city deciding what’s best for 300+ million of us is beyond me.

  • December 4, 2013 at 10:41 am
    SWFL Agent says:
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    Don’t understand this one. Don’t we want to encourage homeowners to spend money on wind mitigation features instead of putting it into a savings account and letting it rollover each year?

  • December 4, 2013 at 1:18 pm
    Ann Actuary says:
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    According to http://www.opensecrets.org/politicians/summary.php?cid=N00030645 , most of Rep Ross’s campaign funds came from PACs lead by Home Depot, banks, and insurance companies. Dennis’s proposal would directly benefit those businesses. I’m not convinced that the proposal would benefit his constituents. Rather than creating more tax loopholes, how about getting people to move away from hurricane and earthquake prone areas? Or improving the building codes?

    • December 4, 2013 at 1:46 pm
      SWFL Agent says:
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      Okay, I’ll move away from my hurricane prone area. Can I move near you, have you pay for my relocation, and offer me employment where you work? If so, it’s done deal.

  • December 4, 2013 at 1:41 pm
    DJ says:
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    Did this say have HO set aside $$….as in SAVE???
    Are they saying folks actually SAVE $$ ???

    Get real!

  • December 4, 2013 at 5:50 pm
    Jimbo says:
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    What concerns me here is the availability of the funds at the time of crisis. You have a bank in control of paying out funds (eeek!) in a disaster situation. Will you be able to verify that you own those funds when your file cabinet is under 6 feet of water? More to the point, how many people will actually put and keep $5,000 in an account? Don’t we live in a consumer society? What about unforeseen medical expenses? Job loss? All 6 kids need root canals?! What if you die? Can you will the money to the kids account tax free? I kinda worry on this one. You would be better off passing legislation that would allow you to pull out the money from an IRA, 401K or other investment account tax & penalty free for the purposes of recovering from a disaster than creating a whole new level of oversight, rule making and frustration.

    • December 5, 2013 at 12:41 am
      Robert says:
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      Read the bill: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr3298ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr3298ih.pdf. The point of the legislation isn’t to accumulate money for after a disaster, it’s to spend money *before* a disaster to improve the survivability of the home. Think of health savings accounts – you set aside money with pre-tax dollars that can be used for healthcare expenses. This law would would operate similarly, allowing pre-tax dollars to be spent on disaster readiness.

  • December 6, 2013 at 10:47 am
    Jeff says:
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    My problem with this idea is not constitutional. My objection is that we are adding another layer of complexity to the tax code that inevitably creates more unfairness. I get a tax break if I put money in these funds, but not if I buy shutters for my windows? I get a tax break for the funding my fund, but not for buying homeowners insurance?

    We should be going the other way and not use the tax code to reward and punish particular behaviors. Why should I get a tax deduction for mortgage interest, but a renter gets nothing? Why should I get a deduction for giving money to a government certified charity, but not for helping my neighbor personally? We should be minimizing these special deals, and tax people in a more simple, straight-forward and predictable manner. People know- or should know- that they need to prepare for disasters. Let virtue be its own reward.

  • December 14, 2013 at 9:29 am
    Eddy says:
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    If the site states that they might share your information with unnamed “third parties,” you have no guarantee that the “third parties” will protect your information from identity theft. There is no telling how they file this information and the amount of people who will readily have access. When evaluating symmetry, the most important area to check is the alignment of the crown (top) to the pavilion (bottom).



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