Two things to note first this week, which are taxes and politics.
First, the tax filing deadline for federal income taxes is April 18th. Typically it would be Monday April 17th, since the 15th falls on Saturday this year. However, the 17th is a holiday in the DC area, so this year, your tax filing deadline is Tuesday April 18th.
You can file an extension, of course, and many do, using Form 4868. This gives you the option of filing at any time within the next six months, with the final filing deadline for 2016 being on October 16th, 2017. Note that an extension of time to file is not an extension of a time to pay. If you have a balance due the IRS, you must pay that by the 18th.
The second item is the special election for Georgia Congressional District 6. Tom Price, former representative from District 6, has been appointed as Health and Human Services Secretary, in the Trump administration.
The special election is being held Tuesday, April 18th. The field includes eleven Republicans, five Democrats, and two Independents. If you live in District 6, we encourage you to vote. It would be nice if the potential representatives were subject to the same rules the voters are, meaning they must live in the district in order to be a candidate to represent the district. That’s not the case in Georgia.
Speaking of politics, let me offer some clarity. The United States of America is not, nor has it ever been, a democracy. It is a representative republic. Of the available forms of governance, a representative republic is probably the least obnoxious for the majority. That is of course, until the populace discovers, as Cicero, Jefferson, and others have noted, that they can vote themselves benefits from the Treasury.
Speaking of tax deadlines, a couple of additional notes. If you have an interest in making IRA contributions, whether deductible, non-deductible, or Roth, you may make those until April 18th, provided you qualify, unless you have already filed your return. The contribution limit is $5500 per person. IRA contributions require you to have earned income, and there are limits on the types of IRA contributions you can make, based on income, and your access to other retirement plans. For those of you age 50 and older in 2016, you get a bonus. You can contribute up to $6500.
If you are an employer, and have in mind making some type of employer contribution to a retirement plan, you have until the earlier of the time you file your corporate return, including extensions, or September 15th, 2017, which is the final return filing deadline for corporate returns. Employer contributions are typically SEP IRA contributions, or match, discretionary, or profit-sharing contributions tied to a 401(k) plan, or defined benefit or cash balance contributions.
On the economic front, the recent jobs report showed the U.S. adding just 98,000 new jobs in March, roughly half analysts’ estimates. In spite of this, the official unemployment rate dipped to 4.5% in March, from 4.7% in February.
Digging into the jobs report a bit, we see that 28,000 jobs were added in manufacturing, and 70,000 were added in services. Average hourly earnings were up 0.2% for March, and are up 2.7% in the last twelve months.
Most Americans have access to terrific health care. The challenges with health care in America revolves around two issues. One is financing, as in who is going to pay for it? The other is the delivery of top quality care to those Americans in rural or isolated areas.
Stroke victims have about a three hour window during which they can receive tPA (tissue plasminogen activator), a clot-busting treatment. The tPA treatment is highly effective in treating strokes but, in order to prescribe it, neurologists must view a CT scan to confirm blockage to the brain. Many stroke victims in rural areas are beyond the three hour window by the time they visit their local hospital, and are then transferred to a larger hospital with the staff and technology to properly evaluate their condition, and prescribe treatment.
Five specialists from Augusta University, formerly Medical College of Georgia, including Grant Kohler and Dr. David Hess, were determined to make lifesaving changes which would allow faster diagnosis and treatment for rural stroke patients. In 2003, they launched REACH, one of the nation’s first telestroke programs, which allowed MCG neurologists to connect with eight hospitals in East Central Georgia via fairly primitive audio and video hardware.
The technology worked, and has continued to improve, saving lives and improving outcomes. Due to demand, Kohler and Hess have commercialized the concept, as REACH Health, and it is making a difference across the country. You can read the entire article in Georgia Trend, at http://www.georgiatrend.com/April-2017/Trendsetters-Reaching-Rural-Patients/.
Quote of the week:
“Giving money and power to government is like giving whisky and car keys to teenage boys.”