The Doolittle Raiders Are All Now History

Shortly after the Japanese bombed our naval base at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle led a raid to bomb Tokyo on April 18, 1942. He recruited 80 volunteers to fly 16 land-based B-25s. They took off from an aircraft carrier with roughly 500 feet of runway. The B-25s normally needed thousands of feet of runway to take off, so they were stripped and were able to lift. When they took off, they were roughly 400 miles from Tokyo and barely had enough fuel to make it. Once the mission was successfully completed they continued on and their planes crashed in the mountains in China. They parachuted out in the dark of night. Lt. Dick Cole jumped 9000 feet from his doomed bomber and ultimately landed in a tree. He had never parachuted before.

Lt. Cole died just two weeks ago at age 103 and an epic chapter in American History was closed. After the raid, the crew was soon reunited. With the Japanese in close pursuit, a harrowing escape began. Three men were killed in action, eight pilots were captured, three were executed, one died in captivity, and the remaining men made it back with the help of the Chinese. At each raider reunion, there were 80 silver goblets, one for each airman. They would drink toasts to those who had died in the previous year, then overturn the lost men’s goblets. The final goblet belonged to Lt. Dick Cole, the last of that brave group known as Lt. Col. Jimmy Doolittle’s Raiders.

The raid shocked the Japanese, prompting them to contract their forces and aim for Midway.  In winning that battle, America began to win the war.

When you take time to remember the sacrifices that our brave men and women in the armed forces made for our freedom you should also remember this quote by Benjamin Franklin: “They who give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” You should then listen to the candidates running for president and decide if giving up your liberty for your safety, and then losing both, was worth it. Americans will decide in 2020 if they want to give up their liberty for their safety.

That is all today. Let me know if you have a question—you can call my office or simply leave a comment on this post.

A Quick Overview of Tax Reform Changes

The changes enacted by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act affect every taxpayer filing a 2018 tax return this year. To help my fellow taxpayers understand these changes, I have prepared a quick overview below.

Tax Rates Lowered

Starting in 2018, tax rates are lower for almost every income bracket. The seven rates range from 10 percent to 37 percent.

Standard Deduction Nearly Doubled

For 2018, the basic standard deduction is $12,000 for singles, $18,000 for head of household, and $24,000 for married couples filing a joint return. Higher amounts apply to people who are blind or at least age 65. Along with other changes, this means that more than half of those who itemized their deductions in tax year 2017 may instead take the higher standard deduction on their 2018 tax return.

Itemized Deductions Limited or Discontinued

Home mortgage interest on a new mortgage above $750,000 is not deductible, as well as interest on home equity loans not used for home improvements. State and local taxes are only deductible up to $10,000, but this limit does not apply to your rental property or business taxes. All those business expenses and other miscellaneous itemized deductions that you deducted on Form 2106 and Schedule A in prior years are no longer deductible in 2018.

Child Tax Credit Doubles and Phase-out Expanded

The child tax credit is now $2,000 for each qualifying child under the age of 17. And the phase-out doesn’t begin until your AGI exceeds $400,000 for married couples and $200,000 for other taxpayers. Remember: Last year the credit was $1,000 and the phase-out began at $110,000 for married couples. This is a big deal for young families.

New Credit for Other Dependents

Taxpayers can claim a $500 credit for each dependent who doesn’t qualify for the Child Tax Credit. This includes older children, as well as qualifying relatives, such as a parent.

That is all today. I look forward to visiting with you next week. In the meantime, don’t hesitate to reach out if you have a question—you can call my office at (713) 785-8939, send me an email, or leave a comment on this post. I’d love to hear from you.