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Posts Made By: Maurice Clark

February 14, 2019 06:26 AM Forum: Politics

Average Tax Refund Down 8%

Posted By Maurice Clark

Hi Greg,

Perhaps you need to learn to do the maths. For example, my federal income tax dropped by $7 per month on an annual salary of around $60,000. But thanks to the elimination of work related expenses deduction and others, instead of getting a refund of around $600, I have a tax bill of around $1600!

So, in return for giving me an extra $84 a year in my pay packet, they take over $2,000! I am sure there are many others in the same boat.

Thanks a lot repubs!

Maurice

February 14, 2019 11:34 PM Forum: N.A.S.A.

R.I.P. Opportunity

Posted By Maurice Clark

After 15+ years of exploration, Opportunity's mission is finally over.

Yesterday NASA officially declared the Opportunity mission on Mars ended.  Opportunity had not been heard from since shutting down during the worst dust storm ever observed on Mars last June.  Despite repeated attempts to re-establish communications, all attempts failed.

Planetary Society write-up here:-  http://www.planetary.org/explore/space-topics/space-missions/mer-updates/2019/02-mer-update-opportunity-complete.html

Including this tribute:-

WE LET YOU GO

So unjust, so unfair that in the end it was the dust that killed you,
Not the natural wear and tear or honourable rust of old age.
Everyone who loved you knew the Sol would come
When Mars finally murdered you; we expected
Howls of rage as an axle broke
Or your computer had a stroke,
But not… this.

Around the world, laboratories and living rooms alike
Were filled with helpless sighs as that dust storm
Covered Endeavour’s Big Country sky, swirling ochre clouds
Of fines blotting out your Sun and settling on your back,
Blinding you, smothering you, choking you…

Today, as they declare your mission has ended
And the Deep Space Network’s great concave ears
Turn away from you with a grinding and groaning of gears
I can’t help wondering if you’re still alive.
Does your electronic pilot light still flicker inside you?
Does your brave digital heart still beat in your deep, deep sleep?
Have we abandoned you too soon?
Are Barsoom’s twin moons shining down on you
As you cling stubbornly to life, needing just one more
Whisper of code to prise open your dust-caked eyes?

We’ll never know.
There’ll be no more calling out your name from Earth’s front porch;
We’ve gone inside and closed the door behind us
Because there’s nothing left to try.
Every die has been thrown a dozen times;
Every desperate plea shouted at the sky has gone unanswered.
No-one can do any more,
So it’s time to say goodbye.

Perhaps, on one far future day, a weary Martian,
Standing on Cape Tribulation’s sunlit peak
Will sweep their gaze up and down the meandering
Curves of Perseverance Valley and see you standing there -
A statue, thick with dust, your shadow stretching down to
And out across Endeavour’s floor – and bound down to you,
Sweeping your back clean with their gloved hands
And understand the treasure they’ve found…

But our time with you is over.
And so, Opportunity, our brave, bold girl,
We let you go.
© Stuart Atkinson 2019

February 15, 2019 05:38 AM Forum: Politics

Average Tax Refund Down 8%

Posted By Maurice Clark

Hi Jim,

No, I am not an independent contractor. I am a full-time university professor on a salary. Where I am being hit most is by the elimination of work-related expenses. Things like traveling between campuses, traveling to observatories to do research, traveling to conferences, books, and many others. Little of this gets refunded by the university, and grants for science are way down now. (thanks repubs!) so all this has to be self-funded. Also the elimination of overseas property taxes has hurt. There are also other deductions that are no longer allowed.

While I can understand maybe the elimination of overseas property taxes, I cannot fathom the elimination of work related expenses. It makes no sense. Unless it is meant to help pay for the tax break for the rich!

Maurice

February 15, 2019 05:48 AM Forum: Politics

Average Tax Refund Down 8%

Posted By Maurice Clark

    Hi Greg,

    Here is the relevant section from page 1 of the instructions for Schedule A.

    "No miscellaneous itemized deductions allowed. You can no longer claim any miscellaneous itemized deductions, including the deduction for unreimbursed job expenses. Miscellaneous itemized deductions are those deductions that would have been subject to the 2 percent of adjusted gross income limitation. See Line 16, later, for a list of other itemized deductions you can still claim in addition to the ones claimed using lines 1 through 15."

    You have not indicated where you found that list, but I suspect that it is for business owners, not employees.

    I stand by my statement.

    Maurice

February 18, 2019 10:55 AM Forum: Politics

Average Tax Refund Down 8%

Posted By Maurice Clark

Richie,

Just for once I will bother to reply to you since your latest posts contain so many distortions and mis-representations. Typical for you!

Firstly, where do you get the idea that I have a 6-figure salary? Either you are deliberately lying or you have not bothered to read this thread and are just inventing numbers just to suit yourself. Look back in the thread and you will see that I told Jim that my salary was around $60,000. Hardly a 6-figure amount as you claimed. Nor does that put me in the "upper 10% of wage earners".

Secondly, your posts clearly show that you have no idea of the role of a university professor. Not surprising considering your limited education, but let me educate you. Teaching is only one part of a professor's work responsibilities. We also have to sit on governance committees and department committees, curriculum committees, and we required to conduct research and publish the results. Much of my research I undertake during non-teaching weeks. So no, university professors are not "paid to teach", the job involves far more than that.

Regarding summer, I do not have time off during summer. When I am not doing research, I am teaching summer classes. And I most certainly do not "teach less than 150 days per year" and you so erroneously claimed. I teach far more than that.

Paid to go to conferences? How I wish!!! Most conferences are not held "in plush resorts" but basic hotels, we go in our own time (unless it is a major one like AAS or LPS) and unless the university decides to cover the cost, we pay for it ourselves. Most times the university only covers part of the cost. Yet attendance at such conferences and presenting papers is a requirement of our position. Also, I do not attend conferences alone. I have students who conduct research with me and attend to present their results. So yes, in that sense I am teaching when attending a conference.

As for "being lucky I can itemize on schedule A", you clearly do not have any idea. As I said earlier, I am far from being in the top of wage earners. Itemising simple means I have a lot of expenses that others do not have.

Jealous because I can go to professional observatories and use good equipment? That is not the result of luck. Rather it is the result of many years of very hard work, study and research. Anyone could do the same and have the same job. just study hard, do research and gain a PhD in Astronomy or Physics. Then such positions are open to you. Oh, I forgot, such study is far beyond your capabilities!

A couple of other points; 8 to 5!?!  How I wish!!!  The only time I leave my office before 8 pm is Friday when for religious reasons I have to leave before sundown. And I am almost always in my office on Sunday working on research papers, or grading. And this does not include when I am conducting night labs. Also, despite your snide comment, I am at work today. We do not get president's day off. In fact, my classes today do not finish until 9pm! So I will be here until about10pm. Then I will go home, try to cook something for dinner adn work while I am eating.


One last point. Where do you get the idea that I am a liberal? For your information, although I have voted in almost every election since 1970, I have never voted liberal once. And never will.

Maurice