This Thanksgiving: Remind people about ACA sign-ups!

If you’re out and about with people you don’t normally see, Thanksgiving is a great time to remind people about Affordable Care Act sign-ups!  (And maybe explain that the silver plan prices are going way up but the bronze and gold plan prices aren’t.)

And hey, if you’re going to be talking about politics, it might be a good time to gently nudge people to do a little bit of activism.  There’s a lot of things to call about.  If your friends and family care about something specific but don’t know what to do, 5Calls probably has a script for it!  If they feel like their Democratic party isn’t helping but they want a group to join, hook them up with Indivisible.   If they want a place to target their money for the 2018 election, tell them about SwingLeft.  If they’d like a list of weekly suggestions, there’s a bunch of choices, like Jennifer Hoffman’s checklist , Wall of Us, or Actions for Americans.

For those of you stuck doing Thanksgiving with neonazis and other bigots because of “family obligations”, you have our sympathy.

In other news, #1’s family has decided on a boring traditional Thanksgiving this year.  Last year we got catering complete with fancy takes on each part of the meal (but the friends we had over have to visit their family this year for various family drama reasons).  The year before we did a vegetarian Thanksgiving with vegetarian friends.  The year before that was duck!  So we’re due for simple again.

Cornbread stuffing
Green bean casserole (it was going to be green bean almondine which is super easy to make, but DC2 expressed a preference for creamy sauce)
sweet potato casserole (my sister is going to make a savory version)
cranberry sauce (my sister has volunteered for this one as well)
apple pie
pumpkin pie
vanilla ice cream

My sister has also decided she wants to bring Brussels sprouts which she and DH can enjoy, DC1 and I can avoid, and DC2 can try to see if zie likes it. We still have some in the freezer from the catering last Thanksgiving…  (Yuck.)

What are your plans?


Switching away from Roth to Traditional retirement savings as a form of protest– even if it is suboptimal monetarily

The general conventional wisdom is that if you think you’ll be in a higher tax bracket now than at retirement, you should put tax-advantaged retirement (IRA/401(k)/403b/457b etc.) money in traditional retirement savings rather than in Roth savings.  That means you don’t pay taxes now, but you pay taxes later.  If you think you’ll be in a lower tax bracket at retirement, you should put your retirement money in Roth because you pay the taxes now, but will not have to pay taxes on the earnings later.

I have assumed that while our income will likely be lower in retirement, our tax brackets have a very good chance of being higher because they’ve been at historical lows and because we didn’t fix Social Security and Medicare when we had the chance, most likely we’ll be paying for big chunks of those out of general revenue (indeed, that’s the argument the last trustee of SS [Trump has not appointed any trustees, which is bad] made at a very depressing talk he gave recently).  So that would imply that for optimizing our wealth, we should do Roths now and pay the taxes now and live large on tax-free earnings later.  Of course, I’m not 100% sure that that’s going to happen or even that the US government will keep its promises about the tax-free status of the Roth vehicle.

So what I’ve been doing, as I tend to do when I have no idea what to do, is I’ve been using a 1/n heuristic.  Half my retirement money goes in traditional.  Half my retirement money goes in Roth.

If the Republicans pass their tax plan, chances are it will make even more monetary sense for me to put money in Roths– pay those taxes now because there’s no point trying to get my AGI down.

And yet… the Republicans are going to dig a huge hole in the national debt with their “no taxing rich people/no spending on investing in our future/spend a lot on the already rich and powerful” plans.  The US government is going to need my money more later when good people are in charge and the Republicans will have to face what they’ve done to the US sooner if they get less tax money now.  So I’m feeling like it will be patriotic to squeeze them now and pay more in taxes several decades down the line.  Even if that means that we end up with a smaller net worth when we die.

So… even though it’s a bit of paperwork for me… I think I’m going to change over all of my retirement savings to traditional.  Because the US government will need that tax money later.  I know it’s only a drop in the bucket for the US, especially given that they want to increase the deficit by well over 1.5 trillion this year alone, but I do what I can.

Of course, Republicans could mandate that all preferred retirement savings be in the form of Roth so they get taxed now instead of later.  And it sounds pretty likely that they’re going to make it so government employees can’t take advantage of both the 403(b) and the 457, which will cut my optional retirement saving in half.  That’s a way to punish high earning government employees (particularly those who don’t get much in the way of direct employer contributions) and a way to get good people to not want to work for the government (so either salaries would have to increase or other benefits would increase).  But I suspect these politicians don’t want competent people working as civil servants.  And they want to punish state and local employees, because why not.

How do you decide between Traditional and Roth options?

Dingoes Ate My Link Love

What even, you folks.  I think my ancient laptop might finally be giving up the ghost.  Anyway…

Maybe I can format these on my other computer!

Some of these are NOT actually lies: …

Looking for a gift?
(coffee is life)

my favorite meme:


Cute adorbz animals:

Ask the grumpies: non-team sports for kids

Sandy L asks:

What non team sports do you think are useful to learn for a kid (swimming, biking, etc)

Well, as you say, swimming is a big one here– that could save a life.  Biking is also useful… biking is a great form of transportation.  I’d never really thought of the option of not learning how to ride a bike, though to be honest, I didn’t learn until I was 7 and we moved out of a city and had a place to practice.

In terms of “etc”… I am honestly not thinking of any.  There probably are things that would be useful like, say, martial arts, but we’re not having our kids do them.  My sister would argue in favor of dance because of strength and balance and stuff.  Others could make that argument with gymnastics.

Grumpy Nation, what non-team sports do you think are useful to learn?

Ask the readers: How to get the word out about ACA enrollment?

The Trump administration is trying to kill the Affordable Care Act administratively since they’ve failed legislatively.

Open enrollment is open from Nov 1st to Dec 15th this year.  (In previous years, people had the chance to look over their plans during their winter holiday vacation.  This year that’s out.)

The website will be shut down every Sunday from Midnight until noon for “Maintenance” except for Dec 10th.  I assume that’s to keep people from getting help before or after church.

Advertising has been cut, money for people to help navigate the system has been cut.

Then there’s some bizarre stuff going on with the previously most popular “silver” plans– rates on these have skyrocketed because of government malfeasance, and it may actually cost the same (possibly less!) to get a “gold” plan than to get a silver plan.  (“Bronze” plans will cost about the same as before, but are generally high deductible.)

Forbes has an excellent article detailing these and other points as well as giving advice.  Huffington post also has a great article/video giving advice for navigating the system.

I’ve seen various twitter accounts reminding people to sign up for the Affordable Care Act.  But I wonder, what can we do to get to word out to people who don’t follow activists on Twitter?  I’ve posted a sign on my door at work and am considering mentioning it in class.  Most of my students (at least in the past when I’ve asked) are still on their parents’ plans.

Let’s brainstorm… any suggestions for how to get this information out? 

You can give your expensive shoes a longer life by replacing the inserts

[#2 already knew this, but didn’t tell #1 because it never occurred to her that #1 wouldn’t know this]

I was doing some post-conference shoe shopping (I <3 pikolinos!!) because the naot maryjanes I bought two years ago weren’t as comfy as they were, you know, two years ago.  The salesman, after selling me on a new pair of pikolino maryjanes that I am completely and totally in love with noted that I could extend the life of my naots by replacing the inserts because the sole was still going strong, I’d just worn down the insides.  So he sold me a pair of inserts (and a pair of sandals that I’m not completely in love with, but are comfortable and fill another need, since I don’t know when I’ll be at another Euro shoe store).

And he put the new inserts in my shoes and indeed, I no longer needed to buy the pikolinos, but I did anyway because I love them.  I have two more pairs of Naot maryjanes that can have their lives extended with new inserts as well, so I’m planning on going online and getting replacements.  Now, replacements are not cheap– $55 per pair, but that’s a lot less expensive than fancy new shoes.

I knew cowboy boots could be resoled and I knew Birkenstocks could be recorked, but I didn’t realize there was such an easy fix for Naots.  And who knows, maybe my beloved Pikolinos at some point in the future as well.

Do you repair your shoes, or do you just buy new when they wear out?

This time late link love isn’t really my fault

My internet went out last night when I tried to do them.  Sure, I could have done them earlier, but it has been an insanely busy week.  (Let’s also ignore the fact that I finished DragonBox big numbers this week.)

Under Trump, Obamacare Shopping is Even More Confusing.  Here’s Huffington Post with an explanation.    The video is also worth watching.

Indivisible has a new website out with a new tool working to get principled people running and winning elections in every congressional district in the country.

More info on the GOP tax cut Also, here’s how it could (partly) destroy higher education in America.  Here’s how it might affect Californians.

At a conference recently, a colleague living in a college town in a blue state who has never so much as seen a Trump sticker in her life yelled at me that we need to be doing more to communicate with Trump supporters and that Trump isn’t racist(?) and when I call him racist I’m alienating people and she’s sure that he has some policies that aren’t racist or enriching himself.  I remember people arguing that *before* the election.  But now.  No.  “we gotta focus on enfranchising and energizing our side“.  In fact, here’s a good response from a logical person.  As David Perry argues in this excellent thread, they are only a problem for Dems if we court them.  Let’s stay the anti-Nazi party!

A discussion of the military and civilians and guns.   A discussion of the military, domestic violence records, and gun background checks.  Back in February, Trump signed a bill revoking Obama-Era gun checks for people with mental illnesses.

This thread is SICKENING.  Here’s where you can give money to Moore’s opponent Doug JonesDoug Jones is a good man who prosecuted the KKK members who killed four little girls in a church bombing in 1963.  A Jones victory would send a signal that it is NOT RIGHT for adults to “date” 14 year old girls, even with “their mother’s permission“.

Who can defend the sexualization of work environments now?

Russian trolls didn’t need to infiltrate the American media because WE LET THEM IN

If the election anniversary is hitting you hard, here’s why.

The election anniversary didn’t hit me too hard, here’s why.

If white characters were described like people of color in literature

Reviews of diverse books

More gems from marking

Why do banana candies taste like not bananas

Why it is TK not TC