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Comment: Re:Cash and checks (Score 1) 117

by josecanuc (#47210799) Attached to: Credit Card Breach At P.F. Chang's

Often, the rewards are paid out of the merchant's pocket, not even the credit card company or the bank that issued it. Merchants are charged a percentage ranging from about 1% to 4% on purchases. Rewards cards often take the highest percentages.

In effect, your "cash back" is paid by the person from whom you are purchasing merchandise/services. That results in higher prices, as merchants adjust pricing to meet their net profit needs.

It's correct that you, the account holder, are paying your own reward, but it's not so direct that it is paid out of interest+fees.

Comment: Re:Retailers pay your visa rewards (Score 1) 732

by josecanuc (#42703245) Attached to: Credit Card Swipe Fees Begin Sunday In USA

The fee that is charged to merchants is called a "discount fee" because it typically is the amount "discounted" from the batch deposits into the merchant's bank account.

You may see articles that refer to the fees as 1-3% or so. Some cards have higher fees than others, and often even different transactions can have different fees even on the same card. Rewards cards have the highest fees, so yes, it is taken pretty much directly from the merchants. Your airmiles or whatnot are being paid to you by the people from whom you shop.

And the agreements with Visa/MC/AmEx state that a merchant can't refuse one Visa (or MC or AmEx) and accept a different Visa (or MC or AmEx). By accepting credit cards, the merchant has agreed to take it in the backside when a customer uses a rewards card.

It's nice for the CC companies because, like you, no one seems to realize that the merchants pay for the rewards.

Comment: Re:Just use Postgresql (Score 1) 336

by josecanuc (#41034999) Attached to: Is MySQL Slowly Turning Closed Source?

I have to start by saying I am not too familiar with MySQL Workbench. However, I have been using a tool called AquaData Studio which is a java-based (multi-platform) database management/development tool that interfaces with just about every database out there. It's not free, but for my work, it was well worth it.

Comment: Re:A red state raising taxes!!??!!!??? (Score 1) 274

by josecanuc (#39831107) Attached to: Amazon To Pay Texas Sales Tax

But isn't one of the primary goals of the "Fair"Tax to be more fair, where fairness here is defined to treat all equally regardless of status/race/etc? There necessarily has to be some shift in how much each group pays, since right now it's not "fair".

It's an appealing idea -- equal justice under the law translated to taxing. But if you believe a progressive taxing system is better, then of course you will think poorly of FairTax.

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 730

by josecanuc (#36155878) Attached to: Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

Abuse of tax deductions is a serious matter. However, it doesn't address the claim that 75% of homeowners would go bankrupt if the mortgage interest deduction were eliminated, and certainly someone with a $2M home should not go bankrupt by having to pay $25K more.

On a related note: I do think there are many misconceptions about tax breaks, especially the mortgage interest deduction. I think many folks mentally omit the "interest" part and think that you are deducting everything you pay on your mortgage, rather than the interest. As low as the IRS' audit rate is, I wonder how many people *do* deduct their entire house payment and get away with it...

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 730

by josecanuc (#36151452) Attached to: Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

That said, in the interest of kindness (which is different from "fairness"), I probably wouldn't object to a tax break for people whom taxes would bring below a "living wage" or something like that.

It is unfortunate that the folks who make such decisions about what a living wage is, or who is or is not currently making it will tend to select the group who needs the tax break to be just large enough to get themselves re-elected...

Comment: Re:Simple solution (Score 1) 730

by josecanuc (#36151410) Attached to: Can Computers Be Used To Optimize the US Tax Code?

How much does the mortgage interest deduction really save people? Using one of the various mortgage calculators out there, I stuck in a $200,000 loan at 5% for 30 years. In the first year, the interest is about $10,000. So you would get to deduct that from your gross income, and do the other things to get your taxable income. If your tax rate is 25% (Seems reasonable for a $200k home), you save $2,500.

Does $2,500 "more" taxes in a year bankrupt so many people? And that's the most that a person with a $200,000 home would change. Each year after that, less interest is paid.

If I'm going to go bankrupt over $210/month, I bet I can cancel cable TV and go with a pre-pay phone, etc. to avoid going bankrupt. If that won't save me, then it wasn't the mortgage interest deduction that was the savior.

It is surely a great calamity for a human being to have no obsessions. - Robert Bly

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