Returning U.S. soldiers have trouble with road rules at home

Life can be tough for U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Post traumatic stress disorder must make everyday tasks hell to deal with.

Not the least of which is re-adjusting to American road rules. In Iraq, the goal of the morning commute is to reach the destination alive. The more speed the better, and anything not moving out of the way quickly enough gets plowed into the pavement.

Many returning military personnel find it difficult to forget the lessons they’ve learned on hostile foreign roads. Over there, smart drivers follow the center line to avoid IEDs on the shoulders. Turn signals only give the enemy advance notice of your next move, and stopping at intersections makes you an easy target. When back in the states, those tactics are still effective for negotiating traffic, but aren’t appreciated so much by fellow drivers.

via Returning U.S. soldiers have trouble with road rules at home.

Fair enough, the stupid PTSD crack aside. Driving is learned behavior, and it takes a while to change habits.

But this study overlooks one of the real causes for increased traffic accidents. Most people on deployment just don’t drive very much. I’d be interested in seeing Navy post-deployment accident rates. If you spend 6 to 9 months at sea not driving anything, it takes a little time getting “back in the saddle” as it were.

And I recall I was hypervigilant about my driving when I got back from Desert Storm. I had to cope not only with not being in practice driving, but my driving was done in Germany, with different traffic rules than what I grew up with.

Via Insty

TaxProf Blog: WSJ: Tax Court Blesses Tax-Free Technique for Parents to Transfer Family Business, Wealth to Their Children

WSJ: Tax Court Blesses Tax-Free Technique for Parents to Transfer Family Business, Wealth to Their Children

Tax Court Logo 2Following up on last month’s post, Defined Value Clauses and FMV: Wall Street Journal Tax Report, Shielding the Family Business, by Laura Saunders:

Small-business owners often complain of feeling caught in the cross hairs of the tax code. For a change, here’s good news.

The Tax Court has just blessed a new technique that owners of closely held businesses—and wealthy families—can use to pass assets to heirs with a minimum of taxes and complications. The ruling in the case, Wandry v. Commissioner, [T.C. Memo. 2012-88 (Mar. 26, 2012)], is stirring up excitement among experts.

via TaxProf Blog: WSJ: Tax Court Blesses Tax-Free Technique for Parents to Transfer Family Business, Wealth to Their Children.

In a previous life, I worked for a firm where we did a lot of estate planning for high net worth families.

You often hear the folks that think the estate tax is a good idea whine about the rich staying rich. Maybe. But the fact was, damn near all of our clients that wanted to pass along wealth were “self made” and virtually all of them were small business owners.

Here’s what would happen without successful estate planning- John and Jane Doe build Spacely Sprockets from the ground up into a successful small business, worth, say… $20mm dollars. When they die, they leave the company to Elroy and Judy, who were raised in the business and want to continue to run it.

But Uncle Sam’s estate tax kicks in. With a $5mm lifetime exemption, and 55% estate tax rate, the estate of John and Jane suddenly owes Uncle Sam somewhere in the neighborhood of $7mm for the transfer. But while the Doe’s are “rich” in the eyes of greedy leftists, virtually all their wealth is in their company.

And while the company is successful, it doesn’t have $7mm in cash laying around. And even if it DID, the estate doesn’t have the right to raid company assets to pay estate taxes.

In the end, the options are to either sell the company(and who knows what cash that will generate? In a down economy, you’ll have to sell at a deep discount) or use sophisticated estate planning tools for tax mitigation.

While I was happy to make a LOT of money helping  to provide sophisticated estate planning tools, I also realized that it imposed an expense and burden on families that hindered and retarded family owned businesses.  So anytime I see that burden reduced, I’m happy.

Wreck Diving the Mysterious Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon [33 PICS]

Truk Lagoon, known as Chuuk – a group of tropical paradise islands in the Federal States of Micronesia – offers adrenaline-junky scuba divers a cool yet creepy underwater adventure in shark-infested Pacific waters while wreck diving the mysterious Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon. More than 50 major shipwrecks from WWII litter the seabed, making the undersea wonder of the world the best shipwreck diving destination on the globe. In 1944, Americans launched Operation Hailstone, which has been called the Japanese Pearl Harbor, and the bombardment lasted for three days. The attack wiped out 60 ships and 275 airplanes, sinking them to the bottom of the lagoon, so that now it is the biggest ship graveyard in the world. Most of the wrecks were left untouched for nearly 25 years since people feared setting off the thousands of sunken bombs. Many of the shipwrecks in the scuba diving paradise have full cargo holds full of fighter aircraft, tanks, bulldozers, railroad cars, motorcycles, torpedoes, mines, bombs, boxes of munitions, radios, thousands of various weapons, human remains, and other artifacts. More than 3,000 people were thought to have been killed and some divers swear that the wrecks in Truk Lagoon are haunted. Destination Truth conducted an underwater ghost hunting expedition in Truk Lagoon. While diving at the Hoki Maru, the divers recorded sounds of running engines in the cargo hold full of trucks. Here’s a virtual adventure with wreck divers who explored and photographed the Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon. This is underwater awesomeness! We love these pics! [33 Photos]

via Wreck Diving the Mysterious Ghost Fleet of Truk Lagoon [33 PICS].