Monday, December 19, 2016

December 2016 SDADA Column

Red sky at night, sailors' delight.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning.
- from an ancient rhyme often repeated by mariners

It's almost morning in the Trump administration and I see a red sky!

Tax reform is a recurring threat in DC. Every politician that runs calls for tax reform and every incumbent up for reelection calls for tax reform. It's a standard line in every candidate's stump speech. There's been much lip service paid to the topic and very little elbow grease expended.

That could be changing. It would appear that the Republican Congress and the Trump administration are both serious this time - as in they want real tax reform!

House Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) released a "Tax Reform Blueprint" in July 2016 that outlined the general provisions of a comprehensive tax reform package. When the new Congress convenes in January, the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee, and the Trump Administration will begin developing the actual text for a tax reform bill.

Here's where it gets complicated...One of the provisions included in the Tax Reform Blueprint, the “Border Adjustment Tax” (BAT), has generated significant concern among several industries, including the automotive sector.  The BAT is not a tariff.  Tariffs are taxes imposed on specified imported products (e.g., the 25% chicken tax imposed on the import of light pickup trucks since 1963).

The House Republican proposal (including the BAT) would modify business income taxes in several ways: reduce the rate from 35% to 20%; accelerate depreciation schedules, eliminate all interest deductions; exempt the cost of exported goods from the taxable receipts subject to income tax (they would be taxed in the jurisdiction in which they were sold); and disallow the cost of any imported goods as a deductible business expense.

For example, if a $24,000 vehicle were imported to the U.S. and sold for $25,000, under current tax law the $1,000 profit would be subjected to a 35% corporate tax rate ($350).  Under the BAT proposal, the entire $25,000 would be subject to a 20% tax ($5,000).  The proposed tax would apply to all imported goods, including any part used in a vehicle assembly in the U.S. or any imported part purchased by a dealer.

Foreign vehicle tariffs have historically been supported by domestic auto manufacturers and opposed by "import manufacturers".   NADA has traditionally sat out tariff battles.   This is not the case with the BAT, it is opposed by virtually all the auto manufacturers and the entire retail community.

The auto industry now uses global supply chains and the minimum amount of foreign parts included in U.S. assembled vehicles is now 25% (many use 50% or more).....all of those parts would be subject to the proposed BAT.   If the BAT proposal were to become law, the price of U.S. assembled vehicles utilizing 25% imported parts would most likely go up by $850 to $1,000 a piece, imported vehicles would probably go up by $3,000 to $5,000 (much more for luxury vehicles) and many foreign models would probably not be imported, plus imported parts bought by dealers would effectively go up by 20%.

As the tax reform process unfolds in the coming months, NADA will continue to work with members of Congress, the Trump transition team, and the new Trump Administration to advocate for tax policies that enable dealers to continue to drive the economy.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

I Shot an Arrow Into the Air...

After my failed elk hunt of 2013, I would have to wait for nine years to apply for a Black Hills Firearms elk tag. In an effort to get another chance in the Black Hills a bit sooner, I wanted to try archery again. I had owned a bow back in the early nineties but really never spend enough time with it to become proficient.

I bought a PSE bow on eBay in the summer of 2015. I started practicing in September of 2015. I did hunt a bit in 2015 but had a busy schedule during the deer rut and did not get out enough to really see the traffic patterns. I was not very confident with my shot either - maybe 30-35 yards.

This year, I made a commitment to practice as much as possible in September. I spent a half hour each evening that I could and fired 20-25 shots. I was confident up to 45 and would take a shot up to 50 yards.

I got out to watch the deer a bit in September and early October. I knew where they were moving and what was out there.

As the calendar moved into late October, I was getting out for an hour each evening. I saw deer and was getting close to does. I had does within 20 yards. But I did not see any bucks.

Finally, I saw a nice whitetail buck one evening. I saw him several times over the next week and got to within 70 yards of him. But I could not get within a reasonable range.

I started to panic a bit because we had a trip to Spain-Portugal planned for November 3-13 and that was supposed to be peak rut. I'd only have a couple days left to hunt when we returned before the rifle season started and then the rut would be over and the bow hunting would become much more difficult.

I did not get close to anything before our trip. We returned on a Sunday and I was exhausted on that Monday. On Tuesday, I went to Omaha for the Creighton-Wisconsin basketball game and returned home about 2:30 AM.

I had three days left. I had to go to my stores in Winner and Mission on Wednesday and teach religious education that evening. And now the forecasters were predicting a winter storm for Thursday/Friday. My window of opportunity was quickly closing - and fast!

I decided not to return to the store when I got back from Mission. Instead, I headed home and sought to get out for the final hour before sunset.

I didn't even put on my hunting pants. I walked south on the property with a north wind directly at my back. I pretty much broke every archery hunting  rule possible because of a lack of time.

As I got about 75 yards from the boundary of our property, I saw a mule doe break over the hill. I ducked and watched as a beautiful buck followed with his nose to the ground. Shortly thereafter, another nice buck followed them with his nose on the scent trail.

Using the topography and wind to my advantage, I circled around to the east of where I thought they were headed. I stealthily entered the draw they were in, taking one slow, quiet step after another.
Suddenly, I saw the doe looking directly at me from about 60 yards away. I thought I had been busted. I waited her out and eventually she went back to grazing.

I ducked down and slowly moved straight toward her using a cedar tree for cover. As I crept toward the doe, I saw the antlers of one of the bucks behind the tree next to her.

I got to within 35 yards and behind a nice tall cedar tree that gave me a good view of the tree behind which the buck was standing. I readied myself as the buck was moving from behind the tree. When I could see his head, I ducked back behind the tree and drew my bow.

As I peeked back out from behind the tree, he was just showing his vitals area. I took careful aim, putting my pin on the vitals and trying not to rush the shot, and I let it fly. I could see my lighted nock fly on the intended path and heard a slight grunt as the arrow penetrated the buck.

He lurched forward (downhill) and kicked his back legs up and almost over his body. It was obvious that I hit him, it was just a matter of where I hit him. He moved behind a cedar tree.

I sat and waited for him to come out from behind the tree. I could see the bottom of the draw some 20 yards ahead of him. But my view of the area where he went was obstructed by several cedar trees. I watched for a sign of either of the other two deer.  Nothing!

After about a minute (which seemed like 30), I saw a deer walking slowly toward the bottom of the draw. It was getting dark and I needed binoculars to get a better view. A peek through the glass revealed that this was one of the bucks. But was it the one I shot at?

Soon it was obvious that this buck was hit. I could see labored breathing and he was starting to wobble. Then he went down! I got him! I watched through the binoculars for a couple minutes as he eventually laid down, and then dropped his head. I couldn't believe it.

I turned to make the ten minute walk back to the house to get the UTV to drag him back where I could butcher him. I floated up the hill and back to the house.

Judy returned with me to be my official photographer. We took a few photos (as Snickers tried to photobomb!).

We drug him back to the house where I butchered him rather quickly in the 75 minutes I had before religious ed class. I got most of the cutting done, leaving mainly cleanup when I returned from class.

What a thrill it was to take the buck with a bow. It was as nice a deer as I had ever been lucky enough to take.

I am ready for that Black Hills elk archery tag!!!

Friday, December 16, 2016

2016 Knust Kronicle

2016 Knust Kronicle

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Knusts!

Click here to see the 2016 Knust Kronicle

You can find previous Knust Kronicles and Christmas letters here.