Criminal taxation!

>> Friday, April 17, 2009

As many of you know, I like writing; indeed, it's something I've been trying to do somewhat seriously with indifferent results, and I've even done National Novel Writing Month three years in a row now. Again, with the indifferent results.

I don't know if I really have what it takes to be a professional writer, or if it'll just be something I dabble in with indifferent (let's stick to that word instead of "shitty," which might be more apt) results for the rest of my life. But with that sort of thing in mind, I have a little bit of an interest in the business side of it. So you can imagine my shock and horror when I found out that a part-time writer with only two books under his belt might find himself in a tax bracket where he had to pay 33% of his income in taxes. And it's not like this is an author who's able to quit his thankless day job working for the government, either.

I have to tell you I was shocked and appalled. I mean, I'm not really anti-tax. As I recently commented on a friend's blog, I've always considered taxes to be kind of like the dues you pay to be in a club. This club, it's far from perfect but it has some pretty nice facilities and I don't mind paying to maintain them and make improvements. And I have no problem with a progressive tax system, quite the contrary: it seems to me that President Roosevelt was absolutely right when he said:

The man of great wealth owes a peculiar obligation to the State, because he derives special advantages from the mere existence of government. Not only should he recognize this obligation in the way he leads his daily life and in the way he earns and spends his money, but it should also be recognized by the way in which he pays for the protection the State gives him.

You benefit from the liberties this nation provides, you ought to pay for it. And it isn't just the bodyguards in the form of the national military or police departments (funded with a combination of local and Federal monies): one benefits from public highways, from public education, from public parks, from publicly-funded science and medicine. And, to amplify Mr. Roosevelt's point, it should be clear that the more you have the more you've obviously benefited from the opportunities this society provides. (And all of this is aside from Mr. Roosevelt's argument that progressive taxation on income and inheritance balances the playing field between "the men who possess more than they have earned and the men who have earned more than they possess".)

But thirty-three percent? For a man who's written a mere pair of books, neither of which (so far as I know) have been optioned for movies or television? A third of his family's income fed to the Federal government, and this is a writer whose wife is pretty much a stay-at-home mom for their two small children, and he's still attempting to work in the public interest sector (which means he's basically paying his own salary, ya just gotta love that). Thirty-three percent, one-third of his gross adjusted income, pfft, gone, probably pissed away bailing out some mismanaged corporation.

I feel for him. I imagine him getting home after being dragged around all over the place--his new job has him travelling all the time and he's been saddled with a ton of crap the last guy left behind when he basically just walked out--and sitting on the bed with his wife while they talk about his literary ambitions having to be put on hold for a while longer. And then she tells him how much they spent on income tax last year and he goes into the bathroom and vomits. Maybe he should have voted for the other guy, he thinks as he wipes his mouth with a corner of toilet paper, staring at himself in the mirror and thinking how much he desperately wants a cig. As if he could afford to start smoking again.

You hear about something like this, and you start thinking maybe those teabaggers who met all over the country this week are onto something. I mean, being hit for one-third of your income like that. That's the kind of thing that has Dick Armey standing erect at the head of a bunch of teabaggers, telling them to open their mouths and to really get in the face of power, don't just lie there! The teabaggers talk about sacking everyone in Washington because the grind is just killing the American taxpayer, and this isn't something they're just dipping in, this is something they're really girding their loins and getting into. So I'm kind of hoping this writer was up there in Washington D.C. this week, really involved in the protests. Because he's really getting hammered by the I.R.S., you know?

And if you don't believe me when I say he's being hit for a third: some asshole posted his tax return on the internet. See for yourself.

(Have a great weekend, everybody.)


Leanright,  Friday, April 17, 2009 at 1:02:00 PM EDT  

Obviously I don't LIKE taxes, nobody really does, but I do understand their purpose. I also believe that there becomes a time when the tax rates climbing become counterproductive to what their intent was to begin with.

I remember watching an obnoxious CNN reporter ("reporter" was obviously just her title. She behaved like and "editorialist"). She stated that Illinois would be "benefiting" from 50 billion in stimulus money. Right. To begin programs which would later be the responsibility of the state to fund on their own. Don't bite the hand that feeds you, because it needs the strength to back-hand you later.

There becomes a point where when taxes become to high to be productive. Business owners and "Job Creators" won't fire themselves when their outlay to the government becomes to costly. It's those that suffer the pink-slip that do. It's economics, pure and simple; To pay employees, employers need more cash flow. Less cash flow, less employees. The whole process creates it's own equilibrium.

I have read recently that 47% of Americans believe socialism to be an okay idea. That is most likely because we are currently not taxed like a socialist society. The Swedes and their 65+% tax rates can attest to that.

Think society is expensive now? Wait til it's free!

And, I do feel that "Man" your are speaking of paid too much for his own efforts. Perhaps he should talk to the President.

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