Tax Day

I just got my official notification that my federal and state tax submissions have been accepted. Yes, it's that time of year, and today is the big tax deadline day.

I don't think most people really think about taxes. Given that it's deducted from our check, I don't think we stop and really think about how much that is and where it's going. I've heard people say that maybe we'd care more if we had to actually write a check to the government each month...dollars look different when you write out a check vs. just seeing them on a paycheck stub. And it's not just your paycheck - almost everything you purchase is taxed. Sometimes it's hidden (e.g. gas prices) and other times it's not. But if you stopped and added up what you pay in a year, I think we would all be a bit shocked.

Am I against taxes? No, of course not. They can, and do, serve a purpose. I do have an issue this year, though. I see our government spending way beyond it's means; more than I ever thought I'd see in my lifetime. You can't tell me that the only people footing the bill are those making over $250k, because they aren't. Take a look at the tax tables for 2009. Sure, they've slightly changed the tax brackets, but not by much. And while one of the new bills passed this year initiated the payroll company taking less out of my paycheck, in my bracket for 2009 I'm not only to pay the same percent as last year but also an additional $400 on top of that. So why is the government taking less out of my check each pay period? If I didn't realize it - and most people don't - I would just assume it's some sort of tax break. In reality, they are collecting less and when next year rolls around I'll owe them more. Instead of a refund like this year, I'll probably be sending them a check. It's a mental game.

Everyone is having to tighten their budgets, watch their spending...but not our governments. They don't care. Though they have modest salaries, do you wonder why so many of them live in expensive homes, have private jets, etc? Why did so many people up for positions in the new government had issues with paying their taxes? Because they feel they are better than us, above us, and above the law. They write the laws and the loopholes. They know they can do whatever they want, because everything they do is so complex and convoluted that no one can understand most of what they pass. The tax system might as well be written in Greek; you think that is not on purpose? Go online and read the laws that Congress passes; do you understand them? Does anyone talk like that, or write like that in a normal business? Of course not; they make it complex and lengthy so no one knows what is really going on. It's all one big game, and the citizens are the suckers. That includes me, because I have not done anything than voting (and venting on my blog), and that's not going to change things.

The government will never hurt the people that put them in office. I'm not talking about those who voted for them, I'm talking about the ones with the money who supported their campaign, got them face-time and practically purchased their seats. You think we're going to see Hollywood stars in modest $200k homes any time soon? You think the CEOs of large firms are going to start driving Kia's to work because they are now paying their "fair share" in taxes? What is a "fair share" anyway? Why are we so obsessed with making everyone "equal" when it comes to money? Read the Declaration of Independence; we are equal in that we all deserve the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There is a reason nothing else is listed besides those three things. It's because no one is born equal. That's life. We all have our challenges, obstacles, and gifts. I have struggled with poor health most of my life, but I am darn lucky when it comes to my career, family and friends. Yes, people should have a roof over their heads and food to eat, but I do not think we need to be equal in those aspects. Not everyone should have a $300k home; everyone does not deserve the right to eat out at Morton's once a month. If we do, then I'm going to start taking a bat to people, since if we're going to be equal in wealth then I think we should be equal in health, too. No, I would never do that, but I'm trying to prove a point here. Usually when we are poor in one area we are rich in another; it's usually a matter of one's attitude and perspective.

Though it hasn't been discussed much in the media, people are expected to gather in various cities today for a "tea party." It just so happens that one should be taking place a block from where I work from 4-6pm. While I do not have any intention of "protesting", I may just stop by to check it out. If it's nothing but a conservative rally, forget it. If it's still raining like it is now, then I definitely won't be going. But if the sky clears and it appears to be a gathering of citizens from all walks of life getting together to try and send a message to our representatives that we are unhappy with their choices regarding taxing and spending, I just might stay.

I saw an interesting opinion piece by Penn Jillette (of Penn & Teller) a few weeks ago; I think he sums up the situation pretty well. I never thought I would say that about a magician, but here I am supporting his message. I'm not thinking about what's best for me here; I want what is best for my country. I want what is best for my family, friends, and former/current co-workers, most of whom are struggling right now. There is this opinion by most that we need to spend in order to "save ourselves". I'm sorry, but I'm terrified that the only thing this spending will do is burden all generations to the point where there will be no fix. We'll all be stuck with a massive debt on our hands, yet none of us will know exactly where all of that money went to since it certainly will not be in our pockets. The government keeps talking about helping the "middle class", but I'm not seeing it. To me, this is nothing but a big scam; it just won't be exposed for what it is until it's too late.

I'm sorry for my rant, but the situation weighs on my mind. It doesn't help that I see AIG's new digs on our office floor, with their cherry wood doors, top of the line furniture & equipment, etc. To me it's a constant reminder of how messed up things truly are.

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