FIRS = F-word of your choice + IRS.
Are you enjoying national tax day? Are your taxes done? Or have you committed a boo boo?
The local news has been reporting the scam for months. Clever identity thieves somehow are able to take a minimal piece of information, like a social security number, and use it to abramoff with someone else’s tax refund.
The most unbelievable part is that they are somehow able to get around the world famous tight security at the IRS.
There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
–The Beatles, Taxman
Ah. A story problem. Math will elucidate the tax bracket faced by the The Beatles. 1 + 19 = 20. So the tax rate (the 19 for the taxman) is 19/20. My calculator tells me that equals .95 aka 95 percent. Yes, The Beatles were in the 95 percent tax bracket. Says Wikipedia, “As their earnings placed them in the top tax bracket in the United Kingdom, the Beatles were liable to a 95% supertax introduced by Harold Wilson’s Labour government.”
Hearing about this scam over and over again, and how it apparently worked, I began to formulate my plan. I was going to
steal the Declaration of Independence file for Mitt Romney’s tax refund. With that I’d finally have enough money to retire, move to a beach on Zihuatanejo and hang out with Andy Dufresne and Ellis “Red” Redding.
All I had to do was get my hands on Mitt Romney’s W-2 forms. Dammit, foiled again!
Like I tried to teach my son when he was younger, there is no $20 dollar bill fairy. If you lose your money, there is no force in the universe that will say, “Tell me all about it. Here, allow me to give you some more.” It just don’t work that way. What’s gone is always gone and it always stays that way. So don’t lose that $20 dollar bill.
Meanwhile, though, apparently the IRS is in the habit of giving refunds to the wrong people. The bad people. And that got me to wondering. Is there a tax fairy?
Think of it this way: Let’s say I owe you $20. Then, for whatever reason, I give your money to Bob. Does this mean I no longer owe you a debt? I doubt you’d agree. You likely say, “I don’t care who you did what to for how many cookies. I want my $20. Guido here is about to offer some encouragement to your kneecaps.”
The simple point I’m trying to make is that the IRS being fooled by criminals should not alleviate their responsibility to give people their own money back. So you gave the money to Bob? Boo freakin’ hoo.
If not, then I suggest a new tax form. Let’s call it the 7734-PROX-EZ.
- Line 1: Amount of tax you owe.
- Line 2: Amount of money you gave Bob. (Enter amount of line 1.)
- Line 3: Amount you own the IRS: (Subtract Line 1 from Line 2.)
- Line 4: Sign full name to indicate your tax burden this year is a mulligan.
If the IRS isn’t being a tax fairy for the victims of crime then I’m sure they’ll understand.
Last, but not least, one other simple concept:
- The guy who threw a rock and smashed your window to bits? He owns the glass store.
- The guy who slashed the whitewalls on your car? He owns the tire store.
- The people who make computer viruses? The makers of your favorite anti-virus software.
- The company that makes tax filing software? They vigorously oppose efforts to make filing taxes simpler.
This is all, of course, predicted by GUNT, my Grand Unification Negativity Theory for everything.
In case that last bullet point is somehow unclear, let me say this:
TurboTax Maker Linked To Fight Against ‘Return-Free’ Tax System
It looks like there is a tax fairy after all. He just works a bit differently (more sinister and evil) than even I expected. And his name is TurboTax. I try to be negative but sometimes even I can be schooled.
Well played, TurboTax.
Poop Debt #politics
I didn’t just fall off the manure truck yesterday. When someone offers me chocolate-dipped poop cone I can usually tell within a few bites that the flavor profile is off. No shit! Someone notify Top Chef. I’m ready for the big time.
It’s almost like just speaking something doesn’t automatically make it true. Get the fuck out! The mere act of speaking bullshit isn’t like farting rainbows? Sure, some fantastical statements may work on the weak-minded but that doesn’t mean they are true. The people who fling poo know about this little principle and willingly choose it as a tactic. Bully.
What do you call a democratic process where the “facts” being argued and bandied about are the equivalent of a chocolate-dipped cone ‘o poo? Can it at least be a waffle cone of poo? Let’s be charitable and call it “pointless.” Or we take that first wee baby step of honesty and just call it “evil.”
How are outright lies, hyperbole, and flamboyant histrionics helpful to civilized discourse? I don’t know. You tell me.
Think back to how the “founding fathers” did it. “Benjamin Franklin, you girdled petticoated fool! You know damn well that if we enacted your proposal the Earth would crack in two, lava would boil out from the core, and we’d all be simultaneously melted as we drifted into space! Hot lava burn baby!”
Somehow I don’t think that’s how documents like the U.S. Constitution came about. But this is 2012. We’re more civilized than that. We’ve even got Old Spice underarm deodorant with that fantastical ride-a-horse-backwards fellow.
You might be asking what prompted this tirade? It’s just that I’m tired of hearing Obama’s mortal enemies referring to the U.S. debt as “Obama’s Debt.” I call bullshiats. It’s time for more maths and another pie chart. Gee, I hope this is one pie that isn’t made out of poo.
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Eastwood and the Stool
“When I saw the stool sitting there, it gave me the idea.”
— Clint Eastwood, 2012
“Do you have any idea how much fun it is to google the words ‘Eastwood’ and ‘stool’?”
–Tom B. Taker, 2012
As usual I have only the barest of threads of an idea for a post. That means it’s go time. Where’s the damn “publish” button? I got nothing to say!
Oh, crap. I might go a little political here.
I know what you’re thinking. “Did he already post today or not?” Well, to tell you the truth, in all this excitement I kind of lost track myself. But being as this is a WordPress blog, the most powerful blogging platform in the world, and would blow your head clean off, you’ve got to ask yourself one question: “Do I feel lucky?” Well, do ya, punk?
If you do, make the jump. If you don’t, that’s okay, too. I’ll be driving circles in my Gran Torino, firing scatter shot at the kids on my lawn, and foolin’ around with my orangutan. You know, because I’m a serious guy. That’s why they call me The Dirty Hairy. I think.
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Would you like to play a game? Oops, please hold. I’ve got to take this.
The following organizations have all banded together in solidarity in support of a new law:
- American Bankers Association
- ACA International
- Air Transport Association
- Consumer Bankers Association
- Coalition of Higher Education Assistance Organizations
- Edison Electric Institute
- Education Finance Council
- Financial Services Roundtable
- Housing Policy Council
- Mortgage Bankers Association
- National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO)
- National Council of Higher Education Loan Programs, Inc.Student Loan Servicing Alliance
- Student Loan Servicing Alliance Private Loan Committee
- The Clearing House
- U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Wow. That’s a lot of agreement. Specifically they are all in support of something called H.R. 3035, the “Mobile Informational Call Act of 2011.” (MICA.) I know they are, because they all signed a letter saying so in regards to H.R. 3035.
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I can’t stop thinking about Bush
Alas, for most of you who clicked this post based on the subject line, disappointment will be your friend. This post is political. (The subtle hint was the capital B in Bush.)
A website that is full of hot air tried to convince me recently that Obama is the undisputed king of debt or something to that effect.
So I did a little experiment.
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Overvalued: Oh oligarchy, oh obligations!
Hang on, kiddies. Here we go an yet another rambling, non-cohesive post that travels all over hill and dell and even has a little Octomom thrown in for good measure, if you read all the way to the end…
For three decades, the United States has seen the movement of wealth from the bottom to the top. Thus, this question has to be asked: Is this a good thing?
Not surprisingly, I’m sure most of the wealthy would answer, “Oh yeah. So good. Oh yeah, that’s it. Don’t stop. Uh huh, uh huh.”
That’s just ducky for them!
Those giving up the wealth, however, might not be that eager to agree.
In my humble opinion, though, the question, “Is this a good thing?” needs to be couched in a broader context. To properly answer a question like that, I suggest that we must consider it on a societal level, not on a per individual basis.
What good is accomplished by shifting wealth from the many to the few? Does it make America stronger? Does it create more jobs? Does it reduce the crime rate? Does it lessen the amount of pain and suffering? Does it put more food in the bellies of undernourished children? Does it improve or hurt the standard of living for the most members of our society?
Wikipedia says an oligarchy is “a form of power structure in which power effectively rests with a small number of people. These people could be distinguished by royalty, wealth, family ties, corporate, or military control.” I suggest that the last three decades have decidedly moved us in that direction.
Even with the last three decades under our belt there is still much debate about the tax rates paid by the wealthy. Earlier today on CBS Sunday Morning I saw someone claiming that multimillionaires in the United States pay about 17% percent in taxes. Down near the bottom of the barrel, I make a few bucks an hour more than minimum wage and can barely afford a new pair of sneakers. Yet my tax rate is double than that. How can that be? How can my rate be double compared to people who own mansions, boats and multiple cars just for fun? That is fucked up.
How about we say, “Fuck higher tax rates for the wealthy? How about they simply pay that same rate as those who have much less wealth?”
So the debate rages on. Those on the right say we need to cut government spending (but hold steady or increase defense) while reducing taxes on the wealthiest among us as a way to reduce the deficit. Those on the left say than an increase in the tax rate on the wealthy is needed.
In the past the top marginal tax rate on the wealthy was high, at or above 90% in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. But it has declined ever since. By the time of Nixon it was down to 70%. Under Reagan it dropped to about 50%. The George W. Bush tax cuts kept it around 35%.
The results of the last 30 years are now known. The rich are richer and the poor are poorer. Is this a good thing? I think the results speak for themselves. The U.S. unemployment rate is too damn high. Too many American jobs have been outsourced. We’ve had the recession, the mortgage crisis, and the bailouts. And the debt is out of control. Things are clearly not working as they should.
I don’t know a lot about money. I find economics too abstract and confusing beyond a very simple level. When I was in the first or second grade, I remember wanting a book called “Money.” My teacher told me if I read enough books I’d earn the book I wanted. I read those books, and I remember winning my prize. Unfortunately, I no longer remember what was in it.
What I know about money is that it is paper. Beyond our belief that it has value, money is basically meaningless. I’m reasonably certain, however, if you give me $4 U.S. dollars, there is a very high probability I can take those four pieces of paper to my nearby Carl’s Jr. and trade them for a delicious turkey hamburger. That is, if they are dumb enough, like me, to believe those pieces of paper have actual value. They will agree to that trade, and give me the hamburger, if they expect to trade the pieces of paper for something they want, and so on and so forth.
I’ve heard that money used to be backed by gold, something known as the gold standard. But I’ve heard that money is no longer backed by gold. I know that a dollar bill used to say “United States Note” but now it says “Federal Reserve Notes” but I’m too fucking stupid to know what that really means. I’ve been told that means each dollar bill I receive is actually a debt (or liability) that I now owe to the Federal Reserve. I think. But I don’t even really know what that means. One of my favorite movies is Zeitgeist and a portion of the film is dedicated to this sort of thing. They sure make it sound ominous as shit, and I feel bad I don’t really know what it all means.
It’s a lot like The Debt. I know, as a country, that we have debt. And I know it is large. I’m not economist, but I know what happens when people have too much debt. They declare bankruptcy and the creditors generally take it on the chin. I can’t help but wonder: What will happen if our country does that, too? It seems to me that if you have a system that is unsustainable, eventually it will fail.
Will we all have to speak a foreign language? Will we be herded into camps? Will there be war on United States soil? Perhaps Americans will be the latest people to work for a few dollars a day while people in other countries specialize in drinking Starbucks and buying expensive toys? Maybe the United States will someday become the trendy country to outsource jobs? At this point, there is probably literally nothing that would surprise me. Let’s just say that these are confusing times and I, for one, am glad to be on the backside of 30. I’m not so sure I want to hear how the story ends.
I do know this: I’ve worked all of my life since the day I was 16. During that time, I have been forced, by the terrible power of government, to pay, against my will, into a program known as Social Security. My understanding of this program is that I pay in to help other people retire, and on the day I retire, the program will automatically end and I’ll get absolutely nothing back. When that happens, I will feel … irritated. To say the least. My situation will no doubt be bone-chilling compared to someone like Ida May Fuller, the first ever recipient of a Social Security check back on January 31, 1940. She shrewdly paid $24.75 into the system but took back out $22,888.92 in monthly benefits. Now that is one whopper of an investment!
In other news, for all you sadistic get-to-the-bottom readers out there…
Octomom. Gone but not forgotten. At least by me, and certainly not on the day of the “O” post. What’s she been up to?
By the way, did you know she had six children before giving birth to octuplets? Words fail me. That’s a lot of poop!
Anywho, I hear that Octmom is facing the possibility of being evicted from her $585,000 California home. Apparently she needs money. A couple of web sites have reported that she’s considering using a dating service that will pay her $5,000 t0 $10,000 for each “first date” that she goes on.
So listen up, people! If you’ve been saving up your money for a rainy day, this could be it. Blow it all on a first date with a woman who has 14 children.
I can see the personal ad now. “Must love octoforms.”
This is my “O” post for the April 2011 “A to Z Blogging Challenge.”