The 18th of April has passed again. We had a few extra days to procrastinate. Tax season is now over for most of us, and we can relax until next year. I wonder why we have a season dedicated to taxes. I understand the Christmas season, Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall, and even Hunting Season, but Tax Season? Why? What are we celebrating? I don’t know anyone who is happy about taxes, except perhaps IRS employees. Are they even happy? I suppose they must pay taxes, too. I have no doubt that the IRS is the most hated of the government agencies, no matter how illogical that hatred is. It’s like cursing the clerk when something you bought at Wal-Mart malfunctions. It’s not the clerk’s fault, but he stands in front of you and receives the brunt of your anger anyway.
Years ago, the IRS audited me, and the agent treated me like a common criminal. His tone was condescending from the minute the interview started. He spoke as if I had stolen his own personal property long before my tax return proved the contrary. I had not cheated the government. I had paid my taxes, as he himself was able to see after the audit was finished. When I think back to that incident, I like to think that it was a sign of the times. Back then nurses, teachers, and especially librarians were rude. I think they were probably trained to be. Maybe IRS agents were, too, but he was the rudest I ever encountered.
Mind you, I would never bomb the IRS, even if I could fly a plane. I would never injure an IRS agent, no matter how angry I became. Killing someone over money is not kosher, no matter how rude he might be. Why wouldn’t I be happy to contribute generously of my hard-earned money to my government? After all, the government listens eagerly to my opinions and then consistently does the exact opposite of what I would like done. My elected officials are eager to please me. I’m all too glad to help out with my money, but it’s a moot point anyway. Taxes come out of my check before I ever see it. The government gets its chunk of my money long before I get whatever’s left.
I’m not surprised that organizations like TEA (Taxed Enough Already) are springing up all over the country. I heard on NPR (National Public Radio) that the tax that made the colonists revolt and form this country was less than 7%, but you can’t compare apples to oranges. (Wouldn’t it be nice if we only paid 7%?) Our colonial ancestors did not pay income taxes. The first federal income tax was imposed during the Civil War. The next came in the 1890’s, and then again after the Sixteenth Amendment was supposedly ratified in 1913. It has never disappeared since then and I doubt it ever will. In 1942 (World War II) the federal government instituted payroll withholding, which was to end with the cessation of hostilities. I guess the war never ended.
Our national debt is an astronomical sum. By the time my grandchildren are my age, what will they be paying? 30%? 40%? Half their salaries? They’ll be lucky if they have 7% left to live on. Don’t tell yourself it couldn’t happen.
Taxes are insidious like a national cancer eating away at the taxpayers, sucking out our bone marrow and drinking greedily of our life’s blood. We hardly notice until April 15 (or April 18, depending on the calendar) rolls around every year. Then we jump and shout for one day before we crawl back into our ruts. Before we do though, we drive down to the post office, checks in hand, and mail out anything else the IRS tells us to, right down to our firstborn sons.
Like everyone else’s, my check was ready. I mailed it out Tuesday at 4:29 p.m. just before the post office closed. I just wanted to hold my money as long as I possibly could. The government is spending it a trillion times faster than I can make it.
Maybe it’s time to consider the Fair Tax. It’s certainly time to consider something else.
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