These taxes aren’t mine

A couple of notes for “Tax Day”, as I prepare to see a bunch of posts from people who don’t understand how depressed they should be.

1) Please don’t say “I’m paying my taxes today”. I hate to seem overly semantical here, but I have to take exception to the words “my” and “today”. It’s not that the sentence is dishonest necessarily, it’s just horribly misleading. “My” implies ownership. It communicates a certain level of inherent, natural responsibility toward the subject. So it makes sense for me to refer, for instance, to “my bill” at Applebee’s or “my credit card debt”. They are both the result of a contractual agreement I personally entered into and accepted. Even if the spinach dip was overpriced, and even if Visa is kicking my ass with interest, I still knowingly and willfully accepted the financial price in return for a good or service. I own it. It’s mine. It’s nobody else’s. In fact, it’s important for me to stipulate *my* Applebee’s bill from *your* Applebee’s bill because we entered into different agreements for different products. I’m certainly not on the hook for *your* bill, especially because you’re over there chugging margaritas at eight bucks a pop. What kind of a man are you, anyway? This isn’t Cinco de Mayo, chief, so have some masculine pride and order yourself a beer or a bourbon.

Now, *your* tax bill is different. You didn’t agree to it. You have absolutely no control over it. You probably don’t benefit from whatever you’re paying for. This tab belongs to the other table, and they ate, drank and made merry and now you’re stuck with the bill. Fine, you’re paying it because you don’t want to go to jail. But it isn’t yours. It’s theirs. It’s been forced on you. You DON’T “owe” it. There is no “social contract”. At least, I never signed one, did you?

“Today”. You’re paying taxes “today”, you say? Well, that’s true. But the statement seems to imply that you don’t pay taxes every other day. You do. You pay taxes every second of your life on everything you do, buy, sell, or earn. You pay taxes when you turn on the lights, use the phone, or buy a sandwich. You pay taxes on every dollar you earn, every day that you earn it. You pay taxes when you die. Every day ain’t Christmas, but every day sure as hell is “Tax Day”. See? I told you it’s depressing.

2) Please don’t celebrate the tax return you’re “getting”. You aren’t getting anything. That’s your money. The government took it, held on to it for a year, and now they’re returning it without interest. If some guy at work stole a hundred bucks from your wallet and then, after you tracked him down and harassed him about it, he gave you back a small portion of it, would you run through the halls jumping for joy? Would you thank him for returning your own damn money? Or would you smack him upside the head and tell him to give you back the rest with interest or you’ll break his kneecaps with a tire iron? OK maybe you wouldn’t go all Al Capone on him (I mean, I did just catch you drinking a fruity cocktail at Applebee’s) but I think you’d respect yourself enough to not act like he just did you a favor by returning some of the cash he jacked from your wallet.

The IRS shouldn’t exist. The withholding system is a travesty and an indictment on every generation that apathetically accepted it without protest. Our ancestors would be making chaos in the streets before they’d pay another dime to this bloated behemoth of a government.

And that’s the situation. Happy Tax Day, fellow serfs.

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