Three things that all of you serfs and peasants shouldn’t say on Tax Day

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I recently took to Twitter to vent my righteous rage at the proliferation of list articles.
You know, list articles: the crutch used by many a lazy blogger who’d rather write in short, choppy, numbered sentences instead of full paragraphs, because full paragraphs necessitate the formation of full thoughts, which only come to those who write because they actually have something to say.

The worst brand of list article has to be the “things you shouldn’t say to ____ ” spiels you see pop up on your newsfeed 12 times a day. Just Google the phrase “things you shouldn’t say” and you’ll find a million such articles, informing you that there are, for instance, 10 things you shouldn’t say to a person in a wheelchair, 7 things you shouldn’t say to someone with anxiety, 16 things you shouldn’t say to a guy who can’t grow a beard, and, obviously, many different lists explaining many things you shouldn’t say to women or minorities, or especially minority women in wheelchairs who have anxiety about the fact that they can’t grow beards.

Interesting note: the bartender community has taken a special liking to the “list phrases that other people are now prohibited from uttering in my presence” craze. Search “things you shouldn’t say to bartenders” and you’ll find dozens of entries, including a Buzzfeed post (of course) that ranks 61 things you shouldn’t say to this surprisingly sensitive group of emotional snowflakes.

In other words, don’t speak to bartenders at all. They’ve had enough of human speech altogether.

Now, I begin with this lengthy setup in an attempt to confront my apparent contradiction head on. I hate list articles, but here I am with a list article. A “things you shouldn’t say” list article, no less. Does this make me a hypocrite? Perhaps, except that I fully admit to my laziness in this particular instance. I’ve written over 400 posts and only formatted them into convenient list-structure, I think, twice (including this one). I’m entitled to a pass, right?

Fine. Maybe not.

But I do feel OK telling you things you shouldn’t say, because I’m not telling you to stop saying them TO ME for my own benefit, but rather stop saying them in general, for your benefit, and for the sake of truth, justice, and the American Way.

So, in honor of Tax Day, I’ve written a list of three things you shouldn’t say as you enjoy the cheer and merriment of this joyous American holiday:

taxation-by-misrepresentation

1. “I’m paying my taxes.”

“My” implies ownership. It communicates a certain level of inherent, natural responsibility toward the subject. So it makes sense for me to refer 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 me up and down the sidewalk with interest and penalties, I still knowingly and willingly consented to assuming the financial cost 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 I’m drinking ice water while you’re over there chugging margaritas like it’s Cinco de Mayo.

Your tax bill is different than your bar tab or the money you owe Netflix. You didn’t agree to this. You have absolutely no control over it.

You might say that taxes have always been like that and always will be, and you’re right. But, in modern times, with a government that spends 3.5 trillion dollars a year — making it the most expensive bureaucracy that’s existed anywhere on the planet ever in history — the gap between taxation and the ‘public good’ has never been more vast. It’s kind of hard to whisper even the faintest suggestion that our government limits itself to expenditures necessary to fulfill only its lawful and constitutional obligations, when it spends, in a single year, almost as much money as physically exists on the planet.

Did you catch that? If you wanted to outspend the government next year, you’d have to first steal every single physical dollar and coin that exists on Earth, and you still might not have enough.

And, since the government spends even what it doesn’t have, we have accrued a debt so enormous that the numbers cannot be understood by the human mind. Any notion of taxation with representation has been completely buried under this pile of debt so inconceivably massive that it could touch the moon (literally).

Politicians take your money and use it for whatever they like, and whatever they like almost always involves gaining power and influence. Again, you’ll tell me that politicians have always used taxes for this purpose, and you’re right, but they’ve never been able to steal this much, and they’ve never been so proficient in stealing it (while, in every other area, so utterly lacking in proficiency).

Your money will be taken and allocated to fund abortion clinics, and foreign governments, and entitlements, and studies to determine whether cocaine makes Japanese quail horny, or if Chinese prostitutes can be taught to drink responsibly, or how to best teach the benefits of genital washing in the third world. When you say that you owe this amount, you are saying that you are personally indebted to Planned Parenthood, and the government of Uganda, and every individual on every welfare program, and every study about lustful quail. Or else you are saying that a politician’s power to tax is absolute and unlimited, and their saying that you have this debt is enough to make that debt into some kind of existential reality.

The point is that this debt belongs to the powers that created it. They will take from you, but you do not owe it. There is no “social contract”. We are churning out generations of Americans born into a bankruptcy they did not cause, created to pay for things they did not buy, to benefit people they’ll never meet. Entire generations emerging into the world with a giant ‘IOU’ branded on their foreheads; emblazoned there because the Americans that came before them lacked the courage and discipline to stop the government gravy train in its tracks.

These are not your taxes. They will come from your pockets and out of the mouths of your children, but you do not owe them.

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2. “I’m paying my taxes today.”

“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.

Oh, but you do.

You pay taxes today, but that does not make today unique.

If you’ll allow it, I would like to take you on a tour of your average day. This is what it looks like, whether we call it “Tax Day” or not:

You wake up.

You get out of bed and flip on a light. And you are taxed. You stumble into the bathroom and use the toilet. And you are taxed when you flush, and again when you turn on the shower, and again when you go to the faucet to brush your teeth (unless you’re one of those “brush my teeth in the shower” deviants). You put on clothing, which were taxed when you bought them. You slip on your taxed socks and tie your taxed shoes. You go downstairs. You use your taxed coffee machine. You pay a tax on the electricity. You grab a frozen breakfast burrito, which you paid taxes on, and stick it in the microwave, which you paid taxes on, and turned on the microwave using that taxed electricity again. You decide to check out the morning news while you enjoy your gourmet meal. Good thing you’ve got that taxed TV and that taxed digital cable. OK, quit stalling. Time to get to work. You grab your taxed cell phone and call your boss to tell him you’re running late. You paid about a dozen different taxes on that phone call. You leave your house, which is perpetually taxed, and get into your car, which was taxed. You drive down the street, burning that oh-so-taxed gasoline. Maybe you pass through a toll, maybe you’re stopped along the way and charged 128 dollars for not wearing a seatbelt. Maybe you get flashed by a red light camera. Maybe you have to park in a metered spot. Tax. Tax. Tax. Tax.

You haven’t even made it to your job yet, and the government’s fleeced you for a bucket of cash. Then you punch the clock at work and that’s where the real taxing begins.

See, in America, “the Land of the Free,” we pay taxes on everything we buy and everything we use; we pay taxes on where we live and what we eat; we pay taxes when we drive down the road or stay in the house; we pay taxes on whatever we sell, whatever we earn, and whatever we save. We pay taxes to live and we pay taxes to die. Some people live in states without a sales tax, but they still pay taxes when they buy things, because there are so many taxes and fees embedded into the price of any good or service.

Our Founding Fathers would rather wage an armed revolt against the world’s greatest superpower than pay a tax on their Snapple; we, on the other hand, would rather pay taxes on literally every conceivable facet of our existence, than be accused of “extremism” for questioning the government’s alleged absolute power to levy taxes on everything, all the time, without any discernible limitations.

My, how times have changed.

Tax-Refunds-Promotion-Costume

3. “I just filed my taxes and I’m getting 400 dollars from the federal government!”

Please don’t celebrate the tax return you’re “getting”.

You aren’t getting anything. That’s your money. The government took it, held onto 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 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 his sorry behind (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.

Now, imagine that your friend took your money, or even that he borrowed it, but he told you that he would not return it until you completed a stack of paperwork and submitted it to him on a deadline determined by him, the debtor? And what if he boasted that any failures on your end to check the appropriate box or dot the appropriate ‘i’ would result in him refusing to give you back your own money, and it may even mean that you have to pay him more?

That’s the withholding system in a nut shell, a system signed into law by FDR, designed to alleviate the burden of tax collecting from the shoulders of tax collectors, and place it instead on individuals and business owners. It gives the government the ability to acquire an interest-free loan from millions of American citizens. But don’t worry: it’s totally necessary. If everyone had to physically cut a check for the actual amount of ‘their’ tax debt — like we self-employed folks must do — there would be riots in the streets.

As it stands, Daddy Government simply slips into your wallet, takes a chunk of your paycheck, very nicely and painlessly, and then, a year later, gives you a smaller chunk back. Hooray! The populace goes from certain revolt to literally thanking Uncle Sam for the pleasure of having a portion of their own earning returned, sans the interest it could have accrued sitting in a savings account.

And that’s America in the year 2014.

Happy Tax Day, fellow serfs.

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UPDATE: CarolBeth Hawn on Facebook reminds me that my list of taxes you pay in the morning was woefully in complete:

You forgot to mention that the milk (taxed) you put into your coffee (taxed) had the following tax-line: Farmer (income tax) has land (property tax) on which he grazes his cows (tax on grass seed, tax on fertilizer spread by tractor, tax to buy tractor, which was also taxed in its production, tax on gas for tractor, tax on replacement tires and parts for tractor, which were also taxed in production), the  cows were raised from calves produced on farm (capital gains) and visited by vet (tax on products, vet is also taxed ad nauseum) from semen purchased from an exchange (taxed), which are raised and milked in a milk shed or barn (more property tax) using equipment purchased (taxed, both on purchase and on production) and bottled (more equipment taxed on purchase and in production), sold to Meadow Gold (taxed ad nauseum), trucked to the grocery store in a refrigerated truck (taxed, taxed, taxed, gas tax), sold to store (sale is taxed, store is taxed ad nauseum) where it sits in big, taxed refrigerators, until you go to the store (gas tax, tax on vehicle) and purchase the milk (taxed) for your coffee (taxed). This is, of course, an abbreviated list. We’d need a flow chart to do it justice. The amazing thing isn’t that things cost so much, it is that they cost so LITTLE, being taxed on every level as they are!

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299 Responses to Three things that all of you serfs and peasants shouldn’t say on Tax Day

  1. a9c0932a@opayq.com says:

    Serious issues with formatting, dude.

    >

  2. John says:

    While I 100% agree with you that we are taxed too much on way too many things, and our founding fathers are certainly rolling over in their graves at the abomination that is today’s federal government bureaucracy, I have to take issue with your first two points.

    1) “My” does not exclusively imply possession. It can denote association or relation. I don’t possess my parents, but they are most definitely *my* parents by personal relation. As for the federal government’s debt, it is not in part yours or mine, but unfortunately, in whole, it is ours, by way of our collective membership of this country, and our election of the sad sacks of sorriness that are the Congress and the President.

    2) Your enumeration of taxes we pay daily (or more often) is very effective, but strays too far when you include traffic violations. Those are fines for disobeying laws. Taxes are applied to legal activities (with rare exception, such as the Individual Mandate, but let’s not even go there…).

    Re: 3), I must say, if taxes were no longer deducted automatically from employee’s paychecks, and the masses saw and felt what they were truly paying to the federal government, there would be a rebellion tomorrow. Getting a “tax refund” is about the slickest marketing scam government has ever pulled off.

    Thanks for the humorous and insightful read.

  3. TJS21 says:

    Great article, except savings and checkings accounts in our day and age don’t actually return any interest. Ten thousand sitting in a savings account for a year will earn you enough for dinner and a movie, if you’re lucky.

  4. John – Fines are taxes for not obeying. It is clear that fines are used for revenue generation. Please see the Robin Hooders in Keene, NH. They have parking enforcers that need to have their salary paid by parking fees. Its circular and exists for its own existence.

  5. Cow semen is taxed? Why does that not surprise me?…

  6. Bob says:

    Americans, pay your taxes and shut up. You live in a Republic, not a Democracy, you don’t get to vote or say how the government spends your taxes. You get freedom, defense, and peace of mind, not an opinion. Don’t like it, become an ex-pat, but quit bitching about how you think your taxes are actually giving illegal aliens a free ride on welfare, you all sound like my father-in-law, who was sure his measly 30,000 a year was funding half of Chicago.

    • Tony says:

      Problem is that we don’t get freedom or defense or peace of mind when the government spends itself into collapse. So, we’re just supposed to be happy as the politicians spend us into a third world country? At what debt level do you think we need to start saying, hey maybe think about our children and grandchildren?

      How far in debt would you allow yourself to go before you die to pass on to your children?

    • RachelMCD says:

      Become and Ex-pat? Seriously? I have been an expat and all you get is more taxes, as the USA is one of the only countries that taxes income (and benefits) earned or received in foreign locations.

  7. G Fox says:

    #3 kind of reminds me of a slot machine. You put in $1, the machine makes a joyful noise and gives you back 80 cents. You feel good. You put in another $1 and it gives you nothing. But the sign on the top says if you get three 7’s it will give you $100, so you hit “rebet” and it gives you $1.05. Woo hoo, you think. You have given it $3 and received $1.85, and you feel good. Just like Uncle Sam taking your tax dollars all year and giving you back a small chunk…you THINK you are a winner, but you really aren’t. And you never will be. Just as with the slot machine, the real winners are those who don’t put any money in. And heaven knows we have a large number of those, don’t we?

  8. I once asked a friend, “How much tax did you have to pay this year.” Unbelievably he said, “I don’t have to pay this year. I am getting a refund.” Matt, I have maintained for years that if we had to mail a check every month to the IRS, there would be a genuine revolution, and the IRS would soon be abolished. Like my ignorant friend, most people have no idea how much tax they pay. They actually consider it a benefit to get a refund. My preference is to owe the tax people about $2. That way I did not make an interest-free load for months, and they won’t fine me for not paying enough.

    • fodderwing says:

      Actually Lifechange, after owning a small business for many years I came to the conclusion that, as the owner, I was the one paying the taxes, not the employees. The money that went to taxes never went into the pocket or even crossed the palm of any of our employees. I was responsible for sending it in each month from the money the business earned; call it an employment tax that I had to pay, but income tax it is not. The refund is a ruse to keep the employee thinking that he “paid his taxes.” There will be no revolution until people learn to value small businesses, but let’s not hold our breath.

      • Tony says:

        Just because you sent a portion of your employee’s check to the government doesn’t make it money you had to spend.

        If the income tax had not existed, you would have indeed been giving that cash to the employee, not the government. Just because there is a shortcut to this step, doesn’t mean it’s not the employee’s tax money.

        Good try.

        • fodderwing says:

          You are proviing my point, Tony. Many people are deceived by this shell game. It is an employment tax, and the employer would not be able to hire anyone without paying it.

      • How does someone with such a poor concept of economics and money manage to run a small business?

        • fodderwing says:

          Your concept of economics will change when you run your small business. Until then, just keep believing you are participating. By the way, can you produce any receipts showing that you paid the taxes prariepolyguy?

        • fodderwing says:

          Hey Matt, I’d really like to answer prariepolyguy. He says I have a poor concept of economics but gives no reason to support it. It’s just an insult to one of your fans that should not go unanswered. I originally told this young’un something to the effect that when he runs his own small business his economics and money management will change. That is an innocuous statement offered in the best sense of good will. I will visit your site again sometime if I can stand up for what I believe and give a thoughtful reply when your commenters are throwing spitballs.

        • fodderwing says:

          Apologies Matt – it looked today like my original comment got disappeared.

  9. Travis Rex says:

    I don’t suppose the author would appreciate when I say “I received a full refund after filing for 2013.”..you know, semantics being what they are and all.

    • Jillocity says:

      and you’re obviously happy that the .gov had your money, interest free, for the whole year, instead of you being able to use it for what you needed it for, during that year

  10. Megan says:

    Have any of you watched Freedom to Fascism? It’s a documentary done by Aaron Russo.
    I recommend it highly.

  11. That guy says:

    That seems rather childish of you.

  12. Kristine says:

    Your list does not apply to poor or lower middle class people, especially if they work- I mean income tax specifically. The lower middle class and working poor do not pay one dime of taxes. Further they DO get money from the feds in the form of earned income credits and child tax credits. It’s very possible that someone could have nothing withheld and still receive a “return” of $2-3k each year. I don’t think a lot of people know this. Pure income redistribution.

    • Caleb says:

      I make roughly 30,000 a year. I am self employed. I shelled out about $2,000. They tax everyone who makes more than dirt. I agree with your point though

      • Michelle says:

        My husband makes more than dirt. It’s about $16000/year, but that’s way more than dirt in our area. I don’t work, and we have four children. We always have enough money and don’t even bother to maintain a budget. Barely any (if any at all) money gets withheld from my husband’s paycheck for taxes. When we file taxes, the computer program asks about things like food sales tax and property tax, which I think are factored into the IRS’ decision to send us about $9,000 a year in “tax returns.” I understand that we pay sales tax, utility tax, etc., but I’d be very surprised if we pay $9,000/year in all taxes combined. This $9,000 isn’t a “tax return,” it’s the government sending us money because they think we’re poor, even though we’re not.

    • blert says:

      Oh, but they do pay taxes. They may pay nothing on income taxes, but let’s not be so naive to think that they pay nothing. Those poor and working class people are still subject to the payroll tax on their wages, so they have something taken out every month that will never be refunded. They still fill their tanks with gasoline, use phones, pay electric bills, buy food, buy clothes, buy other stuff, living in apartments and houses, and so on. All of this is taxed in some manner or another. A lot of it is taxed multiple times.

      Great, so the government gave me a few thousand dollars in a “refund” above the level of income I actually earned. It is a wealth redistribution of sorts. But add up all of the 5% taxes here, 8% taxes there, half a percent taxes over there, and so on, and I still pay a lot in taxes. A few people might milk the system so well that they end up gaining more in subsidies than they pay in taxes, but my guess is that large corporations, which form and survive only because a large government is there to give them advantage over smaller competitors, are much more efficient at this than the poor are.

      • Tony says:

        And then there is always the “bad at math” tax called the lottery. Many lower income folks pay that one daily.

        • Jillocity says:

          indeed…many lower income folks are addicted to that tax…to the point where they often pay that tax instead of paying their rent (taxed), or utility bill (which of course is also taxed)

    • cass says:

      That’s not fair and not true. I make less than $18,000 a year. I work full time at a job that requires the college degree that I obtained from a state college with no financial aid (just to clear up anymore assumptions you mIght like to make).
      And I do pay taxes. I got nothing”back” this year and had to pay in on my state income taxes. Please don’t make general remarks like that. If you don’t earn in those brackets you don’t know what we do and do not pay. And you also should not assume that everyone who is lower to lower-middle class is getting money or credit from the government. Some are but some of us are not.
      Please consider that you don’t know everything before you say things like this. It’s offensive

    • That’s not fair and not true. I make less than $18,000 a year before taxes are taken out. I work full time at a job that requires the college degree that I obtained from a state college with no financial aid (just to clear up anymore assumptions you mIght like to make).
      And I do pay taxes. I got nothing”back” this year and had to pay in on my state income taxes. Please don’t make general remarks like that. If you don’t earn in those brackets you don’t know what we do and do not pay. And you also should not assume that everyone who is lower to lower-middle class is getting money or credit from the government. Some are but some of us are not.
      Please consider that you don’t know everything before you say things like this. It’s offensive

    • That’s not fair and not true. I make less than $18,000 a year. I work full time at a job that requires the college degree that I obtained from a state college with no financial aid (just to clear up anymore assumptions you mIght like to make).
      And I do pay taxes. I got nothing”back” this year and had to pay in on my state income taxes. Please don’t make general remarks like that. If you don’t earn in those brackets you don’t know what we do and do not pay. And you also should not assume that everyone who is lower to lower-middle class is getting money or credit from the government. Some are but some of us are not.
      Please consider that you don’t know everything before you say things like this. It’s offensive

  13. Zeke says:

    Your rant reminds me of any number of self proclaimed patriots, who “love” America, but hate the thought of contributing to it. You are represented, if you don’t like how your representatives are working for you, vote them out of office.

    • Caleb says:

      Hey bud, don’t insult someone by saying they aren’t willing to give to their country just because they are unhappy to pay taxes to a bloated and spend-crazy government. Our country existed for 130 years before a national income tax even existed. It’s a crooked institution. I don’t mind paying taxes, but to my state. You know, like the forefathers intended?

    • blert says:

      Good luck with that voting thing. It’s quaint how people still believe that voting for someone different will make a difference. Even if that person is well-intentioned at the started, Washington quickly changes a person. Re-election looms. Corporations and bureaucracies throw around millions and billions of dollars, helping ensure that enough of the right people get elected that they get their ways. New people get elected, and by the end of a year in office they are indistinguishable from the crooks we just threw out.

      You can love a system in which the people have power if you want, but you are loving a dream that hasn’t existed in this country in actuality for a very, very long time. It’s not patriotic to cling to a delusional vision of what your country is.

      • viola violescent says:

        I agree . It’s really hard to have your vote count. You’d probably get better results by forming a committee or protest against a politician. That won’t guarantee you anything either. It’s sad, but our way of government was made for much smaller communities and groups.

  14. This article articulates the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach over “Tax Refunds,” bothers me to the core… Thanks for the thoughts.

  15. Pingback: Lightning Round – 2014/04/16 | Free Northerner

  16. blert says:

    It’s easy to explain why things cost so little. It’s because that milk, that gasoline, and everything else that we buy ends up heavily subsidized by the same taxes that we pay on it. For every good that is taxed, there are various subsidies built into the system to offset most of the cost of those taxes. Politicians have devised a clever scheme to take a lot of money from us so that they can dole it out to worthy interests, who in turn donate money back to the politicians to ensure that they will be reelected, with the money given by the government to them going to keep our prices lower.

    The system is brilliant from the perspective of politicians and large corporations because they get a lot more power and protection this way and because everybody at every stage is skimming a little from the pile of money, using what is fleeced from the taxpayers to fund lavish lifestyles. Everything might cost just a little less were it not for all this money being passed around in circles. But the reason everything doesn’t cost a whole lot more is because so much of that money flows to various industries, who keep the prices comfortably low enough that there is no risk of the peasants revolting.

  17. Kim says:

    And thanks to all those taxes, we have police, firefighters, EMS, hospitals, roads, bridges that don’t fall down, military, poor people not breaking into my home for food because of food stamps, prisons with some form of help, and on and on. If you really think you’re being over taxes, please move to Sweden and find out how much you won’t have in your paycheck.

    • Tony says:

      You’re right, there is some good being done with the taxes. But there is also lots of bad. Just because there are good things being done doesn’t equate to not being overtaxed.

      I personally pay roughly 25% in taxes. If I only paid for those things you mentioned, I would probably pay about 12.5% in taxes to cover it. So should I be happy that the government is taking twice as much money as they should from me?

    • Jillocity says:

      federal income tax does not pay for police, firefighters, EMS…those are paid out of county and state taxes…not sure about hospitals, but haven’t heard of any government supported hospitals…some get grants (mostly for research), but not full support…roads and bridges, if you hadn’t noticed, are in very poor shape…bridges in many areas are unsafe…states pay for prisons, only federal prisons are paid for by the .gov…and you obviously don’t live in the inner cities where home invasions are quite common…and the selling of food stamps for cash (usually for drugs) is quite common…and comparing Sweden to America is apples to oranges

    • RachelMCD says:

      Really? There were no roads when the country was formed is 1789 (official adoption of Constitution…) We never had a military during the Revolution or the Civil War or the Spanish-American War? Hospitals? Not one for more than 100 years? Well, thank heaven for the income tax that saved us from living in caves…

  18. tacywb says:

    I actually don’t feel that bitter about tax refunds. I feel it often can be a big relief after an upsetting bout with tax paying. Not that I really have to bear the brunt of the emotional strain of tax day- that is my husband’s job!

  19. John Conrad says:

    Most of the comments and even the original post suffer from refusal to look at the whole picture. Sure taxes are too high and we are spending ourselves into bankruptcy. However, when politicians run for office we (collective) vote for the ones who promise us stuff. We don’t care if there is money to cover it. Also, we get up every day and take for granted roads, police forces, county and city governments, the federal government, the military and intelligence services, ad nauseum. We live in a great country with great opportunities. Some of this has a financial cost. When we have a chance to elect someone who understands finances (Mitt Romney) we elect Barack Obama who understands polls. If you don’t like this figure out a way to get Americans to vote differently.

    • Tony says:

      Good point, however the poster, Matt, has addressed the actual problem, the “whole picture” in previous blogs.

      People take information differently, and maybe some people will understand the issue better in this format than by looking at the bigger picture. Sometimes, it takes addressing individual outcomes of the larger problem for people to actually understand the overlying issue is in fact a problem.

      Voter ignorance is a huge issue, but how do you address that? You can’t force people to research the candidates, and you can’t take away their vote if they don’t. People get to vote for whatever reason they come up with.

      Even after the US collapses financially, there will still be people that think their very important issue of whether men can marry other men is of higher priority than maintaining a working economy.

  20. “… things you shouldn’t say to this surprisingly sensitive group of emotional snowflakes.”

    LOL! Yeah – although some “don’t say these things” lists are well-meaning and informative, most of them are more like “here’s a list of things so long and comprehensive that there is literally nothing you can expect to say to anyone anymore. Your good intentions be damned.”

    Anyway, it’s amusing how SO many people feel the need to say “But Matt never SAID not to pay your taxes!” as if anyone could legitimately just stop paying taxes without some rather dire consequences.

    But seriously, after reading his post, I am left with the impression that Mr. Walsh is one of those individuals who is philosophically opposed to the government collecting taxes at all. Now, he may not be one of those people (he doesn’t specifically say), but it really does sound like it. My question for Mr. Walsh: In your opinion, what would an appropriate level / method of taxation look like?

  21. Andy says:

    Some of Matt’s points about government and deficit spending are a little misguided. While it’s not good policy to spend money for little benefit, the US govt’s deficit is actually required in order for an economy to grow. Think about it, if it shrunk the debt, where is the money coming from? The private (or non govt) sector. Whether it shrinks from higher taxes or less spending, it’s the same end result – less money in the private sector.

    This simple fact is often unknown to many people, unfortunately.

    • Bobby Fresh says:

      The money is coming from cutting the spending on studies on the effects of cocaine on mating quail.

  22. Shannon G says:

    #3 I can’t believe you missed an opportunity to talk about refundable tax credits & how many people do, in fact, “get back” more than they paid during the year. Some of these refundable credits may seem more worthy than others (the earned income credit is clearly welfare disguised as a tax break, while the adoption credit certainly has a feel good aura attached, and the military pay system is designed to qualify military members for more credits than their civilian counterparts who earn the same amount since a large percentage of military remuneration is non-taxable) but they really just illustrate the problems with our convoluted tax code. Let’s call a spade a spade!

  23. “Incomplete” is one word, Matt.

  24. Pam Weber says:

    We are all getting what we deserve, for allowing it to get this out of hand!! We needed a real tea party and we got another community (non) action group!! Can’t we hear the screams, coming hp from the graves of our forefathers, telling us to read our constitution? The ykunger generation cannot, because teachers do not teach cursive writing in school anymore!!

    If our forefathers knew what a Pandoa’s Box the “General Welfare Clause” would cause, they would not hsve inchded it in the above mentioned document!!

  25. Jensee says:

    Wow. I don’t know what to say, Matt. It’s like a punch in the heart that you refer to us as “lazy bloggers”. As a blogger, I wrote “correctly” for years. So have many of my colleagues. Then we were educated by the top bloggers in the industry – the one’s making 6-figure incomes – (think Darren Rowse, Copyblogger, etc..) about how to blog correctly. My blog has grown and I’m now a successful blogger, content creator and social media consultant.

    I do know that a good number of my blogger colleagues follow you. I wonder if they’ll feel punched in the chest, too? It took a lot of work to adapt to a different style of writing. I went through training to write on a national news blogsite (something akin to Huffington, but not so Huffington). Yes, there’s a difference between academic writing and blogging. You’ve been unusually fortunate in that your blog has been so successful without the formatting, SEO and other things that I make a living from doing. This is how I support my kids as a widowed mom.

    I’m just surprised.

  26. Misti says:

    Matt, I have to say, I found myself laughing at the irony of your taxes in a day off normal life. I’m not sure I’ll be able to brush my teeth without remembering this “not so funny” laugh.

  27. Frank says:

    Maybe the author is going to rewrite the part about that link leading to the right post but just hasnt gotten around to it yet.

  28. Wow, amazing blog structure! How lengthy have you been blogging for?
    you make blogging glance easy. The entire glance of your web
    site is magnificent, as well as the content!

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