Happy tax day -- 04/15/10

Ah, yes, here in the U.S. today is Tax Day... the dreaded day by which you must file your income tax paperwork (or the online equivalent).

Well, except that it isn't for me. Since we live in Rhode Island, there has been a reprieve until early May because of the extensive flooding of two weeks ago. In actuality, however, we submitted our returns a couple of weeks ago.

I've never wanted a big tax refund. That means that I have had too much money withheld from my paychecks -- that I have given the government the use of my money for a year without receiving a penny in interest on it. That is just plain stupid. I know there are people who do little happy dances every year when they get a big refund, as if their good friends in the government were being kind and generous to them. Duh, it's your money. I don't necessarily want to have to write a large check to cover an amount owed -- that can be painful. I'm happiest with being within a couple hundred bucks either way.

Since we both work, we get hit with the marriage penalty tax. Did you ever notice how Congress never seems to be able to figure out a way to fix that? Once upon a time, 'way back when, in the days of the single income family, when daddy had a paying job and mommy stayed home with the little ones (in their little cottage with the white picket fence in front, etc.), Congress set the tax code up so that there was an advantage to being married in that single-income family. The problem came when both husband and wife were working. The higher the income total, the higher percentage being taken out of each additional dollar of income. Essentially, two single people who get married will find they now pay a higher amount of taxes on the same total income than they would have paid if they had stayed single. Congress won't fix the problem because they like getting that extra revenue. (Never believe a word that a politician says about "fairness.")

Our problem, of course, is that we are the "little people" who pay their taxes (in the words of billionaire business woman Leona Helmsley who said "We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes...") Too bad we can't be too important and powerful to have to worry about taxes... you know, like Congressman Charlie Rangle who has cheated on his taxes for years... or Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, another blatant tax cheat....

And here's a little slide show that points out that taxes are the price we pay for civilization...

And here's a link -- to a column by James Lileks -- "No Taxation Without Satirization."

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all
Cause I'm the tax man
Yea I'm the tax man

If you drive a car I'll tax the street
If you try to sit I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk I'll tax your feet

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