Ah, spring—the time of year known for its unbounded desire: desire for beauty, desire for romance, and desire for the IRS to insert their schedule B firmly into their line 43a. Yep. Tax time. And unless you are clever enough to file for your automatic extension, you have just spent the last several weeks collecting receipts, scouring instructions, removing your hair in large clumps, and asking yourself age-old, soul-searching questions like, “If a tax man and a politician were both drowning and I could only save one, would I go get some coffee or check Facebook?”
Personally, I don’t mind this time of year so much because it reminds me that I am solidly entrenched in the middle class in that I am in the upper half of the population that actually pays taxes yet not so rich that I have to feel guilty about avoiding them entirely. Yea for me. And this year’s check was written in especially celebratory merriment because 2013 marks the centennial of the American income tax (that’s the 100th birthday for you public schoolers). Actually, after subtracting the total of Schedule D from line 27p then applying the net-adjustment ratio to the gains from Form 327 via the formula ∫_x^n L (-b±√(b^2-4ac))/2a = a_0+∑_(n=1)^∞(a_n cos〖nπx/L〗+b_n sin〖nπx/L〗) wherein n = the subsidy integer obtained from chart G and π = dessert, it’s more like the 58th and 2/7 birthday. Regardless, feel free to quote Kool & The Gang (while of course being careful to avoid any trademark infringement of the popular internet portal) in shouting a resounding “Yahoo!”
That’s right, exactly one hundred years ago the inhabitants of this great land of ours were so delusional that they passed the 16th Amendment granting Congress the power to “lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several states, and without regard to common sense or logical application.” Ha ha! Just kidding. That’s not what it says. I chose not to quote it directly in favor of how it has instead been interpreted.
The original income tax code passed in 1913 was 400 pages but has since grown to a Les Miserables-ish 73,954 pages, laying to rest once and for all the notion that we have a do-nothing Congress. They have spent years tirelessly expanding the simple, narrow-minded funding needs of infrastructure and security to include more diverse ‘investments’ such as buying robotic squirrels for the purpose of learning how rattlesnakes would react to them and studying Chinese pig manure, which some smart-alecks have labeled an example of wasteful spending on pork.
Perhaps this has something to do with the finding published by those investigators of particularly smelly statistics, The Pew Research Center, that says only 28% of the general population views the federal government favorably. In a related report, they found that the federal government employs roughly 28% of the general population.
Then there are those like Warren Buffett who say they should be paying more in taxes. My reaction to this is—and I say this with the utmost sincerity and respect—shut your πhole, Warren. I’m pretty sure nobody is stopping you from paying as much as you want. Last time I checked, there isn’t a maximum. (As an aside, starting tomorrow this blog is owned and operated by Mr. Warren Buffett. …And I’m sorry.)
Forbes magazine has said that if we were to add up all the time we spent on preparing our taxes this year, it would be the equivalent of a year of full-time labor for 3 million workers, or 8.2 million Fannie Mae middle managers. I’m sorry, but if the code is so convoluted that it takes that much time and is too complex for even the Secretary of the Treasury to file his taxes correctly, it’s time to simplify. Perhaps you should consider hiring me as your tax code author. I’m thinking I could whittle it down in the neighborhood of 73,953 pages to the following:
Line 1: How much did you make last year?
Line 2: Send in ______ %.
No loopholes, no favors, no subsidies, no problem. And it would apply to gross incomes across the board—even those that are especially gross like sewer workers or embalmers or people who count to 144.
Of course, a tax law like this would not be popular with those in the big shiny towers who make their living from excessively complicated codes such as tax accountants, tax attorneys, tax consultants, tax collectors, taxidermists, taxi drivers, etc., but it would certainly cut down on those cheaters who claim more deductions than Sherlock Holmes.
The IRS estimates that tax cheating equates to about a $290 billion shortfall, which is despicable and unpatriotic—and I say that as a married, blind, quadriplegic minority veteran union farmer with 18 kids and six mortgages who gives twice my green energy business income to charity while getting a degree from my hospital bed along with my dependent live-in exchange students.