Tax Season 

How will you handle your extension?

"I hate to be the one to remind you, but pretty soon it's going to be April 15th — tax time. You know what I am saying? Are you ready? Well, you know when something like this happens, New Yorkers always try to put the best face they can on a situation. For example, the hookers in Times Square: For an extra $50, they will handle your extension." — David Letterman

The best part of spring just ended — the NCAA basketball championship and the Masters. Now comes the bad part — pollen and tax time. This year, we are measuring pollen by the inch here in Atlanta, but it is not near as annoying to me as paying this idiotic government's ever-increasing taxes.

April 15th is when people like Kevin Federline have to answer awkward questions like "Occupation?" George Bush should have to answer a similar question: "Why Occupation?" (In the most expensive political/social-science course of all time, we have spent $500 billion just so our government could learn that Shiites and Sunnis will never ever get along.)

The Republicans, who say they are the party of limited government, created the second-largest entitlement of all time with the prescription-drug-coverage giveaway. As it turns out, the giveaway was mostly to drug companies who, through spending a ton of money on lobbying Congress, do not have to compete on prices any longer. The drug lobby actually hired the congressman who ran this bill through Congress — right after it passed — and is paying him $2 million a year. I need a Prozac.

With all their goof-ups and lack of truth in advertising, the GOP has left the door open for the classic tax-and-spenders, the Democrats. It is a given that we are not going to get a tax break under Hillary Clinton, who has already picked out her inaugural pantsuit, she is so sure she will win in 2008. Her Thighness will not be concerned about the high taxes we pay. She only wants to raise taxes and redirect the money.

And there will be more gas taxes, created by Democrats out to stop the bogeyman called Global Warming. Currently, the villains — oil companies — make about 10 cents a gallon profit on gas. The government takes about 40 cents a gallon. Expect that to get worse. It will drive me nuts when the Democrats take charge. I fear that I may get suicidal and throw myself under an oncoming glacier.

The federal budget is more screwed up than Paris Hilton's checkbook. We have an incomprehensible, lobbyist-written tax code that costs us $195 billion a year to comply with. Many in our society, of course, do not pay anything.

The top 1 percent of taxpayers accounted for 37 percent of all taxes paid in 2005, up from 34 percent in 2003. The top 5 percent of taxpayers, those with around $130,000 and above in income, paid 57 percent of all collected taxes. The bottom 50 percent paid only 3 percent. I find it amazing that people think that somehow upper-income people are not paying their fair share. My fear is that they will leave the country and stop supporting the rest of the United States.

The only answer is the "fair tax." It abolishes the IRS and collects tax at the point of sale. The IRS has a 10-billion-dollar budget and four times as many employees as the FBI. If the fair tax gets enacted, we would no longer have to file tax returns. Only the IRS could devise a system whereby we are forced to predict how much tax we owe by guessing how many dependents we should deduct. Somehow, the government views children as deductions, while most of us who are parents view them as taxing.

As for me, I am just going to claim one dependent this year: the U.S. government.

Ron Hart is a libertarian and an investor who lives in Atlanta. His e-mail is

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