Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Forced Tribute Day

Ah, I love the smell of Tax Day in the morning.

Well, not really, but this Tax Day started off better than most…

I used an online service to file my taxes a few weeks ago. I found this friendly note waiting for me in my inbox this morning:
This is an automated customer service message from [the online service I used].

When the Federal Return was filed, it showed a balance due amount. In most cases the due date for payment of the tax due is the same as the tax filing deadline. For this year the date is April 18, 2011. If you have mailed your tax payment or know that your tax payment was made, you may disregard this eMail.

Waitaminit... April 18? Seems we have a bit of a reprieve this year.

Turns out Washington, D.C. is observing Emancipation Day. On April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signed a law ending slavery in the District of Columbia.

Since this D.C. holiday falls on a weekend this year, it is being observed on a Friday. The U.S. Tax Code says that the filing and payment deadline cannot fall on a holiday. Ergo we get a weekend extension!

We won’t linger too long on the irony of Emancipation Day falling right after Forced Tribute Day (Tax Day) every year. We’ll just note the extra bit of breathing room before we have to cut off some metaphorical flesh and hand it over to the nice men with the guns and prisons.

But some people don’t really think this is suffering at all. To them, taxes are the price one pays for “civilization.”

Even a lot of folks who want a lot less government concede the need for some taxes…for things that they can’t imagine private enterprise could handle efficiently: roads, utilities and military aggression.

Others see taxes as pure theft all the time. People like this tend to be especially enthusiastic about gold and silver.

Recently a reader sent in a letter denouncing gold in six points. That got a lot of goats among the Whiskey Bar patrons. We will devote the weekend edition to running the indignant guffaws and refutations, but for now we’ll take a look at just one…
Hi Gary, I won’t even bother to take the time to respond to this moron. It would take too long and he wouldn’t listen anyway. Have him check back in a few years from now, tell us how he’s doing... ha ha ha ha

Oh alright, here’s a response to one of his points...

“1. Gold is a nearly useless commodity. You can’t eat it, drink it, wear it (I guess you could wire your house with it), or burn it in your car. Jewelry and expensive paperweights are the primary uses.”

Let me answer him by saying: “Federal Reserve Notes are a nearly useless commodity. They are about as rare as beach sand. You can’t eat them, drink them, wear them, or burn them in your car (I guess you could burn them in your fireplace to keep warm). Trading ever larger quantities of them for real things like food, energy, gold, and silver are their primary uses.” But soon Federal Reserve Notes will be worthless while my gold and silver will be in GREAT demand. People like this are almost too stupid to live. Too bad that describes a majority of Americans.

Yeah, about the majority of Americans…and indeed the majority worldwide…

They put an awful lot of faith in the people running the show. The may grumble about taxes…and about the politicians they elect…but in the end they think tax payment is an honorable duty, that burden of civilization they nobly bear.

They believe that democracy may provide poor returns on their investment of faith and money, but it’s better than all the other alternatives. After all, a quotable politician said so!

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