My blog co-author Atty and I decided to get together for beers last Friday night. Over a few pints of Guinness in the dark corner of the neighborhood restaurant, we came to the conclusion that we’ve got it all wrong. We’re in fact, just a couple of stupid schmucks for living the honest, go-getter middle class life
This morning I reinforced that realization after I woke up and decided to do my taxes. I collected all my paperwork and set off for what was sure to be a fun and rewarding morning of government bullshit.
In the process of attempting to live the American Dream (of just getting by for the most part), I’ve amassed quite a few taxable elements in my life. I have investments, retirement and interest bearing accounts, a rental property, college savings accounts for my kids, a personal LLC that generates a little extra cash for me on the side and I work in a job that requires me to work in various states around the country.
Each of these little aspects of my life has an IRS form attached to it and the need for endless documentation and records to record it all and key into Turbo Tax.
As I started doing my taxes, I found myself becoming more and more agitated. How much did you spend on this, how much on that? Did the total you earned on A exceed amount B? Did you contribute at least X to this but less than Y to that?
SOMEONE. PLEASE. SHOOT. ME.
To make matters worse, my job requires even more vigorous record keeping. I am currently a Federal Government contractor, which means I get the pleasure of saving even more receipts- records in insane detail, including one for every meal I eat and even my boarding passes for my flights! I even have to make sure I don’t tip the cab driver or waiter too much.
Meanwhile, I know people who essentially live outside the system working for cash, living unmarried as husband and wife with children to take advantage of the tax and social programs for single moms, getting better rates on mortgages due to being single and technically low income. They tend to have no investments, no savings, no nothing. I no longer look down on these people or criticize them. I applaud them. They learned to work the system to their advantage.
It isn’t called dishonest, it’s called finding a tax loophole. Corporations pay CPAs and accounting firms big bucks to do the exact same thing for them.
Fuck it, just live life day to day, take advantage of endless government subsidies and tax credits and each year, file a nice Form 1040EZ, collect your annual earned income child tax credits and go on a shopping spree.
Meanwhile, I’ll spend an entire fucking weekend doing my taxes and probably have to pay a little as well.
Welcome to America. Where trying to get ahead seems to kick you in the balls then punch you in the face when you double over in pain from the first blow.