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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Taxes taxes taxes

Yesterday was supposed to be Tax Freedom Day, on average, the day when we have earned enough to pay our annual burden of local, state, and federal taxes. Supposedly, what we earn from then on out is ours to use for food, shelter, clothing, transportation, healthcare, and other of life’s essentials. Any money we have left over is discretionary.

In theory, society expects each of us to pay our share to fund the multitude of government services “essential” to this great nation. Oddly, 47% of HOUSEHOLDS IN THE USA LEGALLY PAID NO FEDERAL INCOME TAXES IN 2009. According to an AP story, “In recent years, credits for low- and middle-income families have grown so much that a family of four making as much as $50,000 will owe no federal income tax for 2009, as long as there are two children younger than 17…”

Yes, I am a pissed off taxpayer who thinks government has gone too far and that many Americans are nothing but whining sissies expecting (and receiving) far more than they deserve. I was making below minimum wage as an apprentice machinist during the year 1971. There were no “tax credits” for me back then; my take home pay after taxes was around $68 for a 60-hour workweek. Nope, $68 a week was not a “living wage” in those days, I had to make do. There were times during my life when I worked a fulltime job plus two part-time jobs in order to make ends meet. Never did I receive a dime of unemployment pay; when I lost a job, I would find another one even if was at a lower wage. Never did I receive one dime of Worker’s Compensation pay; I had a few serious injuries over the years but was always back to work the next day. When I cut off the tip of my middle finger (I lost a chunk of bone that time) in a machine shop accident, I was back working the same machine the next day, splinted and bandaged. Another industrial accident crushed my right hand and ripped all of the skin from it; I was back to work the next day. I worked while wearing bandages and a cast for the following six-weeks. Back-injuries and broken ribs were no excuse for not working; you taped yourself up and worked while on crutches if needed. I had one stretch when I worked for over 20-years without taking a sick-day; it ended when I took half of a sick day off to pass a kidney stone.

My father’s health insurance plan booted me out the door when I was 18-years-old. Shortly thereafter, I became grievously ill with some strange blood disorder (they speculated it was from the chemicals at work). All of my earnings went to pay my medical bills; when I lost my job and the money ran out, I was on my own to live or die. When my daughter was born I paid the hospital and doctors bills with cash from my pocket; a job change put my wife’s pregnancy as a pre-existing condition for the new health care provider.

I learned many hard lessons at a tender age. I have done well during my lifetime and now live comfortably, everything I have I earned the old-fashioned way; I worked hard, studied hard, and invested in myself and in equities for my future. Please don’t expect me to quietly give up what I have earned so bunches of spineless, unmotivated underachievers won’t have to break a sweat.

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