So. What a day it has already been. The dogs got me up earlier than usual because, as Squirt told me, “We’re starving!”
The adorable bundle of short, soft brown fur was standing on my chest and was nose-to-nose with me. “That’s total bullshit, little lady,” I replied to the huger brown eyes and morning dog breath smack in my face. “You’re just excited to have a fresh bag of lamb and whole grains food. Now get out of my face and go back to sleep.”
Rather than shush, she nudggied my left eye socket with her wet snout. “Get up, asshole, and fix our breakfast… And do it now. Do you really think you’ll be getting any more sleep if you don’t feed us?”
Dog had a point. “Alright, shitbird, but you have to promise to leave me alone when I work on my taxes.”
Since I’m not getting any sex these days, I figured I’d complete the torture by starting work on my taxes. Doing taxes is tough for me—a mixed bag of emotions and moral decisions. With the addition of my ADHD to the mix, tax work can be dangerous without the constant interruptions of the dogs.
I believe in taxes. Have believed ever since my grandfather explained to me the role of governments in the lives of civilized people. Granddad’s lesson came when he and I went to the new clothing store that opened near us to buy a year’s worth of overalls for he and Daddy. They were having a big Grand Opening Sale. Both my fraternal bloodlines had the ADHD, so tangled, mangled and shredded clothing was a part of everyday ranch life. Buy my stupid fucking book and you can get the low down on that dealio.
When we got to the counter to pay for the double armful of blue denim and brass zippers and snaps, the owner of the store told Granddad that, “I want to thank you gentlemen for shopping with us.” Then with a conspiratorial whisper he added, “You can save the sales tax if you pay in cash.”
Granddad said, “No thanks, buddy, we don’t shop with crooks,” and we left that store and drove to Callahans, our usual overall supplier. The overalls would cost more in price and the sales tax was added on top. Money was tight for us and I had questions.
When I asked him why we left without a purchase—especially when we could save so much money—my grandfather told me about why we want to pay taxes. I can’t remember the entire conversation since two ADHD-addled brains in the cab of one old pickup truck can create confusion. But I do remember the gist.
“Look, son, the mainstay of any civilization is its ability to protect and serve its citizens—to provide police and fire and schools and roads and such—so that the quality of life for every citizen is an improvement over less civilized masses of folks. It’s the governments, like the state of Texas and the mighty U.S. of A., that provide that protection and services. Taxes are the way governments raise the cash to pay for all that.”
Granddad always called America the U.S. of A., and proudly each time. I often wonder what he would think about the decreasing civility of today’s America.
“OK,” I told him. “But we could have saved $2.47 in sales tax if we’d bought from that crook. I could get a lot of candy with that $2.47.”
Granddad pulled the truck over to the side of the road. “Get out and walk home, Mooner. And stay off the roads that were paid for by tax money. And you wade Waller Creek, boy. Taxes paid for that bridge.”
When I finally got home, my jeans were still wet from the knees down, and the family was already seated for dinner. Daddy couldn’t stifle the case of giggles he was having. “Sit an’ eat, Mooner,” Gram told me. “Least he didn’t drop ya all tha ways up ta Georgetown like he did yer daddy. Would sumbody pass me tha fuckin’ peas afore Mooner gits his hands on ‘em?”
I love fresh green peas and would often eat straight from the communal bowl after everyone else had taken a first serving, and it seems my father had received the same lesson as me only on the way back from Waco to buy a bull. Georgetown is between Austin and Waco and about thirty miles from the ranch.
Dinner conversation was about taxes and their roles in our lives. How America had used taxes to raise the funds to pay for and win the two big wars, how FDR had helped bring us back to our feet from the Great Depression while creating massive new infrastructure nationwide. As I’ve stumbled through life I have gathered increased appreciations for the benefits of taxes.
Take, for example, jails. As a regular inhabitant of jails around the world, it has been the ones in more civilized countries that have had the best accommodations. Countries of lesser-taxed people sport incarceration centers lacking in many basic pleasantries while guards find sport in tormenting their charges.
Like Mexican jails. I fucking hate Mexican jails.
Or roads or schools or police or utilities, like say… Drinking water. In some under-civilized places, rich folks drink mechanically cleaned water while commoners drink the same fetid swill as their animals.
Bottom line, I like the services and comforts afforded by my governments and do not mind paying for them. And therein, Virginia, lies the rub.
I’m a painfully honest taxpayer. I want to be sure that I report each and every source of income. But I likewise want to take every reasonable deduction—the root cause of which I approve.
OK, that was awkward. What I meant to say is that if I approve of the fairness of a deduction I will take it. If not, nope. And while I’m at it, shouldn’t I have said “…double armfuls of denim…” a few paragraphs ago?
Example: I always took Dependant deductions for my kids but I’ll never take long term capital gains. Each and every family or single parent raising kids deserves a break to hep with child rearing costs.
But Long Term Capital Gains—I find LTCG’s to be counterintuitive to a civilized populace. You have to have massive amounts of disposable income to afford investments that qualify for them, and only the wealthy can get the huge discounts on income taxes. Said another way, rich folks get tax breaks for being rich.
How fucking dumb is that? Our tax code rewards rich people for being rich? Really?
And don’t start with all that job creator and investment capital bullshit with me. I own businesses—small businesses—and I’ve never NOT created a job when consumer demand for my products required it regardless of my tax rates. Nor have I not invested one dollar to make ten just because I had to pay thirty-nine cents more in taxes on that nine bucks profit than I did on the previous nine bucks profits.
Profits are profits folks, and an extra 3.9% on each buck a person makes over his first $400,000 isn’t stopping anyfuckingbody from working hard on his next nine dollar profit. When I hear these billionaires whining about the new tax deal I just want to piss on their shiny shoes.
Asshole greedy infrastructure-stealing bastards.
Anyway, I’m starting work on my personal tax shit and thinking about food and beer. And of protesting over to the Walmart. I met a nice lady and her also nice husband at lunch and they offered to march with me. I just need help with my signs. I know what goes on the front of the signs—FUCK WALMART!!!—but I’m lost for words on the reverse. I’m having trouble with what message to put on the other side.
What do you guys think I should put on the back side of my FUCK WALMART signs? Tell me your ideas, and I’ll see you manana, y’all.