Wednesday, March 4, 2015


Spent a bunch of time today getting all my tax stuff together.

"But Fred," you say, "don't you big-time writers have people for that?"

Well, imaginary person who is so good for my ego, I scrub my own toilet, so you tell me what a big shot I am. I do spring for an accountant, but that's a sacrifice I'm glad to make. I used to use TurboTax, but they had a problem with the New York returns a few years ago, and I had enough of going it alone. It's not that my accountant is perfect, it's that he does something TurboTax cannot do---sign the return. If the IRS or the New York Comptroller comes after me, my accountant has to come with me to explain.

I do not want to cheat; it's just that the tax codes in the nation and my state are so preposterously complex that every taxpayer could probably be indicted for a felony just by accident. Everyone hates our tax code, but everyone's afraid to do anything about it. Parents are afraid to lose dependents deductions; homeowners are afraid to lose the mortgage deduction; politicians are afraid to the power to grant favors and punish enemies. The corrupt IRS, clearly incapable of dealing honestly with citizens or even telling the truth, certainly doesn't want to lose its privileges. It's become a horrible, snarled mess, and the entire country is so paralyzed with fear of what could replace it that nothing gets changed.

This is unbecoming to a supposedly great and free people.

In The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody (published 1950), Will Cuppy wrote about George III that "George once said wars were useless. The news from America didn't seem to upset him greatly. When he heard of the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown, George said: 'It's nothing.' But Lord North, his Prime Minister at the time, resigned. George sometimes forgot what all the fuss had been about. The colonists, it seems, had to 'pay taxes to which their consent had never been asked.'"

Then in a footnote, Cuppy writes, "Today we pay taxes but our consent has been asked, and we have told the government to go ahead and tax us all they want to. We like it."

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