Taxes

"Unfortunately, buckos, it's time to pay up!": The (Cartoon) Beatles in "Taxman"

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The Fab Four's animated counterparts declare the pennies on their eyes in their animated series from the 1960s (and yes, they get around to singing "Taxman" by the end):

Thanks to Maura Flynn for the tip.

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  1. I am still amazed that my fellow Americans wait until the last moment to file their income tax forms. Well, the ones getting “refunds” anyway.

    Have always been amazed at the popular notion that a refund is “good”. That was one of the most baffling things that folk in my college discipline of Finance never seem to end writing papers about too.

    Anyway, I did my taxes in January. Still got a refund, but it was a small one from the feds. Still trying to figure out how to keep VA from taking so much all year.

  2. And on this most holy of socialist holidays, may I extend to both our liberal and war-mongering trolls a hale and hearty:

    FUCK YOU!

  3. NH, the land of no income and sales taxes, is not tax free if you’re self-employed. Bastards! That was my big surprise of the year.

    What gets rarely talked about in the tax complexity debate is how tax software has further clouded the issue. I still do my own taxes, but I wouldn’t if not for tax software (I use TaxCut). I wonder how complex we would have let our tax code get if not for this time saver?

  4. @Guy Montag

    Anyway, I did my taxes in January. Still got a refund, but it was a small one from the feds. Still trying to figure out how to keep VA from taking so much all year.

    Yeah, well, some of us weren’t lucky enough to get a refund, some of us had to pay extra. In fact, both the feds and the state ate my lunch for me this year.

    @SugarFree

    And on this most holy of socialist holidays, may I extend to both our liberal and war-mongering trolls a hale and hearty:

    FUCK YOU!

    I’ll sure as hell second that!

  5. Guy,
    Well, a small refund isn’t that bad and preferable to owing a small amount. I usually end up being owed about $30, which pays for my tax software. However, the $1-2 in opportunity cost is well worth the lack worry of owing the government.

  6. PM,

    Yeah, well, some of us weren’t lucky enough to get a refund, some of us had to pay extra. In fact, both the feds and the state ate my lunch for me this year.

    I would have rather paid some small amount that get back a $300+ “refund” of my own money that they kept all year.

    BTW, the “lucky enough to get a refund” comment is exactly the thing that is so baffling in Finance and Accounting that I was talking about. Not sure why you feel “lucky” to have others keep your money for you, interest free, all year, but if it makes you feel better then have at it.

  7. Getting a refund means you lent the Government money tax free. Why in hell would you want to do that?

    BTW, NIck seems stuck in Happy Days, what with his leather jacket and all this “bucko” talk.

  8. “Taxman”

    One, two, three, four…
    Hrmm!
    One, two, (one, two, three, four!)

    Let me tell you how it will be;
    There’s one for you, nineteen for me.
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the taxman.

    Should five per cent appear too small,
    Be thankful I don’t take it all.
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the taxman.

    (if you drive a car, car;) – I’ll tax the street;
    (if you try to sit, sit;) – I’ll tax your seat;
    (if you get too cold, cold;) – I’ll tax the heat;
    (if you take a walk, walk;) – I’ll tax your feet.

    Taxman!

    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the taxman.

    Don’t ask me what I want it for, (ah-ah, mister Wilson)
    If you don’t want to pay some more. (ah-ah, mister heath)
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the taxman.

    Now my advice for those who die, (taxman)
    Declare the pennies on your eyes. (taxman)
    ‘Cause I’m the taxman,
    Yeah, I’m the taxman.

    And you’re working for no one but me.

    Taxman!

  9. George Harrison was the only mop-head I could stand.

  10. Yeah, well, some of us weren’t lucky enough to get a refund, some of us had to pay extra. In fact, both the feds and the state ate my lunch for me this year.

    Same here.

    And on this most holy of socialist holidays, may I extend to both our liberal and war-mongering trolls a hale and hearty:

    FUCK YOU!

    I’ll sure as hell second that!

    Whenever the subject comes up, just remember to always say, “The only reason I pay taxes is because the government will throw me in prison if I don’t.” If nothing else, it’s a good way to start a conversation about aggression, the use of force, and government-as-monopoly.

  11. Guy,

    In hindsight, Ringo was the most successful Beatle.

  12. Why are y’all even paying taxes at all? Don’t you know Sen. Reid says they’s voluntary?

  13. 113 Days of 2008 You Ain’t Getting Back. George Harrison & Eric Clapton do Tax Man here.

  14. Over at American Prospect they are already celebrating tax rebates and deriding tax simplification as another “tax dodge” for the rich!

    BTW, I am too “rich” to get that “extra” rebate check coming in a month or so.

    I wonder why they are not encouraging folks to donate their rebates back to the government? It is really easy to donate money directly to the government activity that you support and keep it away from the stuff you don’t like.

    Even the Rev. William Jefferson Clinton (C-AR) tells his tax people to resolve questions in favor of the government, according to one of his press chats anyway.

    Oh wait, sorry, I forgot. Over at Prospect, WE are the ones who need to give our tax dollars to THEM and if we don’t want to do it willingly, the people they support having guns will be ordered to help them. MY BAD!

  15. BB,

    Being successful does not make me like people, but I always thought you were a hottie.

  16. How about the scam, which is the quarterly tax estimated payments on your expected income based on last year’s income?

    After a year of struggling to start my own company, I saved back enough to pay last year’s tax and the first quarter of this year.

    My first income tax payment estimate for this year was more than I made in income. My accountant told me I should pay it anyway or I would incur penalties from the IRS. He said that things may get better as the year goes on and I couldn’t make additional payments as I made more money.

    How’s that for fair and equitable? Paying more tax than you make for yourself?

    /If paying taxes requires more than 15 minutes and a few calculations then we’re doing it wrong.

    //My grandfather had a name for the IRS greedy bastards.

    ///What happened to figuring out what you make at the end of the year and settling up at that time?

  17. If you dont want more tax hikes, vote McCain!

    Hes just praposed a gas tax holiday for the summer! More tax cuts, NO to liberal Democrat elitist economics!

  18. Last night, some $7.00 in “unrecaptured section 1250 gains” on my brokerage account doubled the length of time that it normally takes to do them.
    Yes, I still do it on paper with the worksheets and a pocket calculator. I should probably be in a Smithsonian exhibit.

  19. “I wonder why they are not encouraging folks to donate their rebates back to the government?”

    Hopefully, my largesse from the government will be immediately returned to them in the form of my second quarterly estimated payment.

  20. Neil is rapidly becoming the most amusing poster here.

  21. ///What happened to figuring out what you make at the end of the year and settling up at that time?

    You are asking the wrong question. What happened to paying for goods and services at a price agreed upon by the two participants in the exchange? You know, that whole “free market” thing?

    I’d say the government is like that unscrupulous mechanic who, in response to the question, “How much will it cost?”, answers, “Well, how much you got?”… but in fact, it’s like a mechanic who charges you what he wants, holds a gun to your head to make you pay, and then actually makes your car more broken.

    Government is nothing more than a criminal gang. Repeat it often and it will sink in.

  22. Episiarch are you going to tell me that the Democrat Party doesn’t support a massive tax hike?

    Do you support McCain’s gas tax holiday?

  23. Government is nothing more than a criminal gang. Repeat it often and it will sink in.

    Oh, I have tried. But people who watch the government rape them tax wise–and complain!–will still defend it.

    Battered Taxpayer Syndrome.

  24. I measure the relative success of the Beatles in units of, well, me.

  25. ///What happened to figuring out what you make at the end of the year and settling up at that time?

    Too late to check with FDR, but you might want to check some of those mental wards FDR revering ‘bloggers who think that FDR was some sort of political messiah. Sean Hannity seems to be one of them, but there are plenty of others.

  26. Anyone yet see the Hillary ad where she says it is wrong that a Wall Street money guy making $50 million a year pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than a nurse or truck driver making $50,000? This is a blatant attempt at stirring up class resentment, and she is right, it is wrong!
    Using the 1040 tax tables, a single nurse making $50,000, with standard deduction, will pay 13.46% of her pay in federal tax; a single Wall Street master of the universe making $50,000,000, with standard deduction, will pay 34.95%.

  27. Todd Flanders: Daddy, what do taxes pay for?

    Ned Flanders: Why, everything! Policeman, trees, sunshine, and let’s not forget the folks who just don’t feel like workin’, God bless ’em!

  28. Neil, I am telling everyone that your posts are super amusing. I don’t think you would agree with my definition of amusing.

    “Tax holidays” are bullshit where politicians briefly stop stealing from you and then get the money back later in stealthier ways. If McCain wants to impress me he can call for permanent reductions in gas taxes.

    And if McCain is for reducing taxes, where the fuck is he going to get the money for his perpetual war? Riddle me that, Bat-Neil.

  29. Excessive taxes have a solution, but the GovGang will never let it happen:

    Abolish withholding and make Tax Day and Election Day the same thing. Write a huge fucking check right before you go vote. Maybe then it would start to sink in.

  30. Anyone yet see the Hillary ad where she says it is wrong that a Wall Street money guy making $50 million a year pays a smaller percentage of his income in taxes than a nurse or truck driver making $50,000?

    I assume they are referring to the payroll tax cap, but they’re still wrong.

    I doubt the payroll tax cap will survive the combination of a Dem WH and Congress. But at least we’ll finally be able to shed the notion that Social Security is anything but massive wealth redistribution — especially when they put in means testing to boot.

  31. Episiarch are you going to tell me that the Democrat Party doesn’t support a massive tax hike?

    Neil, are you going to tell me that either party actually supports a solvent government? Let’s see, we have two options:

    Democrats: inflated currency (which is a hidden tax on both dollar-denominated savings *and* on capital “gains” when the dollar value of your asset goes up while its purchasing power remains constant), higher taxes, and more spending.

    Republicans: even more inflated currency (to make up for not raising taxes) and more spending.

    Where’s the “keep your grubby hands off my property, you greedy, conniving, criminal gangster twats!” option?

    Do you support McCain’s gas tax holiday?

    My 2007 income tax was approximately 500 *times* what I pay in gas taxes each year. Ask me if this is the biggest complaint I have.

  32. Episiarch,

    He’ll pay for the war and any new wars the old fashioned way: pillage. What the hell, the rest of the world’s going to condemn anything we do while we’re still on top. Might as well enjoy the ride.

  33. “And if McCain is for reducing taxes, where the fuck is he going to get the money for his perpetual war? Riddle me that, Bat-Neil.”

    Hes going to cut wasteful Washington spending like earmarks and welfare. He’ll reform social security with private accounts. He’ll STOP socialized medicene and roll back Medicare Part D by making the wealth pay for their own prescriptions.

  34. “Even . . . William Jefferson Clinton (C-AR) tells his tax people to resolve questions in favor of the government, according to one of his press chats anyway.”

    Now *there’s* a credible source – President disbarred-for-dishonesty himself.

    “If you dont want more tax hikes, vote McCain!”

    (a) Yeah, *that’s* credible.

    (b) We need rollback, not containment. If McCain supports the current tax structure (as you imply), then he’s already screwing the people.

  35. Neil, are you going to tell me that either party actually supports a solvent government?

    Well, it’s worth remembering the GOP was a couple votes away from passing a Balanced Budget Amendement. The Dems managed to kill it.

    The scary thing for minarchists is that as bad as Republicans have been, Dems are absolutely guaranteeing they will be worse.

  36. Mad Max Mccain promised to reform and simplify the tax code. Do you think B. Hussein would be able to do that? No!

    And he supports a balanced budget amendment.

  37. a single Wall Street master of the universe making $50,000,000, with standard deduction, will pay 34.95%.

    Hildebeast’s statement was a reference to Capital Gains tax rates paid by investment bankers. I never bought into the Hall/Rabushka argument that Capital Gains shouldn’t be taxed like income. Their technical analysis didn’t stand up to the practical reality that people who make money trading assets have a lower tax rate than everyone else.

    Do you support McCain’s gas tax holiday?

    No. It’s a joke. Gas taxes are (supposed to be) use taxes. They’re one of the few legitimate taxes on the books.

  38. And if McCain is for reducing taxes, where the fuck is he going to get the money for his perpetual war?

    We’re going to have to pay for perpetual war as long as terrorists are determined to attack us. We can spend a trillion attacking them or two trillion on cleaning up after they attack us.

  39. Of course, that’s in addition to the trillion in new socialist spending Obama has promised us.

  40. Hes going to cut wasteful Washington spending like earmarks and welfare.

    We can spend a trillion attacking them or two trillion on cleaning up after they attack us.

    Is Neil a savage parody of TallDave?

    Either way, those two comments may the dumbest comments we have all day. Savor them as you would a fine Islay Scotch.

  41. Dave is right if you think war is expensive, try surrender!!

  42. Either way, those two comments may the dumbest comments we have all day. Savor them as you would a fine Islay Scotch

    Hey, if you can’t deal with reality, just call it dumb.

  43. “If McCain wants to impress me he can call for permanent reductions in gas taxes.”

    Actually, I have less of a problem with the gas tax, which is a use tax, ostensibly used for roads. I believe that the gas tax is a fraud because all of our federal roads are crap and the money from the gas tax is being directed to other more important uses.

    The income tax is a tax on our labor and should be repealed as quickly as possible. Ron Paul was the only candidate to propose the elimination of the IRS.

    /John McCain is FAIL incarnate.

  44. Do you support McCain’s gas tax holiday?

    Yes, I try not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

    Any time a politician talks about taking less of my money for any period of time I count my blessings.

  45. “The income tax is a tax on our labor and should be repealed as quickly as possible. Ron Paul was the only candidate to propose the elimination of the IRS. ”

    Mike Huckabee (my firstchoice) did too so thats not true.

  46. “Abolish withholding and make Tax Day and Election Day the same thing. Write a huge fucking check right before you go vote. Maybe then it would start to sink in.”

    Absofuckinlutely right!

  47. Hey, if you can’t deal with reality, just call it dumb.

    God, stop, both of you. This comedy routine is killing me.

  48. First of all: I agree with the SugarFree/zig zag proposition of Tax/Election Day.

    Second: I’m voting Libertarian (for the first time ever), but let me just say this: if being anti-war is your priority, and you believe the things that Obama says, then vote Obama. But if you believe that intervention is going to continue regardless, why NOT vote for the guy who is at least not as much of a socialist domestically?

  49. Neil: Ron Paul wanted to get rid of the income tax. Mike Hucksterbee just wanted a stupid “Fair Tax” and never really explained what he meant.

  50. You’re right Democratic Republican.

    This choice is between a maverick, pro-defense Conservative war hero John McCain and a Marxist, out of touch, elitist, pro-surrender B. Hussein Obama.

  51. God, stop, both of you. This comedy routine is killing me.

    LOL Then you’ll love this punch line: those are the actual costs of the GWOT and 9/11.

  52. I’ve been watching the HBO series “John Adams” and in one of the first episodes a tax collector was tarred and feathered. I think that great old tradition should be reinstituted and applied liberally to our IRS public servants.

  53. I think most people agree that SOME taxes are necessary to support public goods like national defense, police, etc. that would not be funded by a free market system (I realize some people argue that these things could be funded voluntarily, but not many).

    The problem with the current tax system it isn’t based on any kind of principle that would guide us in how much a person should pay for these public goods. It’s utterly arbitrary. Politicians spout some vague notion of fairness, but make no real attempt to define or implement it. I think a prerequisite for any tax reform idea taking hold is the articulation of some principles that can be broadly applied in figuring out what the system should look like.

  54. Well, Neil, that’s not really what I said.

    I said that all 3 of the remaining candidates are going to continue the war in Iraq, attack Iran, and continue a general policy of intervention. So, under that scenario, a person might at least consider the person who is not quite as terrible on domestic policy.

    I still don’t exactly understand what makes McCain a “conservative”, anyway.

  55. Mike Huckabee (my firstchoice)

    Whoever is behind Neil, you are brilliant. I love it.

    I’m not getting into the same endless joe/TallDave circle jerk about Iraq. NutraSweet, if you want to, it’s your choice.

  56. Whoops, forgot to change my joke handle.

  57. @Guy Montag

    I would have rather paid some small amount that get back a $300+ “refund” of my own money that they kept all year.

    Well, that depends on what you call a “small amount”. In this case I got whacked for several grand. Some of it was due to capital gains, but my accountant also told me a number her clients also got burned because, for whatever reason, companies appear to be doing withholding differently this year. Got burned on that, too. Also, my mortgage is nearly paid off, so I’m not really seeing much of an interest deduction any more.

    BTW, the “lucky enough to get a refund” comment is exactly the thing that is so baffling in Finance and Accounting that I was talking about. Not sure why you feel “lucky” to have others keep your money for you, interest free, all year, but if it makes you feel better then have at it.

    Let’s put it this way: I’m not happy that the government is holding my money interest free, but I’d still rather get a refund than get whacked for several grand I’d had other plans for….

  58. Hes going to cut wasteful Washington spending like earmarks and welfare. He’ll reform social security with private accounts. He’ll STOP socialized medicene and roll back Medicare Part D by making the wealth pay for their own prescriptions.

    Episiarch’s right!

  59. Epi,

    Nope. Putting away my troll food right now. Tax Day has my blood up.

  60. Your wrong Democratic Republican..

    B. Hussein Obama like his buddy Jimmy “Iran Hostages” Carter will bend over for the Islamofascists and talk to them nicely. Our enemies will laugh in our face and in a few decades well have to convert to Islam.

  61. Zig Zag, on estimated tax payments for 2008: you are required to pay in 95% of 2007’s tax liability (more if you are rich like Montag).

    BTW, there IS a way to account for when the income was earned during the year that avoids penalties like you describe.

    If you had less income in first quarter than your estimated tax payment due today, you should NOT have paid it (or you should have paid a reduced amount).

  62. @The Democratic Republican

    but let me just say this: if being anti-war is your priority, and you believe the things that Obama says, then vote Obama. But if you believe that intervention is going to continue regardless, why NOT vote for the guy who is at least not as much of a socialist domestically?

    Um, because he’s probably lying too?

    I have no idea what I’m gonna do when I step into the voting booth this year. But given the choices, I’m pretty damn certain whatever it is, I’m gonna regret it….

  63. Epi: so you’re telling me that i’m not the first to suggest that there’s no difference between the “Big 3” on Iraq?

    This may be the first time where someone has made that argument in the context of defending someone who is defending McCain — only to be attacked by that same person for not hating Obama enough. What an odd world.

  64. Pig M.:

    Well, I’m voting Libertarian. If I lived in a state where I couldn’t, I would just leave it blank. It’s the best alternative to “None of the Above”

  65. Uh, Dem Repub, P Brooks is referring to my comment that Neil is super amusing. What he quoted is from Neil, not me.

    Read the whole thread next time, please.

  66. The first time I read the “estimated tax” pre-payment form, I nearly had a stroke.

    They want you to pay taxes on money you haven’t even made yet!

  67. DR, you are on the money. I keep buying these guys books and they keep eating the covers.

    It isn’t a game, and if, as Pig says, you are going to regret it anyway, you should vote for someone who comes closest to your own deeply held libertarian style beliefs. That certainly wouldn’t be any of the Big Three.

  68. Zig Zag, on estimated tax payments for 2008: you are required to pay in 95% of 2007’s tax liability (more if you are rich like Montag).

    I don’t believe that’s correct. For 2008 estimates, you’re required to pay 100% of 2007 or 90% of your 2008 actual. I pay 100% of 2007 since I don’t have a good idea what 2008 actual will be.

  69. I think that great old tradition should be reinstituted and applied liberally to our IRS public servants.

    The IRS is not the problem. The Congress is the problem.

  70. “I pay 100% of 2007 since I don’t have a good idea what 2008 actual will be.”

    That’s how my accountant explained it to me. I’m hoping that the rest of the year will be better.

  71. The IRS is not the problem. The Congress is the problem.

    I strongly disagree. Congresscritters are elected by an ignorant populace. (In a larger sense, this entire government is permitted to exist only through the ignorance and apathy of the populace, as no government is legitimate without the support, misguided as it may be, of the people.) If you aren’t part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.

  72. Pig M.,

    Sounds like you need a new Accountant to get your payments in line.

    MP,

    Using the 1040 tax tables, a single nurse making $50,000, with standard deduction, will pay 13.46% of her pay in federal tax; a single Wall Street master of the universe making $50,000,000, with standard deduction, will pay 34.95%.

    I suspect we are missing some information in this case. Someone who posted after you had a good theory.

    TWC,

    Zig Zag, on estimated tax payments for 2008: you are required to pay in 95% of 2007’s tax liability (more if you are rich like Montag).

    I am one of those “rich” people who get federal witholding taken from every pay check, but yet I am still too “rich” to get that extra check in a few weeks.

    Apparently, I finally make more than a Nurse.

  73. Episiarch: You misunderstood me more than I misunderstood you. Try making sure you know what you’re talking about before you act like a dick next time, please.

  74. Just to clarify, to avoid underpayment penalties you have to pay either –

    90% of current year’s tax

    or

    100% (110% if AGI > 150K) of prior year’s tax.

    Your estimates were most likely prepared on the safe harbor method (prior year’s tax), but if you see you’re making less income, you can adjust your estimates down to reflect the current year’s expected tax.

  75. I wish people would stop calling Sen. McCain a “maverick”. That vocational school graduate never spent one day in the Enlisted ranks.

  76. Oh, and I do want to be on record for the “gas tax holiday” but would prefer gas taxes be reduced a bunch, like down to less than what the producer of the gasoline makes off of it.

  77. Democratic Republican,

    After the Florida 2000 mess I would be chary of leaving any spaces blank. In a close race people would argue over who you meant to vote for, based on other choices you made.

  78. Episiarch: You misunderstood me more than I misunderstood you. Try making sure you know what you’re talking about before you act like a dick next time, please.

    Please explain to me what you meant, because obviously it went over my head. I is confused.

  79. Ziggy

    That’s how my accountant explained it to me.

    You are legally permitted to alter your quarterly payments based on your actual quarterly earnings without penalty so long as you pay 100% of your current year tax liability or 95% of the prior year’s tax liability. More or less, exceptions apply.

    Your accountant is just being safe and maybe that’s all he/she can do unless you are doing monthly or quarterly financial statements.

    But, again, if your first quarter net was less than your 04-15 estimated tax payment, you should have skipped it, or paid a reduced amount.

    For the record, the underpayment of estimated tax penalties are pretty cheap compared to other penalties. Not saying to skip all your estimates, the penalties aren’t that cheap, but they’re not bad.

    For example: One return I did yesterday had a $7,000.00 balance due and the underpayment of estimated tax penalty was $280.00. Less than the interest one could earn in a 5% CD for the year.

  80. Ska is right, succinct as well. Don’t know why I can’t type 90%.

  81. Apparently, I finally make more than a Nurse.

    I dunno, I have several RN clients, they all do pretty well (90-110k). At least IMO. The hours suck but the pay is dang good.

  82. I actually think Congress is a big part of the problem.

    For instance, Congress doesn’t have the intestinal fortitude to abolish the deduction for medical expense so they jury rigged the system to ensure that nobody qualifies for the deduction, thus giving the general ignorant populace (thank you SqRootEcuss) the impression that medical expenses are deductible.

    For the most part, for most people, they are not deductible.

  83. For the most part, for most people, they are not deductible.

    I believe using a health savings account or a flex account to pay for them is the functional equivalent, though.

  84. TWC,

    You can’t fool me, they can only make $50,000, that is what Mrs. Clinton was saying. She implied that nurse was doing as good as she will ever do and she was “subsidizing” the rich guy!

    BTW, from your numbers I still make better than a nurse and the ones you are talking about ain’t gettin’ the extra check either, unless they are married to deadbeats.

  85. Good Point Mr RC, HSA’s can work well. But not many people take advantage of them.

    Also a perfect example of why we have 46,000 pages of regs. Congress takes away the deduction for medical expenses but then gives it back, but not in a way that makes any sense.

    Why have HSA’s when you could just repeal the 7.5% floor on medical expense deductions? So much easier and so much less admin costs all the way around.

  86. Well, Guy, if St Hill said it, it has to be true. I’m sorry, I recant.

  87. I love the unbridled glee in the taxman’s eyes. He looks like he’s imagining about all the hope and change the taxes going to bring to the working class people.

  88. I am one of those “rich” people who get federal witholding taken from every pay check, but yet I am still too “rich” to get that extra check in a few weeks.

    Good thing my wife is a slacker. I make well over the limit for a single, but out joint income just a smidgen under the limit. I’ll be thinking of you when that check shows up in May.

  89. Why have HSA’s when you could just repeal the 7.5% floor on medical expense deductions? So much easier and so much less admin costs all the way around.

    Why have all these fucking deductions when you could just lower and flatten rates?

  90. # Barbara Bach | April 15, 2008, 11:22am | #

    # In hindsight, Ringo was the most
    # successful Beatle.

    He is also, I believe, still the only one of the two remaining Beatles who continues to entertain people in a live show for anything close to reasonable ticket prices (which those of us who were bled dry today must certainly appreciate). Go Ringo!

    You can check out Mr. Starr and his All Starr Band this summer at a number of venues, including one close to me: The Mountain Winery, in Saratoga CA, on July 23rd. I don’t know who is playing with him this year, but he always manages to go onstage with am exceptionally talented group.

  91. Quit yer gripin’! Without tax revenue, the gubmint couldn’t fund the war on terra, the war on drugs or the war on poverty!

  92. # P Brooks | April 15, 2008, 12:46pm | #
    # The first time I read the “estimated tax”
    # pre-payment form, I nearly had a stroke.

    # They want you to pay taxes on money you
    # haven’t even made yet!

    I had an interesting conversation on that topic with an IRS rep via their toll-free tax assistance phone line a few weeks ago. Basically, I asked whether I was actually required to make those additional 1040-ES payments in the amount and by the deadlines specified. She said that if I did not, I would be subject to a penalty, which would be based on whatever percentage rate they are charging this year, vs. the time elapsing between when the payment was supposed to be made and when I actually made it (if ever). The outrageous thing: The penalties would be due EVEN if, when all was said and done, I ended up not owing any tax or getting a refund. “It’s a pay as you go system,” she said, by way of apology.

    Really? Is it? And how is being liable for a penalty for not making an ESTIMATED payment evidence of the much-vaunted VOLUNTARY tax system that the IRS poobahs insist we have? This does not sound voluntary at all, to me.

    Incidentally, the reason I contacted the IRS was because our household income is taking a huge hit this year, and I doubt that I will end up owing ANY taxes, much less the amount paid in 2007. I was stupefied to learn that I could still owe PENALTIES based on not paying enough in advance to earn a refund next year. This is Alice in Wonderland logic which we really need to eliminate from the tax code. In my mind, if you owe nothing or are due a refund when the counting is done, your obligation to Uncle Sam should be satisfied, period; end of story. But then, that would simply be common sense, and we all know that the powers in Washington have a deficit of that resource, too.

  93. # The Whine Commonsewer | April 15, 2008, 1:35pm | #

    # You are legally permitted to alter
    # your quarterly payments based on your
    # actual quarterly earnings without
    # penalty so long as you pay 100% of your
    # current year tax liability or 95% of the
    # prior year’s tax liability. More or less,
    # exceptions apply.

    That is pretty much what I got from the IRS help-line rep when I called a few weeks ago. But you had to justify your “alterations” by filing additional forms. That’s just wrong-headed: requiring taxpayers to explain in detail why the IRS shouldn’t pound them. Are we slaves?

    # For the record, the underpayment of
    # estimated tax penalties are pretty cheap
    # compared to other penalties. …

    # For example: One return I did yesterday
    # had a $7,000.00 balance due and the
    # underpayment of estimated tax penalty
    # was $280.00. Less than the interest one
    # could earn in a 5% CD for the year.

    This is also consistent with the information I received from the IRS rep. I looked at it as running up a tab on a credit card. The finance charge was pretty good. But still, it rankles me to realize that, unless you file additional forms to explain and excuse your underpayment, you’ll be subject to even such a minor fee if found owing at all by April of next year. This just goes to illustrate who is master and who is servant, and why our tax system is not nearly so “voluntary” as the powers-that-be would like to paint it. It’s well past time that we rebalance the power equation. Please keep that in mind when you go to the polls in November. Don’t vote for any big spenders; vote to put big-spenders out of office; favor candidates who are pledged to bringing common sense back into government, simplifying things such as the tax code, and generally respecting the citizens and taxpayers.

  94. Just learned about this year’s All Starr Band lineup from a February Rolling Stone article:

    “Colin Hay (Men at Work), Edgar Winter, Hamish Stuart (Average White Band), Billy Squier and the Dream Weaver himself, Gary Wright.”

    From prior experience with his live shows, I would pay good money to see Colin Hay at the Mountain Winery as a solo act. Tossing in Ringo (whom I have seen before) and all of these other luminaries (whom I have not seen live previously) sweetens the pot immenesly.

  95. Ringo is still my favorite Beatle, if only because alone of the four of them, he never checked his sense of humor at the door…

  96. I recently found a Google video of a talk that the late Robert Bussard, physicist and proponent of “fusor-approach” nuclear fusion (as opposed to “tokamak-approach”) gave at the Google campus in 2006, a little more than a year before his death. (It’s a little more than 90 minutes. You can see it here: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=1996321846673788606)

    Bussard, inventor of the Bussard ramjet interstellar drive concept, former assistant director of the Atomic Energy Commission, and former head of the Los Alamos National Labs, talked about the “Polywell” fusor that he and his team developed on a shoestring budget over the past couple of decades. His basic claim was that all the key physics had been worked out as a result of his research, but that realization of a practical Polywell-based fusion reactor faced numerous challenges in engineering, which would cost around $200M to address.

    I am both encouraged and depressed by Bussard’s talk and the supplementary material I found to go with it. Encouraged, because before he died, Bussard was successful in getting funding for his company, EMCC, to go ahead with at least the part of the program that would confirm earlier results, and in putting a team together to carry on his work. I was happy to read that the government will green-light the follow-on project to create a full-scale (100MW) Polywell fusor, apparently footing the $200M bill, if the results of the confirmation project are positive.

    But I am discouraged that the relatively paltry sum of $200M is such a political football, and that Bussard and his team have had such difficulties in raising it (and, with economic problems and shifting political will, may have difficulties in keeping it), in comparison with the billions that have been tossed down the bottomless pit of Tokamak and similar approaches.

    So why am I posting this in reply to an item about Tax Day? On the tax forms, you are asked whether you want to donate a couple of bucks to the Presidential election fund. Money spent in this way will go toward electing a President who is almost guaranteed to keep us in Iraq for at least a few years more, at the cost of billions of dollars and many deaths and horrendous injuries on all sides. Moreover, the thousands of dollars that each person pays in taxes will go primarily to paying interest on the national debt and running this crazy war, with the largest remaining part going to social security and healthcare entitlements, with some left over to fund the government bureaucracy and various discretionary social programs – the combined annual cost being well over a TRILLION dollars per year. Finally, tens (perhaps hundreds) of millions of people willingly part with many dollars per day to buy government lottery tickets, which offer infinitesimal odds of winning a huge personal fortune.

    I can’t help but wonder: What would happen if, in disgust at how the government has squandered the resources and the full faith and credit of the American people, everyone who filed a 2007 tax return and everyone who bought a lottery ticket in 2007 would send JUST ONE DOLLAR to the foundation that Bussard set up to collect private funding for his experiments? Maybe the Polywell approach is flawed, a dead-end. But the ideas are worthy and the people working on the project are credible scientists, who have shown promising results already and received international recognition (and prizes!) for their work, so a buck or two would certainly seem to be money as well spent as on lottery tickets, the Presidential campaign fund, or business-as-usual in the Federal government. If we lose our money on this gamble, the individual loss will be almost negligible. But if the full-scale Polywell works as the late physicist hoped and predicted, then we can look forward to getting 100MW of power (enough to run 100,000 homes) or more from reactors as small as eight feet square – smaller than most people’s living rooms – without a fuel shortage risk, without residual radiation or waste-product disposal problems, and without greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a huge, world-changing upside.

    Today, I donated $5 to Bussard’s foundation here: http://www.emc2fusion.org/ (link at bottom of page takes you to a page where you can donate via PayPal). I ask all my fellow taxpayers to make a similar donation. This kind of research seems to be too important to leave to our government. And as just a matter of national pride: I think it needs to be the United States who leads us into a world where people never again have to go to war over access to energy. I believe that, if the people lead, the leaders will follow. So let’s lead, already. If you donate, please pass this article along to someone else. Thanks.

  97. James Anderson Merritt — brevity is the soul of wit. Try being more witty, mmm-kay?

  98. Why have all these fucking deductions when you could just lower and flatten rates?

    Why have all those deductions when you could just abolish income tax?

  99. Is there going to be a musical of the featured bug song? Any of you show-tunes guys onow?

  100. I’m trying to figure out if the guy with the malevolent grin at 4:18 is supposed to be a caricature of Harold Wilson, and the woman at 4:21 is supposed to be Ted Heath in drag (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

    Also, is it just me, or did that entire cartoon have the look and feel of “Fractured Fairy Tales”?

    (Finally, why would the Beatles be paying taxes at the “Bureau of Internal Revenue”? The name of the agency was changed to “Internal Revenue Service” in 1953. Come to think of it, why would they pay taxes to a U.S. agency at all, rather than to the Inland Revenue?

  101. # Prolefeed | April 15, 2008, 10:07pm | #

    James Anderson Merritt — brevity is the soul of wit. Try being more witty, mmm-kay?

    Jackass – Try skipping past things if they are too long to suit you. I write short things when that makes sense, long things when I have more to say. There are examples of both in this very thread. Your complaint makes sense only if you found something worthwhile in my piece that you thought could have been expressed more concisely, or if you wasted time reading something of no value, in the mistaken belief that value might be there. If the latter, I’m sorry about that, but you should probably complain about lack of value rather than lack of brevity. If there is no value, brevity will not create it, and in the case of no value, you can skip longer pieces as easily as shorter ones. It’s not as if anyone forces anyone else to stand at attention while reciting chapters of War and Peace.

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