Boobus Americanus and Tax Time
I, like most sane Americans, hate the IRS. It is evil. It is a demon, a parasite, a leech, an instrument of Satan and his living disciples on Capitol Hill. It is the ultimate destructive social engineering tool, the consummate consumer of wealth and resources, like an intestinal parasite that drains nutrients away from its host. Of all the organs of the state to prey upon the citizenry, its actions are the most pernicious and savage.
Is this news? Of course not, at least not to any American earning anything above minimum wage, but who lacks the resources of the ultra-rich and well-connected to ameliorate its effects on the household bottom line. Is it shocking that you should read such an opinion as this, seething with rage, anger, bitterness, and invective? Again, of course not: this is the reaction of most Americans this time of year.
What will come as news, however, is whom I blame for this catastrophe. No, it’s not the IRS itself, for this arrogant bureaucracy is merely the agent of Congress in carrying out the nation’s tax policies. It’s not really Congress’s fault either. While we can scream and fulminate all we wish at this body of 534 criminal lowlifes (one member of whom I’ve omitted from this blanket description, the identity of whom it is unnecessary to disclose to committed libertarians), the truth is that those criminal lowlifes would be largely powerless over us if we held them accountable. But we don’t. Therefore, there is only one entity to blame for the continued imposition of our wretched tax code: Boobus Americanus himself.
Yes, dear readers, I refer to the tens of millions of marching morons who are your next-door neighbors, your colleagues at work, your friends, your fellow church congregants, even your own spouses, children, and flesh-and-blood relatives. It is they who are so zoologically clueless and care so little about the world around them, beginning with the well being of themselves and their families, that they simply absolve themselves of any responsibility for their own destinies. Boobus will typically babble ad nauseum about the most superficial aspects of American life: the latest celebrity scandals, breaking sports news, the top-ten television programs or latest top-ten pop albums, as well as his favorite food, drink, or popular periodical (as close as Boobus usually comes to actually reading anything). Rarely ever does he stop to reflect thoughtfully on the most fundamentally important aspect of his life: his freedom, or lack thereof.
Boobus will almost certainly assert, if you can stand to engage him in conversation, that he is enjoying a typical middle class American lifestyle, largely as the result of his professional success, his marriage to a “successful” partner, and the fact that he is in complete control of his own life and destiny. Boobus will then invariably say something to the effect of “Thank God for President Bush and the Republicans! Just imagine if Gore or Kerry had been elected. We’d be speaking Raghead by now and be praying in a Mosque every Friday, for Christ’s sake! All we gotta do is finish kickin’ Raghead ass in the Middle East and we got it made!” He will then usually offer some sort of praise, direct or indirect, for the Bush tax cuts, which to him is the font of a mythical American economic might. Not only does Boobus not realize that the American private sector economy is in meltdown due to excessive taxation that renders it non-competitive with the rest of the world; he also is blissfully unaware of the fact that unless he earns at least half a million dollars per year in combined income, almost none of these tax cuts have any meaningful application to him. Watching Boobus leap for joy over a 600-dollar one-time tax refund that was immediately applied to his next year’s tax liability was an experience that absolutely defied human reason. But Boobus is impervious to reason.
Attempts are often made to bring Boobus back down to Earth by reminding him that, among other things, 1) his 600-dollar one-time tax refund to “stimulate economic growth” wouldn’t even buy his family two months worth of groceries and utilities, let alone fund the purchase of an expensive durable good (and don’t forget the tax liability attached); 2) that investment of capital in business and industry, not consumer spending, is the key to sustained economic growth and 600 dollars is hardly helpful in that regard, and 3) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are bankrupting the national treasury and will result in taxes for him and his descendants higher than he could ever imagine. Not surprisingly these facts are brushed off as “liberal pabulum” or some similarly derisive retort. Boobus, you see, is a short-term thinker. He generally doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t immediately affect the contents of his wallet and putting such things as kick-ass wars and contracts for the MICC (odds are likely that Boobus is a government contractor) on a national credit card to be paid off “later” don’t phase him in the least. In fact, I’ve been amazed at how nonchalant Boobus is about passing the bill for his neoconservative Great Society on to his children and grandchildren, clearly indicating his delusion at the idea that they will enjoy even a fraction of the quality standard of living he now does. For Boobus knows even less about economics than about liberty. This is evident in the way he views the federal income tax.
Boobus usually begins to grow impatient with his employer not long after New Year’s Day, for the typical employer is painfully slow to prepare Boobus’s W-2 form, that little piece of paper the Nanny State issues to each of its thralls every year telling the thralls how much of the State’s money it allowed the thralls to have the previous year. To Boobus this little document is the first step in preparing what Boobus considers a sort of lucky lottery ticket, his income tax return.
While Boobus can be frequently heard raging against the IRS, Congress, the income tax, and the general “unfairness” of it all, Boobus doesn’t care to back up his pseudo-frustration with any action other than to dutifully fill out his income tax return as early as possible. As early as possible, for a task that Boobus allegedly hates with all of his being? Yes, because you see, while Boobus “hates” the income tax, he doesn’t mind putting every detail of his financial life under the Nanny State’s microscope for the simple reason that the Nanny State just might give him some money back. Sometimes a lot of money back. Maybe even more money than Boobus paid in taxes to begin with. To Boobus this money is a windfall, a lottery jackpot, a lucky strike. He doesn’t see it as his own money being returned to him by a government that stole too much of it in the first place and that has allowed him to use the cleverly manipulated, special interest-riddled tax code to claim some of it back. Nor does he see it as theft of someone else’s hard earned, stolen money when he is refunded more than he paid into the system to begin with. Boobus simply rationalizes this away by saying that since the whole system is government-sanctioned theft to begin with (true enough) that he is justified in cheating the system. Boobus’s moral fiber is clearly elastic, just like his sense of logic.
Boobus told me the other day that he had just been laid off from his job as a defense contractor. Apparently my prediction that the war would become a less-than-profitable venture for second-tier defense contractors (those not engaged in manufacturing bombs, bullets, and beans) was spot-on. Boobus railed on about how the government could keep the Department of Education in business, but that it couldn’t fund a war properly (I’m serious: this was his actual comment).
I resisted the urge to tell him to give back his income tax refund to help bring his job back into existence.