Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring break has started for me. It's really ridiculous that we have a week off and then there will be a week and a half of classes, followed by finals. I don't see the point in having it so late this semester. I have a long to do list, and as always I resolve to not be in bad shape with grades when the semester ends. So far, so good,  I have been very much on task, which is why I have not spent a lot of time writing here.

I had to clear my plate so I could do the taxes on Wednesday. I finished, printed them yesterday, and mailed them this morning. As I was addressing the envelopes last night, I discovered we actually have until Monday. It's a good thing I didn't know that Tuesday, or I surely would have procrastinated on doing them until the weekend at the earliest. May even have let it slide until Monday and pushed the deadline. So it's a relief to be done before the 18th.

It is such an unpleasant task every year. I had to clear out the office somewhat to do it, but that actually is a benefit. It was long past due, and so it was good to be forced to get organized. Then, it isn't the math and forms that I find unpleasant. I actually enjoy analytical tasks (provided they don't go on so long that my head is numb and my vision is blurry*); it's the realization of how much is paid in total. It isn't just confronting income taxes (which are extreme). It is also the real estate taxes that you add up to see if itemizing is necessary, the rest of the taxes (such as sales, excise, motor vehicle, utility...) and the fees for Medicare and Social Security (luckily I am getting old enough now that I think I just may see some benefits if I ever get to a younger person I was a little afraid that would not be the case but it looks like us tail-end boomers might just be safe...with the increased retirement age, of course) that aren't a part of the tax calculation but inevitably jump to mind during the process of eating, sleeping, breathing taxes for an entire day. It boggles the mind.

I appreciate many common goods (I'm a product of public education, love the public parks and who doesn't benefit from roads?) and have devoted most of my life to the public sector, so I'm hardly an anti-tax advocate. I know firsthand that there are many good works and hard workers. I'm not much of a materialist, but my running joke is that my job is practically volunteer work. (At the same time, I don't claim to be anything but privileged and I'm grateful.) But it is hard to deny that between all the people getting hand-outs (deserved or undeserved), all the people who cheat on their taxes (understandable or criminal), all the loopholes for some (quasi-legitimate or not), and the various wasteful and unethical things that politicians and government at all levels do (which I have seen), it's such an enormous burden for the rest of us who don't qualify, won't cheat and can take advantage of very few loopholes.

*The actual paperwork has improved a lot with the advent of PDF files that could be filled in and saved. Bravo! But the instructions for each line remain (choose one): A) cryptic B) esoteric C) vindictive D) all of these.

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