Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Erev Tax Day Thoughts

Somewhere in America the following conversation may be taking place between a young child (C) and a Rabbi (R.)

C - Rabbi, why is my dad crying today?
R - Well this is a hard thing to explain but most likely it is because today is Erev Filing day.

C - Erev Filing Day?  I've never heard of that holiday Rabbi.  Does that have something to do with a department store?
R - A department store?  What are you talking about child?

C - Filings basement?
R - Oh, no my child.  There are no bargains associated with this holiday.  In fact on this day we all lose a little money and get very little in return.

C - Does this holiday come often?
R - Often enough my child, often enough.  Once a year, every April.

C - Does it also last a week like the other April holiday?
R - No, it lasts only one day but we feel its effect for a much longer time.

C - Oh, I understand.  Like I feel after eating matzo for a week.
R - That is a wise analogy.  After this day we cannot go and do too much for a while.

C - But I saw my friend's dad also very sad today and he is not Jewish. Is this a holiday for all religions?
R - For the most part yes.  Only a few people do not feel the pain of this day.

C - So it a sad holiday Rabbi.
R - Yes, to most people it is a very sad day.

C - Are you hurt by this day, Rabbi?
R - Me, not so much.

C - So what exactly is it?  Why is today different from all other days?
R - Well, on all other days we eat as much as we like and spend to our hearts' desire, but on this day we must watch what eat and how much we spend.  Usually we live our lives free of unforeseen burdens, but on this day we must be ready to send our hard earned money to nameless faceless offices across America in order to pay the salaries of men and women who don't need the money.

C - But if they don't need the money then why do we send it?
R - It is the law.

C - But who made this law, God?
R - Quite the opposite my child.  The people to whom we send the money made the law.

C - That does not seem fair, Rabbi.  How can we justify this?
R - Think of it as a sort of Tzedakah, a charity.

C - But isn't charity a good thing Rabbi?
R - Yes it is.  But it should come from the desire to give to others, not from the demand of them.  But we do what we must to survive.

C - So why are you not crying today, Rabbi?
R - Luckily in America we have something called separation of Church and State.  The religious community doesn't bother the government and they in turn don't force us to send them Tzedakah.

C - But you seem a bit sad today also.  Why does this day bother you Rabbi?
R - I am sad because my congregation is sad.  People of the cloth, Rabbis and Priests etc. are not included in this holiday but our congregations are hurt.

C - Hmmm. I just figured out what I want to be when I grow up, Rabbi.
R - We will welcome you into our community my child.

C - What?  Oh no Rabbi, I'm going to go work for the government and get all the people of the country to send me the Tzedakah!  Then I can have all that money to play with and not have to do anything to show for it either.  Thank you for explaining it to me Rabbi.
R - Clever child.

Of course the conversation was fictitious but judging from all the phony religious groups and self proclaimed Holy leaders out there I'm not so sure something like it doesn't take place quite often.

Taxes are a necessary evil in a Democracy but that doesn't mean they have to be totally evil.  I am not a member of the idiotic "Tea Party" movement that was created by the Republican leaning far right but I do believe we have a problem.  There is room for and a need for an intelligent reform of our tax system.

When Warren Buffet told us that his secretary paid more in taxes percentage-wise than he did it was clear the scales are tipped in the wrong direction.  The old theory that taking one dollar from three hundred million people is easier to hide then taking the full amount from one person is ridiculous.

We should all pay our fair share and not be able to 'loophole' our way out of a penny merely because we are rich to begin with!  When the wealthy have attorneys on retainer who get paid millions of dollars to find ways to save fifty thousand dollars in taxes something is wrong.  The wealthier among us feel it is their right to keep more of their money than the rest of us.

I am not smart enough to figure out an entire new system but I can tell you that if our geniuses in DC don't do something about it we are headed for a greater problem then we have ever faced in America.  The monetary gap between the wealthy and the poor is growing larger every day.  The middle class is being crowded out of existence and the wealthy are paying their lobbyists to keep the trend going.

How long before the above conversation forces everyone into the only two professions guaranteed to make money and have a carefree life - the Church and the Federal Government?

A flat tax or an income tax only system might be a better solution to the current morass that is our tax code.  And when and if this is proposed Congress must tell the accounting lobby and the legal lobby and the church lobby and all the rest of the lobbies to STFU and deal with it.

Congress and religious leaders have had a free ride for far too long.
Tell these pretenders E I E I O - Enough Is Enough - It's OVER.

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