Happy Tax Day

Having spent the bulk of the past two days finally facing up to taxes (3 hours preparing tax forms, 29 hours stewing about preparing tax forms), I am now ready for the annual walk to the post office to get it over with. So how’s it going with you?

I’m way behind with a lot of other work, so for now I’m just going to briefly note a couple of things:

A blog post titled Do women today have more libertarian freedom than in 1880? caught my attention, but for the life of me I can’t figure out what anything in the post has to do with the “libertarian freedom of women.” It appears to be a discussion among a bunch of men having to do with some abstract notions of government coercion that have no connection to the genuine concerns of women.

Abortion, for example. A remarkable percentage of libertarians I have seen are anti-choice, which suggests that they are not at all opposed to government coercion as long as it’s someone else being coerced. Nebraska just passed a law that would ban elective abortions and many non-elective abortions after 20 weeks’ gestation. Exceptions are made for a woman’s imminent death or “substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.” However, if a woman discovers at 20 weeks’ gestation that her baby will be born with anencephaly, too bad. She has to carry the doomed infant to term.

Seems to me this law is a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade, which permits states to ban elective abortions after 23 weeks’ gestation (time of earliest possible viability), but gives doctors more discretion to decide which abortions are medically indicated.

Another provision that was just signed into law in Nebraska requires that all women seeking abortion get a physical and mental health evaluation. This law hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention as the other one, but seems to me it will impact a lot more women, making all abortions in Nebraska more costly and burdensome. It also reeks of Big Government Patriarchy, especially the mental health part. Just don’t hold your breath waiting for libertarians to care.

Also: The Great Minds of the Nation continue to evaluate the Tea Party movement. I swear no one has ever gone to such lengths to plumb the depths of the American Left, even in the glory days of the New Left counterculture, ca. 1969. Anyway, the New York Times published an article about another new poll:

The 18 percent of Americans who identify themselves as Tea Party supporters tend to be Republican, white, male, married and older than 45.

They could have saved their polling money and just asked me. I would have told them that.

Steve M has looked at the data more closely than I have, and notes that the Tea Partiers on the whole seem to be content with being Republicans. This contradicts their own rhetoric, but they are less likely than the general population to want a third party. They also deeply dislike Congress except for their own congress critters, who are all exceptions to the rule.

Digby notes that they buy into Republican Party propaganda about who’s to blame for the economic downturn:

Here’s an interesting factoid that tracks with my intuition about these people: they blame George W. Bush and Wall Street far less for the economic situation than the rest of the country does. They hold Obama and congress mostly responsible. But then, if you listen to wingnut gasbags and FOX news crazies all day, that’s what you would think.

Any illusions that these people are angry at Wall Street or big business needs to be dispensed with ASAP. They don’t blame the money people at all.

So, they tend to be Republican, white, male, married, older than 45, and ignorant as bread mold. I could have told them that, too.

23 thoughts on “Happy Tax Day

  1. “Libertarian” sounds so much better than authoritarian or Republican. but it usually means the same thing.

  2. Re taxes — I am able to do form 1040-EZ and it took about half an hour of actual time.

    2 — I got a $400 Making Work Pay Tax Credit!!! This is the first tax cut that has ever actually done me any good — the Bush cuts were all for people who make a LOT more money than I do!

    Let’s hope all those people who bitch about their taxes actually notice this!

  3. I think they simply exist in a different reality. If only they could physically move there, the rest of us could (maybe) learn to play nice together.

  4. Anniecat45 — Yeah, it’s the curse of the self-employed that we have to deal with Schedule C and Schedule XXL and Schedule Alpha and Omega. But, yeah, I got the $400 Making Work Pay tax credit, also, so that was nice.

  5. I was such a dimwit I didn’t even know about the “Making Work Pay” credit when I filed back in Feb. So a few weeks later I get a letter from the IRS, gently chiding me about my foolishness and explaining why my refund will be $400 larger than expected.

    So golly, Stimulus Bad! Down With Obama! I didn’t ask for that $400!

    Seriously, I used the extra refund to stimulate the economy, as it was intended. Clothes and shoes without holes are nice. So long, hobo duds. Of course everything new was probably made in China….

    • The only way I can deal with taxes any more is to gather all my income statements and other documentation in a showbox, then log on to TurboTax and let it walk me through plugging in the information. So TurboTax knew about the credit; I didn’t.

  6. I’ve noticed the last few days a meme in some of the tax day coverage, all the sudden the dimwitted teabaggers are complaining 47% of taxpayers don’t pay any income tax, no shit Sherlock they don’t pay federal income taxes because they are too dam poor. Unbelievable, it’s OK that the wealthy and corporations have been cheating on their taxes for generations but now all the sudden it is the poor who are not holding up their side of the bargin, unfuckingbelievable. I just saw some dimwitted teabagger on MSNBC suggest that a good way to reduce the deficit is to cut all federal employee’s pay by 15%. Again unfuckingbelievable, are we really supposed to believe that the teabaggers are grass roots? Last time I checked grass roots doesn’t mean calling for working folks to take a pay cut!

  7. Every April 15 I’m reminded of what the Queen of Mean, the mega-rich Leona Hemsley, said to one of her employees years ago, “Only the little people pay taxes.”

    And then there are the Bush/McCain tax cuts which were/are worth $1000/week to the top 1% of us and about $1.50/week to the rest of us. The idiocy of this revolting situation is that a grand/week is chump-change to that 1% and maybe a coke/week to the rest of us – but in total they take a huge amount of money out of the federal budget, which is exactly what they were designed to do. Starve the sucker (the government) and the sucker will drop dead.

  8. So let me get this straight. A woman in Nebraska has to get a doctor’s note saying she’s sane. What, do we really want crazy women raising babies??

  9. Suckers!!!!! Her in NJ (Bergen, Passaic, Essex counties) got an extension to file because of the massive rains ( i consider we have in reality had 3 hurricanes so far this year) until May 11.
    TAX DAY FOR YOUSE GUYS ( I always laugh when I hear someone say Youse guys, I ask them is the plural of us : uses)

  10. What, do we really want crazy women raising babies??

    Ah, but here in Nebraska (aka “Batshitcrazyland, With Corn”) we have a Safe Haven law! The crazy ladies have the option of dropping off their little bundles of joy at any local hospital, to be parceled out to loving (or at least Christian & Republican) adoptive families.

    Yep, this week’s two* stupid anti-abortion laws are another couple of trial balloons sent up by our legislature, to make us the laughingstock of the nation. Remember how in fact they messed up that Safe Haven Law originally, by failing to set an age limit for the abandoned children? For several weeks parents were coming here from all over the U.S. to dump their obstreperous teen kids. So now the Unicameral thinks it’s the College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Frakkin’ awesome.

    *The other law reduces the second-trimester limit from 24 weeks to 20, because according to the same type of people who think Jesus spoke English, “20 weeks is when fetuses feel pain.”

  11. I took full advantage of the energy tax credits, which not only lowered my tax bill, but lowered my heat and air conditioning bills too!

  12. Hmm… Does anyone else think all this stuff is just the same old worn story told over and over? Old Teaparty dodo birds that don’t make any sense? Anyone see the new teaparty rap? http://www.bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2010/04/the_tea_party_r.html They don’t really have any ideas. More people trying to limit abortion? This to me is another non-issue because I can’t see any way to resolve it, somehow as Maha points out, republicans/libertarians only think government coercion is terrible when they are being coerced into doing something! All of these issues simply wear me down…

  13. Me? After being unemployed from November of 2008 until late September, and cashing in my 401k Plan to help me pay off debt, and allow me and my parents to survive, I owe $1,500 to the Fed’s, and $500 to NY State. And I have nothing to pay it with, so I’ll have to add that to the new debt, after I paid off my old debt – Ah! The Amrican Dream!!!
    The irony of this is, if I hadn’t found my $8.50 and hour, 35 hour a week job, in September, my accountant tells me I might have owed a lot less. But, the fact that I found some form of “gainful” employment, put me deeper in the “owe” column. Meanwhile, if I was a millionaire cashing in stocks and bonds, I would owe a lot less.
    I can’t imagine how much more I would have owed if Obama’s tax cut hadn’t gone through.
    As for all you asshole Teabaggers, if you aren’t over $250,000 in income, look at how much more you got as a return. I know that won’t shut you up, but at least I can laugh at you all the harder. “IDJIT’S!!!”

  14. I fortunately was able to get an accountant to do my taxes this year (first time ever). It’s the way to go, if you can afford it. The bundle of forms arrived in the mail, all filled out, with “sign here” tags affixed. Just sign, mail the suckers in, and be done with it.

    I think using tax software (TurboTax etc) or even a tax service (HR Block perhaps) is great for most people, as it/they “know” about the various breaks many people are entitled to, and the mechanical process of entering info is much less error prone.

    Ah, our screwy tax code. The wingnuts are right: our tax code is insanely complicated, to the point where there’s an entire add-no-value industry of tax professionals and software out there that thrive on making sense/profiting from it. This is nuts.

    On the other hand, it’s clear to me, that unless tax utopia is around the corner (defined as: your average sixth grader would take about five minutes total to do your taxes), it makes sense to figure out ways to structure yourself to take maximum advantage of the screwiness.

    There are a couple of things that are evident in studying the screwiness:

    1) Tax-wise, corporations are massively favored over W2 employees
    2) If you take the easy path (don’t put any effort into studying the code (or don’t have someone else do it for you)), in other words, you take all the defaults, you receive the maximum screwing.

    If you can find a way to structure your income producing activities into the appropriate legal structures (LLCs, a C-Corporation, S-Corporations, etc) there is a large payoff when it comes to tax time. Rich people have known this forever; in our time when being a W2 employee is less prevalent/being a free agent is more the norm, it’s time for everyone to learn how to do this.

    Ian Welsh has an article up about a Fiscal Sustainability conference that is the anti-conference to the Peterson Foundation’s attempts to slash entitlements:

    Back when I was at FDL I had a chat with the Peterson Foundation folks. They struck me as sincere, but off-balance. To the extent that Social Security is in deficit at all any problems are decades out (which they admitted), and while Medicare has issues, the simplest and easiest way to cut medical costs overall is single payer, something they won’t push. More to the point, somehow “entitlements” always get mentioned first, and not things like Defense spending…

  15. My friend, 160 IQ but zero EQ, stormed into the office the other day: “Goddam Obama! He signed that stimulus bill Feb. 17th (ed: or whatever) and didn’t make it retroactive and I bought my new truck on Feb. 13th and now I can’t claim it.”

    Hmm. Did you buy it with the intent of claiming it or are you jealous of other’s windfall? How does this harm you?

    But if you want to hate the man, there’s always a reason.

    Myself, I want to see no upper limit on self employment or social security taxes. Why should all the poor and almost poor chumps be paying it on 100% of their income while rich people pay it on a tiny percent of theirs?

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  17. There was a time in America when people who got rich were happy to pay their fare. They even felt obligated to pay back a small portion of their wealth which they would not have had if they had been in any other country. But, I guess those guys have all died.

  18. Jennifer, I’ve often wondered the same thing . How can it be that you must pay into Social Security when you can least afford it, but are not required to continue to contribute when you can most afford to do so?

    I might have this wrong, and if I do, I would greatly appreciate a correction by the learned commentators on this blog. It is my understanding that once your monthly income reaches the cut-off point of 100K (or possibly 200K — it’s been awhile since I had to worry about that) you are not required to contribute to Social Security for the remainder of that year. Doesn’t matter whether you made and additional 500K or a million.

    But — and this is the part I’m hazy about — when you are eligible to collect Social Security, your payments will be based upon the average of your most recent five years of highest income — even though you only contributed to the cut-off point. (Did I get that right?)

    Something doesn’t ring right here.

  19. Bonnie – Bill and Melissa Gates made Time Magazine’s cover for the work they are doing giving away billions worldwide in projects intended to provide self-sustaining help to improve the human condition. It’s said that the richest guy in the US (at that time) went down on the Titanic because he refused to take a seat in a life boat when women and childern had not escaped. Whether that story is true or not, the wealthy are capable of true nobility – though it is rare – and all the more praiseworthy when it happens.

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