Government Greed

Taxes don’t bother me.

Really, they don’t. Taxes pay for our roads, our schools, and several other services. I often disagree with the way some of the funds are spent, but that’s to be expected.

The part I can’t abide is the greedy manner in which the system works. The politicians only see projects they need more money for, so they pile on more tax codes to squeeze out more money, and that’s why we now have this bloated system powered by evil and greed.

Founder of the IRS

Founder of the IRS

The height of this evil? The fact there are tax codes concerning whether or not you can claim your child if the child is kidnapped. It’s bad enough that someone even thought that far, but can you imagine how you’d feel if you’re scrambling to find your kid, only to have an auditor knock on your door because you never thought about taking the child off your tax paperwork? No wonder people want to have IRS agents killed.

We’ve had stimulus checks, overhauls of the tax tables, many adjustments and exemptions, but when do we finally consider a complete overhaul to the system? Is it not obvious the system is broken when we’re taxed on the same money over and over, and nobody fully understands the system as it stands?

Last year I inherited some money when my aunt died. She had saved up money in a few different funds, plus she had a life insurance policy. We were advised by a lawyer and a tax professional to set aside a chunk of the money for the savings funds, but that we shouldn’t be taxed on the insurance payoff. Come tax time this year, and we still came up well short.

Okay, fine. I really wasn’t surprised. Then I started looking into the numbers a little deeper. I wondered if my aunt had put the money into the savings post-taxes; in other words, had she already paid her income taxes on what was invested? Turns out it doesn’t matter. The government hits the inheritor for a chunk of the entire payout, not just on what may or may not have been taxed or even just the interest that the account had accrued. As far as the government is concerned, it’s income and they want a chunk of it, just as if your employer had written you the check.

Kind of a swell guy, in comparison.

Kind of a swell guy, in comparison.

As for the insurance policy, we were “misinformed,” according to two different tax preparers. Fork over that shit, too.

But wait! The government’s not done yet! Because it’s income, they bumped us into a higher tax bracket! Nevermind that my aunt’s only going to die once. Nevermind that we’re not going to see a windfall like that again. We made more money (but not enough to enjoy the tax breaks of the mega-rich, of course), so now we owe more money, resulting in an increased percentage of their take from my paycheck.

Meanwhile, Illinois didn’t seem to care. I still got a modest refund from a state which now has a bigger reputation for corruption than the New York mafia. Our state was broke before the feds got in on the action, and our budget’s been out of whack for as long as I can remember, yet here they are, handing me my refund.

But hey, it’s nice to know that my money’s being used for something. I’d hate to see those AIG execs go hungry.

About Mike Oliveri

Mike Oliveri is a writer, martial artist, cigar aficionado, motorcyclist, and family man, but not necessarily in that order. He is currently hard at work on the werewolf noir series The Pack for Evileye Books.

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