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All Too Taxable

Posted on October 15th, 2018

Dave!Like most everybody, I would prefer not paying taxes.

But the only way it all works is if everybody kicks in money so that things we rely on can continue to function. Like the fire department. Like our military. Like food inspectors. Like so many things that keep us safe and make sure the services we enjoy have the funding they need.

And so... we pay taxes.

The problem is that the way we are taxed is incredibly fucked up.

Our progressive federal tax scale means that the more money you make, the more money in federal taxes you pay. The base rate goes from roughly 10% for the poorest among us to roughly 40% for the wealthiest among us. Except... there are so many fucking loopholes and bullshit conditions to taxation that somebody who should be paying 40% can end up paying less than 10% if they are creative in their finances. Billionaires can easily pay nothing if they figure out a way for their income to be tied up in investments and shit.

Like I said, the system is incredibly fucked up.

Now, I don't pretend to be an economics genius or anything... but there has got to be a better way. Something more fair and honest. But since the billionaires control all the wealth (hence they control all the politicians making the tax laws), "a better way" will likely never happen. Instead we're getting even more tax cuts for the wealthy that are paid for by huge cuts to things like Medicare and Social Security that we have already fucking paid for along with critical services... like public education.

Personally, I am all for abolishing income tax of any kind and eliminating the IRS. Instead of income tax, the taxes we need will come from the shit you buy. This is called a "consumption tax" and, in my mind, seems a lot more fair than the bullshit we have now. Everybody pays the same consumption tax on absolutely everything except food and medical expenses. Buy a new fingernail clipper? Pay a little tax. Buy a fucking mansion? Pay a lot of fucking taxes. And no buying your fingernail clippers in France so you can avoid paying your consumption tax! Anything you bring into the country is immediately subject to taxation. Don't want to pay taxes? Don't buy anything.

In the meanwhile though...

Since I am paying an outrageous amount of federal income tax on every dollar I make, I try very hard to not pay sales tax. Any large purchase... like camera equipment... I purchase out of state so I don't have to pay taxes on it. At least I did...


B&H Photo now collecting sales tax


I get it. Honestly I do. Washington State (which doesn't collect a state income tax) relies on sales tax to pay the bills. An astronomically high sales tax that's near 9%. So when I order a $1000 camera lens from B&H Photo in New York, Washington State is losing out on $90 in tax revenue.

A tax I'd be happy to pay if it weren't for all the other shit I'm taxed on. Hell, run it up to 20% for all I care... so long as you get rid of the IRS and my fucking income tax so we have a consistent, fair tax rate that everybody has to pay equally.

But what do I know? A consumption tax sounds fair and transparent to me, but maybe it's a dumb idea. Maybe a flat-tax is better. Maybe there's an alternative to taxes which will still allow us to pay for public safety, infrastructure, and defense that's far more fair than what we got. I really don't know and I honestly don't care. So long as we get rid of the fucked up insanity we're stuck with now.

Especially since I'll now be paying more taxes than ever before.

Especially since politicians are spending more tax revenue than ever before.

Especially since Americans are getting fucked over by our government worse than ever before.

Especially that.

   

Bullet Sunday 517

Posted on July 30th, 2017

Dave!Time to get busy living... or get busy dying, because an all new Bullet Sunday starts... now...

   
• Sweet! Today is National Cheesecake Day! The odds of me finding decent cheesecake in the wilds of Maine are probably slim considering there aren't any Cheesecake Factory restaurants in the entire state. I'd have to drive to Boston, which is nearly five hours round-trip! But who knows? Perhaps there's some awesome blueberry cheesecake to be found 'round these parts. The question being... will I have enough energy to seek it out given that I haven't slept in two days?

   
• Sweeter! Also not available in the entire state of Maine? Pinkberry. Which is a major bummer, because they just added a delicious-looking Black Raspberry to their flavors list...

Pinkberry Black Raspberry Froyo

So not fair.

   
• Sweetness! Awwww...

This could be one of the best meet-cutes in history... or the beginning of a horror story to end all horror stories.

   
• Sweetest? In a move that I can't wrap my head around, I'm seeing posts to social media about people finding Halloween candy being put out. When it's not even August and the holiday is still three months away. Given how the leftovers go on close-out sale for the month of November, we might as well leave it out year-'round. One third of the year devoted to Halloween is absurd... and I like Halloween.

   
• Unsweet. Since politicians would rather tax people to death than reign in spending, we're inundated with taxes every damn day, and new taxes are never far away. Take, for example, the "Sugary Drink Tax" which adds to the cost of every soft drink (or pop, or soda, or Coke) you buy. Chicago's takes effect on Wednesday... and Seattle's takes effect in January. More cities are looking to follow suit so they can be a part of a crash-grab disguised as a way of saving citizens from obesity. It's shameless and pointless (politicians will never be satisfied with one new revenue stream when there are dozens more to be had!), but... easier than cutting spending, that's for sure. Which leads me to wonder exactly when the tax burden of everyday citizens is going trigger revolt. Could this be the one? Stay tuned.

   
• Sour. And speaking of bullshit taxes... Washington State's legislature is devoting $300,000 to a feasibility study of building high-speed rail from Portland to Seattle to Vancouver. Something which would undoubtedly be funded by putting a tax on the tax that's on the tax you're already taxed! And undoubtedly be run by the Washington State Department of Transportation... an organization which regularly takes projects which should be able to be completed in months, and dragging them out for years (all while creating the biggest inconvenience possible for everybody). It's a total recipe for fucking disaster. But let's spend THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS to study it anyway.

Which, in itself, is fucking stupid. We don't need a study. All we have to do is look at California and the way their high speed rail is coming along. The project is hemorrhaging money and taking much longer than originally budgeted. As if that wasn't bad enough, the projected top speed of their "high speed rail" keeps dropping below the 220mph benchmark they set. But even better? Even at the outrageous price of $86 a ticket to go from San Francisco to L.A. ... IF they manage to get a whopping 10,000 passengers to ride per day... it will STILL take 203 years to pay for itself. And that doesn't even include maintenance costs?!?

Apparently the Washington State legislature has been taking advantage of our marijuana legalization before deciding where to throw away THREE HUNDRED THOUSAND FUCKING DOLLARS! And here's the best part... people like me who live in the Eastern half of the State and would rarely use the thing will undoubtedly be included in the taxation required to build it. Yay.

   
• Bitter. Holy crap where do I even start after the week in politics we've had?

   
Annnnnd... welcome to Shawshank.

   

Unsweetened

Posted on April 13th, 2010

Dave!This morning the Washington State House and Senate ended their "special session" to balance the state's budget. They did this by passing a package of tax hikes and spending cuts, which kind of makes sense given that we don't want to end up on the verge of bankruptcy like California. Nobody likes more taxes and less spending, but you do what you have to do to make things work, Right? I can live with that.

Except...

While I may be open to sucking it up and paying a little more in taxes so that critical services and functions will continue in my home state, I do insist that the new taxes MAKE SOME FUCKING SENSE IF I HAVE TO FUCKING PAY THEM!

Rated R

If you're not afraid of the word "fuck" and aren't bothered by mindless ranting, then feel free to proceed...

   
A major source of the new taxes are on bottled water, tobacco products, pop, candy, gum, and beer. I don't pretend to understand exactly what's going on with all this (exactly as our government wants it) but I'll do my best to comment anyway. From what I can tell, these taxes are on things that are supposedly "bad" for you or "luxuries"...

  • Bottled Water. Water isn't bad for you, but those plastic bottles are bad for the environment and taking up space in our landfills. From that perspective, I guess taxing bottled water isn't such a bad thing. Maybe it will encourage people to buy water filters and re-use plastic bottles and stuff? But here's my problem... when did water become a "luxury" item? The classification is categorically absurd. I stopped drinking tap-water because it tastes like chemicals and contains fluoride (which is toxic and has been linked to a number of heinous health problems). WHERE'S THE FUCKING SENSE IN RAISING TAXES ON DRINKING WATER WHEN YOU ARE POISONING THE FREELY AVAILABLE ALTERNATIVE? Answer: THERE IS NO SENSE IN IT, YOU FUCKING DUMBASS POLITICIANS!! And heaven help you if you don't have drinkable water where you live.
  • Tobacco Products. I think we can all agree that society would be a lot healthier if tobacco products were eliminated. Cigarettes, cigars, chew, snuff, whatever... it's all bad for you. But here's the thing, tobacco products are already taxed to death. Washington currently has the third-highest tax on tobacco in the entire country. And since the tax on a pack of cigarettes is already in excess of $2.00, it raises the question: exactly how much of our state's spending are smokers expected to bear? Because of massive anti-smoking campaigns, education, location limits, and (a-ha!) huge taxes, the number of people using tobacco is decreasing every year, yet Washington seems intent on maintaining the amount of money they get from smokers. WHERE'S THE FUCKING SENSE IN HEAPING A MASSIVE TAX BURDEN ON AN ALREADY OVER-TAXED SEGMENT OF OUR RESIDENTS? Answer: THERE IS NO SENSE IN IT, YOU FUCKING DUMBASS POLITICIANS!! If you smoke, there's now a much bigger reason than your health to quit.
  • Pop/Soda. In all honesty, I am of the opinion that any product using high fructose corn syrup deserves more taxes. High fructose corn syrup is pure evil in liquid form but, because of massive government corn farm subsidies, it's used in absolutely everything because it's cheaper than real sugar. And there's the problem. The government GIVES our tax money away to make an unhealthy ingredient cheaper, but then turns around and COLLECTS the money on the back-end... thus fucking over consumers twice. Well, whatever, because deadly high fructose corn syrup needs to be more expensive so real sugar can compete... except real sugar is taxed in pop just the same (even though few use it because subsidized HFCS has been made so cheap). WHERE'S THE FUCKING SENSE IN COLLECTING MORE TAXES ON SOMETHING YOU'VE ALREADY SUBSIDIZED WITH TAX DOLLARS? Answer: THERE IS NO SENSE IN IT, YOU FUCKING DUMBASS POLITICIANS!! Apparently corn has fucking GOD-LIKE POWER to make our government STUPID.
  • Candy & Gum. And here's where I really lose it, because this is the stupidest tax of all. NOT because I feel that "luxury" foods like candy shouldn't be taxed... but because candy shouldn't be singled out as a "luxury" food in an arena which is overflowing with foods that aren't good for you when eaten in excess. For example, a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup is now taxable... but a Twinkie is not. A box of Milk Duds is now taxable... but a can of frosting is not. A box of DOTS is now taxable, but an entire bag of sugar to make your own candy is not. In other words, the candy industry has to take a bullet as being something "bad" for you, when foods that are just as "bad" (or even worse) escape unscathed. To put it in still other words, the entire candy industry just got fucked. Hard. To say nothing of the fact that MEAT, which Americans eat waaayyyy in excess of what could be considered "healthy" is still tax free. WHERE'S THE FUCKING SENSE IN DRAWING LINES ON TAXATION WHERE LINES DON'T EXIST? Answer: THERE IS NO SENSE IN IT, YOU FUCKING DUMBASS POLITICIANS!! Candy is far less "bad" for you than eating lard, but guess which one gets taxed? For your answer, ask which one is supported by the Beef lobby buying off your politicians.
  • Beer. NNNOOOOOOoooooo!! WHERE'S THE FUCKING SENSE IN TAXING BEER, WHEN IT'S BEER THAT'S HELPING PEOPLE COPE WITH GOVERNMENT STUPIDITY? Answer: THERE IS NO SENSE IN IT, YOU FUCKING DUMBASS POLITICIANS!! Micro-brews are exempt from new taxes, but that's of little consolation if your beer of choice is Miller or Stella or Corona or whatever. Lovely that your personal beer preference is enough to get you fucked or unfucked by this new law... so much for freedom of choice in America!

Look, I know that my genius-level IQ means that I tend to see things more clearly than a lot of people. But surely I am not the only person who looks at the Washington State government and wonders WHAT THE FUCK?!? None... NONE... of these tax hikes make any sense at all. You can dress it up as a "luxury tax" or a "sin tax" or whatever the fuck you want to call it, but the end result is that these have all been levied unfairly. Poison the water, but tax clean drinking water. Tax the most taxed products ever because less people are using them. Subsidize something bad for your health to make it cheaper, then tax people to buy it after the healthier competition has been slaughtered. Add taxes to a candy that has a cookie in it, but don't tax a cookie that has candies on it. THEN tax a beverage that makes all the other stupid shit bearable.

Again, I understand the need for taxes to help pay for the services we all enjoy... I'm not debating that.

But taxes need to MAKE SOME FUCKING SENSE for me to support them. When lawmakers just pass bullshit taxes because they're too fucking lazy to find logical solutions to balance the budget, it just tells me that these politicians need to get the fuck out of office to make room for creative thinkers who won't tax first, then think later.

And elections are just around the corner...

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