Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Someone to Lien On

Magazine article Phi Kappa Phi Forum

Someone to Lien On

Article excerpt

It's that time of the year again: Spring is in the air and The Tax Man is in your pocket. That time of year when I have to wonder, "If a tree falls in the forest, and hits an IRS agent, and there's no one else around, does the chainsaw make a noise?" Now 1 am not wishing harm upon The Tax Man, but let's face it, he is about as popular as the seemingly washed-up Kelsey Grammer in a sitcom or the competitive eating champ Joey Chestnut at a buffet. And I realize the term "Tax Man" is sexist, but "Tax Person" just doesn't sound scary enough. And scared we are, despite the fact that taxes are as American as apple pie and Chevrolet. Though apple pie hasn't asked for a bailout. Yet.

I think our fear is unwarranted. The odds of being audited are 180 to 1, according to the Web site www.casinos; the odds of getting away with murder are 2 to 1 . Of course, those former odds may go up significantly if you hand over your return to an angry postal worker at 1 1 :59 p.m. on April 1 5, and say, "Put this on the top of the pile."

I think part of the fear comes from confusion. Our tax system is just way too complex. I've heard that if you send your tax information to 20 different accountants, you'll get 20 different results. And, like the government, I always go with the lowest bidder.

This country was founded on the principle "no taxation without representation." Thankfully, this still holds true, except now, "representation" often means, "Hope you have a good lawyer!" One who can finesse you out of declaring your needy mom as a "codependenl," even though she lives 3,000 miles away.

I don't mind paying taxes so long as they go to good causes and help keep our nation safe and secure. But how can we be sure? Well, we can start by expanding a system that's already in place. You know that little box on the tax form that you check if you want to contribute a few bucks to the presidential campaign? Why not do it for all worthwhile government programs? National Defense: Check Yes! Social Security: Check Yes! In fact, I'm not getting any younger, take a Lincoln.

But I don't care what side of the aisle you're on, nobody likes to pay for "Bridges to Nowhere" or "shovel-ready" infrastructure projects, those able to break ground quickly, in Congressional districts that don't exist. Or, worse, studies like the one from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences from September 2009 that concluded that multitaskers are prone to distraction. …

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