April 15, otherwise known as Tax Day here in the United States of America, is the deadline for citizens to turn in their 1040s and inform the government how much we made and how much we owe our dear, old Uncle Sam.
Some people get their taxes prepared as soon as humanly possible. Much like cleaning the toilet, they are the types who want to get that unpleasant chore out of the way and get on with life. Then there are the procrastinators who wait until the last minute and stand in line at the Post Office at 11:59:59 p.m. to get the envelope stamped with the appropriate date. On the outer fringe are the super-procrastinators, those who file extensions and take an inner tube to a Lazy River summer on the way to a somewhat more reasonable October 15 deadline. I’ve done that. You still have to pay, and with interest.
I grew up with income tax, so I’ve come to expect it. I’ve even come to accept it. There was a time – for those real dinosaurs – when there was no income tax. It kind of makes you wonder how roads were built, how public servants fared or how schools could afford to buy books and chalk in the pre-tax period.
If you live in modern day Michigan, as I do, you still wonder about those things. Some of our roads rival those of Third World donkey paths, our public servants serve themselves with fat salaries and a rainbow’s pot of gold of lifetime benefits, and our school districts issue paychecks to dead people and buy millions of dollars worth of art and real estate when they are operating in the perilous red zone. I would feel much better about the entire tax situation if I could trust government to be thrifty and efficient, but since these are not the common adjectives to describe what we have today, I am a cynic holding my breath.
But I digress…
I happened to catch part of a newscast (I tuned in to see if we were going to get a needed rainstorm today) where our President made the comment that people (tea partiers) should be thanking him for the current tax situation.
I am happy and thankful about about many things – my charmed life, my hard-working husband, my beautiful and talented children and child-in-law, my good health, my supportive friends, the sun shining, my faithful dog and uppity cat, that I can read and write, my artistic abilities, as limited as they are, and my orchids all about to bloom at the same time (it’s been six years), among other things.
The ability to pay income tax – or any tax at all – is not among the things that leave me lolling about in a rapturous bliss. I certainly don't feel like thanking anyone for that, that's for sure. Who among us with an ounce of honesty would admit to it?
No, Tax Day is less about thankfulness and more about feeling screwed. Yes, we are among those Americans who must pay income tax, not among the 50% who have dodged the governmental bullet. Sometimes we feel royally skewered while other times the posterior discomfort is only mildly irritating.
Today the pain meter shifts to the former, not the latter. I survived Tax Day, but not an hour ago, I got off the phone with a city engineer who informed me that even though the curbs and sidewalk in front of my house are disintegrating into dust before my very eyes, if we choose to pursue repair, we will end up footing the bill.
What? What happened to the tax money? The thousands of dollars of property tax money based on the worth of my house before the housing bust? You know, the house that is barely worth the assessed value now? Yeah, that house. I told Mr. Engineer he should count his lucky stars that I called, not my husband. When I’m in charge, hardly ever does anyone get thrown into jail on a disorderly conduct charge.
Well, it appears that only low income areas of Royal Oak get their curbs and sidewalks repaired gratis. Our office – if you can call a 60-year-old cinder block shack that is falling apart and home to nesting sparrows – is located in such a low income area, and therefore, we have reaped free curbs and sidewalks as a result.
Having learned this, I decided I should celebrate my windfall. But why just me? According to the Prez, we should all be thankful.
I propose to make April 15 a national holiday. The procrastinators would have 24 hours to get it together, the tea party activists could go to town (and the accompanying politicians would be out of town), and state and federal workers everywhere would sing hallelujah and drink margaritas. Make it a serious national holiday, like the Fourth of July or Labor Day, so that even we business owning schlepps can have the day off too.
It’s the only way I’ll be happy about the rape and pillage of the tax man, Mr. Obama.