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You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
Archive - Jul 27, 2004
Memo to Tax Whiners: YOU ARE DUMB.
Seriously. Shut your suburban gobs. Shove some more fucking Cheesecake Factory in there or something. Stop bitching. Stop writing letters to the editor. We do not care about your so-called "views" on the tax code, so either keep them to yourself, or... actually, there IS no or, because let's face it, if you were the type to actually build a bunker and fend off armed IRS agents with a flare gun, you'd have done it already, you pussy.
If I hear the "my money" or "our money" rhetorical phrase one more time, I'm going to track down the one remaining blood vessel in my body that hasn't already popped from barely-repressed rage, and I'm going to take pliers to it until it joins its brethren. It's not your money. It barely ever WAS your money. It's the government's money. It's society's money. They take it from you because you fucking well LIVE HERE, and they will do whatever they want with it because THEY CAN, and until you can afford your own island country to move all your assets into, you're stuck with it.
It's as if a vast percentage of people in this country, despite over 200 years of an essentially unchanged social contract that itself builds upon a few thousand years of civilization-managing, somehow manage to miss the fucking point. It's possible that all these people are simply stupid. If so, this column won't help them, but it will make me feel better to explain, in as simple a phrasing as I can manage, that paying your taxes is not, as a transaction, equivalent to buying a muffin.
You'd think this would be obvious. When I want to buy a muffin, there are no forms involved. I do not need to list all the muffins I have bought in the past year. I don't need to calculate how much of the muffin I give to my (hypothetical) children. You cannot get a muffin at H.R. Block.
Well, OK. You can. But if you try, learn from my mistake, and have an answer prepared when they ask you "Excuse me, what are you doing in our break room?"
When you give money to the government in tax form, you will not receive an equivalent value of goods and services in return. If you pay taxes and have no children, some of your money will still pay for schools. If you are a dirty stinking hippie and you pay taxes, some of your money will pay for nuclear warheads. If you tool around the Twin Cities in your H2 and pay taxes, some of your money will still pay for bus drivers. Taxation is not, and never has been, a zero-sum game, so take your faux-libertarian posing and shove it up your ass.
In case you're wondering if there was one particular scrotal wart that sparked my ire, huzzah, there was! Doug Clemens of Bloomington, who, in the Saturday letters to the editor, actually wrote:
"I resent the Star Tribune's implication that when I get some of my tax money back it is somehow a deceitful or treacherous act. I have paid a ton of taxes in my lifetime, and now there's a little something for me. For this newspaper to suggest that this is all due to trickery and dishonesty is hurtful. The Star Tribune owes me an apology.
The Star Tribune owes you a whack upside the head with a rolled-up Sunday Edition. Don't give us that fucking line about how you've gotten NOTHING from a lifetime of paying taxes, you half-wit ingrate. You've gotten stuff. Other people have gotten stuff. Maybe not the best stuff, maybe not the stuff you'd want, but that's what you get for voting in these idiots every time you go to the polls. Since you obviously don't have the courage of your convictions, and sign your 1040 every year like a good boy, all you're doing now is whining. Go away.
The only advantage of the state economies being deeply in the hole is that we don't have to hear this "our money" shit about surpluses, which aren't usually surpluses anyway. The instant the government predicts it may end up collecting a bit more money from people than they predict they'll spend, that's when the Carnation Instant Libertarians start lining up for their checks, yapping about "their money" like it was gold coin snatched from their hands by Alan Rickman instead of passing ephemerally from their employer to the IRS without them ever really knowing it was there.
Now if you'll excuse me, I just saw an accountant run past, and I need me some baked goods.