Rendered Fat Content


RAPHAEL: The Sacrifice at Lystra c.1515-6
"How low can your bottom line go?"

The Muse recalls her mom insisting that fare is what one pays to ride the bus. This glib insight almost explains how the much-maligned US Tax Code works in practice, except that fair, tax-wise, means that those least able to pay, always pay the most as a percentage of their income. A day laborer, lacking the 'tax advantages' of owning a private jet, might pay the full fare. No billionaire ever does, nor need to, because he can take advantage of receiving certain advantages not extended to the laborer. Billionaires complain about the price, but never, under any circumstance, ever pay the full fare. It's as if the rich receive special dispensation for the otherwise insufferable burden of wealth. They write off with abandon, carrying forward losses to offset any unfortunate future profits. Lose a billion early in a career, and you're golden for the next couple of decades worth of tax years. Walk away from a failing enterprise, even one you ruined through gross incompetence, and your government will richly reward you. Should the laborer walk away from a job, he'll be denied subsistence support under the presumption that he must be lazy. Real welfare queens live in luxury on the Upper East Side.

Our President, he whose name I've sworn to avoid saying, reportedly deducted $70,000 in a single year for hair styling expenses, since his gravity-defying cantilevered combover is apparently a part of his brand rather than simply a translucent inability to accept encroaching baldness.
Vanity apparently qualifies as the sort of social good tax deductions were originally thought to represent. His much-vaunted tax cut raised our annual obligation, since we were no longer operating as any kind of corporation and hadn't thought to hire a platoon of cynical lobbyists to protect our interests. That legislation finally clarified the long-standing question about whether or not corporations are people, insisting that they're really the only fully-enfranchised citizens, since only they can fit through the needle's eye to take advantage of the more lucrative loopholes. Corporations extol the virtues of capitalism, but worship at the more exclusive chapel of cronyism, a church where deductible dinners serve as the primary sacrament and shyster tax attorneys and lawyers serve as high priests, with legislators passing the collection plate from which parishioners are obliged to take, not contribute. It's a sacred responsibility to receive and a venial sin to give anything unto any Caesar in this faith.

I might feel as though I'm contributing my little part to the democratic experiment when I sign my check to the IRS, but under the shadier sections of the tax code, that act confirms that I'm a sucker, paying cash when I might have been extended credit I'd never have to repay. I deplete my vital resources every day, but unlike our much-revered oil industry, I don't receive anything like an unending oil depletion allowance for every ounce of my raw material I sell. Even The Muse and I employ a shyster tax accountant, for there are corners even we can legally cut, and why not? Most every middle class citizen enjoys certain subsidies which we believe more represent rights than privileges. We feel that it's only fair and that we certainly must deserve these, especially since they pale when compared to the subsidies those damned billionaires receive. The Republican't have made cutting taxes a sacred trust, just as if their primary contributors (AKA real constituents) ever suffered much under the existing code, for they practice tax avoidance as their first and most significant contribution to the general welfare; they pay themselves first. The rest of us withhold.

I apologize for my crack about fare being what one pays for riding the bus, for few ride busses these days. If you commute by chauffeured limousine, you're deducting that otherwise obscene expense as an essential element of your business, which is busy creating jobs for people who will actually pay taxes from their likely less than fifteen dollar per hour wages. To the job creators go the spoils, however moldy and suspect. To those who work goes the responsibility to compensate those who don't seem to need to work all that much but still feel compelled to maintain a second residence which they might need to access via personal jet if they're going to make that Monday morning meeting with their tax accountant, the whole excursion taken as deductible business expense because, as we all know, the business of business has always been deducting business expenses. How low can
your bottom line go? Just wondering.

©2020 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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