Memo to Timmy the tax man: No matter how fast you chase me, I can go slow enough so you don’t catch me
March 5, 2009
To: Treasury Secretary Timmy Geitner
Fr: Craig J. Cantoni
cc: Barack Obama
Hey, Timmy: You, your boss, and your IRS agents are chasing me, but none of you will be able to catch me, because the faster all of you go, the slower I’ll go.
I’m not referring to a foot race. I’m referring to slowing down my work and taxes. No, I’m not cheating on my taxes as you did. What I’m saying is that the more you tax me, the less I’ll work. The same holds true for millions of people like me.
I have cut my income by two-thirds over the last decade to get into a lower tax bracket and to reduce how much my fellow Americans steal from me. I had reached a point where federal income and payroll taxes alone were consuming 50 percent of my income, and at least 50 percent of that 50 percent was going to moochers, ne’er-do-wells, and rent-seeking corporations.
Let me explain it this way: Out of every two weeks of hellacious business travel, one week of hell went to pay my federal taxes. That meant a week of being humiliated by the TSA at airports, of sitting in a packed airplane three inches from a guy who would spend the entire flight belching the hot dog and onions he ate before getting on the plane, of flights being cancelled and hotel and car reservations disappearing, of working 15-hour days, of staying in hotel rooms that smelled like a wet sheep, of eating lousy food, and of returning home at 10:00 pm on a Friday night, drained of all goodwill and energy, and smelling like hot dogs, onions, and wet sheep.
By the way, Nancy Pelosi flies across the country at taxpayer expense on a government jet. Do the crackerjack federal agents in their spiffy TSA uniforms make her take her $500 shoes off?
I didn’t endure such travel torture to buy expensive toys, homes, cars, and vacations. Nor did my wife, who also traveled and worked ungodly hours in her job. She and I did it to pay for our son’s education and to save enough money so that we could live in relative comfort in retirement and not end up in a Medicaid nursing home at taxpayer expense with a straw up our nose. We thought that’s what responsible citizens were supposed to do. Silly us. Now we understand from your boss that an upstanding citizen is someone who hires you to pillage and plunder his neighbors.
Oh, sure, if I had continued to work hard at the prime of my professional experience as a management consultant, I could have continued to help companies survive, grow, and provide jobs. Oh, sure, if enough people like me cut their work and income while the Chinese are increasing their work and income, the nation will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of China. Oh, sure, the less that people work and save, the less money there will be for investments in new businesses, jobs, and productivity improvements.
Oh, well, your boss must know what he’s doing. After all, he spent most of his working life as a community organizer. You also must know what you’re doing. After all, you spent most of your working life in the federal government. Correction: Actually, you worked for the Federal Reserve, which means that you worked for the bankers who elect the Fed’s governors. Does that strike you as a conflict of interest?
If you can find time in the midst of bailing out your banking cronies and going after every tax scofflaw but yourself, you might want to read Aesop’s fable about the tortoise and the hare. As the fable suggests, you’re not going to catch this tortoise.
I have to go now. It’s time for my nap.
An author and columnist, Mr. Cantoni can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.