Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Tax Relief and Economic "Whoa!"

In these tough economic times, I can completely get behind government and private assistance, even bailouts if the Average Working Joe or Jane gets a break somewhere (bailouts being used for million dollar bonuses to executives are totally nauseating). And I can understand if tax payments need to be renegotiated so folks can still maintain a living. But there is an ad for a tax relief service on television that has me fuming.

The ad starts off with an everyday looking couple saying they owed $30,000 in taxes but when they went through this service they ended up only paying $3,000. The next couple (and these little bits always show a man and a woman, whether they are married or partners in some business) owed $100K and paid only $10K, or some such fraction. Each of the four or five bits increases the original amount owed, with the final being $3 million, and the happy couple reveals they actually paid $1 million. That's what this company does, eases the burden. Fine, except for one thing. These people seem more smug than relieved. They come across not as "Oh my goodness, we were so buried by all kinds of financial difficulty that we couldn't breathe and now we can afford food again." but as "Heheh. Screwed the government and, in effect, the rest of you people. Suckers!"

Now, as I said, I have no issue with helping folks when they need a hand. And I'm not going to argue the tax code here (mostly because I don't understand it). What gets me riled, and never ever willing to consider the company, is the attitude portrayed by the couples. Sure, taxes can be difficult to pay, but if they aren't paid many federal programs that do things like provide health care to kids, veterans and the elderly don't get sufficient funds. Schools don't get money, highways don't get maintained, etc. There's less going into the coffers, less to be used for the things we need. If taxes can't legitimately be paid because there are too many other things demanding payment and you need help, that's fine. Get help, pay what you can. But don't sound like you're happy about it. Because for every dollar you aren't paying, some program is losing a dollar.

I was raised to believe we are a nation that takes care of its own, and then some. That everyone should do what they can to help those in trouble. Folks receiving such things as tax aid should be, first and foremost, legitimately deserving, and yeah, even grateful that there is help to be found. Not grovelling and feeling like they are lacking, but appreciative. And even if you feel more smug than relieved, at the very least don't let the rest of us suckers feel like suckers.



At 11:56 AM, Blogger MB (Leah) said...

Oh you touch upon a hot topic! LOL

I get pissed at this kind of thing too.

And why, I wonder, do they have a tax problem to begin with if they weren't already trying to evade and cheat.

I've been self employed. Yes, it's hard to get money in your hand and have to put it away for taxes. It's a self discipline needed, but you do it. And you sacrifice the extras in life if that's what needed cause that's the law and the right thing to do.

I also get pissed at those who declare bankruptcy when they purposely drove up credit cards to get tons of stuff they really couldn't afford, or to live for 1/2 year on credit card cash in some third world country knowing full well that they would declare bankruptcy. Ugh.

Yes, I've known people to do that. People who went bankrupt not because of some medical catastrophe, or unexpected expenses, but because they had to have a new car every year or the next biggest TV and such.

I'm currently on unemployment and I feel guilt about using the system because I guess I could take a min. wage job when I've been earning more than twice that for years. But even those jobs are hard to find.

I'm currently trying to be able to go back to school while getting unemployment so that getting a job will be easier for me. This means that I will be accepting gov. money, which will pay my first quarter tuition, when I guess I could be scrubbing toilets or something.

I feel bad on some level to use the system like that, but this is what I paid my taxes for already and what I'm still paying taxes for.

It's nasty times right now.

At 12:23 PM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

Leah, you hit it right on the head when you said "it's the right thing to do" and "you sacrifice the extras." Some don't want to sacrifice, they just want. Like you, I get nuts over folks who have dug themselves a credit hole by purchasing stuff they *had* to have. If the hole was created because you need to use the Visa to pay a medical expense or put food in your kids' mouths, that's one thing. No one in this country should have to choose which they can afford, medical care or dinner. It happens, every day, I know, but it's so, so wrong.

You shouldn't feel bad about "using" the system because you're *utilizing* it in the manner in which it was intended: to get back on your feet and in a better position. You have paid/are paying taxes, so this is your time to lean on others for a short while. You aren't just sitting back and collecting money for a new TV or trip to Disney World. You will be putting your new skills and education to use for the good of yourself, your family, and ultimately the economy by contributing at a higher tax rate when you get a better paying job : )

Good luck with school and the future job search! Let me know how things go.

At 6:14 AM, Blogger Writer and Cat said...

Oh, I hate that commercial too! If you owe the money, you owe the f*ing money. I'm sure there are certain circumstances where I'd be sympathetic, like medical debt or legal fees of certain sorts, but sheesh.

At 8:22 AM, Blogger Cathy in AK said...

Exactly, W&C. My sympathies lie with folks who have real problems.

What's happened to having some humility? The people portrayed in those commercials come across as if they deserve not to have to pay like the rest of us. Grrr...


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