Saturday, 20 February 2010

My Anxiety

Every morning, I walk out to the "Pike" and climb aboard the bus to ride to work. It's typically a seven minute ride to the Pentagon.

I've come to a point of anxiety, for some odd reason, at a stage of this trip.

At the middle point, I crest the hill where the Navy Annex lies....and there is this 5-star view of the Potomac River, the Washington Memorial, the Capital building, and the Pentagon. My anxiety starts at this moment....with the view of the Pentagon, and this image in my mind of 9-11. I can visualize the Pentagon on fire. I wasn't there.....and I have no real connection to the building other than my fifty odd days of work there so far.

It's a 60-second thing. I pause there....stuck on the view of the Pentagon. It bothers me. The bus will eventually make it's way to the bottom of the hill....and then I can concentrate on parked cars, cops giving hand signals, and weird people on the bus.

I'm almost up to two months here....and it's not improving. It's a sixty-second episode that occurs each day, and I'll probably have to get used to it.

How To Get Like Joe Stack

After the IRS attack this week by Joe Stack....I sat down and envisioned how guys get into this type mess. And this is the sad, tragic truth.

As Jimmy, Barney and Carl work for Piggly Wiggly....they live a nice quiet life. They pay taxes and over a forty-year span, they've never met a single employee from the IRS or been audited. They make just enough to pay their bills, have a house, and buy one or two new cars in their entire life. They aren't happy....but they aren't facing issues like the IRS.

So then we come to Marvin. Marvin got aggressive around age 25. He got his degree, got a great sales job with the father-in-law, and started climbing up. By age 30, Marvin was ready for his first big independent move.

Marvin took his life savings of $25k, borrowed $50k from the mother-in-law, and borrowed $80k from the bank. Marvin's service and sales business slowly took off, and he barely made any substantial profits for two years. The accountant had a simple and easy task of reporting everything.

Then Marvin started to pick up more sales and by the end of the third year....he had some real profits to show....at least $75k for the year. The accountant did the IRS returns correctly, and Marvin paid out over $22k to the IRS and the state.

Marvin hires another employee or two for the fourth year....picking up almost $180k in sales and profit for the year. IRS? Well....the accountant takes the forms and it's around $55k that the state and IRS collect in the end.

Marvin by this point.....talks to Larry....who knows this accountant who finds special loop holes to avoid taxes. Marvin lets the old accountant go.

The fifth year? Marvin clears almost $300k in sales and service....and this dandy new accountant finds enough loop holes to only force Marvin into paying $70k in taxes for the year.

The sixth and seventh years look just as good, with Marvin using the same guy, the same loop holes, and avoiding the taxes that he hated.

Then one day....IRS pulls out an audit. Then they say that these loop holes that were used.....aren't fitting. They look back.....and there are three years of this. They now say that Marvin owes around $140k more for the past three years. Marvin's accountant? He's not exactly helping much now.

Marvin hires an attorney. Just the letter to state his position.....costs around $1k. Over the course of two years....Marvin fights via this tax attorney. At the end of this episode....not only does Marvin lose and have to pay the $140k with interest.....but he has to figure up the attorney cost here that amounts to $60k. Figure $200k for a sudden loss.

So whatever retirement funds that he'd put in for the past seven years.....it's gone. If it was a 401k deal, then there's the ten percent fee built into that loss as well.

Marvin is almost back to square one, except he is still clearing $300k a year on his business. A normal guy would be happy, and just fire the tax accountant.....and get back the guy who did all the paperwork right in the first place.

Marvin isn't happy......so he goes back to thinking that the government is screwing him.....and wants to attempt more loop holes. Every three years.....he faces the audit and tosses more money to attorney fees, which eat up his life savings.

By age sixty.....here are the three guys over at Piggly Wiggly (Jimmy, Barney, and Carl), and here is Marvin. Basically....they are all at the same level. Marvin may own a business that pulls in $400k of sales and service a year.....but he's given $500k over the years to attorney costs and IRS interest situations. They have all climbed to the same position in life.

The moral of this story? Be happy at Piggly Wiggly....and give up these bogus dreams of a independent life as a business owner. Unless you accept forty percent of your income going to the government or state in some fashion.....you really aren't going anywhere for the rest of your life. That's the sad honest truth.

Oh, and don't worry....whatever real money that Marvin did make under the table.....his wife took that when she divorced him. Just so you got the end of this sad tragic story.

The 51-Scenario

As things unfolded this week....the 51-vote deal (for the senate) to get some kind of universal health care package passed moved to the next step.

The meeting with the Republicans? I'd say at this point...it's pretty much a useless effort. You'd be just as well off to go and attend a Jerry Springer show that day.

So what happens next? This package of sorts....which is probably fifty percent of what they'd originally envisioned....gets passed and for one weekend on various talk-shows....it's the only thing that folks can find to discuss. After two days of discussion....most folks will ask how exactly this improves anything, and then the media circus will tear down the tent and move onto Tiger Woods or a new banking scandal.

We then move to a curious event. You've got around a dozen states that either have have or will pass legislation to question the authority of the government over this. Various attorney generals will proceed to the Supreme Court, and it's a fairly interesting case that then develops. The court? Based on the Constitution....they will likely toss the legislation and put the entire question of health care back at step one.

The blame here? Squarely at the Supreme Court. I think at this point.....this is the only point of this entire game. You gain a segment of American society blaming either the Republicans or the Supreme Court for lack of health care.

An orchestrated effort? Perhaps the intended purpose from June of 2009 to today? This is hard to say. I hate to compare politics to wrestling but you are starting to see these various scenarios laid out, where step one is bad guy #1 meets good guy #1, and this alliance develops, then they break up and battle each other. Then good guy #2 gets involved, then the wife of bad guy #1, and then the ring announcer announces that he's really a wrestler in disguise.....and then a royal rumble occurs.

If this is the best that we can do as a nation or a republic.....then it's pretty much the end of civilization and reality. The only hope now....is that Dusty Rhodes and Hulk Hogan arise from the ashes and take on all the good guys and bad guys.