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Saturday, April 1, 2017

A Taxing Time

I hate paying income taxes, and paying them this year is particularly galling.

I am retired, and my income consists of a monthly Social Security payment, a monthly payment from my federal pension, and whatever money I withdraw from my IRA (to which I contributed the maximum allowed every year of my working life.) Most of my IRA contributions were not tax-deductible.

So the income I earned and that allowed me to save money from each paycheck was taxed as income when I earned it, and now it is taxed again as income when I withdraw it. And what is especially annoying is that the United States elected a billionaire president who brags about paying zero income taxes for the past 15+ years, all the while flying to his Florida palace every weekend (at a cost of $3 million per trip) so he can play golf. And his trophy wife stays in her palace in New York City at a cost to US taxpayers of $127,000 to $145,000 per day for security. Don't forget that we taxpayers also pay for security for Trump's five adult children, even as they travel the world on  family business. The Secret Service, which protects the hordes of Trump family members and their many properties, recently requested an additional $60 million due to the high cost of protecting this billionaire family. And yet I, and many other US taxpayers, get stuck paying outrageous amounts to the Internal Revenue Service on our retirement income.

Now we taxpayers are getting stuck with a $25 billion wall along the border with Mexico, a wall we were told Mexico would pay for.  Of course, Mexico has made it perfectly clear that it has no intention of paying for this wall. Aside from the financial costs, there are great environmental costs as well, such as stopping the migration and movements of many animal species. 

Let us not forget the planned $54 billion increase in spending on defense and homeland security. While some increase may be needed to augment our nation's security, we already possess enough weapons to destroy the world several times over. To help pay for these excesses, Trump wants to gut or eliminate funding for PBS, the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education, among others. I guess he and his co-conspirators figure an illiterate populace won't know how dangerous this imbecile is to our nation and our rights.

With the money I am forced to pay in taxes (on top of the estimated income payments I made last year), I could have sponsored several more students in Kenya so they can attend high school. I could have donated more to charities working to defend our environment, keep our water and air clean and protect our wildlife from being shot while sleeping in their dens. 

Paying taxes is never fun, but this year's tax burden is especially burdensome ... and disgusting.