07:25:16 am on
Thursday 13 Jun 2024

The Big Tax Refund
AJ Robinson

One of the sayings my father taught me was, “There are only two things you can be certain of in life: death and taxes.” He also used to add how the latter was the only one you had much chance of successfully cheating. Dad actually had some hands-on experience at that aspect of taxes, too.

We need a simpler tax system.


Not that Dad cheated on his taxes, well, at least that I know of; no, he worked, part-time, at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) during tax season, when it needed extra help. Thus, he had some experience at seeing the kinds of things people tried to get away with. That was why he was always in favour of simplifying the tax code: it was so damn complicated.

Over the years, there have been many attempts at simplifying the tax code; Trump was the most recent. I actually laughed aloud when I heard Trump talk of a Middle Class tax cut going through right around the election. Come on, there was no way that was going to happen.

Trump was looking for anything to gin-up his base. Anyone remember the caravan of terrorists and criminal y the U.S. military had to stop at the border? Revising the tax code, pushing a tax cut (sic), was part of his effort to distract American voters.

As everything Trump promotes, it was not what it seemed. He and his brown-nosers, oops, excuse me, I mean the Republicans, hailed it as this great thing for the Middle Class, for their supporters and most especially as a great job creator. As always, his minions lapped up every word he said, as if it was ambrosia from the gods on Mount Olympus.

How many people bought his lies bought into the lie amazes me. I have a very different view of the new tax law. Well, just recently, there was confirmation of my view.

How I got a tax refund.

My wife and I filed our taxes last week. We are looking at a nice chunk of money in a tax refund. That stands in stark contrast to almost every person with whom I work. Nearly all of them have been lamenting the fact that their refund is either minimal or non-existent. In fact, most of them are looking at having to pay.

As we chatted around the old water cooler and, yes, we have an actual one of those in our break room, they were all very upset at the news and amazed that I was not only getting a refund, but that it was big. Mind you, I kept the exact figure vague, no sense being too boastful. “How did you do it?” was their repeated question.

I grinned and replied it had been easy. Every time that Trump smiled for the cameras and told his whopper of a lie that folks like me, the poor old working stiffs of America, were going to make out great when they filed their tax returns, I boosted my withholdings. Yeah, my paycheck took a hit, but it was smaller than it could have been because I knew everything that spewed forth from the mouth of the Great Orange was a lie. I knew with certainty his tax reform would be terrible for people like me and the only way to survive it was to bite the bullet, tighten my belt and make use of a bunch of other clichés designed to encourage thrift.

This episode reminded me of another story my father used to tell: the ant and the grasshopper. The Aesopian fable pits those that live for today, the grasshopper, against those that prepare for known times of need, the ant. Given the hardships my wife and I have had to endure over the last decade, I decided I was going to be an ant not a grasshopper and, thus, I now boast I’ve survived the Trump tax “cut.”

Do the grasshoppers know they blew it?


I wonder if any of his grasshopper minions realise just how badly he shafted them. Will they continue to essentially be lemmings and follow him off the economic cliff? I hope they learn their lesson, but I’m not optimistic.

Words of warning for you, dear readers, look up that old tale of the grasshopper and the ants by Aesop. Written twenty-five hundred years ago, its lesson is quite relevant today.

Combining the gimlet-eye of Philip Roth with the precisive mind of Lionel Trilling, AJ Robinson writes about what goes bump in the mind, of 21st century adults. Raised in Boston, with summers on Martha's Vineyard, AJ now lives in Florida. Working, again, as an engineeer, after years out of the field due to 2009 recession and slow recovery, Robinson finds time to write. His liberal, note the small "l," sensibilities often lead to bouts of righteous indignation, well focused and true. His teen vampire adventure novel, "Vampire Vendetta," will publish in 2020. Robinson continues to write books, screenplays and teleplays and keeps hoping for that big break.

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