Infernal Revenue Blues By Myron Pauli

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Barely a Blog contributor Myron Robert Pauli, Ph.D., says theoretical nuclear physics is far simpler than filing a US tax return.

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Infernal Revenue Blues
By Myron Pauli

This is the lovely time of the year where I get to file 12 tax returns – mine and my child’s and my late wife’s “estate” (which I had to take from my child and give back to my wife!) times federal and state times regular and estimated = 3 x 2 x 2 = 12. Lots of FUN!
Suppose you owned A shares of company B – and they spun off C shares of company D which then had stock splits (regular or reverse) making E shares which then acquired company F but subsequently merged with company G to now make H shares of company J with a payout of K from the merger. Calculate the capital gains tax! Think that is hard – what if the shares were in brokerage house L which became M and N and P? What if your deceased mother acquired some of the shares in multiple intervals over many years from since deceased brokerage house L? What if some of the companies had dividend reinvestment? Have you ever tried to find the 40 year old price of stocks that no longer exist? You don’t just need an accountant, you need an archeologist. I’ve done theoretical nuclear physics which is far simpler than this.
How about bonds? Some are subject to federal and state tax, some to federal but not state; some to state and not federal, some are double exempt. But what if it is a mixed-bond fund? And some which are exempt are subject to AMT – the “Alternative Minimum Tax”.
Ah – the AMT – designed in 1969 to catch a handful of “feeelthy rich” zillionaires with oil depletion allowances. For single people, the “feeelthy rich” start below $100,000 and no credit for dependents. I am a single parent with one child. What about single parents with 10 children – feeelthy rich, I suppose.
But “Saviour of the Poor” Obama is going after the tax loopholes! And what loophole is he after? Cash contributions to charity! Yessir, I give cash to the nefarious Salvation Army to give chowder to the homeless on frosty winters. The head of the Salvation Army earns under $100,000 – no doubt one of the feeelthy rich – and every cup of chowder consumed by the homeless takes needed revenue from Solyndra and their deserving lobbyists. And “conservatives” should be angry when I donate to frivolous fluff like the Paralyzed Veterans of America, and take away from such good deeds as dropping another cluster bomb on some Pakistani children.
And the “Fighters Against Big Government” Republicans? Well, half of them are trying to festoon the tax code with even more loopholes, and the others promote the Orwellian-named “Fair Tax” – a 30% sales tax on all spending. Such a draconian sales tax will necessitate the elimination of cash. It will not be sufficient for government to know my income and my investments – now they will have to know every dime I spend on socks, tuna, aspirin, and sex toys. Then picture what Nanny Bloomberg will do with the National Sales Tax – tax broccoli at the same rate as truffles? Bring on the lobbyists.
Benjamin Franklin said that nothing can be certain in this world except death and taxes. He failed to say which he feared the most!

Barely a Blog (BAB) contributor Myron Pauli grew up in Sunnyside Queens, went off to college in Cleveland and then spent time in a mental institution in Cambridge MA (MIT) with Benjamin Netanyahu (did not know him), and others until he was released with the “hostages” and Jimmy Carter on January 20, 1981, having defended his dissertation in nuclear physics. Most of the time since, he has worked on infrared sensors, mainly at Naval Research Laboratory in Washington DC. He was NOT named after Ron Paul but is distantly related to physicist Wolftgang Pauli; unfortunately, only the “good looks” were handed down and not the brains. He writes assorted song lyrics and essays reflecting his cynicism and classical liberalism. Click on the “BAB’s A List” category to access the Pauli archive.