Tuesday, April 13, 2010

'Twas Tuesday Before NABBA....

I've found that when I leave home at 8:15am and return after 10:15 pm, it doesn't really leave any time for laundry.  I'll be able to take care of it with a combination of dropping dry cleaning off this morning (for pickup tomorrow) while doing the home wash tomorrow after work and before lessons, then the drying after lessons and before rehearsal.

I did my taxes on Sunday (before rehearsal), and I my proposed tax burden for 2009 was more than 10% of my income.  I earned in the vicinity of $3,000: counting two jobs of lessons, money for musical performances, and investment income (which was negative this year -- what a surprise).  I owed about $330 in taxes, mostly in unavoidable self-employment taxes.  Of that, a full $300 was removed in tax credits, so I was left owing about $30.

Luckily, my current employment status allows me to pay that effortlessly.  Going by last year's rate, that would have been 1% of my yearly income.  I guess single people far below the poverty line without children don't have much to spend their money on, so we can afford to save for tax day.

I don't begrudge the government for collecting taxes -- I want nice roads, good schools, libraries, and police and fire protection as much as anyone, and I don't mind paying for them in principle.  But I'm much happier paying taxes now that 1% of my current income amounts to more than a week's worth of groceries (see last year's $30 figure).

I'm beginning to understand one of the problems with any proposed flat-tax system.  When I make $3,000 a year, $30 is a significant amount of money.  But if I make $30,000, then $300 is less intrusive, even though it's the same percentage.  And if I made $300,000 a year, a measly $3000 practically isn't worth paying attention to.

I suppose that's what Warren Buffet found so objectionable when he discovered that, as a percentage of yearly income, he paid less in taxes than his secretary did.

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