Dear Big Shots, Pay your damned taxes. It's NOT that hard! Just keep all your pay stubs (or make a copy of the check if you need to), and put it all in an envelop. Then when you talk to your accountant, remember to mention that the company has NOT paid your social security if they haven't! And don't conveniently forget that you've had free use of a car, or done some consulting. If you're using an accountant, then s/he's not doing a good job: hire the person who audited things in your vetting process! And if you're not using an accountant (hard to believe with these folks), then get one of those tax programs; it WILL ask you if you've got consulting income or income that isn't otherwise declared (and on my program, it specifically mentions use of a car).
Dang, how do you forget enough income to owe $128,000. in back taxes? Let's imagine an unimaginable 50% tax rate: how do you forget that you earned $250,000+? I think I'd notice, you know?
And Daschle is going to be the secretary that watches over our national health issues?
I had a good deal of respect for Daschle as a legislator. He seemed like a smart guy with political opinions I agreed with, mostly. But seriously, how do you forget that much income?
The other big news I've pondered this week has to do with the woman who gave birth to octuplets. That's amazing.* And troubling for me, since I think over-population is a serious problem for our planet. And then there are the jokes about clown cars and litters,** which do make me chuckle.
Next it came out that she already had six kids.
And that's where things got interesting for me, and not so much about this woman and her offspring, but really about people's reactions (including mine).
Me, for example, my immediate internal reaction was "WTF! Who would be stupid enough not to have an elective reduction? Idiot!"
And then people started saying that the pregnancy was probably the result of fertility treatment of some sort (either drugs to make her ovulate a bunch or implantation, or whatever), and I thought, "holy cow, what sort of idiot does that when she already has six kids. And what sort of doctor enables it? (One who is making money, duh!)"
Which is to say, that I had the reaction a lot of other folks had, basically. Some went further and said that "it shouldn't be allowed."
And that got me thinking and being just a little self-critical, because I'm seriously pro-choice. I think a woman who is pregnant must be trusted to decide what's best for her. But, of course, here I was thinking sort of the opposite, because she made a choice I find pretty darned stupid. And my trust sort of went out the window there for a bit. I still think she's made a bad choice, by the way. But I wouldn't put her in jail or fine her for it.
And then there are the folks on the other side of things, the folks who think "yay babies" whenever news reports about multiple births get out. They seemed to realize more quickly than I that multiple births of more than 2 or 3 offspring involve fertility treatments, and so usually they cheer, "yay, a woman who wanted kids and couldn't have any now has many! Fertility treatments rock! Yay Babies!"
And often enough, these same folks are anti-choice in some flavor. But they have no problem with manipulating "life" when it comes to giving fertility drugs or implanting embryos? (Of course, some folks are both anti-choice and against fertility treatments of varying sorts. It's complex!)
And when the anti-choice/pro-fertility folks saw the folks like me saying "WTF," some of them were very critical and wondered, "How could we be so hypocritical as to criticize a woman for wanting babies? How dare we? Of COURSE she couldn't do a selective reduction! She couldn't kill her babies! Babies, yay!"
Then it came out that she already has six kids, and suddenly those same people are mostly taking one of two reactions.
The first is "how come 'these people' get to have undeserved babies when I want a baby and I can't have one and I DESERVE a baby? Life is unfair!"
And the second is the classic, "she's not married!*** She already has kids! How dare she drop a litter and expect ME to pay taxes to support the brats? It shouldn't be allowed!"
Now, imagine for a moment how much stronger those reactions would be if she were Black.
One last thought on this issue: how does an unmarried woman with six kids afford fertility treatment? I've had friends do different treatments, and it's EXPENSIVE! They usually have two incomes, and they still have to pinch pennies to pay for the treatments.
*I've exaggerated responses somewhat for my own amusement. Because as long as I don't have to change the diapers, a momentary amusement is all I'm going to get out of this whole thing. I hope. That and a blip in taxes, but a blip that doesn't even count as a blip compared to bailing out whatever industry is next, or to what Tom Daschle forgot to pay. And you know, I think we should support the children we have better than we do, anyway--better educational opportunities, better health care, and so forth--so I'm going to keep paying my taxes, keep sending money to the local food bank and Planned Parenthood.
**One of my undergrad TAs, now a famous prof in his/her field, had an opinion piece published quite widely about the issue. It's amusing, because every so often, I see this person's name somewhere, and I remember what a great TA s/he was.
***It occurs to me that the "she's not married" thing is also one of the ways people discriminate against lesbians who want to use something other than straight p-in-v sex to get pregnant.