Monday, March 9, 2009

Tax Avoidance

Never mind that our “do as I say, not as I do” President tells us to lower our thermostats while he keeps the White House at topical temperatures because, as his senior adviser, David Axelrod, explained, “He’s from Hawaii, O.K.? He likes it warm.”

Never mind that many of us will be planting “Tax Gardens” to cut grocery expenses while he feasts on Japanese Waygu steak at $100 per steak, accompanied , I presume, with a salad of arugula.

Never mind that we will forego movies and restaurants while he hosts weekly champagne-sipping get-togethers with top-grade musical entertainment in the White House East Room.

He is the President, after all. He has to entertain, and our Presidents do bring their own entertaining style to the White House. The Clintons opted for Arkansas glitz, while George W. Bush preferred barbeques and boots. Barack Obama enjoys lavish elegance (read expensive) with all the style of the extremely wealthy, the people Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid want to barbeque.

But never mind all of that.

We simply do what we deem necessary to keep afloat during the financial catastrophe that is being foisted on us as recovery. Meanwhile, we are punished for our hard work or good fortune. We can find a lovely irony in a simpler lifestyle that relieves us of some of our tax burden.

I find pleasure in avoiding sales tax, federal gasoline tax, state gasoline tax, local gasoline tax, “gas guzzler “ tax, property tax, school tax, luxury tax, alcohol tax, restaurant tax, entertainment tax, gun tax (oops, I probably should pay the gun tax), highway tax, city tax, county tax, utilities tax, insurance tax, air fare tax, hotel tax, rental car tax, sport and fishing equipment tax, import tax– and those are just the ones that I can think of, many of them hidden in the price or premium.

Taxes, how do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways.

I am actively looking for ways to decrease my tax burden. I know how to be frugal and I know that when I decrease my spending, I also decrease the taxes that I pay. I’m saving money while giving less support to President Obama’s socialist agenda. I can control my spending, alter how I work, plant a vegetable garden, shop at roadside stands (if I can find one), shop online to avoid sales tax, barter for goods, trade services, put my money in a credit union, drive less, refuse to park at a parking meter, turn off the lights, heat with wood, cancel collision coverage on my 10-year old Civic, pay cash, stay out of debt, avoid toll roads, stop eating out, buy necessities at resale shops or on sale, reevaluate what IS necessary, use coupons and aim low. I’m sure that if I remain vigilant and thoughtful, I can find other ways to avoid paying taxes while spending money wisely.

Perhaps you can rent a out an extra bedroom, start homeschooling, car pool, raise and sell vegetables, raise chickens, sheep or goats, retire from productive employment, sell the house, move to another country – oh, bad idea, I forgot about the “exit tax”.

Lately the media and some politicians have spoken of “tax avoidance and tax evasion” in the same breath, as if it is illegal or at least immoral to avoid paying taxes. When I consider the things that our taxes are supporting, I believe it’s morally wrong to pay a penny more than I am legally required to. Avoiding taxes is a moral choice, a political position, an activist decision, a silent revolt.

“Anyone may arrange his affairs so that his taxes shall be as low as possible; he is not bound to choose that pattern which best pays the treasury. There is not even a patriotic duty to increase one’s taxes. Over and over again the Courts have said that there is nothing sinister in so arranging affairs as to keep taxes as low as possible. Everyone does it, rich and poor alike and all do right, for nobody owes any public duty to pay more than the law demands.” – Judge Learned Hand


  1. You realize you're coming across as a drama queen here, don't you? Do you even understand how historically low taxes are at this point? So low that for the last eight years we haven't even been able to cover the cost of government.

    And as for your arugala obsession - they sell arugala at Wal-Mart. It costs about the same as iceberg or romaine or any other type of lettuce. Were you unaware of it's existence? Do you do any home cooking, or to cut costs do you just have TV dinners? It is absolutely amazing to me how nuts people went as a result of a little bit of lettuce!

    - James Y., Silver Springs MD

  2. James, I've never been called a drama queen before, but I knew when I started a blog I might get some unflattering comments. It could be a lot worse.

    I hope you keep reading and commenting. I appreciate your comments.

  3. Janet -
    You don't understand. It's not my comment that's unflattering. That comment is relatively accurate. It's your blog that is unflattering. You have nothing positive to say about the Obama administration, and you accuse those who agree with him of being ambivalent, ignorant, and socialist.

    Don't you understand how unflattering that is, and how mean you come across as being.

    Is that what you teach your children? "If you disagree with them, call them ignorant and ambivalent".

    There are some very intelligent conservative commentators out there. In a short period of time, you've just managed to be meanspirited.

    - James Y., MD

  4. James, It's true that I'm critical of President Obama. I don't agree with his policies. That's partly what my blog is about. I don't think that what I say about him is mean-spirited. I don't call him names or say that he is misguided, uninformed, etc., as some others do. I have never accused "those who agree with him of being ambivalent, ignorant, and socialist". At least not that I'm aware of. Please tell me where you read that, seriously, and I will correct it - really. But I don't think I ever said or even implied that. Perhaps because you agree with him you read that into my critical view of his administration. Can we agree to disagree?

  5. Your mission statement at the top seemed to imply it. Perhaps you'd like to clarify what you meant by:

    "frustration over the ignorance and ambivalence of Americans in regard to our country's foundations and basic principles, and fury over the rapid advancement of a Socialist agenda have led to the creation of this blog"

    It comes across as incredibly insulting.

    I don't think it's just a matter of disagreeing with him. You've compared this non-issue of a public service/domestic Peace Corps program to the Hitler Youth! You don't think that's a little insulting? I wasn't a big fan of the Bush administration, but there were seveal things I liked about Bush. I could have compared him to Hitler because he invaded a country that did nothing to us, but I didn't. Do you know why? Because that would have been meanspirited, not to mention a pretty crazy argument.


  6. James, I'll change the heading. It wasn't directed at any one group. I do believe that a lot of us are very comfortable with just being Americans, that we think we are "chosen by God" as Pres. Bush said, and that we have a view of patriotism that isn't based on our heritage, but more on a sense of entitlement or superiority. So we have become complacent.

    Also, I'll take out the reference to Hitler Youth.

    Thanks for answering.