Financial Advisor: You had a good tax shelter in the house you sold. You’ll be fine for 2014, but this year you need to buy a house and get married or the tax man is going to fuck you with your pants on in 2015.
Jeff: Well, at least one of those two things might happen… but could I just buy two houses instead?
The timeline I worked out in my head didn’t have me buying a house in 2015, but given the choice between that and the IRS getting to take me out for a ride, I think I’d better start getting things in order and see if I can rejigger the plan a bit. Buying a house is its own special brand of pain and agony, but re-inflating my debt bubble a few months ahead of schedule sounds infinitely less painful in the long run than taking a short trip down the aisle.
1. Last minute. It’s safe to say that we all know my feelings about almost every meeting I’ve ever sat through. For those who don’t, I generally find them to be enormous time-sucks from which there is no hope of escape. They’re the black hole of the “professional work environment” and I’m all for canceling them as often as possible. All that I ask is that when they are cancelled, the meeting organizer should probably give a fellow enough notice so that he doesn’t walk halfway across the county to find himself turned away at the door. Giving sufficient notice of changed plans is just good form, really. Although I’m glad to have the unscheduled free time in the middle of my calendar and all, a few minutes’ notice would by me have been appreciated.
2. Contempt of Congress. The fact that the House of Representatives has the unmitigated audacity to hold anyone in Contempt of Congress for any reason whatsoever is simply stunning. Now I think Lois Lerner and the IRS were probably up to some dirty tricks – one doesn’t tend to invoke the 5th Amendment when there are no skeletons lurking about – but I hope you’ll forgive me if I don’t consider Congress a particularly honest broker when it comes to issues of fact. The truth is, they’d probably have to level charges at most of the country if they wanted to root out everyone who currently holds Congress in contempt. God knows I find them the most contemptible band of thieves and charlatans currently not serving time in prison.
3. Tradition. The older I get, the worse “because it’s tradition” sounds as a justification for doing anything. I was always under the impression that most people become more traditional as they get older. I seem to be veering in the opposite direction. I’m never going to be a sandal-wearing hippy, but I do seem to take increasing amounts of joy from rousing rabble as often as possible. Maybe it’s just my inner cynic finding his voice and preparing for a long career as a grumpy old sonofabitch… but if you can’t give me a better reason to do something that “it’s tradition,” I’m afraid I’m probably going to invite you to bugger off at the first available opportunity.
I feel like I should write a post about some combination of the IRS, NSA, privacy, and executive overreach… but honestly it’s just all too exhausting to put into words. This great country was a constitutional republic once and could be still if more than a handful of people were interested in holding the elected representatives of the people accountable for their words and actions. I’m not holding my breath. If anyone needs me, I’ll be downstairs turning the basement into a room-sized Faraday cage so I can have the occasional untapped conversation.
1. The IRS. So apparently no one told the IRS that it’s tax season. I mean that’s all I can assume since they haven’t bothered to publish the form you need to fill out if you’re depreciating rental property. If they’re going to set April 14th as the arbitrary annual celebration of screwing the taxpayer with his pants on, the least they can do is make sure to give you all the proper forms so your paperwork can be in order when they do it. I want my money. Asshats.
2. The men and women of the United States Congress. While our friends in Congress have been enjoying their week long sabbatical for Washington’s Birthday, the two million odd federal employees that aren’t Members, have only gotten a week closer to their furlough notice. The difference, of course, being that the Members were paid for their time back in the home district, where as the poor schlubs who decided federal work as a good idea will be going home without pay once a week for the next six months. You’ve got to love a group of people delusional enough to say that taking a pay cut themselves would diminish the dignity of their office while simultaneously telling the people working for them to take a 20% cut and thank them for the opportunity. Since I want to hang on to my soon to be part-time job for a while longer, I’ll refrain from saying how I’d really like to resolve this fiasco.
3. Editing. I love writing. Editing, the handmaiden of writing, is an evil soulless bitch from which there is no hope of escape. In that moment of ecstasy when you think you’ve written something really, really well, Editing shows up and reminds you with swift fury that no, no you didn’t and that it’s time to get back in your hole and write some more… except this time pay attention to grammar, punctuation, style, and usage.