What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. AFGE Local 1904. Here we are 16 weeks past the “end of max telework” and the union, such as it is, still hasn’t come through on delivering the new and improved telework agreement. So, we’re still grinding along with only two days a week like pre-COVID barbarians… as if 30 months of operating nearly exclusively through telework didn’t prove that working from home works. All this is ongoing while hearing stories of other organizations tucked in next door that are offering their people four or five day a week work from home options. It’s truly a delight working for the sick man of the enterprise. There’s probably plenty of blame to go around, but since the updated and perfectly acceptable policy for supervisors was published 16 weeks ago, I’m going to continue to go ahead and put every bit of blame on Local 1904 for failing their members (and those of us who they “represent” against our will) for not getting this shit done.

2. Missing motivation. You know it’s bad when I don’t even want to sit down and write. I do more reading on days like that, so it’s a bit of a trade off, but still, it’s not exactly good tidings. I’m assuming my current lack of being motivated by anything is part and parcel of the mid-winter doldrums when the yard is a mud pit, I see very little sunlight, and the temperature very rarely claws above 50 degrees. It’s about as bland a time of year as you could ask for and it can’t help, it seems, from seeping into my bones. The days, though, are ever so slightly longer than they were a month ago, so help on the way. Probably.

3. National sales tax. Republicans are currently hung up on pushing a national sales tax. If it were to, in fact, replace the current Byzantine income tax regime with a dead simple x% addition to the cost of goods and services, I could probably get behind it. What the whole program will end up being, though, is a sales tax in addition to an income tax. I mean even if, despite all odds against, Republicans manage to implement a sales tax and eliminate the income tax, does anyone really believe that some future Congress wouldn’t come back to the income tax trough so that John Q. Taxpayer ends up getting hit with both a federal sales and income tax? In the absence of a Constitutional amendment declaring for all time that income taxes are abolished, I’m a hard “no” on a national sales tax.

A taxing case of hypotheticals…

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a fan of tax-free shopping on the internet. Of course I know that theoretically I’m supposed to self-report and pay Maryland state sales taxes due on the items I purchase, but… Yeah. I’m going to invoke the 5th Amendment and not discuss the particulars of what I may or may not do.

As a Republican, I should probably be up in arms about this “new” tax, but as a Constitutionalist, it’s pretty well established (i.e. expressly written) that the Congress has every right to fiddle with interstate commerce as it sees fit. As much as I wish it otherwise, my reading of the tea leaves is that the collection of state income taxes by internet retailers is going to become a fact of life sooner rather than later. Do I like it? No, of course not. Am I going to gird myself for battle against it? No, not so much. I’ve got limited brain power and limited time to dedicate to causes and this isn’t going to become part of the long list of the windmills I enjoy tilting at from time to time.

If I were a good patriot who disagrees with state and federal tax policy, I’d hypothetically vote with my dollars – and have as many hypothetical major purchases as possible shipped for in store pickup in Delaware, where at least for the time being can hypothetically continue to avoid onerous state sales taxes and excessive commercial regulation. Of course if I were really to take by business out of state, I’d obviously file the appropriate quarterly tax forms with the Comptroller of Maryland in accordance with whatever batshit crazy laws the legislature has passed.