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Unclassified Info: Taxes, tax breaks and the American way

April 04, 2011|By Gary Huerta

I’m not feeling particularly rosy this election day. Like a lot of people, I’ve been crunching numbers, gathering receipts and pouring a little more single malt into my glass in order to prepare for one of life’s more unpleasant inevitabilities — taxes. Now that I’m almost done, I think I may need another shot.

I worked all year, had approximately 25% of my wages taken out by the taxman, and now that April 15 draws near, I discovered that I still owe a hefty sum to Uncle Sam. In short, any money I managed to save over the course of a very long year of labor will be swallowed up paying more taxes.

It is disheartening to have a job in which I work 45-50 hours per week, commute 23 miles each way and sacrifice much of my personal life. To know that I am not the only one in this leaking life raft is not particularly comforting, either. As a country, we work harder and spend less time enjoying ourselves than many other countries. At times it seems like the new American dream consists of little more than a daily grind free from the constant harassment of bill collectors. Yippee!

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In 2009, I was laid off. I worked less than five months, collected unemployment, had a lot of free time, managed to pay all of my bills, and got a modest return at tax time. I think I might have been happier.

Contrary to what the above seems to indicate, I’m no slacker; not by any stretch of the imagination. Collecting unemployment is not a preferred lifestyle choice. I do enjoy working at things I love. But there comes a point when it feels like those of us in the middle class are being asked to work harder and pay more than our fellow Americans at the top of the heap. As I look for balance in my life between work and fulfillment, there comes a point when all my hard work feels like it goes to pay for someone else’s milkshake. I want a sip.

I love living in America. More than most, I rely on certain inalienable rights — like freedom of press and speech — in order to treat you all to my decidedly liberal (or if you follow Glenn Beck, anti-American) rants. Speaking of which, is it unrealistic to expect big corporations to pay their fair share of the tax pool?

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