Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – April 22, 2019

I  don’t often think that adults go out of their way to sound stupid,
particularly when it is in black and white and printed in the local 
newspaper with your very own name attached to it.  It does, it seems, 
happen, and often with in our local print newspaper, the Triplicate.  
I’m not certain you can pass it off as “I was asleep in class in high 
school when the teacher…..”, or “my parents never said anything about 
it when I got my first check”.  It would be nice if it was that public 
education has gone so far into touchy feely education that they no 
longer even educate students about some of the most basic issues 
surrounding your first job.  What ever the case, it was a recent letter 
to the editor in the Triplicate that got my attention, and I will leave 
it to my readers to figure out which letter.

I think I must have been about sixteen when I got my first summer job 
from the Bureau of Reclamation, along with the job came a pay check and 
its accompanying stub listing all of the deductions taken from said pay 
check to satisfy the various governments that wanted a piece of my 
earnings.  There was not for me at least any sort of mystery as to what 
all the numbers meant.  In the spring of the following year, I filed my 
first IRS 1040 and because I only had worked for three months during the 
summer, I found that I didn’t owe the federal government any income tax 
and received all of MY MONEY back in the form of a refund.  This was 
money taken from my earnings over the course of my employment to be used to settle my tax bill.  As the government tends to do when it comes to
withholding from a pay check, the amount tends to be generous, and most
people having one job end up with a refund.  That process has almost 
become institutionalized for many to the point that they do not realize 
the government has had your money for most of a year to do with as they 
like, then return the excess with holding after you have filed with the 
IRS with no thought of paying interest on that refund.

I think now it is time to get to the embarrassing part.  A Letter to the 
Editor of the Triplicate wrote to complain about the fact that her 
expected refund for calendar year 2018 was less than 2017 and that she 
had paid more in income tax as well.  Since she claimed to be retired 
and living on Social Security and a pension, I don’t suppose it occurred 
to her that the amount of Social Security and her pension per month 
increased from 2017 to what she received in 2018.  Just a tip, I don’t 
think the increased amount she received from her pension was because she got a raise.  That extra money that you got each month in your pay check
or pension was there because the federal government thought you might 
wish to keep more of your pay check or pension rather than having it 
used interest free by the federal government for all of 2018.  Of course 
the fact that you have more money during the calendar year does not mean 
that you don’t have to pay more income tax and that your refund just 
might reflect the fact that your withholding was less.  Kind of simple
when you are not out to bash the current president.

As far as mortgage interest relief goes, that is just part of living in 
California.  When the rest of the Country has been picking up the slack 
for California due to the way it handles mortgage interest, it is not 
very surprising that at some point those that pick up the slack start to 
notice.  Fortunately for Californians having the feds allow for tax 
breaks for people that have large mortgages over the years, allows the 
California State government to keep its tax rates down in order to avoid 
complete rebellion a la Proposition 13.   It is just at this point that 
California will start having to pay for that mortgage relief like almost 
every other state in the country and thanks to the way the Democrats in 
the State House do business, it is likely they will want more from your 
pension or pay check in the near future. After all, can’t have anyone 
benefiting from having more money to spend during the year, especially 
in the Golden State.  Buckle your tax seat belts for more of what 
government in the State of California has to offer.

Finally, it seems that when people have to deal with the reality of 
paying taxes, no matter how much or little you have to pay, someone else 
who is doing better than you are “isn’t paying enough!”  Or better yet 
those nasty corporations aren’t paying their fair share.   That leads 
into a whole other story……. Pure envy, not a pleasant attribute for 
someone to cling

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