Categories
Economy Frugality

The Story of Bill

Bill is an American success story. He dropped out of college to follow his dream of making windows – and he hit it big. Bill is one of the people we look up to when we decide that we want to pursue our dreams. I used to be one of those people.

On the outside, Bill appears to be a saint because after he managed to convince everyone to install his windows in their homes and their offices, he used some of his money to improve his self image. He opened a charitable organization or two, convinced others to toss a few pennies of their wealth into the pot, and started doing good deeds, making sure that they were publicized so the whole world would see how wonderful Bill and his friends were.

What Bill didn’t reveal was the fact that he was actually playing a shell game. While our eyes were watching his charitable organization, him and his cronies were buying our governmental leaders in the background. They spent so much money buying our government that they decided that they didn’t want to buy our government and pay taxes too. Bill traveled to Puerto Rico, arranged to pay almost nothing in taxes (it wouldn’t look right if he got off paying nothing, he realized), and then “sold” the rights to some of some of his most profitable products to a tiny little company he created there.

It was the equivalent of selling a $100,000 home to your brother for five bucks, only in this case, Bill used the legal system to turn a portion of his money into the brother. Corporations are almost considered to be “people” in our legal code, so he essentially cloned himself, made the clone a resident of Puerto Rico, and transerred the rights to his most profitable products to this clone at a laughable price to avoid paying taxes in the US.

Bill did this because there is one organization in the US government that doesn’t contain elected officials he can buy: the IRS.

The IRS doesn’t discrimate. It is filled with low-paid employees who have one mission: ensure that everyone pays their fair share in taxes, if not a bit more.

The good people at the IRS watched Bill and his cronies pull stunts like this for years. They had been the ones getting yelled at when people noticed that Bill and his friends weren’t paying their fair share. They took it and took it until they got fed up and decided to fight back.

They not only decided to do a full audit on Bill, they called in the biggest legal guns they could to fight back.

“The nerve of these bastards,” Bill ranted when he received the audit notice. “Don’t they realize that I OWN them? I think it’s time they found out who their boss really is!”

Bill called up his cronies. His cronies called their friends. As one they hired attorneys and jumped into the fray. One by one they called the politicians they paid off, forcing politicians on both sides of the political fence to attack the IRS and start shoving new laws through the pipe to not only make the IRS stop, but to pass laws that prevented the IRS from trying to make them pay their fair share in taxes ever again. They also decided to punish the IRS for stepping out of line. Budget cut after budget cut caused the little agency that could to stop challenging Bill and his cronies whenever possible.

~

While the words I have written here are fiction, simplified for understanding and dramatized for effect, these words are roughly based upon a true story. This is the story of how the rich are using our money to manipulate our nation in their favor. This story is about one aspect, about how Bill and his friends manage to bully our government to get out of paying taxes, but they also use these same tactics to make our national leaders dance like puppets on a string.

Check into the donation records of every single politican in Washingington, and you will find evidence of how they buy our nation’s officials. Bill and his cronies make large donations to campaigns, knowing that these politicians will repay the favor whenever Bill and his buddies pick up the phone.

It doesn’t even stop in Washington. Up and down the political chain, from the smallest town to our national government, Bill and his friends are doing this. If you’ve ever looked at your mayor or sheriff and wondered how they managed to win their office, follow the money and you will find out. They’ve yet to make many of the campaign contributions private so you can still track them to a degree.

This is the sad reality of the United States. What was previously considered the “greatest nation in the world” is being turned into a puppet regime.

We can fight, we can scream, we can protest until the end of time and this will not change. The only thing that will happen is that we will be labeled as extremists and hauled off to jail as a terror threat.

But there is one way we can stop them. The method is completely legal, ethical, and non-violent. If we cut off their food supply, if we stop giving them the money that they need to buy our politicians, they will lose their ability to control our country. By removing our money from their pockets, we will cause their businesses to fail.

Even if you buy one less item from them, it helps. Even if you start patronizing one local business instead of the Big Ones, it helps. Even if you just keep the TV you have or the computer you have or the clothes that you have or the phone you have, it helps. Because every single one of these decisions places another nail in their coffin.

Our current business model considers a business to be a failure if it cannot show an increasing profit year after year. Our economic model is based upon exponential growth. Stop that growth, and they die.

If you are tired with the way things are in our nation, if you are tired of the rich growing insanely richer while the rest of us struggle, if you are tired of living in a nation that has turned into a puppet regime, then I hope that you will join us.

Use what you have.
Stop buying new.
Ignore their advertising.
Stop feeding the monsters.

~#~

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I’ve written a lot of books sharing my odd view of life in hopes of helping others. My most notorious book is titled The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, but The Minimalist Cleaning Method is pretty popular as well. You can find them at the following places:

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iBooks
Smashwords (non-DRM)

Thank you for your support!

Categories
Finances Investments

Taxes are a Pain

I have just discovered something the hard way: filing your taxes on investments can be a major pain in the butt.

I’ve not only discovered that my usual online tax preparation service can’t handle the forms I need to file, but H&R Block wants to charge me an arm and a leg to file this stuff online.

For now, I’m going to walk away, calm down, and think about this. If I’m going to have to pay around $100 to file them anyway, it might be best if I simply hire a professional to do my taxes locally.

There’s one just up the street.

I’ve got one online tax preparation service that I’ve yet to try that I’m aware of: TurboTax. I may try them tomorrow. If I can file online without beating my head against a wall, I’ll do that. If not, it will be time to make some phone calls starting Monday.

Wish me luck.

Categories
Finances Investments

A Tale of Cowardice

This is the very first year that I will file tax forms in relation to my investments. The very first time in my life that I’ve actually had real, Big Dog investment income to report.

I’m having to fight the urge to turn tail and run.

The other day I received the small package with the necessary tax forms to file on one of my tiny little investments. I turned the envelope in my hands, shaking at the fact that it was my name, and my address on the envelope. It just didn’t seem real.

I went to open it and stopped. Surely something as important as this needed to be commemorated? I pulled out my camera and snapped a photo.

And then, like the big fat coward I am, I set the envelope aside. I just couldn’t bear to open it. Opening it would make it real.

I have sat at my desk, turning that envelope over in my hands for days now. I’ve debated upon the best way to open it. Should I open it at the top, or tear off the side like my dad did his letters when I was little? Should I use a knife, or invest in one of those fancy little letter openers that I imagine rich people use?

I’d debate for a time then set the letter aside once again.

Did my dad feel this way when he bought his first apartment building in Chicago? Did he feel this way when he made his lone investment in the stock market?

I wish he was alive so I could ask. All I can remember is that he stored his important papers in a combination of cigar and shoeboxes. He preferred Choice-branded pencils (new) whenever he worked up his taxes. I can still see his papers spread out upon the table as he scratched out his calculations, cussed a bit, and made some erasures before starting again. The sweat would bead upon his brow as he leaned over his work, laser-focused on Getting It Right.

This really shouldn’t phase me. I’ve been filing taxes on my book royalties for ages now. But this is different and new. This marks my first Baby Steps into the Big Leagues.

The forms from my broker sent me were easy to open. They were digital so I downloaded them to my computer and plugged them into my online income tax preparation software without a thought.

But these? These forms are old school. These forms are real, right here in my hands. These papers are concrete proof that I’m either completely insane or in the early stages of something brilliant.

Before I went to bed last night I picked the envelope up once more and turned it over in my hands.

“Screw it!” I tore a small strip off the side of the envelope, just like Dad used to do and slid the papers into my hands.

I grinned. A tear slipped down my face as I quickly scanned through the document. It came with an instruction booklet, which is good since I’m still learning this stuff.

I’ve got three days off this week. My goal is to enter in the information from this form and figure out how to handle the info related to the stocks I sold over the past year while I experimented. I’ve already entered my W-2 from work and the 1099s related to my writing business. I’ve got to double-check, verify that I’m doing this right before I screw up my courage, close my eyes, and file this sucker with the state and federal government.

Wish me luck.