PUBLIC OPINION IN REAL AMERICA, FJM STYLE

Most of my friends live in cities. Real cities. Places where people read books and have hopes and dreams. Little bubbles that seal out most of the things urbanites know to be true about Real America, things from which they want to hide. I am intensely jealous of all of these people, because it has been my experience that most of the things people assume about the Bush Voter parts of America are true. I live among people who wear American flag hats and "These Colors Don't Run" t-shirts unironically. In 2014.

If you ever want to lose your will to live completely, go to the opinion section of the last remaining newspaper in some cow town that has been in decline since the Eisenhower years. The kind of place where the remaining population consists of anyone too old or too poor to leave. Then read the letters to the editor. You may want to have a few drinks first. You sure as hell will by the time you're done.

While FJM Treatment is usually reserved for professional writers – or at least people who have been paid to write things when "professional" seems like a stretch – but I found a fantastic specimen of what life is like out here in the provinces and I want those of you who live in not-horrible places to experience it with me. This is what it's like. This is why we're fucked.

The column is called "A thanks for subsidizing local government we don’t use?" which seems grammatically askew no matter how many times I read it. My first inclination was to file this under Too Stupid to Merit a Response, but I want you all to share my pain. This is what passes for thinking out here.

I recently paid my property tax for this year.

Nothing foreshadows a journey into Glenn Beck's fever dreams like an opening line about property taxes. And there's very little that benefits the public discourse more than white people pissing and moaning about them.

We knew when we moved from California to Illinois that politically, we would be just exchanging one bad state for another.

Leaving only the question of why you would move here, then. Why not move to some kind of low-tax paradise like Mississippi? Brownbackistan? Somalia? From what I hear Somalia has no property taxes at all. Largely on account of Somalis having no property. And the absence of functioning government.

We had been warned about the oppressive tax system in Illinois. It took my breath away as I wrote out that check, but it also got me to thinking about where our hard-earned money was going.

Well since you identified yourself as a "stay-home mom" in the tagline, technically you didn't earn any money. You know. If we're splitting hairs. Also, guys…I can't emphasize enough how pitiful the property taxes are in this burnt out husk of a city. It's the absolute middle of nowhere, every part of the local government is essentially broke, and the school districts are straight out of an NPR story about poverty.

This is what I found.

Under threat of losing our home and property, we were forced to give a ridiculous amount of money to the local government school system that we do not participate in.

Once again: Somalia! No threat of losing your home or property! No taxes! Paradise!

And this is the exciting part. Which way are we going to "do not participate in" – old person with no children or homeschool fanatic? Let this picture of the author guide you as you try to predict the next twist.

face

eyes

Yeah. I think you see where we're going here.

I would like a hearty thank you from those families that contribute little to the education of their own children. Your children are getting a sub-par education on the backs of the elderly and families who privately or home educate their children.

I love this shit. Love it. These doorknobs choose to brainwash their children at home rather than sending them to school and they expect the law to contort itself around their choice. Because that's what it is: a choice. You could send your kids to the schools your taxes pay for, or you can keep them home and teach them that the Earth is 4000 years old and a bunch of other made up crap. Wingnuts love to ask why they should have to pay for everyone else's choices. Well, why does the state have to change the law because of yours?

Oh, right. Because Jesus and freedom and you are an intensely stupid person.

I also found that I am paying a nice sum to the local junior college. Really? No one in our home is currently attending Illinois Central College.

I FOUND OUT THAT MY TAXES GO TO THE FIRE DEPARTMENT, AND NONE OF MY PROPERTY IS EVEN ON FIRE! CAN YOU BELIEVE THAT! HIGHWAY ROBBERY!

*picks corn from own feces*

We home educate our children and do not expect nor want the government to pay for our children’s education. It is my responsibility, not the community’s. Again, a thank you would be appreciated. Or better yet, how about some personal responsibility? Give me back my money!

Thank you for choosing to make sure your kids turn out just as stupid as you. They can do things like write idiotic letters to the editor and think they're making good arguments when suggesting that taxes should essentially be voluntary. Let me tell you, that's genius.

For the taxes we pay to keep the library open, I would like smiles on the faces of the librarians. I now feel obligated to go to the library since I’m paying so much to keep it open.

Not to rub it in, but once again, the author's annual income is $0. "You're" not paying jack to keep it open. And this statement might be the most explicit and best example of the incredibly inflated sense of self-importance of the teabagging crowd. They're like adult-sized infants. Me, me, me. My wants are the most important. My contributions to society are so important that people should literally kiss my ass in gratitude when I pass.

Hope the library has picture books.

Pleasure Driveway PKD? I had to look it up. Not only do I have to pay taxes to this fund, but I still have to pay to get into the zoo or the RiverPlex. I appreciate a good park, but it’s absurd to pay this amount. Maybe a plaque should be hung at each park stating that this is funded by taxpayers who pay at least one paycheck per year to keep this open.

The RiverPlex is free and I'm pretty goddamn sure that most sentient human adults do not need a plaque to tell them that public facilities are paid for by tax dollars.

Can't help but love the "I'm not unreasonable, I object to the absurdity of the size of the tax burden" statements. First, there is no level of taxes above zero that this dingbat would not spend the vast majority of her life bitching about. Second, what is a reasonable amount to pay in taxes? We should probably just send everyone a blank form and have them write in an amount they have determined to be appropriate based on the voices in their head and how much they hate black people.

I should get bus passes for the amount we are paying to mass transit.

The bus costs a fucking dollar. One dollar, with free transfers. Also if this garbage bag of meat has ever been on public transit in her life I'll donate $1000 to her favorite charity, which is probably something that provides legal defense to abortion clinic bombers.

I am sure that many homeowners never see their property tax bill, but I think that it would behoove them to take a moment and see where that large chunk of money is actually going.

What? They mail it to you. You don't have to answer three riddles to get it. It's not balanced atop a greased flagpole. It's not written in a dead language. It comes in the mail and you open it and there's words and numbers.

Peoria residents may have voted in some of these taxes, but did they understand that if they didn’t pay them, they could lose the very house that they have worked years to buy?

No, they voted for these taxes assuming that they would never have to pay them or they could pay however much they want, and that there would be no consequences to deciding not to follow the law. The author apparently does not understand what a law is and projects that assumption onto everyone else. This is classic right wing vitriol – "Everything I say suggests that I haven't the slightest goddamn idea how government works or what it does, but I know it's terrible and everything it does is wrong."

Heather Olsson is a stay-at-home mother of seven.

Congratulations, you can have unprotected sex. You might find that money is a little less tight if you don't reproduce like a cockroach. Then again we've already established that the rest of society is supposed to accommodate your choices, right?

If this is the real America then America is an embarrassment. As someone who teaches college undergraduates I thought I was immune to being shocked by how wildly full of themselves some people can be despite having no skills, motivation, or accomplishments whatsoever. I was wrong.

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77 Responses to “PUBLIC OPINION IN REAL AMERICA, FJM STYLE”

  1. Andrew Says:

    California doesn't miss these assholes. Good riddance.

  2. Ed W. Says:

    The wife and I just spend a few minutes parsing that picture. The best that we could come up with was that it's the face of someone who's seething inside but has been forced to smile, like she's been at the DMV for an hour, fuming over liberal takers and government bureaucrats, and she finally is to the point where they're taking her picture, and that's the face she made when the person said "OK, smile".

  3. JustRuss Says:

    So she was "warned" about the high taxes in Illinois, and was so terrified by the prospect that she couldn't be bothered to actually find out what the tax rate on her new home would be until the bill showed up in her mailbox? It's almost like she's not very bright.

  4. US in the UK Says:

    Then stop paying your property taxes.

    See if the word 'freedom' flies out of your defence attorney's mouth – wrapped of course in a cape made of eagle's feathers – in court and saves the day.

  5. carrstone Says:

    Irrespective of the merits or demerits of her case, Obama's government, in well on eight years, has failed to change her mind.

    What's a girl gonna do? Is she just "supposed to accommodate your choices"?

  6. eau Says:

    Irrespective of the merits or demerits of his case, Carrstone's comment, in well on eight rereads, has failed to make any fucking sense whatsoever.

    What's a troll to do? Is he "supp'osed to, just add more; punctuation"?*&$$!@

  7. Glen h Says:

    It has become my private fantasy recently that when anyone complains about property or income tax that theirs should be raised by ten percent. They are going to bitch about it anyway, so why not pull in some extra cash?

  8. Anonymous Says:

    Dearest Illinois,

    No takebacks.

    -California

  9. wetcasements Says:

    I've mentioned my dad before.

    Limbaugh addict. Obama hater. (Literal hate.) RNC donator. Deliberately retired to a state with no income tax, but constantly bitches about the few thousand bucks he pays a year in property tax on frickin' five acres of land.

    A few more details:

    Earned a Ph.D. through the GI Bill.

    Worked for the Federal government for over 30 years.

    Now very comfortably retired with a fat pension and gold-plated health insurance for life, all paid for by the rest of us 'Murcan tax-payers.

    Stuff like this is funny but let's face it — there's no arguing with these people. When they get cash / benefits / services, they've "earned" it, somehow. When others, usually blahs, get something, it's mooching.

  10. julie Says:

    The part where she says that many people don't see their property tax bill is kinda true. If you have a mortgage then the bank usually sets up an escrow account and collects 1/12 of your property tax each month, along with the mortgage. So unless you own your house outright, you probably don't write a check for the property tax each year (although, you're still aware of how much it costs, since its on your itemized mortgage statements and part of your itemized deductions).

    I think she was kinda throwing shade at people who don't own their house outright. Like "the stupid sheep who pay interest to banks on their highly leveraged houses aren't responsible enough to look at their tax burden". I'd love to see her unhinged rantings on the subprime lending crisis or monetary policy (with an FJM, of course)

  11. Sarah Says:

    I've mentioned my dad before.

    Limbaugh addict. Obama hater. (Literal hate.) RNC donator. Deliberately retired to a state with no income tax, but constantly bitches about the few thousand bucks he pays a year in property tax on frickin' five acres of land.

    A few more details:

    Earned a Ph.D. through the GI Bill.

    Worked for the Federal government for over 30 years.

    Now very comfortably retired with a fat pension and gold-plated health insurance for life, all paid for by the rest of us 'Murcan tax-payers.

    Stuff like this is funny but let's face it — there's no arguing with these people. When they get cash / benefits / services, they've "earned" it, somehow. When others, usually blahs, get something, it's mooching.

    Dude, yeah. My dad is a Naval Academy graduate with over 20 years of active duty service (gold-plated college degree and he got a free master's degree while still serving). He has a Navy pension and he will get Social Security. He voted for Rick Scott, who decimated public funding for education and various other things in Florida. The last time he had to go to the hospital it was an actual emergency (he took a wasp sting to his face and had a severe reaction) and he literally bypassed a local hospital two miles from home to go to the on-base Navy hospital over ten miles away–because that one wouldn't cost him anything out-of-pocket. He knows better than to start bitching at me about taxes because I will throw things like that back in his face, and I told him that if we're going to talk about getting rid of Social Security I would fully support getting rid of it for everyone and not having any of this "phase it out" stuff that lets him off the hook for the consequences of supporting cuts to public funding.

  12. bjk Says:

    So the problem with Bush country is the poor and half-dead zombies too lifeless to leave. The people in Peoria would be better off leaving Peoria and moving to the city where people have dreams and jobs. What's keeping them there? Food stamps and disability and Heather Olsson's taxes. And who's to blame? Heather Olsson. I think I've found a contradiction.

  13. Sarah Says:

    Apropos of this, I think everyone here (except our resident libertarian trolls) might enjoy this parable about the logical denouement of that ideology. It's a charming story about a plucky individual with a massive case of Stockholm Syndrome named gutleak pigstink 128 (all lower case; we don't know what his real name is because he sold it, along with three of his appendages, and he didn't think the dignity of capital letters was worth the extra money it would have cost him when he bought his new name). He is convinced that if he can only get his business started he will be well on his way to becoming the world's second quadrillionaire, and finds himself working as an Edwardian chair for the world's first quadrillionaire. It's a podcast of about 45 minutes and it's supposed to be horror, but I was laughing through most of it.

  14. Major Kong Says:

    My parents live in the Chicago suburbs (Cook County).

    My father, who is otherwise fairly liberal, never stops complaining about his property taxes.

    Every time I talk to him, for as many years as I can remember, I have to listen to how generous the pay and benefits of the local school teachers are.

    My answer any more is: "If you don't like it then fucking move somewhere else. These guys will show up in a big truck and whisk your stuff off to some magical place of low taxes and weak teachers unions."

  15. Sarah Says:

    Irrespective of the merits or demerits of his case, Carrstone's comment, in well on eight rereads, has failed to make any fucking sense whatsoever.

    What's a troll to do? Is he "supp'osed to, just add more; punctuation"?*&$$!@

    carrstone must be a homeschool or private school alum. I am a public school (high school, state college, and university) graduate and I know that the correct phrase is "in which we do not participate." Ending sentences with prepositions is sloppy grammar.

  16. Freeportguy Says:

    I'm surprised she did not complain about the streets she pays for but never uses…

    The pettiness and sheer stupidity of conservatives is sickening. The kind of people that would only offer to pay half your winning lottery ticket only after you win…

  17. Misterben Says:

    The two things I never understand about this kind of complaint are:

    (1) How is it possible that someone made it far enough in life to have an income and be a home-owner, but is still incapable of understanding that Municipalities provide Services which cost Money, and that Money comes from Taxes?

    (2) There really ARE places in this country with no income tax and very little property tax. You can move there if you want to, but even better, you can just go and read about such places: no services, underdeveloped infrastructure, poor schools, and tons of people on FEDERAL welfare programs of one kind or another – because the local municipalities and state government can't afford to help them.

    I don't understand how people like today's letter-writer haven't managed to take these ideas on board.

  18. Safety Man! Says:

    Ed, and you say you miss GA?

  19. Anubis Bard Says:

    Conservatives love to complain about the "self-esteem" movement, and how every mediocre failure of a kid got trophies for participation. But like almost all conservative fever dreams it's all projection on their part. Conservatives like this writer, who are sincerely unaware that they are spouting embarrassing nonsense, are the real poster children for what happens when stupidity and laziness aren't held up for the appropriate ridicule early on in life.

  20. HoosierPoli Says:

    This blog is getting darker and darker by the month.

    But you do make me glad that these geniuses are no longer my neighbors or co-determiners of my social policy. When I explain homeschooling to Germans their mouths hit the floor. "How will they learn how to integrate into society?" Well, they won't.

  21. c u n d gulag Says:

    Maybe she'll appreciate paying taxes when the only jobs her home-schooled kids can get, will be working in the public schools as janitors and kitchen workers.
    Stupid.

  22. John Danley Says:

    I've seen that woman on a PBS remake of The Tell-Tale Heart.

  23. anotherbozo Says:

    I'm curious why the newspaper printed this. (And with a photograph, too? Do they do this for all their letters-to-the-editor? Or was this given special status?) My best guess is that it was to create "controversy", spur debate, gain readership. But perhaps it merely reflected the paper's own politics down to the last inanity.

    Finally it's sad. I can't be angry at the woman, perhaps herself home schooled, living in her own cocoon, at least mis-educated, then propagandized into a fine dust. A triumph of corporate dominance, clay in their hands.

    The only issue in taxation is fairness: is the pain equally spread? In NYC it most definitely, and predictably, isn't. Individual homeowners in outlying boroughs have votes that politicians need; so have co-op owners. We fall between the cracks, but no biggie.

    Still, it rankles now to see NY state ads on TV trying desperately to attract out-of-state businesses with "Pay no taxes for 10 YEARS!" I'm sure the promise is real.

  24. Magatha Says:

    Sounds like Heather Olssen is aiming for a Wingnut Welfare career via an internship at her local newspaper.

  25. Alex Says:

    Hey Heather, I live in Chicago and definitely pay higher property taxes than you. Since money is speech, my money which, again, is louder than your money, is telling you to shut the fuck up you whiny, selfish, entitled asshole.

  26. Graham Says:

    What's disturbing is her stare: it has that total-lack-of-doubt quality of the truly uneducated.

    A person who received an education, and learned anything from it, always has a modicum of doubt in their makeup. That's because any education teaches you stuff, and also teaches you that once you knew shit.

  27. quixote Says:

    How does it work with homeschooling? I'm under the impression you can teach your kids anything you want. But any kind of actual school, public, private, charter, has to meet certain standards, doesn't it? But homeschooling doesn't. What's up with that? Or do I have my facts wrong?

    And she's not the only one launching multiple kids unencumbered by the thought process. :hollow-eyed stare:

  28. Monkey Business Says:

    You would think that Heather would be a little more grateful to us city-dwelling commie libtards since Chicago is the only thing keeping Illinois from becoming Kansas.

  29. Tim H. Says:

    She needs to think about what happens to property values when a school district isn't allowed a levy increase for years, as happened in Kansas City.

  30. Racer_X Says:

    "They're like adult-sized infants. Me, me, me."

    While their congress critters when asked to act like adults throw tantrums. No, no, no.

    We're dealing with a bunch of 3-year-olds.

  31. Xynzee Says:

    It would behoove everyone to notice that she knows when to appropriately use "behoove".

    Picking up Tim H's thread. For someone who would say she knows all about democracy, she seems to spend a bit too much time over at Jack Schitz's place. Whenever the local district I grew up in—and registered to vote—wants to raise the levy it's on the ballot. So it would seem that the majority have told her to STFU!* Just because you've paid for a room at the Holiday Inn, but have chosen to sleep in the dumpster out the back isn't anyone else's business but your own.

    *Assuming that the greater Peoria school district does the same.

  32. Well mostly Says:

    Complaining about taxes is really bragging about how much money you have. Of course those with more pay more and some of it goes to those without so much. Does she want to give her money to the Koch brothers?
    The utter lack of gratitude and generosity is disgusting: glad to have her out of my home state.
    It's like a big housing complex with a HOA. Some folks always complain about the fees. I don't use the ……gym, pool, tennis courts, grill, whatever. So move the fuck out and shut up.
    If I can't sleep tonight from visions of Heather's eyes…..I expect an early post to chomp on. Too much to ask?

  33. jaktheyak Says:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7QDv4sYwjO0

    nuff said

  34. Anonymouse Says:

    @Quixote; homeschool rules & regs vary wildly between states, with some states requiring zero oversight or notification whatsoever, and some states requiring a yearly "portfolio review" of student work, either through the local county board of education, or through a church-run oversight appointee who files paperwork with the county certifying compliance.

    I found myself homeschooling a high schooler (something I never thought I'd do) because the child was ready for college-level work for the majority of the classes, and actually taking the classes through the local college was cheaper than multiple AP classes (and end-of-year tests). My state is one of the once-a-year-review ones, and because we used the local college for most of the classes (and an accredited online program for the couple of high-school-level ones), our portfolio review was straight-forward (provided college transcript). However (at least in our area), for every parent who was homeschooling for educational reasons, there were 100 who were homeschooling so that the children would never have to hear about science or math or anything other than Bible-approved subjects. I was seriously appalled at the level most of the kids were functioning at. For girls it was kinder-kuche-kirsch, and the boys had even less.

  35. Anonymouse Says:

    Whenever I hear the wingnuts complain about paying taxes for schools, I point out that taxes also pay for electricity and water service to churches that I will never attend.

  36. acer Says:

    @carrstone:

    Now I need to know what the fuck Illinois property taxes have to do with Benghazi.

  37. Joe Bauers Says:

    It's like these hammer-bags want a cookie for being so self-reliant, but they never take it to its logical conclusion. Why are you solely responsible for your children's education but not for, say, fending off your own foreign invaders? Or for curing your own cancer, instead of depending on medicine that exists in part because of scientific breakthroughs funded by public money? Why do you bitch about having to pay for a library that you are too fucking stupid to know what to do with anyway, but you have no problem with driving your car on PUBLIC roads, paid for with PUBLIC money that was levied through (Dun dun DUN!!!) TAXES? Some of my money went to pave I-74, the mechanism by which (to hear Ed tell it) anybody with any other viable option gets the hell out of Peoria, even though I myself do not live in and will likely never visit or even pass through Peoria. TYRANNY!!!

    Can someone set up a Kickstarter to get this woman to Somalia? I'm good for $20.

  38. afeman Says:

    I'm making those eyes my FB banner.

  39. Ricky W Says:

    Great writeup, my only complaint is that it's kind of misogynist to suggest a woman isn't contributing anything if she's a stay-at-home mom.

  40. rachel Says:

    joe: you can't use kickstarter for that, but maybe you could give indiegogo a try

  41. jgaNV Says:

    I have a friend who, unfortunately, is on the hate radio propaganda feed. Normally we don't discuss politics, but recently the the Cliven Bundy situation (the rancher who hasn't paid BLM grazing fees in years, and is now the sweetheart of FOX News) came up in conversation. I've studied this and know a lot of the details, but my friend only had the hate radio talking points – such as: "the BLM has only been charging grazing fees since 1993" [no – that's when Bundy stopped paying his fees], "his family has been there since the 1840s and thus have rights not to pay fees" [his family only started grazing the area in 1954, and there is no legal concept of "grazing rights"], and other bogus stuff. I kept trying to explain that, regardless of Bundy's distrust of the government, his case has been before several courts, he lost, and has to comply with the law. I asked "what if you just decided not to pay your property taxes because of your hatred of government?" He didn't seem to get that government would completely break down if people broke the law this way. He still felt that Bundy was a victim of an unjust government. This guy is pretty smart, but this shows how well propaganda, even if crazy, really works!

    You might wonder why I have friends who are on this progaganda feed. Well, if you live in rural Nevada like I do, you wouldn't have many friends otherwise :-(. BTW, the wikipedia article on Cliven Bundy gives a pretty clear picture of the situation.

  42. Alan C Says:

    Hey, Heather Olsson! Just because it's called "home schooling" doesn't mean you have to populate an entire classroom!

    Seriously, I'd like to counter the notion that some of us don't "use the public schools." We all have people all around us who went to public schools. We depend on these people to do things from policing the streets to making change at McDonald's. We all depend on the ability of the schools to help enable these people to function in the work force and engage with the world. We ALL USE the public schools.

  43. Hugo Says:

    This post was goddamn hilarious. I applaud it and would like to subscribe to your newsletter.

  44. Billy Lee Johnson Says:

    Back in a former life when I drove a big truck over the road, I once heard a local Oklahoma farmer call into his fave talk show where Clinton's assistant Ag Sec. was taking questions. This farmer seemed to like the idea of federal farm subsidies but wondered why he was forced to fill out forms and give the gummint info about his financial situation.

    The Asst. Ag. guy calmly explained that if he felt that strongly about the matter, he could simply refuse to take the money. The subsidy wasn't just going to appear with no strings attached.

    The caller was initially stunned by this answer when he finally mentioned that he was a tax-paying, white Xian who deserved free stuff just like those big city welfare queens he had heard so much about. Then he hung up. Made my day.

  45. EJ Says:

    This is a rare historical document. Perhaps the first time in recent decades that California is given as an example of a low tax state.

    Granted, our property taxes aren't as high as, say, Massachusetts or New York, but our overall state and local tax burden (income, sales, property, etc.) is hardly low by US standards. I refuse to believe that this idiot's overall state taxes are higher in whatever Illinois cowtown you guys live in than it was in California.

  46. 12StepsToNowhere Says:

    If she and others in IL are concerned about how high their property taxes are, then they should start a movement for the State to pay it's obligated share of money for public education. The IL constitution mandates that the State has the primary responsibility for financing public education, yet local municipalities shoulder most of the cost, spending 2/3 of property tax funds on education. As IL cuts education funding, local govts have to increase property taxes just to keep the schools open. In 2010, IL only provided 28.4% of K-12 education expeditures and local sources provided 59.2%.

    Just sayin…I doubt she even knows about these facts and will continue to "take action" by bitching and moaning, and teaching her kids to be entitled, ignorant asses like herself.

  47. 12StepsToNowhere Says:

    I do realize the error in my argument of telling someone who distrusts the public education system to argue for more funding at the state level, even though it would ease her property tax burden. Plus, IL is incapable of cutting out wasteful spending and doesn't even pay it's promised funds to social services on time, so there's little hope it could increase education funding without raising taxes.

  48. vista Says:

    I'm all for sending these people away to where there are no taxes nor big, bad governments. Let them live where they only have themselves to rely on, after all they've all gotten to where they are by their own bootstraps. I'd offer to help pay for their one way transportation to the border of that "freedom" state or country but then they'd no longer be self-sufficient if they took a handout. And, once inside the "freedom" border they are on their own; I wonder how far their riches will last once they have to pay for every little damn thing.

  49. Nate Says:

    Part of the reason things suck so bad now is that lots of wealthy people and companies haven't been paying their taxes! The comment section was actually heartening to read though. that's crazy considering how most of the comments on letters like this come from a pit of cyber-despair.

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  51. Anonymouse Says:

    @Ricky; the stay-at-home wife is certainly not contributing any income to tax, and that was the point. She's dependent financially on someone else to meet all her needs, the same thing she's kicking up a fuss about other people being.

  52. Two Below Says:

    Based on Heather Olsson's blather, but especially her attitude toward librarians, we can probably conclude that her best argument in a disagreement with any public official or employee is: "I pay your salary." So, be warned, Ed, she pays your salary.

  53. 12StepsToNowhere Says:

    Final comment and this one is directed at Ed:
    You should stop using opportunities like this to denounce the central IL area and stop using broad generalizations that we're some special breed of ignorant assholes. The comments on the paper's site are uplifting because only 1 agreed with this author and 2 other letters were published as response and they tear her argument apart.

    I know you will find this hard to believe, but some people actually choose to move to Peoria or to continue living here and not because they're too old or poor to live somewhere else. Please don't talk down ALL the people that live here (just the stupid ones which are in every city, big or small).

  54. Bitter Scribe Says:

    This brings to mind an exchange I witnessed, when I was a community newspaper reporter, between a village official and a guy who was mad that his mother had to pay a lot of "school taxes" on her house.

    GUY: My mother's a widow.

    OFFICIAL: But what if she sells next month to a family with six kids?

  55. Noisy Crow Says:

    Crazy eyes.

  56. mothra Says:

    It's not just the comments sections in small town newspapers. It's comments sections in every newspaper BUT the very largest cities–who probably do get the nutbag letters but don't devote any space/resources to publishing or reading them.

    But I have news for Heather Olsson. Even if I do have a mortgage, I get a copy of my tax bill. Pretty sure every mortgagee gets a copy of their tax bill–wouldn't be surprised if it's the law. I only look at it to see by what percentage my tax has gone up. I mind not what I pay for. But then, I'm a socialist. And I'd be more than happy to pay for Heather's birth control. MORE than happy.

  57. Tim Says:

    Short column:

    WaaaaaaaaAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHhhhhhhhhhh.

  58. Tim Says:

    > Limbaugh addict. Obama hater. (Literal hate.) RNC donator. Deliberately retired to a state with no income tax, but constantly bitches about the few thousand bucks he pays a year in property tax on frickin' five acres of land.

    Making a move to a state with no income tax after he stops earning an income… did he actually run the numbers on that one before he did it?

  59. Tim Says:

    Also, this is a relevant article proving that few people actually understand state and local taxes: http://www.newrepublic.com/article/119450/wallethub-americans-want-state-and-local-taxes-be-progressive.

  60. DaveKan Says:

    No one really believes the earth is 4000 years old! It's 6000 years old, come on, do the math!

  61. Earl Says:

    You all really need to see this. Apparently there is such a thing as christian martial arts. These two fighters suffer a double christian knee-to-the-nuts. I swear as god as my witness, he is prayed over, "dear god … I pray there's no damage and nothing swells up badly in there. In Jesus' name. Amen." Just watch it, and wait for the pan down during the prayer. I'm literally crying.

    Skip to 1:00

    http://gawker.com/here-is-what-a-double-ko-to-the-nuts-in-a-christian-fig-1634973131

  62. Mo Says:

    12Steps – yeah, I agree, the comments pushed back pretty well against the never-too-civic-class childishness. But why did this crap even get published to begin with, even in Peoria, the burg that's been synonymous with "Sticksville" ever since, oh, I dunno, vaudeville?

    Vox haters can quit reading right now, but Ezra Klein's piece today, "Why Democrats and Republicans don't understand each other," offers another insight as to why these tax crybabies are so insufferable.

    It's the difference between
    1) minds set like vulcanized rubber in the belief that government is the problem, and who will never have another new thought on that, ever, because contradictory input just bounces right off; self esteem from righteousness, intractability.
    2) minds curious about problems, of government and everything else; self-esteem from problem solving, compromise to get shit done.

    And of course, a John Kenneth Galbraith quote for a chaser:

    People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.
    –JK Galbraith, Age of Uncertainty

    I recommend Peoria send out the assessor to discover that Madam Dumbass's property has been scandalously undervalued.

    TAX WELL-TO-DO CRYBABIES UNTIL THEY SHRIVEL LIKE SLUGS.

  63. Anonymouse Says:

    I suspect Ms. Olssen is also setting up her Wingnut Creds (possibly for follow-on work?) by hitting all the Wingnut Dog Whistles. Non-working wife? Check! Homeschooler? Check-check! Litter of kids? Check-a-roony! Hates taxes? Check! Doesn't understand how society works? Check!

  64. skwerlhugger Says:

    "…and a guy who was mad that his mother had to pay a lot of "school taxes" on her house.
    GUY: My mother's a widow.
    OFFICIAL: But what if she sells next month to a family with six kids?"

    A widow? Wrong argument for school taxes. He should have claimed his mother was childless.

    And nothing makes New Hampshire residents argue for income tax over property tax like retirement.

  65. terraformer Says:

    Whew. Once upon a time I was offered a high-paying, somewhat powerful position at Caterpillar, based in Peoria. I decided not to do it, in no small part due to how damn depressing I found that town during my brief stay there. Now, I live about 300 due west of there, in another hellpit of a place that for some reason is the wellspring of the Presidential pageant every four years.

    This place is not much better. At all. Soon I hope to escape a bit Northeast, up to a place currently run by, as the estimable Charlie Pierce refers to him, the google-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their Midwest subsidiary. At least there there are liked-minded folks, and certainly better food. And a place where most sane folks recognize that taxes are the price you pay for a civilized society. Of sorts.

    I feel for ya, Mr. Gin and Tacos.

  66. sookabilly Says:

    OK, now tell me how you really feel.

  67. La Lubu Says:

    Frankly, I'm jealous. Almost all the responses in the PJ Star take the piss out of her. Further down I-55 where I am, it would be the other way around. Be proud, Peoria! (can we trade local paper comment sections? pretty please?)

  68. brian Says:

    @12StepsToNowhere -> I agree with everything you said, this blanket dismissal of everyone who lives in a town deemed not a 'Real City' is troublesome.

    It is almost as if he claims that there are no batshit crazy people who live in the utopias where people read and stuff.

    @MO -> Why this stuff gets published in the first place. The Peoria Journal is not owned by anyone or anything in Peoria. It is owned by a company called 'New Media Investment Group' which I assume has some say in who the editor is. And I also assume since they are headquartered in a different state, has not much to do with the town of Peoria.

    It is almost as if large corporate media interests want to portray the red states and economically downtrodden places in this country as being uniformally tea partiers.

  69. Boo Says:

    Googling this lady's name comes up with an address that backs right up to the Peoria Forest Park preserve and she bitches about the taxes to actually support this park.

    http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/768-E-High-Point-Ter-Peoria-IL-61614/5119268_zpid/

    Sold back in February (which matches up with her "just moved from CA" comment) and the tax collector shows the second installment of her 2013 taxes was just paid on Sept 9 when she penned the letter to the paper:

    http://66.99.203.101/assessor/realasp2.asp?propertyid=1409478007

    (change dropdown to 2013 to view the actual tax bill as it defaults to 2014 which isn't set yet)

    Not to defend her, but $5k in taxes for a 4/3, 2000sqft $190k home seems a bit high to me as a Floridian but not necessarily /outrageous/ from what I've heard from other folks living up north.

    If you want to hear a bit more from her, she's got some YouTube videos up from her pro-life work out in Modesto, CA:

    http://youtu.be/wAxlYbtyhmk?t=1m20s

    So she's got the whole christian fundamentalist thing too (funny how often "I don't know how society works" mindset and fundamentalist religion overlaps, eh?).

  70. Robert Says:

    As a Californian, I am delighted that she has transported her family out of state. Here in Oakland, we have libraries and parks (took my son to one of the latter just yesterday). The thing that always stumps me about people like her is how they view 'government'. It's as if it is a foreign entity that has somehow infiltrated American society, leeching money and emitting nothing of value. The idea that government is an emergent property of a functioning society would baffle and enrage them.

    My father was in WWII, and worked his entire career at the USPS. I went to college using his disabled veterans benefits, and worked my entire career at the VA. One of my brothers was career USAF, is now career DoD and in the USAF Reserves. Another brother teaches college English at a public college. All of us approve of socialism; it's been VERY good for our family. Dad worshipped at the shrine of St. FDR his entire life. There are Americans like us.

  71. Brian M Says:

    Damn. That house would cost $800,000 in a "decent" Bay Area suburb. What is she bitching about?

  72. Sarah Says:

    The thing that always stumps me about people like her is how they view 'government'. It's as if it is a foreign entity that has somehow infiltrated American society, leeching money and emitting nothing of value. The idea that government is an emergent property of a functioning society would baffle and enrage them.

    I saw a tweet from someone a few days ago in which the tweeter said he didn't support Net Neutrality because he felt that it was government interference in the dealings of two private parties. I should start screencapping stuff like this, but I'm afraid that the amount of stupid would overwhelm my hard drive.

  73. democommie Says:

    $5K in taxes on a $190K property be a gift from GOD, where I live. My assessment is currently $35K and my taxes are something like $850/yr and that's because I get the NY Star exemption on school tax which prolly cuts my bill in half. In this neck of the woods an annual RE tax bill is something between 4 and 5% of the assessed value.

  74. Heywood J. Says:

    It's dismaying to think that someone willingly stuck their dick in that seven times. Maybe some of the kids are twins or triplets.

    I just love living in a world where the morans outbreed everyone else.

  75. SteveGr Says:

    If you're in/near Peoria I certainly hope you're a regular at the Jubilee Café in Edwards. It's (nearly) enough to restore one's faith in humanity, if not Illinois.

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