Posted in Rants on April 12th, 2015 by Ed

I'm at the point of Internet Success (which is like Success, except it doesn't improve one's life in any way) at which random strangers send me things that are relevant to our collective interests. Recently a reader posted this picture, presumably from the office bulletin board. One of his coworkers sounds like a he has been hitting the Swanson Angry Man dinners a bit hard for…decades, presumably.


I've posted many times over the past decade about Tax Rage. I simply do not get it. There are so many things worth getting angry about and I don't understand how someone's life could be so sad that they obsess over taxes. You know those people who seem like they can talk about literally nothing else? To me they are as pitiable (but somehow more socially accepted) than a guy whose conversational abilities are limited to weird hobbies or Deep Space Nine. The idea of mustering that much anger, that much enthusiasm of any kind about something as mundane as property taxes would be impressive if it weren't so sad.

Reading the small print, the property tax increase in question is $7.92 per assessed $100,000 of property value. According to a real estate site, the median price of a single-family home in Xenia, OH (address in the upper right corner) is $105,000. The median price of homes sold recently is $129,000. Using the higher figure to give Mr. Histrionics the benefit of doubt, an owner of that median priced home would pay under this proposed tax an additional ($7.92 x 12 months x 1.29) $122.60 per year.

Now, let's get something straight. I don't enjoy paying taxes because nobody really does, and I'd rather have $122.60 than not have it. I do not believe $122.60 is an insignificant amount of money, although that means different things to different people. My rule of thumb for evaluating the relative worth of a given amount of money in your life is: If you dropped it in a gas station toilet full of liquid trucker feces, would you reach in to get it? If the answer is yes, it's a lot of money. At least to you. For someone living on the margins of the economy, $8 or $10 per month might be a big deal. To anyone else losing that amount might be unpleasant but – pay close attention to this part, Tax Rage Guy – it's not going to kill you. You'll live. $122.60 is not the difference between the guy who wrote on this flyer being able to eat or not, and I'm hard pressed to see how $122.60 could be the difference between a middle class homeowner's life bringing him happiness or misery. To someone who can afford a median priced home, I don't see how a hundred bucks could be a game-changer.

To be certain I don't want to give away $122.60 any more than the next person. My point is that if the law demanded that amount of money from me to pay for woefully underfunded public schools it wouldn't ruin my day. I don't understand how so many people can get so angry over something so comparatively insignificant – and I'm a fairly angry person. When I have to pay bills or send the IRS money once per year I react the way I imagine most half-normal people would: I write the check, I say "Fuck" a few times, and then I forget about it once it's in the mail. You might say that's just privilege talking and that if I were poorer I would feel differently, a point that would be valid if only the people who do the most bitching about taxes were poor rather than old white people losing sleep over the idea of poor people taking Their Money.