Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A Government Hat Trick

In the last few days I’ve been exposed to three examples of why I have come to strongly dislike the governmental entity we are under the heel of. Fortunately I have not had to deal with these things directly – my wife has – as I do not have the patience for them, but just hearing about them makes me irate.

The first example follows in the wake of my father-in-law’s death. It is the whole business of estate management and the government. Having to hire lawyers to analyze and create appropriate documents to transition assets and liabilities from the deceased to beneficiaries is understandable. It is important to show clearly who is newly responsible for things with the passing of the original person. It’s a sad but true part of death. What is not understandable is the filthy claw of government being extended to take a chunk of the wealth from the already difficult situation. It goes without saying that a spouse losing a loved one is tough emotionally and physically; the latter is often more important and overlooked. Not all folks sit on their cans all day watching Talmudvision and only getting up to get their government checks or to drive to the store to spend it. Some are very active: working their property, helping their neighbors in their trades, hunting, fishing, etc. Leisure may be a part of the equation but the main characteristic is healthy vigor. Remove one spouse from that sort of relationship and the other is greatly affected. Having to deal with a death tax is one more, and a profoundly unnecessary and immoral one at that, piece to this struggle.

The second is the IRS. It has inaccurately sent us statements of additional moneys we supposedly owe them and in spite of all reasonable efforts to instruct them that yes, two plus two does equal four, they keep saying we have to prove this. For now I’ll ignore the ridiculous tax burden they “legally” assess and only focus on this explicit malfeasance. Literally we/you are guilty until proven innocent. To who and how this innocence must be proved is another frustration. Prove it to Lamika and she passes it to DeShaun; prove it to DeShaun and he passes it to Mrs. Wong; prove it to Mrs. Wong and she passes it to… Finally get them to admit their mistake on the principal (base amount) and then they won’t remove the interest. Have any kind of modest complication and Lamika’s brilliant analytic abilities are stretched to the breaking point. She has to hand it off to the “Schedule Expert”. This “Expert” in turn knows less about the schedule than my wife using Tax Cut. When in doubt pass it on to someone else and make the tax-paying cattle spend hours more on hold. Every mistake they make costs us lots of time and frustration if not money and they are immune (for now) from any consequences. One other funny part to this is that for the year in question I was unemployed for 4 months at one stretch and we are being penalized by these buffoons for not filing taxes then. I think it’s kinda funny to explain, “No Mrs. Wong you don’t pay taxes on non-existent income”. Funny until you realize they still don’t get it or they get it and won’t admit it because it is fun to treat the serfs like shit. The blogger Fred Reed is right about living in Mexico when it comes to the IRS; it’s better to pay an occasional bribe to crooked cops than to live under the thumb of a racket with just enough Aryan efficiency to tax and regulate but not the Aryan spirit to use it for real good. I really hope one day these tax bureaucrats are tarred and feathered as our fathers of old would have done.

The third is our medical system. It is true that it is not explicitly under the government but given that they regulate so many areas they shouldn’t (e.g. freedom of association) and given they are hopelessly intertwined via Medicare and Medicaid I lump them together. My son recently fell and cut his head. Unfortunately my wife took him to one of these emergency clinics. After waiting for an hour, he got the equivalent of a butterfly plastic bandage (clear stitches) applied which took less than 10 minutes of a doctor’s time. We have insurance but it has a very high deductible. My wife found out from the receptionist while waiting that for the uninsured the maximum for the visit was going to cost $175 but the clinic was going to bill them directly and we would deal with them. We figured the bill that would filter through to us from the insurance company would be a maximum of $175. Makes sense right? You don’t understand this system then. The bill we ultimately got came in two parts and totaled $600! Now the insurance company says we must deal with the clinic and the clinic says the opposite. $175 would have been outrageous for a damned band-aid but at least we knew that up front and would have paid it. How far will these shysters push enough of us until there are consequences? For those of you in corporate or government jobs you are insulated from the worst aspects of this system. I don’t know what a good solution is but I know for sure that the huge infusion of government subsidies has greatly inflated the price for those middle and lower middle-class folk caught in the middle.

Just three small examples of interactions with our “system” in just a few day stretch. The pot be a smolderin.