Happy New Year! Now Do Your Taxes

By | January 1, 2022 | 0 Comments

As the new year begins, we face preparing our taxes. But how can we estimate what our income will be for 2022, when we don’t know whether our business will be locked down yet again? How can we estimate our expenses, when we don’t know how high the price of fuel will be pushed by the government, or how fast inflation will erode our profit (if any)? How can we foretell what we will owe, when we can’t know how high Democrats will escalate tax rates to undo the Trump tax cuts while they are still in power?

Totalitarian regimes don’t just issue oppressive rules, they issue unpredictable and arbitrary rules. Russians feared the KGB not only because it was ruthless, but also because it was unpredictable. Who knew when what you said or what you did would get you into trouble? So you said and did as little as possible. Spontaneity? Innovation? Are you joking?

We’re not there yet, but we’re on our way. We can’t be sure what will get us kicked off social media, so we avoid controversial topics. We can’t know what will get us in trouble with the Medical Board, so we avoid treating patients with controversial medicines. “The nail that sticks up will be hammered down” has replaced “In God we trust” as our national motto.

And that’s no longer America. I’m not sure what it is, but it isn’t America. As I gather the shoe box of receipts to prepare my taxes, I think about that. “Arbitrary and capricious” used to be an insult. Now it’s merely a description of how things are.

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