“We must never despair; our situation has been compromising before, and it has changed for the better; so I trust it will again. If difficulties arise, we must put forth new exertion and proportion our efforts to the exigencies of the times.” — George Washington
While on the phone with the IRS trying to learn the tax rules for small businesses, I realized just how much of a percentage of every dollar of my earnings would go to taxes. I was stunned.
Self-employed people pay double Social Security and double Medicare taxes, which is on top of federal income taxes. Then there are state income taxes that many have. And when a small business is a second income, the entire small business income will be taxed at a higher income tax rate because it is at the top of the yearly earnings.
I remember pointing out to the IRS person on the phone how little would be left after taxes and business costs. And I will never forget his response. He said to me, “It’s better than nothing.”
The arrogance of that IRS employee made me so upset. As long as he receives his high government pay and great benefits on the dime of millions of Americans who work so hard, that’s all that mattered to him. He did not care about the number of people who work just as hard as he works and/or harder, who earn far less while paying him. I felt the wind-of-hope draining from my body.
It is true that when hope is taken away that the average person is not going to work as hard at getting financially ahead. That harms people personally, and it harms the economy on a whole. And though I don’t agree with the people who go overboard trying to get ahead to the point of ignoring all else in life, there is good in hard work and good in working towards a better financial situation.
As a people, we can help America’s bad financial situation, while we help our own.
Just as our household finances are not going to get better if we don’t suck it up and do what we can do to make things better, even if that means working hard for far less than we should get, our country’s financial situation is not going to get better either. This might sound crazy, but I have actually come to realize that though that IRS man was arrogant to say what he said, he was actually right. As Americans, we have to do what we can do, even if that means doing it for less.
We need to adopt a “Work is Great, Even for Less” attitude. And in our free time, we need to educate ourselves and then others on our country, on our government, and on politics. And we need to get involved and do our best to change things for the better so that some day, things will be better in this country. Losing hope and giving up will never get us there. We have to persevere.
Debra J.M. Smith 09-20-12