Happy Tax Day General Electric!

As you can see from these pictures, my cat didn’t take tax day too seriously. For me it was not as bad as I had feared. As a partially self-employed person (partially employed, partially unemployed, and the other part freelancing, let’s not think too much about why it’s called that) I thought I might owe the government most of my very meager savings.

Turns out that the loss of my second job and the amount of other paid work, I was able to find, means I owe little. In fact, the feds owe me a tiny bit but I do owe the state  something.

Let’s see, what do I owe the state? Well, I owe them the loss of my second income and the fact that if I want to teach again, even as a sub, I have to pay for another kind of credential, because my first two are now pretty useless.

Teaching is one of the lovely professions where you have to constantly upgrade, go to classes on your own time, pay for them and then either pray or fight like hell (or all of that plus join a sit-in coming to you soon) in the hopes that you can use that credential to work with the youth who actually need what you trained and worked so hard and long for.

My last teaching job was as a government and economics teacher. In my class students learned a bit about the federal “guvmint”- no, not much time spent on the 3 branches of federal government. After all how important are those entities compared to party, ideology or who paid off whom?

One branch of government is the Tea Party, those friendly folks who send out racist cartoons while trying to eliminate anything that resembles modern civilized society. Don’t kid yourself that they don’t want to “close down the government” and not just for a few hours or days.

So can they really be considered a branch of government? Yeah, the same way that cancer cells can be considered a part of your body even though they are trying to eat (a technical biological term) the rest of it.

BTW, remember just last year, when it was all the rage to rail against the Senate as an outmoded institution that was preventing us from passing  progressive legislation? Do ya?

Now, lookee, that outmoded institution of rich guys is all that stands between us and the end of our national infrastructure, women’s rights, and some form of healthcare.

On that point, can we please stop calling it insurance? Although our healthcare system is still controlled by those guys, insurance and healthcare are not only unrelated, they don’t mix very well and can be dangerous to handle at the same time.

So, then the Democratic Party is another branch of government. Really, it is. The reason we don’t define it as such is that we don’t actually know what it represents or how to make it work in the way we imagine it worked in the old days.

Uh, which days, those times it barred the doors of city halls and statehouses to Black Americans or the days when FDR sent European Jewry back to the camps. Well, nobody’s perfect, least of all, presidents.

How about the Judicial Branch (so highlighted in our textbooks), specifically the Supreme Court? It was called “activist” when it asserted that all Americans should be able to vote, attend local schools, and, oh, have the right to control our most overwhelming biological function-childbirth.

Now that court, while no one even requested a settlement of this question, decided that corporations really are folks like us, just a whole lot richer. That apparently is not “activism.”

Well, no, I was thinking of lobbyists as the third branch. But now the state of Michigan, led by the wonderful Tea Party, has eliminated the need for lobbyists and gone straight to the source.

Rather than giveaway all of our largesse (back to the point of tax day) through roads to nowhere, oil company rebates, or deals for developers, they have cut out the middleman and the time wasted in lobbying. They’ve just given whole towns away directly to the corporate guys who they played golf, or shared prostitutes, or rode in private jets with the other day.

I only know about small time lobbying like they do here in the City of Oakland. We are really small-time because we still have elections that don’t always go to the highest bidder. Wow, we’re old- fashioned.

So, I taught my students about payday loans and income tax refund loans which generally fall into the 375% interest range in addition to who their government reps were- including introducing them to some of the local electeds. Guess they didn’t need to know that stuff, at least according to the people who work out the budget “deals”.

And here we are back to tax day. The state of California, in its Republican wisdom-actually that plan was hatched by Schwarzenegger and his Democratic accomplices- eliminated the funding stream for free basic adult education in 2008.

I am not sure but, I believe, the promise to adult students that California made some 160 years ago, is still on the books. It’s just that the money to make it happen was wiped out. Some cities and towns have decided to charge for these classes which is possibly illegal, but presents the only choice they have if they want to keep them open.

Oakland chose to shrink the program til it would fit in the proverbial Grover Norquist bathtub where it now languishes with the hope that no one comes by and flushes it completely away.

That brings me back to my tax return. I can be happy that I made so little that I owe even less, right? A friend of mine who worries about me, regularly asks-when I tell her about all my activities- how much I get paid to do this or that. I usually have to answer that I don’t receive pay for any of it.

Maybe I should apply for a write-off with a Schedule A, B, or whatever, for a charitable donation of my time and energy? Since I learned that the folks who make the most and the corporations they work for which pay them princely sums not seen since the Magna Carta, actually get the biggest refunds, oops, wait , gotta explain that better. You see, General Electric is technically correct in not calling them refunds since they didn’t pay in the first place, but “contributions” from our government.

So if you want the big corporations who now control all of the branches of government, to get their money, get your payment in today. With any luck (I mean any), some of it will trickle down on your head when they are finished with it.

Happy Tax Day!