Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Although I'm not in the Homeland, I keep up with events there via the Internets and Air America Radio. I have noticed a recent uptick (I'm listening to a caller to Randi Rhodes right now, in fact) in the "its my money, so why can't I shove it up a hog's ass and holler soooeeee?" argument because of the Social Security question.

Here's what I've got to say about that.

It (FICA tax) is NOT your money. Here's why: You never had it. You never had a chance to have it.

This is, I think, the proper way to view all taxes which are taken directly from your salary or wages before you get paid. YOUR money is the money you actually are given. The NET (plus any optional stuff you pay out from the GROSS) is yours.

Let's say I am an employer (fancy that!). I hire you to work for me, promising a gross income of 10,000 clams per year. I am bound, by law, to take 1000 clams from that gross wage and send it off to the King of Town, however. This means you get only 9,000 clams. THAT is YOUR MONEY. You earned that. No one took anything away from you. Those 1000 clams were NEVER YOURS. You couldn't have them, ever. You lost NOTHING.

No one lives off a gross income. Everyone lives off of the net. No one has ever "earned" a gross income, in the sense that no one ever worked for, and got, a gross income. You, they, and (theoretically) I get the net ONLY. Ever.

Let's say it is your birthday. You are having a party. I baked "you" a cake. Does anyone (except perhaps Eric Cartman) really think of that whole cake as YOURS? No. The party guests all get a piece of cake. YOUR cake is the piece(s) you get to eat. That is your "net" cake.

Sure, you could refuse to share the cake (you earned it, after all: the cake was baked solely because of your birthday) but the penalty would be a broken party and pissed off guests. Similarly, there are ways to avoid, in collusion with your employer, paying FICA tax. Those ways are illegal, and the penalty can be unpleasant (as with the cake).



(I repeat, this only applies to the involuntary things pulled out of the gross. Things like whatever sort of voluntary retirement plan or profit sharing or insurance you may have fall under a different tortured analogy which you have not yet earned.)


Post a Comment

<< Home