Sunday, April 15, 2018

Or Lives, Our Fortunes, and Our Sacred Honor

Declaration of Independence - John Trumbull
And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.

While in the midst of preparing my tax returns this weekend, I had a thought regarding those taxes.

I don't mind paying taxes. Is the money I pay in always spent wisely? Of course not. Are they in fact necessary? I think so.

Roads, railways, airports, seaports, and the like do not pay for themselves. Police and fire departments are necessary and not cheap. A military composed of people willing to lay down their lives for their country is a pearl of great price.

While I don't enjoy sitting down and preparing all the various forms that the government needs in order for them to take a part of my wages, I consider it a duty. A rather time-consuming duty as the tax deadline of Tuesday the 17th of April approaches. I'm far too cheap to pay someone to do something I can certainly figure out on my own. It's also interesting to see what, if anything, is different from the year before.

For various reasons, I never saw the HBO miniseries John Adams when it first came out back in 2008. I tried watching it last year, got partway through the first episode and couldn't continue. It wasn't what I was expecting.

Now I'm back to watching it and just finished the second episode, which includes the debate leading up to and the eventual vote to approve the Declaration of Independence. It was very well done. I don't mind saying that I was moved to tears at the end of the episode when the Declaration was being read.

I love my country and I don't care who knows it. We have our flaws and our problems but nothing that cannot be fixed if we all pull together.

Back in July of 1776, fifty-six men put ink to paper and signed the Declaration of Independence. They could have, if captured by the British, been tried, and most assuredly convicted for treason. They would have been put to death, hanged, as traitors.

When those men signed their names, the words "we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor" were not just parts of a pretty phrase, they were meant to be taken quite literally.

Each time we do our duty as American citizens, we honor the sacrifices of those who went before. Even something as mundane as filling out Form 1040.

Now I need to go finish up my taxes.

One of the two certainties of life...


  1. Hey Old AF Sarge;

    And as I recall, several of those people did pay with their sacred honor, they were imprisoned by the British, their property seized and they were destitute. and some of them were killed if memory served.

    1. Nine died fighting in the Revolution, or died from their wounds. Five were captured and tortured. Some lost everything they owned. Perhaps an example to today's politicians?

  2. I reserve the right to gripe about paying taxes, and we go ahead and pay them anyway.
    But when our tax paperwork became so heavy that a trip to the post office was needed to weigh it, I think something is badly wrong with the system.

    And I say without exaggeration that few of our elected officials have any idea of what honor means.

    I will keep on eye out for the series.

    Good post.

    1. Oh yes, there is room for improvement.

      A simplification of the tax code would go a long way to fixing things.

    2. Supposedly, the 2018 tax form is supposed to be easier, simpler, less intrusive, supposedly.

      Hopefully the President gets his wish and gets to simplify and reduce the 2019 tax form, hopefully.

  3. I pay to have mine done.
    Then they are e-filed so all I have to do is write a check.
    I would pay online if that was possible.
    The less time I have to spend dealing with my taxes the less painful ...and stressful it is.
    I remember how simple it was back the first time I had to submit to taxation... and how little I had to pay.
    I still pay willingly, but cringe at the waste.

    1. Paying online is now possible, I did it today.

      Thought you'd like to know. I too cringe at the waste.

  4. Q. What's the difference between the IRS and the Mafia?
    A. The interest rate.

    If I were king---

    Voting day would be next week.
    There would be no withholding from pay checks. Make everyone write a check to the IRS every two weeks.
    Encourage everyone getting a tax refund to file early.
    Encourage everyone who owes to file an extension. Let 'em suck air for 90 days.

    1. I agree totally. Many moons ago, I got a real job. A nice, stable job. And I was looking forward to paying bills that had been accumulating. So, first paycheck comes along, wooo, most money I made in a single paycheck at that time. Second paycheck comes along and my net income is $50.00. What? Oh, look, IRS has an assessment on my ass for 'unpaid taxes.' Seems a previous employer, small businessman, said to me he would handle all payroll taxes, but he didn't, and he eventually folded (as a corporation - him, me, his wife, his dog apparently.) So, a few years later, Unky Satan and his Infernal Revenue Satanists figure it out, and come looking for me. They lurk quietly until they see money, and then they pounce like the evil bastards they are. I owed actual maybe $700, but with fines and penalties it was in the nature of over $2K. I could have hired a lawyer, but having no money...

      Fortunately, wife and I sold some stuff, got the money together quickly, and got that monkey off my back. Really loved working for a place that they had to do a military-style background check (almost didn't get hired because Uncle Sam wouldn't let them look at dependent records, seriously) and then, boom, get the IRS into my paycheck right away. Really had some explaining to do to not get let go during my probationary period.

      That made me almost qualified to work for the previous presidential administration, except I actually paid the obligation, which I shouldn't have had to. Really, I am supposed to go through the boss's accounts and make sure he's paying my taxes? What the Hell?

    2. RHT447 - Some good ideas there.

    3. Andrew - The IRS is loaded with bureaucrats. Not a good thing.

  5. Finished doing mine Friday morning and got them in the mail. Still doing them the "old-fashioned" way since I want to bother someone at the IRS to look at the darn papers and give the Post Office some business(dad was a postal clerk). Don't mind paying for those things you stated Sarge but am disgusted at the waste in all the federal agencies, having worked for the Social Security Administration during my career. Oh BTW, 1-2" Friday night, 12" yesterday and........voila... 2-4 inches more forcast for today. Kudos to Ariens for their 2stage snowthrowers!

    1. Wow, snow. Saturday was gorgeous here in the 401, Sunday, cold and windy. Winter refuses to go away.

      Waste. I see it everyday. No one cares, or I should say, no one seems to care.

  6. "One of the two certainties of life..."

    I hope the other one doesn't happen for many decades to come.

    Thanks for the post.
    Paul L. Quandt

  7. Ok, did ours today...was sure I was gonna owe as I have the past few years, which is why I was doing taxes today, and no I wont pay for someone else to use tax software when I can do that...had to pay big time last year, but that was because we got married late in the year and I didn't change my withholding til the end of November. So that increase in withholding made a HUGE difference!!! As we have hardly any deductions (the house is paid for, no kids that are dependents (YEA!), some medical expenses, but not bad...)and they still wont let me make my kitty a dependent! What's with that?!?! :)

    So, yes, I am happy it is done. I am happy we are getting some back. And I agree...elections by 4/30, with only 2 weeks to do any campaigning!! Might help drain the swamp a little faster. Not even going there about the waste I see go on with healthcare!

    1. Healthcare. Had great health care plan until ACA came along. Now? Not so much, AND I have to account for it on my taxes? Ee-jits in DC.

  8. Never thought as a NURSE I would ever have to worry about healthcare...thanks to ACA, can't even afford it! Makes me nervous about what will happen to Social Security and I am putting serious effort into squirreling away lots of money so I can fund my own retirement with out them if necessary. I see everyday what is happening to folks who worked hard all their life, but never made big bucks, and are blowing through what they had saved due to 1 or 2 major health events.
    Don't smoke, get your exercise, eat your veggies, don't get too chubby, and go easy on the booze. Suz's Top 5 Ways for Better Health. :)

  9. I had my taxes done, and the refund spent, by the end of January!
    Badger Paw Salute to the Founding Fathers!

  10. I figure cheap pain-pills will be in my future, once the real disease is diagnosed far too late to do anything. And then it will be a matter of timing and location for my low-cost ending. That's too depressing to think about about, especially as I think dementia will claim me and has some tendrils through me already. Put it off too long, and then it's someone else's responsibility. I've already promised my wife that she will not survive in a vegetative state beyond all hope. If I had to do that, then I would be along moments afterwards because I want to be where she is, not in a dementia ward of the state prison. That may be a sin, but I think it might be forgiveable in the circumstances.

    1. I should say, "been made to promise to my wife"


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)