Saturday, September 20, 2008

9/20/08 Do You Pay Taxes?

During 2008, if you paid taxes for the previous year, you probably received a tax rebate check. For most people it was $600. For married couples, it was $1200. 130 million Americans received that check.

This week President Bush wants $700 billion to bailout various financial institutions. In a world where the words million and billion barely get notice, I want to put this into context. If, instead of a bailout, each of the 130 million tax payers that received rebate checks got the money instead, how much would they get? $700,000,000,000 divided by 130,000,000 people.... Equals exactly $5,384.62. You can look at it one of two ways. Either you deserved that money as an additional rebate. Or, more than $5,000 of your hard earned tax money just went to a bunch of irresponsible financial executives.

If you're not bothered by the current economic situation, I have one more little factoid that is personally bothersome. This is geared more towards those of you in my generation who have been in the workforce for perhaps a decade or so. Let's say you followed "sound" investment advice as you began in the workforce, putting away a few percent of your paycheck, preparing for big life events (a mortgage, wedding) and/or retirement. I know a lot of my friends have been doing this. If you began investing at the beginning of the decade (January, 2000), the Dow Jones closed at 11,522. This weekend (some eight years later) the Dow Jones sits at 11,388. It began Friday lower, at 11,027 until news of the government bailouts. So, for those of us that have worked our tails off, hoping for some long term prosperity or perhaps just a day when we can retire, things are not looking so good.


You know what though? Despite the increased financial difficulties of my generation, I'm happy. You want to know why? Because science once again has made life worth living. No, I'm not talking about the LHC (which was online for a few days, then has subsequently been shut down for 2 months). It's much, much more divine that that... Quilted Northern is now offering 3-ply toilet paper, putting the giant Q in Quality Time.

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