Brains Not Included

Cracked Up, Whacked Out and Completely Out of Control

Where Have All the Americans Gone?

American Flag(Not for the faint of heart…)

There is so much to say that I don’t have a clue where to start.  Some of you may have been wondering where I disappeared to and trust me, I disappeared for what I thought was good reason.  After a little introspection I realize now that FEAR is never a good reason for anything.

Many may remember my post several months ago about my encounter with the IRS and how I ended up in a hospital bed after several days of threats and frustrating interactions with the customer (no)service department.  What you don’t know is that the threats were so vicious that I was truly afraid to continue posting my vociferous complaints about the direction of the country.

 Here’s a brief reminder of what happened…

I received mail at my office from the IRS.  The mail basically said that I owed back payroll taxes from 2005 in the sum of $5790 plus interest and penalties.  Now, I’ve always used payroll companies to prepare payroll and they do the taxes so I knew something was wrong.

I explained that there must be a mistake and the lady said that their records indicated the IRS were correct.  She said if I had paid then the state responsible for forwarding the collection would have notified them.  She said; “thus far, the State of California hasn’t sent us proof that you paid the proper tax.”

 …And that’s when it all started…

Me:  “Oh, well that’s where the mix up is, you see, I’m in Georgia not California.  If you check I’m sure you will see that the State of Georgia has reported and everything will be okay.”

 IRS:  “No sir, your business is registered in the State of California so they have to notify us.”

Me:  “Okay, I understand what you are saying but there must be some kind of mix up, the State of California can’t notify you about my payroll taxes because my business is located in Georgia.”

IRS:  “Sir, our records indicate that your business is registered in California and our investigation tells us that you owe the tax.  If you refuse to pay the tax then the IRS has the right to attach your business checking accounts.  Furthermore, we can also attach your personal accounts and even your home.  If you do not…..”  more threats.

 ….trying to stay calm, hold it together … this is all just a big misunderstanding …

Me:  “I understand.  There is no need to threaten; I’m just trying to clear things up.  Let me ask you this, why do you think my business is in California?”

IRS:  “Because that is where we show the registration in our system.”

Me:  “Do you think that someone could have made a mistake?  Maybe input some data wrong?”

IRS:  “No sir, we are the IRS and we don’t make mistakes.”

…. WHAT!?!  I thought I was going to blow a gasket, but I stayed cool….

Me:  “Okay, but we are all human.  So let’s do a little investigation.  Where do you show me opening my business?  In Georgia in 2002, correct?

IRS:  “Yes”

Me:  “Okay and from 2002 to 2004 and then from 2006 to present you show my business in Georgia as well … correct?

IRS:  “Yes”

Me:  “Don’t you think it’s possible that someone who input the data for my business mistook the GA for a CA when they were registering my company that year?  Heck, I’ve only been to California two times in my life.  That’s a total of about 10 days in 45 years of living.  Does the IRS believe that I really moved my company to California for a few days out 7 years of operation?  Do you see what I’m saying, there has to be some kind of data entry mistake, if you’ll just check your records….”

IRS:  “Sir, the IRS does not make mistakes but if you can prove that you paid the tax then we can start a new investigation.”

My Thought…. “hmmm, So I’m guilty until proven innocent…how very un-American…”

We have a few more minutes of conversation.  I’m so frustrated I read her the riot act about what a customer service agent’s job is.  She’s provided no service, no help of any kind.  I’m frustrated and I hang up the phone and go to work to prove my innocence … I feel like I’ve been tried and convicted without a jury and without a judge.  It’s crazy!

She did say that if I had other evidence that I wanted them to consider I could fax the info in and she gave me two fax numbers….

I hang up in frustration and vow to call back the next day with proof in hand.  I call the State of Georgia and within hours I get the proof faxed to me.  Georgia has a wonderful revenue office, highly professional, highly organized and the lady expressed her frustration that she has had a slew of recent calls because of this exact data entry problem.

The next day I attempted to fax my proof 15 times before giving up.  In the end it turns out you can’t fax anything in but this agent and the one that I spoke with the next day both gave me fax numbers.  Not sure if it was some cruel joke of if they really were that clueless!

So, I call the IRS Customer (no)Service department and get a different customer (no)service rep.  I explain the problem, I’m ready to fax my proof that I don’t owe.  Everything will be okay!  I just know it!

IRS agent answers, we exchange formalities.  After a few minutes of explanation about the previous day’s conversation he reads the notes.  He’s reading out loud in a muffled tone, but I can hear what he says.

IRS:  “Mr. Gross claims he doesn’t owe the tax.  He is an agitated right wing zealot who doesn’t believe in paying taxes.  He displayed right wing militant behavior …..”

Me:  “What?!  Is that what she wrote about me?”  I give a brief explanation of the problem and my conversation with the agent the previous day.

IRS:  “Mr. Gross, we have determined that you owe the tax”  then he starts right into the threats without any conversation at all… “If you do not pay with in the next 30 days the IRS has the right to take….”

 Crap, crap, crap!  Here we go again!

 Me:  “Sir, I have proof that I am right, if you will just listen, I can send you…”

I get interrupted…

IRS:  “Mr. Gross, your case has been investigated and no more proof is necessary.  The IRS does not make mistakes, you owe the money and if you do not pay then….” 

Okay, so you get the gist.  I’ve set this up like a real conversation so you can see the lunacy of it all.  I’ve shortened the conversations drastically.  Each call lasted almost two hours and they went back and forth.  It was a true nightmare of epic proportions.

Towards the end of the second phone call I was very frustrated and I felt tightness in my chest, my blood was racing and I felt a little faint.  Then the tell-tale signs of an oncoming heart attack.  Pain in the shoulder, tingling in the fingers, I was in agony.

I dropped the phone and shouted for aspirin!  I needed it fast, I needed it now!  I grabbed a handful shoved the pills in my mouth and chewed and then flew out the door.  I thought if I could just make it to my doctors office …  no more drama, I had had enough.  I didn’t want an ambulance at the office.  My goodness this was all crazy.

As luck would have it I saw a Georgia State Patrol car.  I almost pulled out into the intersection of a red light to get his attention.  He hit the blue lights and followed me into parking lot.  Another lucky break, an EMT was less than a block away on the same busy road. 

Less than a minute later I had nitro under my tongue.  My blood pressure was coming down, it was almost over ….

The Next Day – Unbelievable!

So I was in the hospital for observation.  Thankful that my ordeal was not a full blown heart attack, it was close but the aspirin and the fact that the paramedics were so close is probably what staved off a full blown episode.

So after 8 hours of observation they send me home.  The next day I get up and go to the office and there is a message on my phone.  It’s the IRS.  It’s the same guy I was talking to.  The message went like this:

“Mr. Gross, this is Mr. —— with the IRS.  It sounded looks like you were admitted to the hospital for a heart related episode I just wanted to call and remind you that this issue must still be cleared up.  When you get back you give me a call at 1-80….”

U N B E L I E V A B L E!

So there you have it.  No compassion, no hope you are feeling better, no help what so ever.  Just a “to bad for you buddy” and a “we’re still coming after you!”  So I guess it’s true that the only two things you have to do is die and pay taxes and the IRS customer (no)service department only cares about one of those things!  Making sure you pay taxes.

The Wrap Up

So let me wrap this up.  Trust me the story could go on and on but you’ve already spent enough time reading this rant.  In a nutshell I did finally find a knowledgeable person to help me.  It took me 2 more weeks and a dozen more phone calls but the situation is finally handled AND just as I had told them, I didn’t owe the money!

So why do go on a rant about the IRS in a blog titled Where Have All the Americans Gone?  It’s because my experience is not a solitary one and it’s the exact opposite of what our founders intended.  Everyday thousands of small business people just like me wade through mountains of IRS and Federal Regulatory paperwork. 

Every year we spend billions of dollars on paying people to help us navigate the bloated bureaucracies of our country JUST so we can pay our taxes and keep crap like this from happening. 

Then, just when I have thought that I have heard it all, seen it all, experienced it all, I see the media parade some numbskull around who is stating that they don’t mind having their taxes raised if it means they get health care!  The bozo doesn’t even realize that on his $38,000 per year salary he’s NOT paying any Federal Income Tax anyway!

Furthermore, I hear the mega-wealthy like Warren Buffett (a man whom I greatly admire) say the rich should do more and paying more taxes is ‘American.’  What?  Agreeing to pay more taxes and give more power to the government is the most un-American thing I’ve ever heard of! (remember, giving the government more control and more money is giving AWAY our freedom!)

Where have all the Americans gone?  The ones who threw the tea in the harbor, the ones who sacrificed everything to throw off the shackles of tyranny, where are they?  Where are the Americans who sacrificed to fight the tide of German aggression, not once but twice … and asked for nothing in return except for the freedom of the ones we helped save?

Where are the Americans that stood strong against communism, who shed blood in Korea, Vietnam and countless other conflicts?  Where are they, the ones that stared down the Soviet Union and demanded that they tear down the wall? 

What happened to the freedom loving people of our nation who would rather scratch out a living from the crusty earth than take a dime from the Federal Government because they realized that dime was taken from their neighbor at the point of a gun?  What ever happened to rugged American Individualism?

So my little experience with the IRS, the power broker and enforcer for our Imperial Federal Government has led me to the question.  Where have all the Americans gone?  Because when all the true Americans are gone there will be no more freedom on this earth.

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Filed under: Rants!, , , , , , , ,

Dumb or Smarter Than We Want to Admit?

Sarah is back in the news! You all know Sarah, Sarah Palin, the plain spoken Alaskan that would be Vice President if McCain would have been elected. The women that was interviewed by CNN, Fox and ABC while she was fishing for Salmon over the 4th of July weekend, come on, you know her …the ‘Dumb’ one that David Letterman, John Mahr and others make fun of ….. right?

Joe Bidden was back in the news! You know Joe, good ole Joe. The one that was an ‘also ran’ until he was picked by Obama to be VP. The one they call the Gaff Master. The one that rode AmTrack all those years and had breakfast ‘every morning’ at place that had been closed for more than 20 years. Yes, that Joe! Good Ole Joe!

Both sides say these people are dumb. Dumb as rocks and noone can seem to understand why they are on the public stage. Watch the bloggers, they tear these people apart. ABC, NBC, et-al rip Sarah Palin apart. “She’s naïve,” “She’s inexperienced,” why…”She didn’t even go to an Ivey League school!”

Then there the bloggers on the other side of the aisle that say Biden doesn’t know when to shut up. They are not sure if he’s honest, or stupid or just to backwards to know when to be honest or play dumb.

Well here’s what I think, and you knew this was coming….

Whether it’s George W Bush (43) or Jesse Ventura (Wrestler that made it to governor), or whether its Al Franken (former comedian turned Senator) or Arnold Schwarzenegger (nuff said), these people are not dumb! So they mispronounce words, have accents or seem to take simpler views of what the media claims are complex problems. So what, maybe they have a different perspective and maybe it’s time we all sat up and listen.

Here’s my proof and my point that they are not stupid. Becoming the Governor of a State in the USA makes you the leader of what amounts to a small country. Some states are in the top 10 economies in the world beating out even advanced nations in Europe.

Becoming number two in line for the presidency is no small task. There is a lot of maneuvering that goes on to obtain that goal and becoming president is an even harder task. Some will argue that it’s other people’s smarts that propel these ‘dummies’ to those levels, but I have to ask, who’s smarter? The one who hired the smart people to perform the appointed task or the people doing the work?

The answer is simple. The one doing the hiring is the smart one. They are smart enough to understand their strengths and leverage them. They are smart enough to understand their weaknesses and hire others to overcome them …. and watch …. in some cases you’ll see they are smart enough to even use their weakness to their own advantage.

I believe these people are smarter than we all know. If you think you are smarter than say Sarah Palin, I challenge you to accomplish what she has. An 86% approval rating for a Governor is virtually unheard of, how smart do you have to be? Pretty damn smart.

As for her recent move to resign as governor, watch, read and learn. It was a smart move. As it turns out, the state of Alaska has an ethics law that is the toughest in the land. Any one can bring an ethics complaint for any reason. Also, it is an ethics violation for an elected official in Alaska to use government time and resources to promote a National agenda that benefits themselves.

(of course the talking heads on TV that ‘say’ the news don’t do any investigative reporting any more so something as simple as this will never be reported!)

That’s why she quit, she was so busy defending frivolous ethics claims and had so many offers to be on the National stage that she HAD to quit. It was a SMART decision and it was an ethical decision. Doubtful that the mainstream media will ever get that.

And there in lies another great point about her intelligence. She’s smart enough to know that the media won’t get it and it will keep her in the news. She has manipulated the media from day one and has stayed in the spot light. She even knocked the death of MJ off the front pages for a day!

Palin dumb? Biden dumb? ‘W’ et-al …. Dumb? They don’t mind if you or I think they are because it works to their advantage. How smart is that?!

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/sarah-palin-is-smarter-than-the-media-think

Filed under: Rants!

Up In Smoke! Picking Winners & Loosers Again…

There is not doubt in my mind that there are winners and losers in every aspect of life and a person’s free will and ability to choose can determine whether they are a winner or a loser. We all have a choice. There is a point when we grow up and we can choose to good or bad, right or wrong, left or right.

I believe that the reason America is so strong is because our government was designed to allow this free will to exist. You can choose good and be rewarded or you can choose poorly and be punished.

That punishment can come in many forms. Some choices mean that you, the individual making the choice, are left out of the social or economic growth experienced by others. For instance, choose to sleep in every day and show up to work late and you’ll be unemployed. Bad!

However, choose to get up early, get to work on time and be productive and you will be rewarded! Good!

Choose to break a law and go to jail, choose to do the right thing and stay out of jail. I think you get my point and here’s where I’m going with all of this. It seems that lately we Americans have lost sight of the fact that allowing a winners and losers to be created in society through free will is much better than having a nanny state determine who the winners and losers are.

Now we seem to applaud the government for their daring efforts to save the banks. We MUST save the auto industry and now we’ve done it again. In an attempt to save people from themselves and their choices we have finally instituted stricter regulations on tobacco products.

An unintended consequence of this regulation is that it will establish one company above all others as the leader in the industry and may solidify them in that position for ever. As a matter of fact, Phillip Morris (the company destined to hold the top spot) actually lobbied FOR the regulation! http://www.marketwatch.com/story/under-fda-rule-big-tobacco-could-get-bigger?link=kiosk

So now we have the Government choosing winners and losers again! When does it all stop? If you think this is a good thing then ponder this. What happens when the government decides that the company that competes with the one you work for is more important than yours? What happens when you are on the losing side and you get laid off or see your sales drop so drastically that the company is shut down?

In the end having a government that chooses winners and loser can only lead to ruin. Look at the Soviet Union, Facist/Socialist eras in France and other Eastern European states during the 80’s. Is that what we want America to become? I thing not … and if it does, anyone up for sharing a plane ride to Australia?

Filed under: Rants!

Tom Petty Knew

Song lyrics politics. No I haven’t been drinking this morning, but maybe I should be . Right now is the perfect time for a Bloody Mary and a shot of bourbon.…

I was talkin’ with a friend of mine,
Said a woman had hurt his pride.
Told him that she loved him so,
And turned around and let him go.
Then he said, “You better watch your step”
Or your gonna get hurt yourself
Someone’s gonna tell you lies,
Cut you town to size

Don’t do me like that,
Don’t do me like that,
Baby, baby, baby,
Don’t do me like that.

So, there I was reading the morning news, baffled and befuddled by the seemingly unrelenting hypocrisy that spills form the headlines on a daily basis and then this song popped in my head. Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are one of my all-time favorite bands so it’s only natural that I could associate the words of this song with the politics of our times.

Imagine you are the narrator in the song, the guy doing the talking and now imagine you are talking with your friends. Let’s say they are ultra conservative and every time you talk to them they warn you about the government and the hypocrisy of our politicians. No replace the ‘woman’ in the lyrics with any government official. Bingo, it’s the perfect warning.

What has me so riled up this time? Well it’s Ben Beranke, the Fed Chairman. I read in the paper today that he is now warning congress and the government that they need to immediately start creating plans to reduce the deficit or we’ll face huge problems down the road.

ARE YOU KIDDING ME! Now he’s saying this crap? What? When he’s been right at the forefront of printing money to buy our own debt essentially the creator of the ‘money for nuthin/’ scheme that has gotten us in the situation.

Talk about hypocrisy! Do these guys forget what they say from day to day? Isn’t Bernanke part of the old Three Stooges (Bush, Paulson & Bernanke) and the new Three Stooges (Obama, Geihtner, Bernanke) that said what we need to do is spend our way out of this recession and then set our government on a course to do just that!

Unbelievable! That’s all I have for you today, just freaking unbelievable.

I was talkin’ with a friend of mine,
Said the politicians had hurt his pride.
Told him that they loved him so,
And then they turned around and let it blow.
Then he said, “You better watch your step”
Or your gonna get hurt yourself
You guys gonna tell you lies,
Government’s power will cut you town to size

Don’t do me like that,
Don’t do me like that,
Obama, Giehtner, Bernanke,
Don’t do me like that…..

At least we still have the music, they can’t take that away can they? Can they? What? Oh Nooooo!

Filed under: Rants!

In Wonderland

Sometimes when I watch the news I feel as if I’m Alice and I just fell through the rabbit hole.

As I arrived home from another stressful day of barely scratching out a living and working 12-14 hour days just to do it, I was greeted with our President and Secretary “Dodgy The Tax Dodger” Geihtner announcing a new corporate tax program.

As I watched …in disbelief I might add… Secretary Geihtner actually had the gall to admonish corporations who use LEGAL tax loopholes to lower their taxes. He then had the unmitigated nerve to state that the new law would give government the ability to collect back taxes owed by these corporations and wealthy individuals.

Now wait just one cotton pickin’ minute! Is this the same guy that didn’t pay his fair share until he was caught? Isn’t this the same guy that didn’t pay all of his back taxes owed because the statutes of limitation had run out on some of it?

Do we really live in a world where the Sec. Treasury who is supposedly the ‘brightest financial mind’ of our nation can’t even use Turbo Tax to properly file his taxes but is the one lecturing others on the tax responsibilities? Will the hypocrisy never end?

Making American Companies Less Competitive

But let’s look beyond the hypocrisy to the stupidity. While this idea seems to be a good one on its surface and will play well with the ‘class warfare’ types, you know the ones that want to crush the rich and curse the evil corporations, the whole thing will never work.

Here’s why. The rework of the tax code is supposed to ‘punish’ corporations that ship jobs over seas and ‘reward’ companies that create jobs at home. However the tax rate on corporations in our country is confiscatory. We have one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world.

Companies will just choose to move their operations completely out of the U.S. rather than be subjected to further government interference. On top of the regulations on CEO pay and other socialistic policies, more capital and more companies will leave our shores not stay here!

We Pay Anyway

But that’s not the real point is it? In my usual fashion I’d like to take the conversation to where it belongs and it’s a direction that you are not likely to hear from any normal news cast.

No matter how much corporation is taxed they never pay it. The cost of the tax is just reflected in the retail cost of the goods when they are brought to market. That’s right; we pay the tax, not the corporation.
Higher taxes and tightening loopholes will only lead to more companies leaving our shores. It will lead to less jobs here and it will lead to higher prices on everything. We pay anyway.

Evil Corporations!

Now I know that many of you know that I am self employed and as such I am ‘part of the problem’ in this country. After all, I don’t conform, I’m ambitious, I work hard and I’m independent. You can’t fit me a box so I must be ‘dealt’ with.

That’s right, I’m a CEO and I own an evil corporation. But I’d like to say something here. As a dumb hick from the Southside of Atlanta with a high school education, I’ve worked hard. I’ve taught myself and I’ve put a lot of sweat into what I do.

Over the past two years I’ve endured a huge amount of sacrifice and worked 60, 70 and 80 hour weeks without earning a single dime! I’m barely holding on, but I’m holding on. And when things turn around I deserve to make an unlimited amount of money because of my sacrifice. Who has the right to tell me otherwise?

The IRS and The Hospital

Well it seems that the IRS has the right to tell me otherwise. After years of paying my taxes on time, paying 7.5% of other peoples taxes (BTW – that’s what employers do, they pay 7.5% of someone’s wages to the Federal government for the privilege of having an employee, oh yeah, and don’t forget the additional 15% we pay on ourselves. Sound crazy? It is!)

….sorry, I digress…. I received a letter form the IRS saying that I owed back taxes called FUTA taxes for employee payroll from 2005. When I called I found out there was more, they believed that I operated my business out of California even though I’ve only been to that state once in my life, I could not get them to understand otherwise.

So what’s my point? My point is that the way I was treated was so unprofessional and so harsh that the stress sent me into a tail spin and I ended up in the hospital (that story will come soon, I’m writing it now so stay tuned).

You see, I am to be ‘dealt’ with as far as this administration is concerned. So for those of you who think I’m some conservative hack and guys like me need to be dealt with, watch what you wish for. I’m sure that when the government is finished with guys like me, they’ll turn on you.

Remember, government does not create wealth and at some point those that wish to redistribute wealth will run out of other people’s money, that’s when they’ll come after yours.

BTW – I don’t owe the tax and I have proof. Do you think that matters to the IRS? The answer was and is a resounding …NO!…

Stay tuned for the unbelievable TRUE story of what happened when I called into IRS Customer Svc…. “Coming Soon”

Filed under: Economics 101, Rants!

Danger, Danger Will Robinson

It seems like I’ve been running around like that silly, bubble headed robot from the 1960’s ‘sci-fi drama’, Lost In Space! Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

Why have I been flapping my arms wildly about and pronouncing warnings for so long? It’s because our elected officials seem to have no concept of reality.

Little did I know that when I put the motto of my blog up; Cracked Up, Whacked Out and Completely Out of Control, how right I would be!

From our president who is proclaiming that we will unilaterally reduce our nuclear weapons arsenal while at the same time North Korea launches a test of an intercontinental missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to him bowing at the waste to the so-called King of Saudi Arabia, we seem to have lost our since of pride.

Added on top of these foreign relations miscues are domestic issue missteps such as the bonuses for AIG execs that were approved by a Democratic congress and signed by the president. Did Senator Dodd and the President really believe we would believe them when they said they knew nothing … didn’t they write the bill?

Now we have the situation of an American Flagged ship being held hostage by pirates. This demands a quick and concise response from our government.

Now I hear the Obama Justice department has sent FBI negotiators to the seen as if this were a criminal action. It is not, it is a war. I hear the DOJ wringing their hands over what to do and it sickens me.

‘We haven’t had to deal with this for 200 years…’ bla,bla,bla. Can someone help me out here, how do we deal with scum bags when we have a Navy ship in the area?

Can anyone say; Navy Seals? How about .50 cals and 5 inch deck mounted guns?

Negotiations my eye! In the old days we didn’t send out the constable to try to get Black Beard to stop terrorizing the Barbary Coast did we? Nope, we put a bunch of our war ships out to see and when we found him we blasted the heck out of him!

I’m fed up with the American Apology tour, the diminution of individualism and the fear of naming a ‘thing’ for what it really is because we might offend somebody. These pirates are thugs and terrorist and they deserve to be treated like we are at war with them!

This is NOT a police action. Let the military pop a few of the pirate support ships and put them on the bottom of the ocean and then see if this crap continues. Come on people, let me here a little H**L Yeah! (sorry, got a little carried away with that last part. LOL)

Filed under: Rants!

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