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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Keynesian Kooks – Why Keynesian Theory Doesn’t Work

KeynesianWhose Theory is This?

Keynesian Theory was developed by John Maynard Keynes, a man who would eventually have the royal title of Duke bestowed upon him in England.  Born in 1883, he came to prominence as an economist and philosopher around the time of The Great Depression. 

 His theories were adopted by the government in England in the late 1930’s and were eventually adopted by the Americans towards the end of World War II.  Essentially he believed that government could and should control capital in order to abate the swings in unemployment that can be typical in capitalist economic systems.

His theory basically states that high rates of savings by the population should be discouraged because those rates of savings hamper growth.  He also believed that supply drove demand not the other way around.

One of his largest critics was Milton Friedman who believed there were some basic flaws in Keynes theory.  One of the things that bothered Friedman the most was that much of Keynes economic themes were based on his feelings or his philosophy and had very little to do with actual mathimatical formulaic proof.

Friedman actually disproved Keynes theory that supply created demand and proved mathematically the opposite was in fact true.

What is the Keynesian Theory of Economics?

Simply put, Keynesian theory states that government can place capital more efficiently than the private sector.  When government controls capital and directs its placement through taxation and heavy regulation or through deficit spending, then swings in economic cycles are flattened and full employment is brought into equilibrium for long periods of time.

It further hypothesizes that high savings rates are unsafe and destabilize the economy and that only low savings rates and high rates of spending by the population can sustain growth and fuel stable economic cycles. 

Therefore, when the public is saving in large numbers, the government must encourage spending through regulation and if government cannot encourage spending then it should tax heavily in order to put the saved money to work in the economy.

Why Keynesian Theory is Still a Theory

Keynesian Theory is still a theory because it’s never been proven to work.  While America embraced Keynesian Theory in the lat 70’s under Nixon and Carter, the British were quickly squeezing the vestiges of this failed theory out of their government.

Theories remain theories until they are proven at which time they receive the title of Rule or Law.  We don’t call it a law because the theory’s concepts have failed time and again.  If it worked we would call it a Keynesian’s Law or the Keynesian Rule.

Milton FriedmanCommon Sense Shows Us the Way

Think about the two basic tenants of Keynesian Theory.  1.)  That saving is bad and; 2. )  That capital in the hands of a few (the government) is better than the profit motive of capital in the hands of many.

Instinctively we know that having savings is good.  ‘Save for a rainy day’… ‘Neither a beggar or a borrower be’…  ‘Waste not, want not’…  All of these wise old sayings are telling us something.  SAVE FOR A RAINY DAY!  Saving is a good thing.

Next lets take a look at human nature.  How good would a person have to be if you put millions, billions or even trillions of dollars in their hands and said, this doesn’t belong to you but you have complete control over it? 

Now the rules say this person can’t use their emotions in deciding what to do with the money and they can’t let their personal opinions play on their decisions, but…  How does this person or these few people in control that kind of money keep their own human nature in check? 

They don’t, just look at the Marxist utopia that should have bloomed from the Bolshevik revolution.  Instead of Utopia we got the USSR.  Socialism and Communism are the end result of basic Keynesian Theory.

Friedman Got It Right

Milton Friedman used mathematics to prove his economic theories and to disprove Keynesian Theory.  While Keynesian approached economics from the viewpoint of philosophy first and mathematics second, Friedman comes at from the other side.

While the Keynesian experiment was all the rage in Europe and was being put into practice in the U.S.A., Friedman was being decried by his piers for his opposition to this ‘enlightened’ economic theory. 

But, armed with the mathematical facts and penchant for philosophy himself, Friedman was able to write one of the greatest books of all times.  Capitalism and Freedom is a must read for anyone that wants to understand why Capitalism works and how it creates freedom.

We can try Keynes ideas one more time, but doesn’t make more since to turn to the logical rules that are proven and documented for us by Friedman?  Capitalism may give us some ups and downs in our economy, but it is still the worlds last best chance for strong free societies where people have an opportunity to live free from tyranny and where people are free to live their lives as they see fit!

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Bar Stool Economics – The Analysis

We’ve all seen the bar stool economics email, right?  The one where the 10 buddies go to the bar and they all pay according to their ability rather than dividing the bill up equally.  (by the way – this is a communist principal ….each according to their ability to each according to their need…. but that’s for another post, let’s move on.)

Well my lovely bride sent this email out to a friend of hers and he responded with a well thought out recalculation.  I won’t go into his response in detail because this post is not about the numbers.  This post is all about the fact that he needed to respond in a way that would prove his point.

His analogy was to point out that his grand father, a very wealthy man in his own right, paid less tax than a lot of people that mad eless than he did.  His analogy showed the wealthy guy paying less than the others as a percentage, thereby creating a deficit to the bar owner, he also disparages his grand father for only paying Social Security Tax to a certain limit.

While he had a decent analogy, he forgot one thing.  The people that put the SS tax in place were the democrats and the people that started the ‘tiered’ system  of taxation were democrats. Regardless of the reasoning behind these ‘systems’ the truth of our day and of this political environment is that the current system is used to pit one American against the other.

So here we sit. Al off us Americans…..many of us in the same tax bracket……taking a simple analogy of how our tax system works and turning it into some complex manipulation of numbers to show how it all ‘really’ works! LOL

and I say, isn’t that the real problem anyway?!!?

Don’t we need to quit worrying about what other people make and/or pay and go to a system that doesn’t promote class warfare? I look at the parties and I see one side always trying to tax the heck out of me and I see the other always trying to remove taxes from me. But then I see one party trying to legislate morality while the other isn’t.

I say the government should stay out of our wallets AND out of our bedrooms. It’s a shame we don’t have a singular choice that meets both tenants. In the end I vote for the party that stays ‘mostly’ out of my wallet. That would be the Republicans ….this year anyway….

Oh and BTW – This current economic crisis was not caused completely by the Republicans. It was caused mostly by the Dems. I know because I have followed the issue for years and have railed against the abuses in lending for years. I’m in the mortgage/real estate industry and I watched this crash coming.

There is no debating that the democrats staved off heavier regulation of the GSE’s and that the Republicans the Bush Admin. wanted more regulation on those companies.

Visit this link and watch the politicians say in their own words:

It’s also no secret that J. Carter created the Community Reinvestment Act and it was Clinton who expanded it and forced banks under the threat of a law suit to prove that they were making loans in ‘under developed’ communities. This act essentially created the Sub Prime mortgage market and forced banks to make loans to people that couldn’t afford them.

We can go into all the predatory lender comments and bad players and play the blame game, but everyone needs to realize that these players would never have existed if a playing field had not been created for them to play on. This field was created by the expansion of the Community Reinvestment Act and through the lack of the political will of Democrats on the hill to allow tighter regulation of the GSE’s

These facts are undeniable. So here we sit, good people, reasonable people and knowledgeable people, arguing (in a playful way of course) over who to vote for. We are probably very close in our belief systems but the pimps from both parties have achieved their goal…..they’ve gotten fairly like minded individuals to play the ‘class warfare’ game and even have some people disparaging their own grandfather to make thier point.

We all need to band together and find a way to remove these pimps from office. The socialist and the facist need to go and we need to elect some people that truly understand that our nation was founded as a Democratic Republic and not a democracy. We need the Fair Tax so pimp politicians can’t pit good people against each other even if we are against each other in jest.

Much love for everybody’s passion in taking the time to recalculate but I think they may have been blinded by a little ‘class warfareism’ with the response.

Take care and hope everyone is making it through this down economy.

Read this and other comments on my blog I would love to get your feedback. Remember when you read it, I said brains NOT included, that would mean the politicians and MINE! LOL

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