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The Tired Donkey

Cocktails, Apple conundrums, taxes and other assorted stuff

Tired Donkey

The Tired Donkey

Sitting Donkey
The Tired Donkey blogs about cocktails, ways to get the most out of your Mac at home, work, college . . . wherever. He used to write about the unending abuse suffered by the 51% of Americans who actually pay the federal income tax. But this became too depressing, and, frankly, no one wanted to read it.

Nevertheless, if you came here looking for the Tired Donkey's brilliant analysis of our dim-witted tax system, you can still find his earlier posts. Just check the archives or the
Site Map.

Note: The Tired Donkey is not advertiser supported, and he gets no benefit from any product mentioned on his site.

The Tired Donkey

Archives

Foundational Posts

Change Is Afoot

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As you can probably tell from the dearth of posts over the last six months, the Tired Donkey is more tired than usual. Exhausted really. He was wrong on health care reform. Really wrong. And he has lost his will to continue commenting on the politics of the day because, frankly, it’s just too depressing. Soon he and all the other Donkeys will begin paying a lot more in taxes both because of the .9% increase in Medicare taxes that will hit in a few years and because of the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. If any of these extra taxes would go toward paying down the federal debt, the Tired Donkey might be able to live with them, but we all know that’s not what’s going to happen. Despite the example of the collapsing Euro zone a short plane ride away across the Atlantic, we are doing everything we can to follow their failed model. What will the United States government decide to do next? Fix the economy by reissuing New Coke?

But despite his depression, the Tired Donkey still enjoys giving people advice and illumination. So he is going to do that. It just won’t be about politics anymore. At least not all the time. In the coming days and weeks, you’ll see some changes in the site design and some new kinds of posts. You may find them helpful. You may not. The Tired Donkey may even stop writing in the third person. But probably not.
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Onward to Victory!

Churchill Victory
Over the last several days, the Tired Donkey has taught you many important things. Let us briefly review the key points:

—the donkeys who are upset about the way our taxes are being used by the federal government are putting the cart before the donkey.

—without sweeping tax reform that spreads the monetary burden of running the country across a much broader percentage of Americans, the
Freeloaders will never care about responsible spending because the money being wasted is not their money.

—without sweeping tax reform that spreads the monetary burden of running the country across a much broader percentage of Americans, the
Myrmidon Donkeys on Capitol Hill and in the White House will care about only one thing: spending money in ways that make the Freeloaders happy. And making Freeloaders happy is a very bad idea for any nation that cares about its future. Why? Because human nature is what it is: if you can be happy as a Freeloader, why be a donkey?

These points, the Tired Donkey asserts, cannot be honestly debated. So. What the country
needs is happy donkeys and sad Freeloaders, but what the country has is exactly the opposite. There are two quick ways to get from here to there, both of which the Tired Donkey heartily endorses: (1) remove the right to vote in federal elections from anyone who does not pay federal income taxes, or (2) remove the right to vote from anyone who does not own land. Unfortunately, neither of these things has even a remote chance of happening. So we must look elsewhere, and the process is going to be a long one. The steps we will follow are set out below. And don’t worry: the Tired Donkey will discuss each of these in depth in the coming weeks:

—change the national debate so that it focuses on fairness to donkeys;

—release the
Stockholm Donkeys from the thrall of the Freeloaders;

—teach the Freeloaders to feel shame;

—harness these changes to strike fear in the venal hearts of the Myrmidon Donkeys; and, finally,

—spread the tax burden.

The Tired Donkey understands that this sounds fantastical. But he assures you it is possible. Stick with him, and he will show you the way. And please start saving for
Tired Donkey Week.
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Myrmidon Donkeys

Freeloader and Loving Myrmidon
Myrmidon” is a term used to describe “a faithful follower who carries out orders without question,” and Myrmidon Donkeys are the subject of this post. But it will take a minute to get there. While it may not appear likely for the next several paragraphs, the Tired Donkey promises there will be a tax-related point to this post. Read on.

The Tired Donkey has long been aware that the etymology of “myrmidon” is connected to
Greek mythology. But he has never researched the matter. Knowing that he was preparing this post and knowing also the discerning nature of his readers, the Tired Donkey decided that it would be interesting to dig into Greek mythology to provide his readers with a deeper understanding of the term. This was an error. The internet is a bad place to research Greek myths because there are more versions of each myth than there are internet pages describing the myth. But this has led the Tired Donkey to a startling conclusion: since the myths are all just invented stories, anyway, the Tired Donkey is free to choose the version he likes best and present that to his readers. And here it is:

The Tired Donkey is no prude, but the story of the conception of
Aeacus is a strange one. Zeus turned himself into an eagle and made off with Aegina, eventually taking her to an island which now bears her name. According to the Wikipedia entry, she became pregnant after Zeus took the form of an ant and seduced her. Please don’t ask the Tired Donkey how this happened because he does not know and is unwilling to speculate; he will state for the record, however, that this seems farfetched even by the standards of Greek myths. Anyway, Aegina soon gave birth to Aeacus; no source the Tired Donkey could find—not even Wikipedia—alleges that Aeacus looked like some kind of human-ant mash-up, but the Tired Donkey believes it may be possible. Hera, Zeus’s sister and wife, became jealous as sisters will, and used a plague to kill all the inhabitants of the island; she spared only Aeacus and his mother. Aeacus was lonely and prayed to his father for company. Zeus, apparently still in the grip of his ant phase, responded by transforming the island’s ants into men and women who came to be called Myrmidons after the Greek word for ant. The Myrmidons were fierce fighters who followed orders without question; they eventually went to Troy with Achilles. Some sources claim the Myrmidons had six arms; most do not. The Tired Donkey chooses to believe that they did indeed have six arms.

So now we come to the heart of the matter. While writing recent posts, the Tired Donkey spent time considering the special nature of
members of Congress and other politicians—including President Obama—who support policies that will increase the ranks of the Freeloaders. These creatures are not Stockholm Donkeys because Stockholm Donkeys are victims of their own weak minds. No, the Freeloader-voting members of Congress are different. They are calculating and actively court Freeloaders; in fact, they solicit money from Freeloaders with promises to swell their ranks and deliver more goodies to them after confiscating more donkey money. They are something worse than Stockholm Donkeys. They are Myrmidon Donkeys: politicians who are in the thrall of the Freeloaders and do their every bidding.
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On Freeloaders

Donkey Basketball
The Tired Donkey’s wife is annoyed. She does not like the term “freeloader” and she does not like the Tired Donkey to call Robert Reisch a Magical Bearded Gnome. So. In an effort to get back in Mrs. Donkey’s good graces, the Tired Donkey believes a more nuanced discussion of the Freeloaders is in order.

To begin, a working definition: A Freeloader is any potential federal income tax payer over the age of seventeen who—because of his or her low income possibly combined with various deductions—pays no such taxes. Please note from this definition that the Tired Donkey is not implying that a Freeloader lacks a strong work ethic. Some, of course, are lazy bums, but the Tired Donkey can say the same of some donkeys. In other words, the term “Freeloader” is a
quantitative term, not a value judgement. The Tired Donkey is acquainted with many Freeloaders, and some among them are the hardest working people he knows. But they are still Freeloaders.

This may seem hard-hearted, but the Tired Donkey’s hands are tied. It is nothing more or less than the truth, and if it is a little too much for you, the Tired Donkey suggests that you search out your intellectual stimulation
elsewhere. But the working definition is over-inclusive by nearly 2.2 million people, and the Tired Donkey turns to them now.

First the Tired Donkey will consider those who—though they do not contribute monetarily to the daily operations of the republic—are certainly not Freeloaders: the men and women of the United States military. A Freeloader is one who takes without giving, and—at the risk of sounding maudlin—the Tired Donkey is forced to point out that those who provide military service to our country give us something much more valuable than money. The Tired Donkey salutes them and declares them as a group to be Donkeys Plus.

Freeloader Cartoon
Second . . . well, the Tired Donkey believes there is no second. He know a lot, but the Tired Donkey does not know everything, and his reasoning is not always perfect. So he may have missed some small group of people who would otherwise fit the definition of Freeloader but who are not, in fact, Freeloaders. But he doubts it. Please allow the Tired Donkey to set up some straw men and then destroy them so that you do not waste your time proposing them for his consideration:

Low-level employees of the federal government? Are you joking?
Those mired in generational poverty in the Appalachian Mountains, the inner cities, the blasted plains and other such locations? Sorry. Freeloaders. Unfortunate Freeloaders, but Freeloaders nevertheless.
Retired members of the military? Before answering this, the Tired Donkey must point out that a person only “retires” from the military if he or she amasses 20 years or more of service. The Tired Donkey himself is a former Marine with twelve years of service, but he is not “retired.” The Tired Donkey personally feels that retired military members do not get a Freeloader pass, but he will still respect you if you think otherwise.
Retired persons? You do not get a Freeloader pass just because you are retired. There are Freeloaders and Donkeys among the retired.
Donkeys who recently lost their jobs in this terrible economy? Freeloaders.

Please, the Tired Donkey begs you: stop. He has now fully considered the issue and believes he was right the first time: there are donkeys and Donkeys Plus. Everyone else is a Freeloader. But the Tired Donkey can hear you asking (
note for those just learning to be critical readers: this is a common, hackneyed way to prop up another straw man), what about the Freeloaders who hate being Freeloaders? What about the Freeloaders actively working to support the Fair Tax or some other laudable tax plan that would spread fairness throughout the land? The Tired Donkey admires these Freeloaders for Fairness and finds common cause with them, but must point out once again that Freeloading is not a state of mind. They are Freeloaders. Every last one of them.

Now that the Tired Donkey has assured his wife that he is not making a value judgement about the Freeloaders, he hopes that she will grow more comfortable with the term. But on the Robert Riesch-as-Magical-Bearded-Gnome issue, Mrs. Donkey is just going to have to get over it. Because that is what he is.
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Class Warfare?

class warfare
In comments from readers of this blog, the Tired Donkey has noticed that a recurring theme is a discussion of class warfare. Certain Stockholm Donkeys of his acquaintance have accused the Tired Donkey of waging class warfare, while some Steadfast Donkeys have corresponded with him complaining that the Obama Administration is waging class warfare against them. It would seem that class warfare is in the air, and the Tired Donkey enjoys few things more than he does clearing the air.

The question of who is waging war against whom is an interesting one, but it is not the Tired Donkey’s purpose to engage with this question. Rather, the Tired Donkey is attempting to make a simple point:
the current tax policy of the United States allows nearly half of the potential taxpayers who live in this great land to pay no income tax at all, and this is improper, unjust andthe Tired Donkey submitsimmoral. This issue is not being addressed at all in the debate about how much more of the overall tax burden the wealthiest donkeys ought to shoulder; that is an important debate, but the Tired Donkey believe that an even more important debate is whether or not it is appropriate for Freeloaders to be allowed a voice in these questions. If you do not contribute funds to running the country, what right do you have to interfere in the affairs of the donkeys who do contribute these funds? The Tired Donkey has an answer to this question: none. Another, more inflammatory way to put this—a way the Tired Donkey favors—is this: no representation without taxation. You may call that class warfare if you wish; the Tired Donkey calls it common sense.

A good example of the absence of this important question from the current debate was provided yesterday by
Stockholm Donkey Michael Hiltzik of the Los Angeles Times. In his piece on class warfare, he blathers on at length about top tax brackets and income redistribution (which he heartily endorses) and hedge-fund managers and other things that Stockholm Donkeys like to talk about. He even trots out an Addled Donkey from Manhattan Beach, a retired computed executive, who says that “all the tax rebates to the rich never made sense” to him and goes on to “fully endorse the idea that it’s about time the middle class got a crack at” tax rebates for themselves.

In case you were so stunned by the ignorance displayed by the poor Addled Donkey that you missed the point, the Tired Donkey will make it clear for you: Stockholm Donkey Hiltzik used this run-down creature to hide the real question from his no-doubt equally muttonheaded readers: how can someone who pays no taxes get a tax "rebate?" Once again, the Tired Donkey has an answer to this question: he can't.
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Donkeys Afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome

Ridden Donkey
The Stockholm Syndrome is a phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to his or her captor. Unfortunately, many donkeysafter years of brutal work on behalf of the Freeloadersas in the picture to the leftfall prey to this condition. A useful example of this phenomenon is Mr. Jay Bookman of the sad little Atlanta paper, the Journal-Constitution. There are, of course, many other examples of more prominent Stockholm Donkeys, particularly in the media, but the Tired Donkey is singling out Mr. Bookman today because a blog entry he posted last year is a particularly poignant representation of the affliction.

In this post, Stockholm Donkey Bookman argues that the Tired Donkey’s entire premise is a fraud since our Congress—in its infinite wisdom—spends some portion of Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes—which even Freeloaders have to pay—on things they are not supposed to spend it on like paying park rangers. Now Stockholm Donkey Bookman is no idiot, he is just dishonest, and the Tired Donkey will expose his little tricks on a future date. For now, it must be sufficient to point out that the overwhelming majority of Social Security and payroll taxes are paid by the Donkeys, not the Freeloaders; the fact that the Freeloaders may carry their own water bottle while us Donkeys carry all their household possessions does not make what is happening in this country fair. But the Tired Donkey digresses, and he must now return to his primary subject: the Stockholm Donkey.

Pasted Graphic
A Stockholm Donkey is, plainly and simply, a donkey who has lost his way, who has begun to identify with his oppressors and help them achieve their goals instead of finding his way to freedom. Stockholm Donkey Bookman should remember what happened to Patty Hearst before he posts any more spurious blogs that aim to increase his own tax burden. The Tired Donkey is not hard-hearted, and he understands that some may view the Stockholm Donkeys as victims who lack the mental toughness necessary to resist their captors. But he urges all Stockholm Donkeys to fight their affliction and join the donkey quest for freedom.

NOTE: The Tired Donkey has no access to Stockholm Donkey Bookman’s tax returns and recognizes that Stockholm Donkey Bookman may actually be a Freeloader, particularly since he works for such a minor paper. If this is the case, the Tired Donkey apologizes and urges Mr. Bookman to
thank a donkey.
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Welcome to the Tired Donkey

The Tired Donkey wants some fairness in the tax code. Everyone who lives in this country should contribute to the cost of running it by paying a fair share of federal income taxes. It is unjust and immoral that more than 45% of the people living in America do not pay any of these taxes at all. The Tired Donkey hopes to change this by (1) making the freeloaders feel ashamed of themselves so they start electing people who will create a fairer tax code, (2) educating the public about the inequities in the current tax code, and (3) convincing current taxpayers to flex their financial muscles by refusing their wages for one week a year, thereby depriving the federal government of the money that would otherwise come from their labor.

Though you may think he is crazy, the Tired Donkey is serious. But he will admit that me may be living in a dream world. He hopes not. The Tired Donkey firmly believes that some small percentage of the freeloaders are honorable people who have never been asked to confront the fact that it is entirely improper for them live in this country without helping pay for it. And we don’t have to move many people to change the dynamic in Washington. Everything the Tired Donkey is planning is premised on (1) his faith in the American people, and (2) his belief that when they are exposed to the truth they will vote for fairness. If he is wrong about that then at least he will have made a gallant effort in a quest for justice. And who doesn’t want to do that?

If you are a fellow taxpayer—a donkey—and you think you can’t make a difference, take a look at the numbers. In 2007, American donkeys ponied up $1.17 trillion to Uncle Sam. That’s $22.5 billion a week. A week. If just 1% of our fellow donkeys give up their salaries for a week, it will deny the government $225 million. That is what
Tired Donkey Week is all about. Join the movement.

Questions? Check out the
FAQ. More content soon.
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The Tired Donkey

Sitting Donkey
The Tired Donkey blogs about cocktails, ways to get the most out of your Mac at home, work, college . . . wherever. He used to write about the unending abuse suffered by the 51% of Americans who actually pay the federal income tax. But this became too depressing, and, frankly, no one wanted to read it.

Nevertheless, if you came here looking for the Tired Donkey's brilliant analysis of our dim-witted tax system, you can still find his earlier posts. Just check the archives or the
Site Map.

Note: The Tired Donkey is not advertiser supported, and he gets no benefit from any product mentioned on his site.

The Tired Donkey

Archives