Sim Taxman (Yeah, Yeah)
I'm doing my taxes now. I'd rather being playing a game or chewing glass, but it's tax season and I'm a responsible citizen so it's time to see what I can do for my country. Monetarily, of course.
I love the term Tax Season. Makes it sound like a game, which it isn't. It really really isn't. It could be I suppose. If having your eyes gouged out while some very large man with the power to completely destroy your life takes every penny out of your wallet can be considered a game. Actually reminds me of a few Ghost Recon levels, now that I think of it. Maybe Tom Clancy works for the IRS.
Note to self: call Starkist.
I don't mind so much the paying of taxes really. I understand the whys and wherefores of supporting a constitutional democracy and that nothing comes for free, blah blah "… Hey man, I went to public school. There's a reason that they teach you how to write checks in the fifth grade: you'll be doing it for the rest of your life.
No it's not the paying of taxes that fills me with rage, it's the math. And the forms. Forms? Come on man, it's the 21st century. You tell me how much I owe you. I'd gladly submit to an audit before filing my taxes just to let somebody else deal with the paperwork. Hell, I"˜d pay extra even.
You hear that Taxman? I'm working in Education and driving a Ferrari! Come make sense of that, bub. And stop for Munchies on the way over. I'm a little peckish.
I suppose I could go to an accountant and have them do the math, but that's still more work than I'm interested in. I'm the kind of person who hates going to the doctor when I'm sick just because it's kind of a pain to have to leave the house. I'd rather suffer for a week than have to put on pants and drive for fifteen minutes.
I think what's getting me down is that I owe money this year. A lot of money. I won't bore you with the details of how this came about, but take my word for it. We're talking more than I've spent on games this year. Yeah. Let that sink in for a minute.
Now I said before that I don't mind so much that I have to pay Uncle Sam for roads and cops and stuff, and I meant it. Roads and cops are good things. So are most of the other services our government provides (which here in Massachusetts is everything short of a bum-wiping). I also understand and appreciate that those services require logistical and administrative support, which also costs money. Believe me, I'm down.
The problem is that when I have to write a check for multiple thousands of dollars, I want the opportunity to be a little hands-on when it's time to spend that dough. Not that I don't trust our honorable congresspeople to spend my money wisely "… Hang on "…
I'm sorry, it really is funny that I just typed that. Hoo hah hee. Okay, hang on. Give me a sec "… Whew. Thanks. Tearing up here, I'm laughing so hard "… Okay, I don't really trust congress to spend wisely, but that's not the point. The point is: I enjoy playing Sim City. Seriously. Give me a few grand to work with and I can build a civilization to withstand the test of time, not to mix ad slogans.
The IRS is online now right? Took "˜em a while, but they're there. You can eFile, check the status of your return, ask questions, surrender to authorities and the whole deal right from home. That takes infrastructure. It's not easy but they did it. Now riddle me this Batman: how hard would it be to take it to the next level? I'm talking interactive resource allocation. Hell it wouldn't even have to be real. Just give me a Java interface where I can literally put my tax dollars to work by building stuff and filling potholes, etc. and I'd be so much mellower about that gaping hole in my checking account. Not ecstatic mind you, but mellow.
Now let's crank it up a notch. Obviously they wouldn't just let us decide how the money gets spent (that would put five hundred, thirty-five of the most "important" people in America out of work), but what's to stop congress from taking "hints" from the game? Hey, spending other people's money is hard work and congresspeople are inherently lazy (why else would they run for office?). It could happen.
So now we've got an online Tax Fund Allocation Game, from which the US Congress is taking ideas on how to spend your money (just "… go with it). Now let's imagine that the IRS keeps score, and that the person with the highest score gets a full refund!
No, I'm not smoking dope. Shut up. I'm trying to sooth my mind here. I owe the IRS thousands of dollars okay?
You know what gets me the most about the whole thing though? I personally know people who make tons more money that I do and who pay less in taxes. WTF is that about? It's like playing with the guy who always ends up with the sniper rifle and the active camo, no matter which map we're playing on. Is it an exploit or a cheat? I don't know, but when there's money involved I'm inclined to call it a cheat.
Anyway. I'm thinking now that since I spend most of my time at home, with my door locked, that I use fewer roads and cops than the average American. Maybe the IRS will consider a Gamer Tax Credit for 2006. Or a hermit exemption. Or some kind of residency exclusion for people who don't actually want to live in the US, but who are too lazy to leave. What's the form for that?