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Jewish World Review August 23, 2000/ 22 Menachem-Av, 5760

Jackie Mason & Raoul Felder

Jackie & Raul
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Consumer Reports

Life's certainties -- YOU CAN live with the two certainties of life, death and taxes, because you can't do anything about death except to go to big doctors and taxes are out of your control, going up or down depending on which bunch of hypocrites decides how much of somebody else's money they want to grab at any particular time. But it's when these two things come at you together that it really hurts.

Irving, the resident economist at our neighborhood delicatessen, was giving us a lecture, demonstrating as he went along by turning his pockets inside out, depositing the dust from his empty pockets amidst the crumbs on the table. He explained why his pockets were always empty, why he was actually saving money by not working, and more, that his children should be grateful to him for not working.

If Irving actually worked, with any kind income he would have to pay 31 percent of his earnings in taxes, and we are not talking about a high earner, who after Clinton raised taxes in 1993 had to pay 39.6 percent of his income to the government. On top of this he would have had to pay 12.4 percent in Social Security taxes, 2.9 percent in Medicare taxes, and then state and local taxes of about 13 percent. If he had anything left after all these taxes, and actually wanted to buy something, he would have to pay sales tax on the item.

And if, G-d forbid, he wanted to buy cigarettes, whose price was already artificially high to cover the costs of court verdicts against the tobacco industry, or liquor, he would have had to pay an extra "penalty" tax imposed as part of a social engineering process. If he could borrow a car and wanted to go somewhere, he would have had to buy gasoline, whose price has been pumped up to many times its actual cost by taxes added to it by both the state and federal authorities, on no better principle than if you have a car, you may want it to move, so you would have no choice but to pay the tax.

This is all not to mention the fact that if Irving ever chose to work, and needed any sort of license or certificate from the state or city, he would have had to pay a licensing fee. Since he would never have enough money to buy a house or an apartment he would not have to worry about mortgage taxes, filing fees, and transfer taxes. And, of course, he would not have had to pay a yearly property tax and school tax -- whether or not he had a child in school. But he might want to go to a movie, and then he would have to pay an amusement tax, and if he were lucky enough to find a girl he could take to a hotel room, there would be an occupancy tax added to the bill.

Now, Irving says he could live with all of this. What bothers him the most, is that if he ever did have any money left after all these taxes, and he died, the government would take up to another 55 percent of what was left as an estate tax. And if he tried to be generous with his children while he was alive, and give them some money, the state and federal government would grab a hefty gift tax.

Irving explained he had the ideal solution. He spends his days hanging around the delicatessen, mooching off the rest of us and lecturing on economics. At least there is no tax on that.

JWR contributors Jackie Mason and Raoul Felder need no introduction. Comment on this column by clicking here.


07/31/00: AlGore needs a doctor --- badly!
07/03/00: Only a coincidence?
06/01/00: Can a liberal make sense?
06/02/00: Never give a GOPer a break
05/17/00: Computers, OY VEY!
05/02/00: Cuba si, Castro nu
04/17/00: Gen. Kennedy for Commander-in-Chief
04/06/00: Guns, hypocrisy and common sense
03/31/00: What's sleazier than a lawyer?
03/23/00: Clinton the 3-D Man
03/10/00: Politics or Pro Wrestling?
02/28/00: Free advice to the pundits: Get a life --- and new jobs
02/14/00: She Flunked!

© 2000, Jackie Mason & Raul Felder. This article first appeared in The American Spectator Online.