04 January 2013

My taxes went up!

Actually, the IRS and the State of New York are both taking a little less from me than they did in 2012, but the bad news in my paycheck is that the Social Security payroll tax went up in a big way. Between that and an increase in my health-plan premium, I'm taking home just about 4% less than I did from my last paycheck. Really, though, the only thing I can complain about is the health plan. The payroll thing, after all, is something I'm supposed to get back someday, numerous doom scenarios notwithstanding. If a larger contribution from my helps keep the system solvent, so be it. If I feel the need, I'm confident that I can save enough every pay period to make up for the short-term losses. Of course, if this results in my spending less money, and you have a demand-side theory of economic recovery, I may slow the recovery down, along with everyone with less net this week. I've always suspected, however, that both demand-side and supply-side are too simplistic theories, as are any that predict the same results under all circumstances. Something may be going on with both the national and global economy that can't be accounted for with calculations of supply and demand. Since my higher tax is for Social Security, there's no use saying that the wealthy should pay it instead; the point of the program is for us to fund our own retirement through payroll taxes. In any event, it's a small price to pay when the nation has asked citizens to die in the past. So I'm not going to gripe against the government or the Republican party this time. If I'm worse off this weekend, the real culprits, of course, are my health provider and the employer that hasn't given me a raise in years -- or else myself for complacently accepting that situation for reasons that do me no credit. That's personal responsibility, but I'm sure most people -- including many for whom "personal responsibility" is a mantra -- will blame the politicians instead.

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