April 18, 2005

What The IRS REALLY Costs Us

Apparently Americans wasted 6.6 billion hours to file their 2004 tax returns, which is the equivalent of 752,909 years. That's absolutely absurd. So not only are they taking the product of our time and labor - money - the government is taking our time directly by making us fill out complex forms. Of course, a lot of people simply outsource that lost time to accountants, which means they feel a greater brunt of the burden in their wallets and not their watches (or calendars) but the point is the same. We waste a lot of energy just filling out the tax forms, even before we write a check.

Apparently homework gets WORSE when you enter the real world.

Moving to a system with a few or no deductions would let people simply write their income, multiply by a percentage, and write down the number. Much has been made by Republicans of a tax form that would be the size of a postcard.

With all the money, time and energy freed from working on taxes, imagine how much better the economy would run and imagine would much happier people would be. Some of the more wistfully philosophical Democrats like to bash modern economics by asking if anyone on his deathbed would reget not spending more time at work. I wonder, would anyone on his deathbed regret not spending more time on his taxes?

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