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Once upon a time in America, there was a family. This family worked hard for what they earned, and they were able to purchase the latest widget. They loved their widget! One day, someone came along and forced them to hand over the widget. This person used said widget for profit for a year, then returned it to the hardworking family. The family rejoiced at the return of the widget, thanked the person who had taken it from them, and they all lived happily ever after.
That can’t be right, can it? Then why are people excited about getting money back on their taxes?
Every year, Americans send Uncle Sam (and, in most cases, their state) a portion of every paycheck. The government then uses this money for a variety of services, some of which are enumerated under the Tenth Amendment, many of which which are not. This money collects interest in the federal coffers until April 15th of the following year- tax day! We diligently collect our receipts and take them to the accountant (or, if we’re smarter than Geithner, we can figure out TurboTax), and hope not to owe anything additional. The optimum outcome is a net $0. We don’t want to owe anything additional out of pocket, but people seem to get excited about getting money back. Why?
I like money as much as the next capitalist. This is why I work to earn money. However, I am fully aware that any money returned to me is my money. It’s been my money the entire time. There’s really no cause to celebrate just because I got some of it back. If you feel differently, let me know; I’ve got my eye on your TV.