John Blowden, the IRS
clerk assigned to do the final proofing of next years tax forms, was
making his final corrections. Blowden was a man in his sixties who was about to
retire after once again being passed over for promotion. He looked at the
figure for the standard deduction. Hmmm, he mused, what if I moved that decimal
point over a few spaces? Wonder what would happen? Might be pretty funny.
Somebody would catch it, of course. But what the hell, why not?
The level of competence in
the federal government and all of its agencies, starting with the White House,
had, as everyone knew, been going down every year for years. It was now at a
new low. In the event, nobody at the IRS noticed what Blowden had done. The tax
forms went out.
Gee, look at
this, said Sam Jones, looking up from the tax forms he was working
What? said his
deduction. Here, take a look.
That cant be
right. It must be a mistake.
Yeah, but there it
is, in black and white. What can I do? Ill have to use that
But that means
well get a refund of, I cant even imagine it. Well be
Well, why not.
Weve been paying our taxes for years and years and we know the
politicians waste most of it. If its there, lets take
That scene in the
Jones household was re-enacted in households all over the country. The
tax returns came in. It was all automated of course. The computers didnt
ask any questions. The refunds went out.
The President, the new
acting head of the IRS (the old head, after the President had told reporters he
had complete confidence in him had been fired the next day), and all of the
senior White House advisors were holding an emergency meeting. The economy was
booming. All of the newly minted millionaires, whod until now had been
just ordinary taxpayers, were buying up things like televisions, iPhones,
appliances, new cars, vacations. The only problem was that after paying out all
of those refunds there was no money left in the Treasury. The country was
The emergency meeting in
the White House had just started. Wait a minute, man, the President
was addressing the Secretary of the Treasury, you mean we have no
borrowed from some other departments, like Social Security and Defense, so we
have just enough to keep the country going. But yes, essentially were
Bankrupt? How can I
Build Back Better. How the hell did this happen?
together a committee to investigate, said the Attorney General. It
has to be diverse of course so that might take some time. We dont want to
be accused of systemic racism.
What about blaming
whats his name? piped up a White House Aide. You know, that
guy with the orange hair? Thats always worked before.
pretty old hat, said the Chief of Staff. Even CNN is
only mentioning him two or three times a week. But we can keep it in mind.
Wait a minute,
said the President. You say youve taken money from Defense. How are
the Chinese reacting?
Threatening to take
over Taiwan again. But you know theyre always doing that. Were
keeping a close eye on them.
What about blaming
climate change? piped up the aide again.
so, said the Chief of Staff. Weve already blamed it for
inflation, terrorism, unemployment, supply chain hang-ups, food shortages, rap
music, you name it.
So can we cut down
on Social Security payments?
I dont think
so, said the Chief of Staff. You get those seniors all riled up and
were in big trouble.
So what do we do,
First, we tax the
hell out of those billionaires, said the Treasury Secretary. They
never want to pay their fair share. Then Im afraid theres only one
thing to do.
Sam Jones opened the
packet hed just received from the IRS. Good grief! he said.
What is it?
his wife Mary said.
A supplemental tax.
And look at what the standard deduction is, zero. And these other things.
Forget about being millionaires. Were screwed, again.
This scene was enacted in
households all across the country.
In a remote country that
had no extradition treaty with the United States, John Blowden sat on the
terrace of his villa and sipped his coffee. Its a good thing I left after
getting that big refund, he thought. And the whole mess was blamed on
whats his name, that guy with the orange hair, anyway.