I have been meaning to write a post about being a screenwriter and dealing with your money, but it languishes in draft stage*. In the meantime I will just say that when I got my current job (I am a staff writer at a studio), I started to make what my manager and agent call “Real Money” – not buy-an-island or even buy-a-house money… or, um, somewhat sadly, even buy-a-car money, but certainly more money than I’d ever made before. Downside of making Real Money is that the tax situation is pretty legit as well. You pay out a bunch of your pre-tax money to your agent/manager/lawyer but then you still have to pay taxes on the gross. Some of that** comes back to you when you file taxes, but… you see where I’m going with this.
I pay a lot of money in taxes. Like, a number I feel to be startlingly high.
Sometimes I think that that’s fine, that’s how a society should work, from each according to their ability. Other times, I get kind of tetchy about how I am paying an awful lot of money in taxes for the privilege of living in a country with FUCKED UP VALUES about social safety nets and in a city with terrible roads, the sidewalks in my neighborhood are LITERALLY COVERED WITH ROCKFALL THAT NEVER GETS REMOVED AHEM GREENBERGING—
Anyway, you get what I’m saying. I’m sure my ambivalence is common for bleeding-heart commies who suddenly start to make more than 12 dollars an hour.
So here’s the point of this post. Recently we were out running errands, and I pulled up next to this massive truck. The truck’s rear window had two bumperstickers on it. The top bumpersticker read:
The bumpersticker less than half an inch below that one read:
SOCIALISM: A GREAT IDEA UNTIL YOU RUN OUT OF OTHER PEOPLES’ MONEY!
I have never come so close to forcing someone off the road so I could lecture him. I wanted to find a pay stub in my email and wave it at him.
“Do you see these numbers? WHO DO YOU THINK PAYS FOR THE MARINE CORPS? IT’S NOT A PRIVATE COMPANY, MAN! I’LL TELL YOU WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM: MY TAXES. MINE! MIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!!!!”
Honestly. I felt an upwelling of rage so intense that I think I totally freaked out my husband, who is usually the person working on fits of political rage in our apartment. I am usually more like “Haha, check out this picture of a goat standing on a cow… hilarious.”
Anyway. It’s always kind of bizarre to me when someone who’s in the military or who is former military is all “Socialism? Fuck that noise!” because of how military bases are essentially cradle-to-grave socialist dystopias, worse than France.
*Executive summary: DON’T SPEND THE MONEY. You are not rich. The numbers people will quote you when you get a job have so little relation to the number that actually shows up in your bank account that you should just ignore them and continue to live as a tenuously middle-class wage slave. (SERIOUSLY. YOU ARE NOT RICH.)
**You know how people are always blithely saying things like “You can write it off! IT’S A WRITE OFF! SPEND THE MONEY!!!!”? Listen to this shit, you guys! Turns out that for every three dollars you spend and write off as a business expense, you will probably get one back. Um… thanks? As my friend’s friend says whenever he gets a check for an awkwardly small amount: WE’RE GOIN’ TO SIZZLER!