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Artist's Almanac: April 2013
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Now comes that wastrel, spring,
Scattering her blossoms to the winds,
Making more promises
Than summer can ever keep.
The Primavera by Sandro Botticelli 1482
The Mythical Allegory, La
Primavera, is one of the most famous paintings in the
history of Art. The coming of spring, presided over by Venus.
Botticelli indicates there are 500 identified plant species
depicted in the painting, with about 190 different flowers,
which flowers depicted, at least 130 have been specifically
My Cherry Blossoms this year
These trees worked all year to
produce their lovely blossoms, the same are chosen to line The
Tidal Basin of our Capital in Washington City. Young George, for
whom it was named, early proved his integrity by admitting to
the destruction of one of these beauties and this confession may
well have set him on his noble upward path to glory.
Like the trees, we toil a year
in heat, dark, cold and sun to produce a crop we call our annual
income, only to have our first fruits plucked by our Federal
Government on April 15th in a heavy tithe of income tax. Mankind
has always paid taxes, and they may have once been worse, as
they are today in totalitarian regimes around the world. A knock
on the door and a demand for what you have, or a brutal seizure
of crops, stored grain or livestock. The Turks assessed the
Palestinians based upon the number of trees growing on their
land, which is why the Holy Land is so barren of forests today.
Yet taxes have never been this
complicated. Our income tax code is so burdened with
indecipherable, inconsistent laws and regulations, that tests
run by having 50 IRS agents charged with assisting befuddled
taxpayers prepare 50 returns using identical data came up with
50 different answers.
I spent my professional life as
a CPA trying to understand the Internal Revenue Code and its
Regulations, now swelled to the size of several Bibles. I
confess I still cannot clearly understand the difference between
capital gain and ordinary income, or understand why the Hedge
Fund Manager pays less tax by describing his gain on a so-called
“carried interest” - an investment he made in time but not
dollars – as capital gain, while the salaried worker or wage
earner, whose only capital is himself, pays tax on what he earns
with it at the higher rates on ordinary income.
And that’s only Federal Income
Taxes- the largest and most visible one. There are also payroll
taxes for Social Security and Medicare, state, county and city
taxes, estate taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, unemployment
insurance for employees, excise taxes, real estate transfer
taxes, vehicle stickers, and extra taxes on airline tickets.
There are traffic tolls, gas taxes and even sales taxes on the
casket and vault chosen for your final resting place. Then there
are corporate income taxes passed on to individuals as price
increases. Finally, there is the lottery, or voluntary “dumb
tax” on the poor, used to increase college tuitions by like
amounts in the fastest inflating cost in the index. How much do
people pay? 50%? 60%? Even 70%?! Nobody knows, but at some point
the poison seeps in and the tree simply quit bearing, quits
growing, or withers and dies. Vast differences in state taxes
have caused much of the interstate immigration in our country.
April 15th kept us from enjoying
much spring beauty this year, shuttering us inside, stressing
and assessing ourselves using forms none of us understand. We
need a new law requiring every member of Congress and the
Administration to prepare his or her own income tax return,
using pencil, paper and a calculator, without aid from a CPA or
other professional tax preparer. This may help them to
appreciate the laws they have imposed upon us.
At least we do not have to pay a
tax on the Early Richmond cherries I harvest for good wife to
make into a tart cherry pie in early summer. Neither do the
The Three Graces – Beauty, Chastity, Creativity, Detail
from Primavera, Botticelli
Gallatin, TN 37066, Email:
© Copyright 2013. All Rights Reserved. Bill Puryear.