THE TAX BURDEN
RANGE: A creature fond of earth and the home, the Tax Burden naturally hangs around real estate offices looking after his interests—but his awful presence can also be felt quarterly in corporate boardrooms, daily at assessors’ offices, and frequently wherever big money changes hands. His only known holiday is April 15th. His presence is, curiously, something of a status symbol, and many people, such as the very rich, complain loudly and incessantly of his torments although in reality he seldom bothers them at all. He is vast and still growing and totally omnivorous. He is especially fond of paychecks, from which he has been known to take big bites.
HABITS: The Tax-Burden has been accused, by his detractors, of playing the percentages and other mischievous deeds. They say that he (like many a fairy before him) feeds and clothes the poor—widows and orphans and the like. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Tax Burden is actually a benign and generous goblin, who fills with gold the pockets of needy armaments manufacturers and, all in fun, devotes any of his leftover wealth to funding committees investigating methods of exterminating him. But the dark shadow which the Tax Burden casts upon the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow is said to sap the get-up-and-go-profit-motivatedenergy that Made This Country Great. Many a listless youth would dash from his street corner hangout and rescue a millionaire’s daughter on her runaway horse, were it not that the Tax Burden whispers in his ear, “What’s the use? It would only put you in a higher tax bracket, anyway.”
HISTORY: “A specter is haunting Europe—the specter of Communism,” wrote Karl Marx in 1848. These days, an equally terrifying specter haunts America: the Tax Burden, which, like Communism, takes all your money and gives it to the State, but, unlike Communism, does not supply you with a free pair of rimless spectacles in return. There is every reason to believe that the Tax Burden, like so many of our woes, is of Russian origin—and is a descendant of the highly un-Orthodox fairy Ruskali, once responsible for the Czarist version of the I.R.S. On a sight-seeing trip through the Gulag, this indomitable fairy wandered across the Aleutians, and arrived just in time to inspire Seward’s Folly. Today, thanks to the arcane Laffer ritual being practiced by Federal exorcists, there is hope of relief from the torments of the Tax Burden—at least, for the very rich.
SPOTTER’S TIPS: Like most Evil Spirits, the Tax Burden is usually invisible. But he can be seen clearly—an obese, greedy, grinning monster perched upon the backs of the people—by political candidates to whom he appears every four years. If we ordinary people keep our eyes open, we, too, can occasionally see a Tax Burden—escaping through a loophole, to join the Gnomes of Zurich.