How many times in our respective youth did all of us tell our mothers “well, Johnny did the same thing and his mother didn’t punish him?” only to have our mothers respond “I don’t care about Johnny! We’re talking about you and the price you have to pay for your indiscretion!”
The day after my Daily News feature was published, a friend of mine called to tell me that when his mother saw the article, she asked “why are they bothering Billy? Why don’t they go after Donald Trump?” Now this is exactly the kind of attitude that the authorities do not like. It is paramount for the offender to own his crime. In fact, allocuting in front of the judge during the plea bargain process carries with it a small reduction in points for the defendant.
During my seemingly endless ordeal, it was made evidently clear that what I did was not fair to my fellow Americans. After all, they pay their income taxes (or 53% do), so what made me so special that I didn’t pay mine (though I did pay a tiny bit)? And I get that.
Though some natural born citizens of the USA don’t always recognize the fact, we are on balance lucky to be born in this country. If I didn’t know that before, I certainly do now after dealing with numerous immigrants in the cab-driving and escort rank and file – almost all of whom bend over backwards to try and stay in this country. Certainly, we have our issues. But what do you think would happen to STEVEN COLBERT or BILL MAHER if they spoke out as they have against an actual dictator? I shudder to think!
And actually, when the IRS agents came to my door and declared “we’re gonna get a big chunk of your money” (meaning after all the litigation was over, I wasn’t going to get that much of the seized money returned to me), I responded “I don’t have a problem with that,”…though 65% seemed a little steep in the end.
As I’ve noted before, I had a Eureka moment one early Sunday morning back in my cab-driving days when after hearing the DJ on 101.9 say that Paul Desmond had bequeathed all royalties from his composition “Take Five” to the United Way. Figuring I’d never have any offspring, I decided I’d do what Paul did if I ever accumulated any wealth.
So here’s the question: Now that I understand how I so rudely shirked my responsibilities as an American citizen – and that paying my income taxes is one manner in which to affirm my appreciation for all the freedoms I enjoy, would I now see fit to will my fortune (such as it is) to the US Treasury upon my exit from this life?
Not hardly! Call me crazy but it is my feeling that the money will do more good at The United Way and St. Jude’s Hospital (my beneficiaries). Plus without running a laundry list of grievances, I can tell you that the last almost 4 years haven’t been fun. They’ve left me bitter – and I dare say not unfairly so. As a result, I think I’ve paid enough! Yes, I’ll pay my taxes faithfully from now on. But I won’t be willing cash to my country. It could have treated me a lot better!