Tom Purcell, 4/12/2010 [Archive]

Enough Chirping

Enough Chirping

By Tom Purcell

I hate birds when they chirp. It's the government's fault.

I am sitting by an open door, with a nice spring breeze, the sun shining, the birds chirping. But I cannot enjoy this beautiful day.

I am surrounded by a sea of receipts, you see -- receipts of every kind. I keep every receipt for every transaction that I make all year long because my government says I must.

I have spent the last few days organizing the massive pile of paper. I must organize each receipt into its appropriate folder and then tally those receipts with great precision -- not easy for an English major -- into numbers that my CPA can then transform into a long return, which we send to the government along with a big fat check.

My CPA has the more difficult job. He must keep up with the massive tax code so he can determine what I can and cannot deduct and how I must go about it. Considering the tax code is some 70,000 pages long, I have no idea how he does this. I suspect alcohol is involved.

I'm running way behind this year. And so, as the weather has broken and the birds have begun singing, I sit here in the middle of a sea of paper, overcome by powerlessness and wondering what the heck has happened to America.

America is supposed to be the land of the free, after all. It's supposed to be a dynamic, bureaucracy-free place where any fellow can easily start his own business -- any fellow can chase his own dream, unburdened by regulations and an incredibly burdensome tax code.

Yet, as our tax code grows ever more complex, a new narrative is forming: that our country is so in debt and our spending so egregious that the only way to keep things afloat is lots more taxes.

It's maddening for a fellow drowning in a sea of paper to contemplate this when, as we move toward European-style, economic-growth-killing policies, former communist countries have moved in the opposite direction.

Russia, Slovakia, Poland, Estonia and Serbia all have ditched their "progressive" income-tax systems for a much lower flat tax -- one that makes compliance simple as it spurs economic growth.

Slovakia, says BusinessWeek, "swept away 21 categories of personal income taxes, five tax brackets, and scores of exemptions and deductions, replacing them with a flat 19 percent rate."

That action led Hyundai Corp. to locate a Kia plant there. How about that: Low taxes result in investment and growth. Only the former communist nations understand that concept now.

Sure, here in America, the FairTax people have the right idea. They want to repeal our incredibly complex income tax (the 16th Amendment) and replace it with a simple, progressive national sales tax.

It makes so much sense it will never be embraced by the birds running our country now.

Sure, they love the idea of a national sales tax -- a national value-added tax is suddenly being bandied about -- but only if they can keep, and raise, our income taxes, too.

It's more than a fellow surrounded by a sea of receipts can bear.

And so, as our country embarks on an insane course -- more spending, more regulations, more bureaucracy, higher taxes, more complexity -- I am filled with dread.

I have come to loathe the spring breeze, the blooming flowers and, most of all, the annoying chirping birds.

© 2010 Tom Purcell. Tom Purcell, a humor columnist for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, is nationally syndicated exclusively by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate. For more info contact Sales at (805) 969-2829 or email Visit Tom on the web at or e-mail him at

RESTRICTIONS: 'Tom Purcell's column may not be reprinted in general circulation print media in Pennsylvania's Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Westmoreland Counties. It may appear only in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and its sister publications.

Download Tom Purcell's color photo - Download Tom Purcell's black and white mug shot photo
Why not run a cartoon with the column? We recommend the cartoons below as a good compliment to Tom Purcell's topic.
Click on the thumbnail images to preview and download the cartoons.

Related Cartoons

 Con  Health Care Deficit Reduction
By: Nate Beeler

March 18, 2010

 Con  Health Care Deficit Reduction COLOR
By: Nate Beeler

March 18, 2010

tax day COLOR
By: David Fitzsimmons

April 12, 2010

tax day
By: David Fitzsimmons

April 12, 2010

Online Income Tax Deductions
By: Olle Johansson

March 23, 2010

 Con  Dem Spenders
By: Gary McCoy

July 31, 2009

 Con  Dem Spenders COLOR
By: Gary McCoy

July 31, 2009

By: Eric Allie

October 30, 2009

Distressed COLOR
By: Eric Allie

October 30, 2009

We do not accept and will not review unsolicited submissions from cartoonists.
Sales & Information: (805) 969-2829
Billing Information: (805)
Technical Support:

FREE cartoons for your website if you're already a paying print subscriber!
Artwork and columns are copyrighted by each creator. All Rights Reserved. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service