Home / General / WHERE’S THE OUTRAGE?



Motivated by the profound political commentary printed in the Paper of Record yesterday, I made some remarkable discoveries. Wondering exactly why I was expected to pay property taxes twice a year, I looked into it and found something truly shocking. The big check goes to something called “school taxes.” (Why haven’t people around here discovered such honest American practices as “homeschooling” and “giving your kid a miner’s helmet for his or her 10th birthday”?) As I informed city hall in an agitated phone call, I don’t even have kids, so why should I pay for someone else’s moochers? I was told that this was Barack HUSSEIN Obama’s America now, so I had no recourse. A look into my county taxes revealed something even more disturbing. Apparently, some of the money goes into a so-called “fire department” — but my house has never burned down! Even worse, the county apparently squanders money on snow removal services, and it’s not even supposed to snow today!

Moving away from my benevolent local overlords to the evil feds, the situation was even worse. I examined my pay stubs, and found that every two weeks I was paying a Social Security tax — and yet apparently I’m not even eligible for a pension yet! Even worse, money was withheld from my paycheck for federal income taxes, and yet deprived of the unimaginable luxury of SNAP benefits I haven’t even gotten an Obamaphone yet, let alone my free T-Bone steak and Cadillac vouchers. I was even informed by a helpful health insurance representative a nice man in a tricorn hat that the federal government wasn’t even authorized to collect an income tax.

So I went onto Facebook so share my outrage to my millions tens of avid followers.* And rather than the thousands of “likes” I expected as the post went viral, instead I got no likes and several comments about how I was clueless about basic facts of American governance and obscenely self-centered. What is happening to this country?

*Technically, I shared only some of this on Facebook, and the post got several likes and no angry comments. But this is creative-non fiction — these facts serve a greater truth. I learned that at the several Ivy League universities at which I finished at the top of my class.

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  • Karen

    You have now inspired me to waste time at working looking for wingnuts who say the same things as you have here but without irony. The even sadder part is that reading right wing swill is likely to be less depressing than reading correspondence related to my actual paying job.

    • Walt

      This is the most desperate cry for help in the history of the Internet.

      • Karen

        I work for the Texas state government.

        • Ten

          I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.

          • Karen

            Your support really does mean so much to me during this trying time. ;)

            • GoDeep

              I’ll 2nd Ten’s sorry. God bless you. I can’t even imagine working someplace with pics of Perry plastered over every wall.

            • BigHank53

              Please accept my sympathy as well. I’ve had some awful jobs, but Texas government i can’t even imagine.

              • Darling Deborah – Commie Sympathizer

                Great pension, good pay, government position

                If that’s soooo…bad, Karen should get a different job.

                She won’t. It’s cushy..

                • Malaclypse

                  Because dammit, everybody needs to be as bitter and angry as Jennie is.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  Actual analysis doesn’t back you up there – most government jobs pay less than their private sector equivalents.

                  But you knew that, of course.

                • cpinva

                  “But you knew that, of course.”

                  I wouldn’t go betting the rent money on that assumption.

              • Karen

                I feel somewhat obligated to note that I do have a nice health plan, decent pension, and I work indoors in air conditioning. I have a couple of nice achievements on my resume, and my work is more interesting than greeting at Walmart.

                Those things do not requirement to be a constant state of groveling gratitude to My Betters for allowing me to do a job for them, especially when they expect bricks to be made without straw, clay, or water.

        • NBarnes

          What heinous sin did you commit in a prior lifetime? I hesitate to imagine.

          • Karen

            I was born in 1963, so I’m guessing French intelligence officer in Algeria.

  • Icarus Wright

    (Why haven’t people around here discovered such honest American practices as “homeschooling” and “giving your kid a miner’s helmet gun for his or her 10th birthday”?)


    • Malaclypse

      Don’t be silly. Guns are for 5th birthdays. What are you, some kind of coastal elitist type?

      • Tnap01

        +2 for the only Amendment that matters.

        • Warren Terra

          Technically, it’s the only half-amendment that matters. A well-regulated what now?

      • delurking

        God, this is a true story.

      • Hob

        I thought guns were traditional for the 6th wedding anniversary. Isn’t that the iron one?

        • Warren Terra

          or candy, apparently.

          Though you can get them a fancy holster on the third anniversary – and some paper targets on the first!

          • efgoldman

            or candy, apparently

            I clicked on 36 (the one we just passed.) It says “antiques.” Is that supposed to be a joke? We already live with antiques.
            Each other.

    • oldster

      Mining helmets?? LUXURY!! Why, when our dah sent us down into the mines, he didn’t give us any mining helmets. He gave my eldest brother a cardboard box for his head, and weren’t we all jealous then! I had to made do with a lump of coal fastened on with cello-tape! And my younger brother’s only head protection was *his* younger brother, who was fixed to his forehead with staples!

      • efgoldman

        And that’s the way it was, and we *liked* it!

  • Lee Rudolph

    You’re in real trouble already if there’s even a small chance that your mouse may burn down. I would advise unplugging it, and throwing it, the monitor, and all the other peripherals into a filled bathtub. Then back away slowly and make a break for it.

    • Icarus Wright

      Dag nab rodents. Perhaps the mouse needs a less spicy cheese? Does it smoke??

    • Nathan of Perth

      I was about to suggest that if the typical mouse-burning requires the attendance of fire fighters, the rodent plague over there has reached surprising levels, or else you have a lot of rodents of unusual size…

    • Glenn

      • Glenn

        well, that didn’t work did it? trying again:

        Here’s why you need good health insurance

  • I really wonder whether Lori Gottlieb is experiencing shame and embarrassement, or that joyful feeling that “every knock’s a boost” and no publicity is bad publicity. I can’t really explain her actual column as anything other than an attempt to market her brand of selfish stupidity to an audience she must know quite well are even more selfish and stupid than she is. Her FB post has to have revealed the logical flaws in her representation of her situation, as well as how toxic her basic premise is. I mean: the FB post was like sending your novel out for editorial comment, getting it back blue penciled and covered with vomit from readers who take time to point out to you that its Vogon Poetry Bad and then publishing it again to a wider audience and expecting a different response. I don’t think she’s that stupid–I think she is simply drumming up business as a speaker for people who are that stupid.

    • DrDick

      Hey, it works for Megan McArdle, so why not?

    • Orpho

      This is perhaps too curmudgeonly of me, but I long for a time when “Facebook post” and “NY Times Op-Ed” were two different categories of Things, possessing different qualities of argument, perspective, learning, research, and wit.

      …okay, so that time never actually existed. But in my steampunk airship-flying monocle-wearing dreams, there was This Tyme, and it was a Golden Age of Print.

      • Well, I just look at them as bits of writing that should go through different kinds of vetting and drafting. In this case I think she used one as a provocation enabling her to write the second in an even more fact free way. Like someone hiring an agent provocateur to break something at a rally, so the newspaper can write a tut-tuttery about how the other protesters did nothing to stop the violent anarchists in their rank. Everything is technically true but the original “fact” is a construct and the secondary “report” is true but besides the point.

    • Royko

      She might get sucked up into the Tea Party bubble, with lots of praise from Obamacare haters, and any dissent is just dismissed as liberal griping.

      It’s very rare that anybody ever realizes or admits their mistakes. We’re a culture that doubles down on wrong.

    • Hob

      For unknown reasons, a Facebook friend forwarded this article from Crain’s New York Business, in which a 28-year-old freelancer demonstrates total unfamiliarity with the concept of insurance, asks a doctor(*) about it, and gets a bizarre quote in which a hip fracture is described as a “$300 problem” that probably won’t happen to you so don’t worry about it.

      The crazy thing is that in the middle of this, she tries to make an argument for single-payer, but five seconds later it’s back to the idea that paying anything at all for coverage she’s not currently using is not “a good buy” and she’s 28 and healthy so why bother.

      (* The doctor in question, Dave Ores, is neither a fool nor a shill – he’s been doing low-cost public health in NYC since forever, and he certainly understands what insurance is, he just hates insurance companies for profiteering. But the way he was cited in this article is absurd.)

    • Mr. Madame Psychosis

      + 42 for Vogon Poetry Bad

  • Sly

    As I informed city hall in an agitated phone call, I don’t even have kids, so why should I pay for someone else’s moochers?)

    You don’t even have to be childless. The exact moment that I, the youngest of five, graduated high school, was the same moment that my father discovered the evils of property taxes and how it was completely unfair to obligate him to pay for neighbors with one or two kids.

    • Malaclypse

      A conversation a few years ago:

      Co-Worker: It is so unfair that I need to fundraise for all of my child’s extra-curricular activities. Back when we were kids, our parents never needed to do this.

      Me: I agree, but you have voted against every property tax increase since I have known you.

      Co-Worker: That’s because schools waste money on stupid things!

      Me: You mean like [activity her child did]?

      Co-Worker: All I know is that government always wastes money! [storms off]

      • Barry Freed

        That’s great.

      • +1000

      • Bartleby

        No matter the topic, or the intervening dialogue, that last line is almost always used. It is impossible for them to see things from a different perspective.

      • catclub

        Unfair? I don’t think that word means what you seem to think it means.

        • efgoldman

          I don’t think that word means what you seem to think it means.

          Logic? I know that word doesn’t mean what she thinks it means.

      • Michael H Schneider

        … government always wastes money!

        This is certainly true.

        I was shocked, shocked, to discover that most of the money that the government steals from me at pump-point every time I fill my gas tank is used for roads I will never ever even see – much less drive on.

        Worse, what about bicycles and pedestrians? They use those same roads I pay for, and they don’t even buy gas! Moochers!!

        And what about the constitution? The federal government only has the power to build roads for mail trucks, not roads for Wal-Mart trucks. And what about making me pay to use a municipal sanitary sewer system? That’s robbery! Cess pools were good enough for our founding fathers, I’m sure they never contemplated massive sewage treatment plants. Remember, you can’t spell “success” without “cess”!!1!

        • Malaclypse

          Worse, what about bicycles and pedestrians? They use those same roads I pay for, and they don’t even buy gas!

          Because this is a pet peeve: we pay property taxes, which are the only taxes that are used to fund the type of roads we use.

          • (the other) Davis

            Because this is a pet peeve: we pay property taxes, which are the only taxes that are used to fund the type of roads we use.

            In my experience, nit-picky little facts like this don’t stop people from actually making the “cyclists don’t pay for the roads they use!!!” “argument.”

      • Uncle Ebeneezer

        Here in CA, I usually respond “If only we could pass Prop 13 AGAIN, right??”

      • Tnap01


    • GoDeep

      Many (most?) people vote their self interest. I know people who love unions while they’re in them, & then as soon as they join mgmt they immediately hate ’em.

      In my hometown we’ve reached an ‘inflection point’. The median income is $38K, the median home value $90K, and one-quarter of the population lives below poverty. Its primarily a community of old, retired people, and poor young, single-parent families. The old people no longer support increased property taxes and regularly oppose them. The kids coming up in the system now have it much harder than me & my siblings did.

      • delurking

        Yeah, this always mystifies me. Surely it is in the self-interest of everyone, including older people, that we have a well-educated populace.

        This goes for unions, too. How is it not in everyone’s interest to have a society in which workers are paid well? Even the business owners — who is going to buy their products if the workers have no money?

        • Malaclypse

          Not only that, but note that my co-worker did not want to spend money on schools, while her kid was in school, because she knew that there were parts of the school system her kid was not actively using.

          Also, teachers’ unions.

        • Hogan

          It’s not that I don’t want the bear patrol. I just don’t want to pay the bear tax.

          • I realize this is a dead thread but of course this is literally cutting your throat to spite your belly–old retirees who want to sell their houses and retire on the gains from that asset apparently never found out that the value of the school district is the only thing that makes it possible to sell that house at a later date to those despised younger moochers with families. All through the recession the only recession proof areas for home sellers were those with high property taxes/high investment in education.

            • GoDeep

              Yeah, I agree…If only we were all enlightened.

  • witless chum

    And rather than the thousands of “likes” I expected as the post went viral, instead I got no likes and several comments about how I was clueless about basic facts of American governance and obscenely self-centered. What is happening to this country?

    “What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff.

    “Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling!

    “Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes…

    “The dead rising from the grave!

    “Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together… mass hysteria!”

  • The most amusing thing about this argument is the people who carry on about their precious tax dollars (because any money you spend remains your money, forever) being wasted on social services, would shit a brick if a dirty liberal expressed unhappiness with the amount of money we give to the military.

    And to be clear, I think we could spend less on the military and not be overrun by Visigoths or harm members of the armed forces, but it has never occurred to me to huff and puff about my tax dollars being spent on black hawks.

    Again, I think it comes from a desire to control and punish other people. If we had the Starbucks tax system these people say they want, individuals would only pay taxes for the things they like and use.

    If there aren’t enough tax payers who want to help the moochers, too bad. For things non-moochers might occasionally need (emergency services), in theory they’d pay a flat rate, but I know they’d demand someone else foot the bill, in the same way I know a good portion of the conberterians who are screaming about their taxes don’t pay ’em and rely on welfare to live.

    but my mouse has never burned down!

    Have you ever been in a cat crash?

    • William C. Rogers III

      Blackhawk helicopters actually work (mostly). There are other examples of military waste that are truly mind-boggling. The V-22 Osprey. The over-purchasing of Stryker suspension parts. A friend of mine visited Patuxent River Naval Air Station (back before 9/11 when civilians could do such things) and he saw a fighter chained to a test pad with the engines running. They were making sure to burn off the month’s allotment of fuel, so next month’s wouldn’t be reduced. That was probably only a couple thousand dollars worth of JP8 (and fifteen tons of carbon dioxide, if you’re counting) but every single frakking military base works the same way. That does add up.

      • BigHank53

        Stupid ‘nym.

      • DrS

        Most examples of “government waste” like those above and others from the military especially sure as heck look like corruption by defense contractors.

      • The Big 3 – Fraud, Waste & Abuse are everywhere there’s money. Just ask the governor of Florida.

        No one who really cares about Fiscal Sponsitility is against spending money to root it out and stop it (and it is a very cost-effective way to make more money).

        As an aside, enforcement activities designed to stop fraud and waste go waaaay down when Republicans are in office and waaay up when Democrats are in charge. Take from that what you will.

        As another aside, I had no idea there was a base on the Patuxent. Duh.

  • I learned that at the several Ivy League universities at which I finished at the top of my class.

    But not at the top of your class at an elite prep school so your words are meaningless.


  • There needs to be a word for when satire is too close to reality to actually be funny. I’ve had wingnuts post this same crap on my FB feed.

    • Box of Hair

      Poe’s Law.

  • Mini__B has contributed nothing to the household budget.

    • Malaclypse

      Don’t mollycoddle them. I told mini-Mal she needed to get a job or I was gonna put her up for auction on ebay while she was still cute.

      • jackrabbitslim

        My kids are really cute but I’ve never been able to figure out a non-evil way to monetize that.

        • JoyfulA

          A friend’s kids frequently appeared in advertising, not that her brother the ad exec ever paid her or the kids.

        • Malaclypse

          a non-evil way

          Don’t limit yourself that way.

        • Organ donation is not evil.

    • catclub

      This is a typical statement of people who do not peruse the IRS code for pleasure. Child tax credit means Mini__B has contributed (although the NET contribution may be negative).

  • Paul Gottlieb

    I’m trying to start a fund to pay Lori Gottlieb to change her name.

  • Manta

    “why the Affordable Care Act is in so much political trouble: It’s because many Americans are too stupid and too selfish to understand how health insurance works, on the most fundamental level.”

    The people have lost the confidence of the government?

  • GoDeep

    Brilliant piece here, Scott, brilliant! Had me in stitches!

  • Anonymous

    That last linked interview was bone chilling. Never mind that she sounds like the worst GF ever, she lives in Brentwood and “won’t go East of La Cienega” is the hallmark of LA’s worst humans: Westsiders. Worse than Sleestaks.

    • Anna in PDX

      I could not believe how sad that was. Very controlling people are really awful to be around. My ex was like that though in a very different way, and it was uncomfortable for me to read it. I count my lucky stars every day that my current partner is not like this at all.

      • Vance Maverick

        Did you follow the link to her Time piece on being a slightly older med student — written in the brief interval before she quit? Plainly, her nonfiction, while not “creative”, is only very loosely related to reality.

        • Anna in PDX

          No, I think I have had enough of her for today! :)

    • Col Bat Guano

      Reading her original article about the “fat” boyfriend, she comes across as one of the worst people on the internet and that is quite an accomplishment.

  • Peter Hovde


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