Larry Johnson sent this April 15:

“This being ‘tax day,’ I think we as investors should start a new tradition: Just as the Irish were green on St. Patrick’s Day, we Americans should start wearing black on April 15th to represent our mourning for the American taxpayer. I think the only thing the Clintonians despise more than the military, are those of us that work for a living or have the insight to be called ‘investors.’ Not only have we elected them, we re-elected them. They are only a reflection of what America has become. We can only blame ourselves. Sad, sad, sad. God, we need a revival!”

I wrote back: “Thanks, Larry. Having grown up in the Eisenhower days, when the top federal rate was 90%, and then the Nixon and Ford days, when it was 70%, I don’t know that we should hate President Clinton for taking it back up to 39.6%.

“Remember, he has shrunk the federal payroll and the federal deficit far more than Reagan/Bush, who expanded both. And it hasn’t been THAT bad a half-decade for investors since Clinton was elected (Dow more than double?).

“Go a little easy on the old folks, for whom a good chunk of the tax revenue is collected; and on the Army (and the debt for our prior buildup to win the cold war), which is not unimportant; and even on poor kids, who get another chunk of your tax dollar. No really successful society manages without a public sector and a fairly high tax burden to finance it — and to share some of the spoils of its success.

“Hope this doesn’t make you too angry.”

To which Larry replied:

“Naw!!! Too thick skinned for that! All I know is that I’ve been working my butt off (after it was nearly shot off!!!) full time since I got out of college in 1972 and that I’ve paid my FICA out every single year, a couple years I had it paid out before tax day!! (which we both know I’ll never see that money again). I would rather just walk down the street from the office and hand the cash to the first street drunk or bag lady I run into than be forced into the system we have now. On top of that, up until the Clintonians landed on the planet and gave us the biggest tax increase in the history of mankind, I’ve always managed to eke out a refund for the same number of exemptions. Now, I’d have to lie to do it (which I refuse to do). However, you are right in what you say. They really put it to us for quite a few of those years. This is the greatest nation on earth and it does allow us to be able to go to college, work, invest, etc. For that, I’ve fought and killed and will always be thankful for the privileges this country affords me. But it breaks my heart to see what’s happening here, and when you’ve got a joker like this in charge one really has to wonder. Like I said, it appears the very things that make America great, they despise: entrepreneurship, investors, and the military. Unfortunately, I have very strong roots in all three and make no apologies for it and never will. America is still the greatest in spite of the aliens we now have in charge. I have almost reached the point where I’m about to give up climbing any higher on the corporate ladder route as there is really no incentive left for me to do it. Why should I work so hard only to pay more taxes and everybody else’s bills? I’m seriously thinking of turning a particular hobby of mine into a profession (most of the startup costs have already been incurred). I know it will pay a whole lot less, but the stress of the high paying corporate management job (not to mention the potential heart attack, high blood pressure, short life) will be history. Plus, by using my business, I’d get to pay a whole lot less in taxes, be happier in what I’m doing and probably live longer to enjoy life to boot. Life is too short to have to become a slave to a system that tries to kill you before you can enjoy it. Hang in there, Andy. You have a certain sense of humor that really makes my day. Don’t worry about making me angry….as long as you’re not shooting mortar shells or bullets at me or trying to tax me to death, you’d have to go a long, long ways to the left. Even then, I’d defend your right to your opinion.”

How can you not like this guy? We’ve probably never voted the same on anything in our lives, but he is obviously the salt of the Earth.

I won’t take your time rebutting his comments, except to say I suspect the President appreciates investors, entrepreneurs and the American military a lot more than Larry thinks. And that Larry will get some Social Security, even if not quite the good deal we’ve been giving our parents and grandparents. (Compared with what they paid in, our grandparents have made out very, very well.)

As for quitting the rat race, if Larry is sure his hobby will support him in the basics, it sounds like a great idea. Happiness doesn’t correlate directly with Adjusted Gross Income!



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