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April 13th, 2012
01:04 PM ET

Letters to the President #1180: 'Taxing times'

Reporter's Note: President Obama released his latest tax return today. Meanwhile, I’m still just trying to file mine by the deadline; which is not easy with all these letters to write.

Dear Mr. President,

I noticed from your tax return that your income has dropped over the past year, what with the sales of your book cooling off a good bit. Take heart. Publishing is a tough business. My guess is that even Hemingway had a few days when he could barely afford his daiquiris. Of course he probably didn’t drink daiquiris, and he would likely smash my nose just for suggesting it, but still, you get the point.

But back to this income issue: Don’t worry about it. You’ll always have the “former President speech circuit” to work when the day comes that you finally leave office. You can also write some more books. The going rate for any former president is in the millions of dollars, so that’s good. You’ll get your severance pay, and I imagine you could get almost any job you wanted with “Leader of the Free World” on your resume. So that’s all in the positive column.

Mind you, I am making no predictions about whether you will or won’t be re-elected, so we may be talking about all of this kicking in fairly soon or not for several years. I just have a picture of you sitting there with a stack of receipts, IRS forms, and your calculator a few days ago feeling a little worried about the future. “I don’t know, Michelle. Sure, we want the girls to go to college, but do you think we’ll really be able to save enough? Because remember, one way or another, we’ll have a mortgage to pay…”

I’m kidding of course. The simple truth is no modern president needs to worry for one second about his financial security ever again. You’ll never have to fret over bills. You’ll never have to wait at a restaurant again. You may never pump gas or drive again. If, perish the thought, you ever run into a criminal (I mean other than a member of Congress, ha!) you’ll never have to wait for the police. Which, in a strange way, is a shame. Because the alternate reality in which our presidents live, effectively invalidates all claims by any president about how he deeply he shares the concerns of normal folks. You presidential types can care about us, you can empathize with us, you can feel our pain….but the fact remains that we’re all out here working without a net, and you never will again.

And with that…got to go…my taxes are waiting.

Regards,
Tom

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