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Tax day for Target employees

April 15, 2010

Before I get into my real post, I’ll give a nod to my law school-themed blog and note that I paid my $300 tuition deposit to University of Denver today. Yee haw. It’s official, kind of.

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In honor of tax day 2010, I thought I would relate a conversation I had with two girls at work yesterday.

At Target in the Denver Metro Area, new employees make $8.00/hour. After 18 months of employment, as an “excellent” employee, I got a 20-cent raise added to last year’s 12-cent raise, for a grand total of $8.32/hour.

It’s safe to assume that others are making similar wages.

So these two girls, both in their early 20s, were talking about their tax returns and other money burning holes in their pockets. Girl 1 mentioned a couple weeks ago that she has over $6000 in credit card debt. Girl 2 had recently won a workman’s comp award for $5800 after attorney’s fees.

Girl 1: I just got my income tax refund, and I’m trying to figure out how to spend it.

Girl 2: We should go out and party.

Girl 1: Well, I was thinking I should put the money towards paying off my credit card debt.

Girl 2: Yeah … I’m almost broke anyway.

Girl 1: But the money’s burning a hole in my pocket!

I also happen to know that Girl 2 used her workman’s comp money to fly out to California, buy a piece-o-crap Lexus (don’t even get me started), and gorged herself at Red Lobster. How much did she put into savings or towards bills, do you suppose?

Based on their level of income and that they are both single, it’s safe to assume that they are part of the 47% of Americans who paid no federal income tax at all, after their refunds. What’s discouraging is that the 53% of us who did pay taxes are subsidizing their poor lifestyle decisions. They get off tax-free on the strength of the fact that they are lazy and irresponsible.

Working at Target, it’s easy to see how the cycle of poverty works. Granted, there are a lot of hard-working people there, and for many this is their second job. But then there are others, like these girls, who come to work late, take excessively long breaks, stand around complaining about their supervisors, and spend through their paychecks in record time.

Every time I tell someone at work that I’m going back to school, I hear, “Oh, I could never do that.” “I can’t work and go to school at the same time.” “I hate school.” “I’m not smart enough for school.” etc., etc. In the next breath, they tell me, “I hate this job.” “I need a better paying job.” “I don’t know if I can take it anymore.” “If such-and-such doesn’t change, I’m going to quit.” etc., etc.

School is not for everyone, but I think there is room for self-improvement for everyone, whether it’s school or something else, like learning a useful new skill. It’s not hard to see why we’ve got so many (particularly women) people who are stuck at this dead-end job with no “out” in sight. We’ve got women in their 20s, 40s, 50s (funny, not many in their 30s) who make excuse after excuse for themselves. On one hand it’s sad, on the other hand it’s frustrating.

When we sit down and add it up, it’s sickening to me how much my husband and I (well, him mostly) pay in taxes each year, whether direct or indirect. It angers me also that much of that money is wasted through governmental inefficiencies and entitlement programs with which I disagree. While I already give some to charities, I wish I had more of our own money to give to the charities that I really believe in. I don’t think it’s right that the government gets to decide who gets a share of our money and who doesn’t. And that’s why I believe in limited government. I would be far more responsible with the money than they are.

It angers me that we are punished by taxation for improving our education, pursuing better jobs, working hard every day, and saving and investing. While the girls I work with are frittering away their money and brains on partying and indiscriminate shopping, they’re getting rewarded for it by having to pay little to no federal income tax. Explain to me how that’s fair.

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2 comments

  1. im actually a guy who will be attending school with you in august. just reading over your site. as for the tax story here, you are not alone in your thinking and im glad to hear there aren’t only bleeding heart liberals in colorado. as for your kids and what not, stay focused and move forward and family will adapt. im about to be 30, attending the day division, changing careers, with a fiance in tow. so you wont be alone as far as mature students go, though i worry about it as well. good luck.


  2. Hey, “That guy,” thanks for visiting and leaving a comment! (Comments are so rare around here it’s like Christmas when I get one. LOL) Glad to “meet” a future classmate. I’m part of the Admitted Students group on Facebook, so you can find me there if you’d like to touch base.

    Being a swing state, there are plenty of conservatives in Colorado … I’m just not sure how many will be at law school. LOL Glad to know I won’t be the only one there!



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