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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Render Unto Caesar Day

For those few who may be wondering: the next installment of Ultimate Geek Fu was scheduled for today, but then Sean's piece on The Transformers: The Movie came in and it was too good not to use right away. Ultimate Geek Fu continues tomorrow.

As for that other ongoing series, I decided to soft-pedal it this week, today being National Render Unto Caesar Day and all. Since the Department of Homeland Security apparently decided last week that people who own guns and believe in Constitutional government are a threat to national security—and not just that, but a greater threat to national security than those 200 or so young Somali-American men who are traveling on American passports and have gone back to the old country to spend their quarter abroad on Jihad Studies—I felt it best not to present any opportunities to be misinterpreted this week.

By the way, I don't own any guns any more. It was terrible; duck hunting accident last fall. Nearly sank the boat, had to throw everything overboard to survive. Deep water, treacherous currents, muddy bottom. No chance of ever finding or recovering them. Heartbreaking, really.

Speaking of taxes, though, some of the most eye-opening things learned in my years as a successful freelance writer were the tax implications of being self-employed. As a salaried employee, so much is masked by payroll withholding. As a money-maker freelancer, you're essentially running a sole proprietorship, and as a sole proprietor, you not only have to file and pay quarterly, you pay both the employee and employer portions of Social Security. In other words, your Social Security tax load doubles.

I'll say this much: if we didn't have automatic payroll withholding, and if everyone had to figure their taxes and write a check to the Treasury every three months, a lot more people would be a lot more concerned about what the government is doing with that money.
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