Monday, February 9, 2015

A couple hare-brained schemes for escaping the Obamacare tax penalty

So this year the feds have two miserable deadlines for freelancers: There used to be just tax day, when you pay an obnoxiously large portion of your income—I swear, the payroll tax the self-employed have to pay is higher than social security paycheck-leeching is at a normal job—so that the government has the dosh to bomb strangers in foreign countries* and to give free money to all the helpless breeders and annoying assburgers you know who've convinced SSI that they're too crazy to work.

But now there's more tooth-gnashing fun earlier in the winter: if I don't grit my teeth and pony up for the very nearly worthless Obamacare Bronze Package by February 15 I have to pay a tax penalty. Which means I either have to pay money for nothing—well, besides subsidizing health care for all those single moms I'm physically incapable of knocking up—or pay slightly more money for next to nothing. But wait! Not so fast! There's a list of exceptions:

Are You Exempt From the Obamacare Penalty?

Even if you don’t have insurance, you won’t have to pay the penalty if you qualify for one of the following exemptions:
  • You are uninsured for fewer than three months of the year.
  • You prove that you can’t afford coverage -- that is, premiums for a "bronze" policy cost more than 8% of your earnings.
  • You don’t have to file a federal income tax return because your income is too low.
  • You are a member of a federally recognized Indian tribe.
  • You are a member of a health care sharing ministry.
  • You are a member of a recognized religion that objects to health insurance.
  • You are in the United States illegally.
  • You are incarcerated.
You may be eligible for an exemption under other circumstances, as well -- for instance, if you can show that obtaining coverage would subject you to serious financial hardship. Qualifying financial difficulties may include homelessness, eviction, domestic violence, death of a loved one, a medical emergency, or a natural disaster. 

Let's have a vote: which is my best bet for evading the tax penalty? Should I renounce my citizenship,  or put my money where my mouth is and start a fistfight with Lena Dunham? As fun as the latter sounds to me, if the U.S. ever gets it together enough to throw me off their soil, I might eventually be able to get asylum somewhere nice and warm. February in Chicago turns you into a lunatic.

*If I'm giving the government my hard-earned money to kill people, shouldn't I be able to earmark that money for use in the slaughter of people I personally dislike? Killing random foreigners does nothing for me.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Nice review of NVSQVAM from Treason and Treachery

As I maneuver desperately to get more than two or three hours per week to devote to the finale of LYFE—my long-belabored work of science fiction—the reviews for NVSQVAM, a tale of the present-day peasantry, continue to crawl in.

NVSQVAM was published in 2011, to the tune of crickets, but nearly everyone who can be bothered to read the thing seems to like it.

As neither I nor my publisher had much money to put behind its release—and where would you throw the money nowadays anyway?—and as I tend not to write for any pre-packaged audience faction, the word of mouth has been traveling slowly through the glut of our junk civilization. But sometime I almost dare to hope it's going surely. Not quite, though; to quote Tulip Sweet, a forgotten singer: "Hope is the meanest cheerleader."

Monday, January 19, 2015

In which Robert Stark interviews me

Robert Stark has an interesting podcast show, featuring the likes of me. This was recorded back in the days when I was working 12-hour days as the sole proofreader/French translator/all-around bitch boy of an ad agency. Most money I've ever made, but as for the working conditions I had to keep repeating to myself: "At least I am warm and dry. At least I am warm and dry." Because I've had cold, wet jobs, but they have never lasted 60 hours a week. You can really hear the "fucking fed up" in my voice. I was telling myself I wasn't at the end of my rope, but boy, I was at the end of my rope.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Je suis Charlie hypocrisy: The nutshell version

It seems people have three basic ways of curtailing others' freedom of speech: government, violence, and hounding them out of jobs. If you support any of those three, you're a hypocrite if you piously moan about the other two.

(I suppose there's also social ostracism, but if it isn't keeping you from finding employment, a. Don't be such a wuss; and b. That can actually let you know when you're kind of being an asshole, or neurotic. Unless the person who's ostracizing you is an asshole, or neurotic. Maybe you're both jerks. Unfortunately Twitter doesn't leave much space for soul-searching.)