Tuesday, April 14, 2009

eFiling is Taxing and a Question of Belief

I spent many hours last night and today filling out income tax forms online so that my childrens' tax returns were filed on time. I was surprised to learn that I could not efile my son's return because he did not file a return last year and you need to give your exact adjusted gross income from 2007 to file. I guess I am even more surprised to learn that my son has never filed a tax return. I thought he had. I guess he never made enough money at his part time jobs to make it worthwhile. I had filed my daughter's return last year by mail. She worked at several places so her return was a bit more complicated than I would have liked. But thanks to last year's time investment it was fairly easy to efile her return today. The biggest hassle is typing in the information from the W2 form. There should be an easier way to handle that form electronically.

So now I feel elated rather than taxed. We get an extension for ourselves so we file our returns in October every year with the help of an accountant. I do not do much on that return since I have a W2 and not much else. I leave the mess to my husband- something about which he reminded me when I bitched the last two days while trying to file the returns for our kids.

I started listening in the car today to a recording of Jimmy Carter reading his book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. While I am interested in the subject, once again I am distracted by the reader's voice. President Carter is 84 years old and slurs his words a bit these days. I have great admiration for the man and his ideas. I have trouble not being distracted by his raspy southern accent.

But I digress because what I wanted to reflect upon is the religiosity of Presidents. Listening to Carter talk about his first trip to the Holy Land and his awe of the places he had studied for many years in the Bible, I am wondering about our current President's embrace of Christianity and evangelism. A month ago it was reported that President Obama was consulting with evangelical preachers about hard issues he was facing in his new position. Last weekend there was an article about his search for a church to attend in Washington. Having read Dreams from My Father, I had the impression that Obama was raised to question organized religion and to approach it as a vehicle for reaching people as part of his community organizing. Now is he actually religious? Has he been all along after his school years? I understand there has been a lot of commentary on this issue but I am much more interested in knowing what Obama believes. You know what Carter believes. You can hear it in his voice (when you get past its timbre). Is Obama going to be more effective because you cannot tell what he believes?

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