October is chock-full of obscure holidays and commemorations. October 3 is National Boyfriend Day. October 15 — the real personal tax filing deadline — is National Grouch Day. (Coincidence? We think not.) October 19 serves up National Seafood Bisque Day (which sounds a lot tastier than October 25, National Greasy Food Day). Then there's October 21, National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day, which sounds like it was cooked up by the same HR funsters who think "trust falling" into a co-worker's arms is somehow an appropriate thing to do at work. We swear we're not making any of this up.
The French Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau once said that if a man is not radical at 25, he has no heart — and if he's still radical at 45, he has no head. And while Clemenceau focused his attention on the battlefields of World War I, history supplies an endless number of stories where radical youth challenge their entrenched elders.
Here in the United States, we spend a lot of time arguing about income taxes . . . who should pay, how they should pay, and how much they should pay. Right now, the average American forks over 13.5% of their income in individual income tax, and 30% of their income in federal, state, and local taxes overall. Of course, "average" covers a pretty wide range — 50 million families pay no income tax at all, while the top twenty percent of earners pay over 69% of all revenue collected. It costs the economy $409 billion just to figure out the bill and get it paid.