Death and Taxes

Everyone’s talking about the “economic stimulus package” that’s rumbling around Capitol Hill this week. Gerry‘s written about it here, The Naked Messenger gave us an economics lesson here, and Bo‘s got a post here. I’ve been listening to seemingly endless NPR stories about it and seriously? ALL I can think of is this exchange between Leo and Charlie in the third season of The West Wing.

Charlie was expecting a tax refund, but instead ends up owing about 400 bucks. Mystified as to how he messed up the math, he goes asking around and gets this as an answer:

LEO
Yeah, it sounds like you’re getting tripped up by 1783.

CHARLIE
Which is?

LEO
HR 1783; it’s a tax rebate from last year.

CHARLIE
Why would that affect my return for this year?

LEO
Did you get a tax rebate last year?

CHARLIE
Yeah.

LEO
There’s the answer.

CHARLIE
Where’s the answer?

LEO
Your rebate came off of this year’s taxes. That’s how we paid for it.

CHARLIE
Hang on. The money I got back last year has to be paid for?

LEO
Yeah.

CHARLIE
That’s not a rebate; that’s an advance.

LEO
Well, technically I guess…

CHARLIE
Not technically. This is like getting a Christmas bonus and having it deducted from your January paycheck.

LEO
This doesn’t sound like very patriotic talk to me, Charlie.

CHARLIE
It’s not. Why did you call it a rebate?

LEO
So people would spend it. If they thought it was an advance, they might save it.

CHARLIE
It was an advance.

LEO
Did you spend it?

CHARLIE
I paid my VISA bill.

LEO
We would have preferred it if you ate in a restaurant or traveled.

CHARLIE
Me too.

LEO
Well, in any event… [puts out his hand]

CHARLIE
What? [Leo starts wiggling his fingers] Oh, what; are you the collector?!

BARTLET
Leo.

LEO
He used the rebate to pay off his VISA bill.

CHARLIE
It wasn’t a rebate; it was an advance.

BARTLET
A trip to Banana Republic would have killed you?

s03e17_312.jpg

Sadly, truth is stranger than fiction (and, I’m betting, not nearly as witty).

image credit (click to see full size)

About these ads

15 Comments

Filed under Blogroll, duh!, dumbassery, Friends, frustrations, funniness, General Bitching, politics, social issues, strange but true, television, Worries and Anxieties

15 responses to “Death and Taxes

  1. I can’t believe you wrote this because I was not only thinking about THIS episode, but also “20 Hours In America.” I mentioned to R that I thought my tuition might be tax deductible, but admitted that it might just be because I saw it on The West Wing.

    Great minds sure do think alike!

  2. Okay, now that is funny! Funny.

    Hey, maybe I can convince my husband to let me buy a new laptop. IT’S FOR THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY!!

  3. twoblueday

    You know, they were so damn clever on West Wing that the show routinely put me to sleep.
    I guess the writing was good.

    Soon I’ll relate a little tax story of my own.

  4. I miss the West Wing and anything Aaron Sorkin has written. Come back Aaron!

  5. Organic Mama

    Too funny and very explainy, so thank you for that. I am now more informed and more cynical, both needed.

  6. I loved that show so much, and I remember chuckling at that episode, just as I did at your re-telling of it. Well done, Mrs. Chili!

  7. Yes, well done Mrs. Chili. Thanks for a reminder of what government speak really means. I miss the West Wing, too.

  8. OK now can you find the one where Sam’s replacement (played by my beloved Joshua Malina) has gotten 4 interns and he’s trying to explain something to them so they can write about it? Not the one where he makes them wear football numbers (though that is funny) but the explanation part because I remember learning something very tough in that.

    Love the Sork.

  9. If you can remind me what he was explaining (I can only clearly call to mind the scene with the football jerseys), I’m 99.9% sure I can find it for you.

  10. All I remember is that it was something numbers related, so probably about taxes. I think it was in the same ep where they’re wearing the football jerseys, though. Thank you both for looking!

  11. Neo

    I just finished watching the whole series again and I was thinking of the exact same scene. I was hoping for a clip on youtube, but I couldn’t find one. Maybe I’ll put it up.

  12. Pingback: I LOVE My Readers!! « The Blue Door

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s