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Pondering tax day and a multimillion dollar pay day

April 15, 2012
Messenger News

Today is income tax day.

A person can work like mad all year, saving a bit here and there, yet in one touch of a pen, the checkbook can be emptied by tax day.

My husband and I used to own a small weekly paper in Keenesburg, Colo., and every time I thought we were making a little money - little being the operative word - the three-month taxes were due, and there was nothing left.

I guess instead of complaining about taxes taking all our money, I should instead be grateful we had money to pay them. That's an iffy proposition for a small business.

I've been thinking recently about how that could be changed - not just for me in retrospect, but for everyone in the United States.

And that's where I refuse to go on. Yes, absolutely refuse to let you see the remaining part of what I had written. It's humiliating, that's what it is.

Keep in mind, many writers - I'm not the only one - cannot do math. At all. The part of the brain that eagerly accepts numbers in some people has been wiped out of a writer's brain to make room for spelling and punctuation. At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

But, since I cannot keep anything to myself - I refuse to hear secrets from anyone - I'll tell. I did a quick math check for that recent Mega Millions lottery with the jackpot more than $640 million. More than that, really, but when I started thinking about it, it was just the $640 million.

I looked at the amount and I'd recently read the population of the United States is 311,800,000 and it suddenly splashed through my mind that if the lottery people took that total and gave everyone in the United States $2 million, we'd be a nation of millionaires with no need of government assistance.

The ramifications were incredible. The math egregious.

I guess that miscue came because I'd made a list of people, organizations and towns I would give a million to had I been sole winner of that intense jackpot. Even after paying half to taxes and keeping a paltry $100 million for myself - for incidentals, you understand - I'd have $250 million, give or take, to give away.

My first give would be to everyone in my graduating class. That's 132 or 136 or something close. With that, our class would have the distinction of being the only class in the United States, now or ever, in which every student went on to become a millionaire. That's what I thought, anyway; it might not be the only class, but that's something you'd surely hear about and I hadn't heard anything like that.

A lot of people on my list would be surprised to find themselves there, but I remember small things and so many people have done or said something unspeakably wonderful for me that those people were on the list.

Then, I spent so much time refining my list, I forgot to buy a ticket.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Sandy Mickelson, retired lifestyle editor of The Messenger, may be reached at



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