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income redistribution in a typical restaurant kitchen…or…..

...how i helped "spread the wealth around"........

in 2000 ad, chuckie worked in the kitchen of a restaurant chain as a prep cook. this was to help cover the 100% justified and toadally reasonable” increase in premiums brought about by having two teenage male drivers in our household. but let me not go there, yes?

i was one of two prep cooks on the staff. we shall call the other….hhmmmm….how about beverly, yes, that sounds good. beverly and i only worked together on thursdays, fridays, and saturdays, there not being enough work to keep two of us busy the other days. as prep cooks, we would get a list of things to do in the morning, and we would leave as soon as the list was completed. so you might see where…ummm…taking your time might seem to be financially advantageous…to the right sort of person.

beverly was that sort of person.

i’m not.

beverly had been employed at this job for about 18 months when i was hired. i had no problem with her hourly wage being more than mine. i was earning $6.50 at this time, while she was paid $8.00. that was not the problem.

beverly was a divorced mother with three children, aged 11 to 17. i was a married mother of the aforementioned two teenage male drivers so jealously coveted by insurance companies.

beverly’s ex-husband paid child support. mine didn’t, technically. he just worked at a good job and supported his family the old-fashioned way.

april 15 comes for us all, but for some it looks more like december 25.

i have done the math. in 2000 ad, 8.00/hour/40 hrs/52 weeks yields an income of $16,640 dollars, not much for a family of four, but don’t forget the tax-exempt child support. take away the (then) $6450 head of household deduction, and the $11,200 for four people in the family, and you end up with a taxable income of -$1010….so….no tax due.

beverly keeps all her money.

because chuckie did not work the whole year, our family’s income was only increased by about $8600 that year. that 8600 dollars led to an increase in our tax bill of 2152 dollars.

chuckie loses almost 25% of her money.

are ya with me so far…..

now comes santa, also known as the earned income credit. with beverly’s dependants at her income level, she is eligible for an additional 3059 dollars back from the irs. add this to her actual income, and beverly is effectively making 9.47/hour.

chuckie is making, after taxes, 4.87/hour.

beverly’s favorite saying around tax time? “i pay taxes just like everybody else.” this is because they take them out of her paycheck.

and she never could understand that she got back more than she paid in…or that that extra money came directly out of my paycheck. but of course, she also thinks there are 48 states, and we live in “western” virginia…….

the next year, her son spent spring break in fort lauderdale….

i’m allergic to capital numbers, they come from governments, right?

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