The Millionaire Next Door

The Independence Day Physician

Q:  Dr. Klug, what type of physician are you?

A:  I’m an Independence Day physician.  I work from January 1 to July 4 each year to pay my taxes. 

Dr. Klug does not focus on the injustice of our tax system where the top 1% of income generators pay nearly 40% of income taxes.  He is quite good at counting his blessings:  excellent health, loving family and rewarding occupation.  Yet like most top income producers he is concerned about how the press and liberal politicians villainize the so-called “rich.” 

Why is it that the 1 percenters in this country are not all in Washington protesting about the enormous tax burden they are carrying?  In part it’s because, as Steve Jobs said, “it was never about the money.”  In most cases, the pride of achievement and financial independence more than offsets the frustration with the inequities in the tax system. 

13 thoughts on “The Independence Day Physician”

  1. There’s a health crisis in the US and this guy is complaining about his taxes? Tax rates in the US are lower than they’ve been in decades. If you don’t raise revenues, then we’re going to have to make cuts to Medicaid and Medicare. Soon he’ll be complaining about how his business dried up.

    Mr. Stanley, you used to sing the praises of the balance affluent vs the income affluent. How come you’re changing your tune?

  2. I hope to one day have as crushing a tax burden as Dr. Klug; because that would mean that I have a tremendously humongous income. I’ve paid no income taxes some years, and it sucked, because I was poor. I’ve paid the most income tax I’ve ever paid in my life this year – because I made the most money I’ve ever made in my life this year. You know what? It’s awesome! I’m getting vaccinations and dental care and even have some money to save! Yay!

    So, if someone earns a huge income and has “excellent health, loving family and rewarding occupation,” then it’s time to quit whining about the “injustice of the tax system”* and contribute something to the society that gave them the opportunity to have such a wonderful life – so those that come after them can have the same opportunities.

    * Furthermore – if you think the tax system is unjust because it asks people who earn more money to pay more taxes, then let me draw an illustration for you. In my office, I’m always asked to carry heavy boxes. Is it because we have an unjust carrying system? Is it because I’m being punished for being strong? No. It’s because I’m the only person in the office who can carry heavy boxes. Of the other two employees, one is a weak, elderly woman, and the other had a brain injury that means she can’t balance or grip very well. See? I have the strength and balance, so I carry the boxes. High income earners have the wherewithal to contribute more, so we ask more of them. In all honesty, this is so incredibly obvious, I suspect that anyone who is educated and thinks otherwise is being disingenuous at best.

  3. “Furthermore – if you think the tax system is unjust because it asks people who earn more money to pay more taxes”

    I’m not sure anyone has said everyone should pay the same amount of taxes per year. But it is offensive that almost 50% of Americans pay zero federal income taxes while others pay 25-30%.

  4. “Why is it that the 1 percenters in this country are not all in Washington protesting about the enormous tax burden they are carrying?”

    Is this a trick question? It’s because they’re busy working.

  5. Cor – first of all, congratulations on being so big and strong.

    Second, do you really think that “anyone who is educated and thinks otherwise is being disingenuous at best”? What class would I have to take, or what degree would I need to earn in order to think the same way you do? I suspect the doctor in the article is educated (and probably doesn’t have box hauling as a part of his job description) but maybe he took the wrong courses.

    Do you think the doctor hasn’t “contribute[d] something to the society that gave them the opportunity to have such a wonderful life”? It seems to me that not many people in society provide more opportunities than doctors. You know, saving lives and what not.

  6. Cor, your statements are very profound and revealing. I have picked up several insights from your admissions of being poor and that sucks. I encourage you to please continue to increase your earnings and pay the higher amount of taxes so you can feel good about your contribution to society.

    Also, thank you for moving those boxes. Clearly you have filled a need in your office and have accomplished that task with great skill. I am sure you took care to move those boxes with the proper lift technique to avoid injuring yourself on the job and costing your employer a workman’s comp claim. Keep up the good work!

  7. I don’t begrudge paying taxes. The problem is that our beloved legislators spent every dollar, recieved from the worker bees, several times over. The more we give – the more they abuse the gift. It’s never enough. Cor – since you are now paying taxes, pay some extra to make up for all those years of little or no income.

  8. @ Brian Van_D:

    I’m using education as a proxy for being knowledgeable about the world. If you’d like a class suggestions, visit your local university, and ask them for suggestions for classes on taxation, epistemology, logic, and policy/statesmanship. I’m sure they’ll be glad to accept your money in exchange for knowledge.

    Also, just doing your job isn’t enough a contribution to society. By that logic, virtually no one would have to pay taxes, because: Hey! Everyone’s job makes someone’s life better! That’s enough of a contribution, right?

    @ Rhonda

    Thank you – I’m working on making more money, and thus increasing my contribution, and repaying society’s investment in me while paying it forward and investing in future generations.

  9. Cor – Let me see if I have this straight…I should spend my money on a “taxation” course (do those exist?). Then I will see the evil of my ways and want to pay more of my hard earned money in taxes to support things the GSA’s trip to Vegas?

  10. @dwr

    I’m tired of this 50% of Americans paying no income tax line, it’s very misleading. If you think 80 year old grandmothers and 5 year old kids need to stop being such bums and get a job maybe you should move to a war torn African 3rd world country where you’d fit in better with that line of thinking. While that is a true statistic it is there for a reason, 50% of Americans are too old or too young to work or don’t make enough to pay income taxes. This is just going to get worse with the Boomers retiring.

    Its also not true that 50% of Americans pay no taxes that I see on many many other boards. The poor do pay a big chunk of their income in taxes, sales tax, gasoline tax, SS tax, some pay property tax etc. They may not make enough to pay income tax but its it’s nearly impossible to buy anything without it being taxed. Some states have stopped taxing food products, not prepared meals, and thats about it if you are lucky.

  11. Tim –
    Your nugget about 80 year old (grandmothers, no less) and 5 year olds was very touching. When one looks at people who file returns (typically not 5 year olds) you will see the bottom 50% kick in 2.25% of the total…darn close to zero. The other interesting fact is that their tax burden has gone down every year since 1999, when they ponied up 4%. The top 10% have been paying more since 1999.

    Check it out for yourself if you’d like:

  12. Articles like this provide cover for people who want to make sure Romney pays less than 14% federal income tax rate on $25 million in income. (Don’t kid yourself, those folks don’t care about the doctor paying 40%.) It’s similar to the tea party in the streets demanding cuts to their social security and medicare benefits to pay for even lower tax rates for people like Romney.

    Also, in discussions about taxes paid by the bottom 50%, people make sure only to talk about federal income tax–as if that’s the only tax we pay–avoiding mention of sales tax or payroll tax (at 15.3% on 1st dollar of wages). Why stop at federal income tax? Why not focus just on how little capital gains, dividend and estate taxes poor people pay, to really make them look like freeloaders.

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