Friday, March 26, 2010

Gov't Docs

I did our taxes yesterday & before that, I stood & was counted by filling out the census form. Here are some quick thoughts.

* The racial option included "Black/African American/Negro"
Are there still be self-identifying as "Negro"? And if so, how come I didn't get "Cracker" or Honky" as an option? It reminded me of some sort of Paul Mooney word association sketch.
* There's been a lot of talk from the Right Wing Crazies about not wanting to give this info to Big Brother. (As if they don't already have it in one way or another for most of us anyway.) However, it seems like this kind of info is precisely the info they'd want to the Gov't to have. They're always crying about White people's dwindling numbers, so one would think those racist fucks would be happy to place another tally in the column for their proud heritage.

* The Feds wanted to know if any of my income came from the railroad industry. I don't know if that meant they wanted to know if I was some sort of robber baron like Crocker or Vanderbuilt, if I was an engineer like Casey Jones, or if w/in this economy, I'd taken to riding the rails like Woody Guthrie & my grandfather. Since none of these were options that relate to me, I clicked no & moved on w/o giving it another thought until I came to the state form.
* The state wanted to know if any of my income came from seafaring. Granted, "Seafaring" is a cool word, but seeing as I neither pilot a ferry to Wisconsin, work as a deck-hand on a freighter, nor make a living as a Great Lakes fisherperson, again I clicked no & moved on.

* My real concern here, though, is that I'm curious about why the Feds want to know about my railroading & the state wants to know about my seafaring, but not the other way around. It's like someone in the IRS woke up one day & said "I demand to know about everyone's connection to the railroads! What? Their connections to boating? Fuck boating!" Of course, the state's person, who may very well sound like Ricky Gervais, woke up & said, "I demand to know about everyone's seafaring! Railroads? Are you 'avin' a laugh? Bullocks!"
Why would one want one set of info and the other a totally unrelated set of info? It seems like if it's important to one, it should be important to the other.

* The feds suggested the money I spent on Isaiah's adoption would be deduct able, but then they claimed to have no record of him. As it turns out, he's on record w/ his old last name... still.

* In the section where they needed to know if I'd received my "Stimulus Check," it claims the info about Stephanie's would be filled in automatically, but of course, that didn't happen & I had to go back in today & override the IRS system in order to correctly enter her data.

* All in all, the refund is a little bigger than last year, which is pretty cool.


cmadler said...

There's a special railroad pension that's somewhat parallel to (and predates) Social Security. See

Kristin said...

The Negro thing actually got some press awhile back, because lots of folks had the same reaction. The claim here is that many older African Americans self-identify as "Negro," and even when given forms w/o the term, they'd write it in the "Other" space provided. My guess is that in the next census, they'll take the term out altogether.

Stephanie said...

It's just so cool to be a Paquin :)

ShanRock said...

Wow, they don't make anything easy, do they?!

Anonymous said...

Re: the Negro thing, when it did get press, the census did show the breakdown of answers from 2000. It's amazing how many people did still identify with that term. I've actually done surveys in the past and I've talked to people on the phone where when I asked them their race and gave the standard breakdown: white/black/native american/etc, I've had people tell me both Negro and Colored. You can sometimes tell though, by their voice that it's the older generation. I'm sure the census will remove it when people stop specifying it in the "other" category. Until then, they have to give the categories people answer to. So tell your parents and grandparents to stop identifying themselves that way and it'll go away.