Tax season spurs debate about fiscal responsibility

February 28, 2011
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It’s tax season. Baby momma’s and baby daddies are finally getting the payoff of having kids that they really can’t take care of, really can’t afford or really don’t want.

It’s that time of year when there is an influx in the number of temporary license plates on the cars driving down Chicago and North avenues, Division and Madison streets.

Stores like Diana Shoes, City Sports, Kneeknockers and Footlocker located at the Madison and Pulaski shopping center in nearby Garfield Park see an increase in shoppers despite the recent recession. It’s the time of the year when everyday people from the hood become what one of my friends calls “thousandaires.”

I didn’t want to write about it because who am I to judge? But I made several comments on Facebook about “hoodrats with income tax checks,” and friends encouraged me to continue the discussion here. They said it couldn’t be any worse than my previous comments about a woman and her “rugrats.” And the truth of the matter is that we do talk about the subject in barbershops, beauty shops, nail salons and in grocery stores. Some of us just never admit out loud that we are making stereotyped assessments.

And my initial remark was made out of malice, but a friend eventually replied, “We spreading some knowledge now.” She preceded, “I’m just hoping the sistas will put a little to the side for a rainy day, in their kid’s account, school, and tuition (other than materialistic stuff, TV’s, shoes, clothes, jewelry). You look good, but you’re still broke.”

I continued to play the antagonist: “They gon’ buy a car that lasts ‘til August, get drunk, high, let they baby daddies take some and go shoppin!”

The real gem of the conversation came from Tonie. She wrote, “You know that these girls get all this money, don’t even let those black dollars circulate in the community not one god damn time. They go get any and everything with an Italian last name. ‘Nails done by the Korean’s, fake hair by Europeans’ and the Chinese — if they just save half of the checks for 2 years, they can take they section 8 and buy a home for their 2-6 kids.”

The fact is that we secretly joke about these women and men in our social circles, but the H&R Blocks and Jackson and Hewitts are ready to prey on those willing to sacrifice their hard-earned bucks for a quick payday. It’s part of the vicious circle of high-interest lenders in urban communities that we reported on earlier. Inner cities fall victim to the high-interest amid the short-sightedness of fast cash.

“We, black folks were never taught fiscal responsibility because we were never used to having nothing,” says Tonie.

What do you think?

austintalks.org@gmail.com

10 thoughts on “Tax season spurs debate about fiscal responsibility

  1. This community is riddled with an astronomical amount of tax preparation companies. Why? Most of us, can’t afford to wait to receive our refund without getting an anticipation loan. This is the one time of the year, that most people get some sort of financial freedom. Thus, sacrificing paying high interest rates. I’ve talked to several people that don’t know about the free services out here that allows you to e-file. (Turbo tax, H &R Block, etc) You can do it yourself and save about $600 (interest and prep fees and receive your money within 2-3weeks). I think $600 is worth the wait.

  2. I think this is hilarious. Every year I joke about the “income tax cars”. However, I’ve also questioned whether or not these “hoodrats” are as fiscally irresponsible as we tend to think. They know how to use and manipulate the system to make sure that they have groceries, lights and gas, rent, and sometimes even cars donated all at the governments (tax payers) expense. And then when tax season rolls around they’re bright enough to claim self-employed (homemaker <—yeah right) and then claim their plentiful children, or a friends so they can reap even more free rewards. Now yes, granted, they spend their money on thee most ridiculous items. But I'm starting to wonder if they might be fiscal genius'. They've mastered the art of making money without ever having to do a thing. So even though I went completely into left field with my response, yes I agree with you. As my mother would say "All urban people know how to do with their money is eat it or wear it. Where's the money for a rainy day? Where's the money for a future life? Well, it was spent on Keoshawnte's Jordans."

  3. You’d better start holding classes on Madison Street because you can say whatever you want to say here and trust me….not one of the people you are referring to will see this.

    They don’t or won’t take the time to read these postings.

  4. Amen, for you John. I just discovered your writings and thrilled to see there is someone out there in ‘our community’ frank enough to say the uncomfortable things that, if more widely disseminated, would actually help the Black community. As I sit this afternoon listening to a program on MSNBC “The Black Agenda” whose commentators (among them Al Sharpton) are lamenting the negative impact that the recently passed govt budget will have on african-americans, I wonder why we can’t change the discourse. There’s constant discussion about the big bad mean republicans and the spineless dems who caved, and how us poor blacks will suffer, and on and on and on. I’m sick of the constant victimization rant, championed by Rev. Al, the self-proclaimed representative of the black community (minus yours truly). I long for the day when we can have a ‘leader’ who will change the discourse and say the tough things, in public, that will help the black community understand that the lack of power they lament is at our own hands, not govt. We have all the power in our wallets but fail to excercise the fiscal responsibility (restraint) to effect to change we wish to see in Washington which, btw, is in the pocket of the Wall Street power brokers we support with our meager dollars that we so readily give (mindlessly) to the companies that generate the profits that enable to them to buy the votes that help move “their” agenda forward.

    John, could YOU be the person to get the word out to the masses??

  5. Thanks for the insightful comments.

    Time after time, I bring up issues that really bother me. There are times when, because of the traditional discussions, I get nervous about my point of view. If only you knew how many times I have deleted columns, only to repost them again after reading comments from people like you.

    You remind me that my words do not fall on deaf ears.

    I do not take this job as a commentator lightly.

    I watch how self-proclaimed, self-righteous black leaders comment over the state of the “everyday” black Americans. Some of them are so far removed from the current reality that they have forgotten about evolution of the concerns facing the average black citizen. They have a right to express themselves, but not to be the only voice.

    I agree that our agenda has to move forward.

    But I will not fall into the same trap of feeling like I speak for everyone. My voice is one of many. My journey, though possesses some universal application, is not the bottom line. That is why I encourage conversations. I believe that we all need to have some input and understand that there are deeper ramifications of a divided people–not just as blacks, whites and Latinos, but as a nation built on the very backs of an assortment of minorities.
    And without talking about those shameful issues or closeted topics we face a “social shutdown” as we bicker about the freedom to choose our own destinies.

    Thank you so much for reading. You truly can never know how you inspire me to keep pushing!

  6. John, please push in venues where you are actually going to be heard — I feel Gloria’s frustration above.

    You are clearly an articulate and thoughtful individual who’d be able to get the message across effectively — unlike me and others who have the passion but lack the persuasive skills or will (energy) to do what it takes to effect serious change in thought and focus among all groups, not just blacks, Latinos, whites, et al. How do you envision your postings will evolve to reach a larger audience? How can those of us on this discussion group help in this effort?

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