death and taxes

Work day ends.  Time to figure out how much of my earnings are going to Uncle Sam.  I’ve started to work on our family’s taxes for 2017 and the first pass has me scratching my head.   We owe more that we already had withheld over 26 pay periods in federal taxes?    My wife took a pay cut from prior years,  was furloughed the last week of the year, and we did not strike oil in the backyard when I planted a tree, so what happened?  

In a high cost-of-living state like California (and with high state taxes also), you need to make a significant income to afford housing here.  ( I think at last calculation, only 40 percent or less can afford a home in San Diego, the rest pay nearly as much in rent as a monthly mortgage anyway.)  At least double what it takes for states like Ohio or Florida. So the married, but higher-wage middle class, earners (even one higher, one lower-wage earner) get taxed by Uncle Sam progressively higher. If my kids are grown, there’s no tax credit, with higher income you can’t claim IRA tax deductions, and the energy -incentives aren’t always feasible. And becoming a one-income family is probably best put-off till it is 2 retirees …..(to avoid marital discord).
As a tithing member of my church some credit is given for charity.  I have a military retirement plan kicking in at age 60. And then some of our after-tax income is saved in a 401K so we won’t necessarily have to work to still eat.   But then the taxes on pre-tax 401K dollars will kick in at distribution time The folktale about lower taxes on unearned income (!) after retirement will probably not exist.    Well, if Uncle Sam and the socialist state of California is going to take it, at very least, they can afford to give me a Navy burial at sea.  But don’t expedite it….

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