May 3, 2010

The "we know where you live" tax amnesty ad: creepy or awesome?



Ed Morrissey calls it "creepy" because it's not a "friendly invitation." They're trying to get people to pay up. How friendly should it be? I think it's awesome, because it's motivating. And it provides some amusement to those of us who pay our taxes and have the nagging feeling that we're paying more because other people are delinquent.

Also, for some reason, I don't find robotic voices intimidating. If I'm interacting with a bureaucrat, I prefer a robot.

40 comments:

mesquito said...

Taxes are lower in Texas, Tom. Also, we won't execute you unless you commit a serious crime.

Pogo said...

Pennsylvania is broke, overspends on salary and benefits for city and state employees, and has the audacity to pretend as if property taxes aren't confiscatory. The ad is creepy because it reinforces the idea that the government owns you and you cannot escape its greedy clutches.

Gummint of, by, and for the state employee. We're just beasts of burden.

My answer to Minnesota's similar legalized theft is to spend as little money here as possible.

Screw 'em.

mRed said...

We have a guy here in the post office. Glassy eyes, no voice inflection and hardly moves.

Robot?

Randy K. said...

Awesome in its creepiness

Palladian said...

"We have a guy here in the post office. Glassy eyes, no voice inflection and hardly moves.

Robot?"

No, robots are efficient.

Balfegor said...

How friendly should it be?

It's taxes. It's not supposed to be friendly even if you pay them. Trying to make it friendly is where you get silly Orwellian ideas like calling taxes "membership dues."

AC245 said...

(Robotic female voice narrates as "satellite view" zooms in from space view of Earth down to an individual house with a superimposed target reticle): Your name is Tom. You live just off of Fifth Street. Nice car, Tom, nice house. What's not so nice is you owe Pennsylvania four thousand two hundred twelve dollars in back taxes. Listen Tom, we can make this easy. Pay online by June 18th, and we'll skip your penalty and take half off your interest. Because Tom? We do know who you are.

[Find Us Before We Find You. PATaxPayUp.com 1-877-34-PAYUP (logo) pennsylvania DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE]


I kept three things in mind while watching this commercial:
A. The OUTRAGE! about how the Arizona law requiring people to show your driver's license was the sign of a pending fascist surveillance state where government would be demanding "papers, please!" and intruding into the lives of it's citizens,
B. The OUTRAGE! about the Bush administration "spying" on U.S. citizens who were in contact with known or suspected terrorists, and
C. That the primary compliance/enforcement agency for Obamacare -- loved and championed by the same group expressing the OUTRAGE! in points A & B -- is the Internal Revenue Service.

Penny said...

It's effective as Step One. Step Two better be equally as effective.

Don't raise that big stick unless you intend to use it.

Penny said...

"C. That the primary compliance/enforcement agency for Obamacare -- loved and championed by the same group expressing the OUTRAGE! in points A & B -- is the Internal Revenue Service."

We can hardly call the IRS the enforcement agency for Obamacare now that they took away IRS penalties.

My personal opinion is that this was "fine tuned" AFTER the legislation, when the internet was abuzz with talk of going to jail for not buying insurance.

BIG mistake. But then again, they went with the odds. Most people are intimidated by just hearing the IRS is involved.

The usual amount of sheep in the herd can be expected to comply, and most likely, it will be someone's job in the IRS to make sure that number doesn't fall below a certain percentile.

Titus said...

Arent you a bureaucrat Mary and work for the state?

edutcher said...

The message relies on that old nostalgia the Lefties have for absolute police states run by people with names like Beria or Dzerzhinsky - or even Putin.

Titus said...

And doesn't Needy, which I absolutely love, receive his heath insurance from a state/government worker?

Totally gross and not free market.

David said...

"If I'm interacting with a bureaucrat, I prefer a robot."

So you nearly always get your wish.

AC245 said...

Stop the obnoxious trolling shit, and we'll skip your penalty. Because Steve Lee? We do know who you are.

David said...

Just watched the video--It's a woman' voice, so it's all ok.

Actually, I think it's fine. Pay up you whining deadbeats. Avoid the penalties!

Franco said...

It's amazing they have the balls to put it this way. Of course the government knows where we live, and we know they can do whatever they want, but this is very reveling of their mind-set that they feel can put it this way.

Imagine a similar ad put together by tea partiers with the same style and graphics on a politician "we know where you live" zeroing in like that on the State House, Capitol Building or the White House. I think the FBI would become involved pretty quickly.

Robert said...

OK, let's say Tom is a deadbeat dad and they're trying to collect child support.

Still creepy?

New "Hussein" Ham said...

That's hilarious.

If they knew who Tom was, they wouldn't need to run ads threatening Tom.

I have a message for the state of Pennsylvania and for Barack Obama.

I will no longer voluntarily pay taxes. I will still pay, but I will not do so voluntarily until Tim Geithner is arrested for felony tax evasion.

If you want the money, and you think you know where I am, I have a message for you:

Try to come and get it motherfuckers.

george said...

Tom doesn't "owe" anyone anything. He never made a deal with the state and he never agreed to anything.

Tom "owes" the state money in precisely the same way as a business "owes" the mob protection money. They both provide services no one contracted for and will confiscate their fees by force.

Government may be necessary but if so it is a necessary evil. We should not have any illusions otherwise. I don't begrudge people getting away with not paying their taxes any more than I would begrudge someone keeping some of his money by hiding it in his shoe during a mugging.

Indeed, if things keep going the way they are, Tom may be the only one with any capital left at all. We should endeavor to stay on his good side. Hi Tom! Love ya!

Franco said...

I wonder if that's a real house. If so can't the owner sue?

bagoh20 said...

"And it provides some amusement to those of us who pay our taxes and have the nagging feeling that we're paying more because other people are delinquent."

Deadbeats are not really the problem, unless it's the Secretary of the Treasury. The problem is the people taking the money, wasting it and then acting like poor Tom is the problem.

If a system unfairly takes more and more of your money and obviously spends it poorly, the guy who refuses to pay more is half hero and half deadbeat, but the public employees sucking the public dry are just leeches without mitigating qualities.

jpr9954 said...

That reminds me of Tom Gresham's spoof of the Dept of Homeland Security that he often plays on his radio show GunTalk. See Milo Lardbottom at this link:

http://www.guntalk.com/site109.php

Roadkill said...

Ms. Robotella Gummint forgot to mention that Tom would not only avoid jail time by paying up, but would also be more patriotic. What's not to like about that?

Hagar said...

I go with Capt. Ed. It's creepy.

Aridog said...

Tell you what...that's a great ad! Cautionary and direct, without being thuggish. My state would never be so polite or give anything like those breaks. My state is a spendthrift, too...but that's not the point here. Trust me, they DO know where you live.

Now I don't know how many of you have had serious (6 figures) issues with taxing authorities (civil penalties, not tax arrears) but let me tell you...100% off "penalty" and 50% off "interest" is one hell of a good deal.

Unless one owns nothing and has little income, it is the best deal you can get....unless you can beat the statutes of limitations, if there are any.

Aridog said...

George said: "He never made a deal with the state and he never agreed to anything."

Presuming he never filed a state W4 with his employer.

You DO have a point about "agreement" however...first notice you receive, if you respond at all...they gotcha.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Franco said...

I wonder if that's a real house. If so can't the owner sue?

Less than 5 minutes with google maps located it as 1715 Locust St, New Cumberland, PA 17070-1459. Names of the residents are also available from a reverse search, although Tom is not among them.

bagoh20 said...

I think shaming deadbeats is more effective and at least makes an attempt to suggest it's our government rather than their money.

Unfortunately, it's hard to make the case for fairness or doing your part when half the citizens don't pay anything and the majority of the rest pay a fraction of what the top 10% pay. Remember these are fellow citizens "sharing" the country's responsibilities.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

I vote creepy. While I am all for intimidating anyone who is cheating on their taxes, this goes beyond that. The problem is that the tax laws are so complex that many people who do their honest best to pay everything they owe are still not confident that they didn't make a mistake. So now they'll be wondering if the state is breathing down their necks, and there's not a damn thing they can do about it.

Aridog said...

New Hussein Ham said: "I will no longer voluntarily pay taxes. I will still pay, but I will not do so voluntarily until Tim Geithner is arrested for felony tax evasion."

Long as you pay them with reasonable deductions, etc...you're cool. Nobody likes paying taxes and it sure ain't voluntary.

Next, if you decide to 'act out" on the not paying bit, be careful. One of my neighbors was part of a group of Libertarians, in late 70's-early 80's, who decided they didn't want to pay taxes or withholding either...so they as a group entered 99 exemptions on their W4's. Time goes by...they go to jail. Long story short...you can thank them for the proof criteria required now for exemptions over 10 max on federal withholding.

As for Geithner...he's a lying POS. As soon as he blamed "Turbo Tax" I knew it. I use Turbo Tax and no way can you not lie and yet skip a $250,000 separate payment from the IMF in lieu of withholding...done because he was a Yank subject to home taxes. To do so you must lie. Period. So yeah...lock his arse up for audacious mendacity if nothing else.

Will Cate said...

It's either creepily awesome, or awesomely creepy. I'm not sure which.

rhhardin said...

It says to me that they're out of money.

Calypso Facto said...

It would be a lot less creepy if Obama hadn't just joked about using predator drones on his daughters' potential suitors at the press dinner....

PatCA said...

I like it too. Nice to see government be tough when it's supposed to be.

It also reminds me of the TV show V, which increasingly looks like a negative commentary on liberal government. How about that squashing to death of the V embryo? Abortion. Done by an evil mastermind. Hmmm...

tom faranda said...

Why did they name me? I live in New York?

rmarkob said...

It's awesome in that it depicts (and so mocks) the statists' dream of total control, but got increasingly creepy once I realized it was zooming in on Pennsylvania, no, south-central PA, no...it's within FIVE MILES OF MY HOUSE!!!

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

"Motivating"? Shirley, you must be joking.

"Also, for some reason, I don't find robotic voices intimidating. If I'm interacting with a bureaucrat, I prefer a robot" -- Ah. How low can we go when our expectations of efficient government have sunk to such bottoms?

Then again, wasn't it Joe Biden who said rich tax payers are patriotic? http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video_log/2008/09/bidens_patriotic_taxes_comment.html

Whoop whoop! Pardon me -- I'll be right back after my liberty orgasm.

Akiva said...

It's cute in a creepy way...today. A calm way of introducing you to the new world of Ayn Rand and George Orwell.

We know where you live, if you have nice stuff that's beyond your income means, your health conditions and expenses, and are tracking your family environmental impact.

But it's ok, it's all for your own good. Just continue to be fully motivated and produce while we take it away from you. Enjoy your big screen TV, don't look left or right though.

Original Mike said...

I loved it, but it should have been "Tim", not "Tom".

OTH, the two times the Feds said I underpaid my taxes by a few thousand dollars they were wrong. And not technicality wrong. Moronic, stupid wrong, which they eventually admitted. So I'd object if Step 2 is the predator drone.

Herb said...

amazing ad considering one of the most prominent school districts in the State of PA, Lower Merion is being sued for spying on students thru school issued latops.