Governments are ours, in democracies anyway. They are here by us and for us. They are here to make our lives better and to support us as we try to contribute to society. So, with this in mind, one would assume that, at the very least, governments would do unto us no worse than what they would ask us to do unto them. Follow me so far?
Take taxes for example. Here’s a quirk that has always gotten under my skin; today is no different.
When you owe the government taxes, of any kind, they expect it by a deadline, or else! The else can range from an audit to financial penalties and beyond. However, when the government owes you money, why is it they take so long to reimburse you? I say this from extensive experience in multiple countries. This has literally happened to me in four countries where I have done business. Once — I’ll name them — the French took nine months to reimburse me the Value Added Tax they owed me while charging me 10% on an amount that was postmarked with a three hour (3!!!) delay. Yes, it was postmarked at 3AM and they charged me 10%. Note that I had deposited the envelope at 6PM. Is it my fault that the postal worker (or machine) did not stamp it until 3AM?
Which brings me to today. I just sent in my provisional tax payment, as I do every quarter. I sent it in on the afternoon of the 15th. Guess when the cheques (there were two of them, one for state and one for federal) both cleared? I said cleared! As in, on what day did the money leave my account? It did so on the 19th! In short, it only took four days for the post office to deliver the envelope, the envelope to get routed through government offices, the cheque to make it into their account and the transfer to happen. 4 days!!! And they tell us the government is inefficient? Sure they are, when it suits them.
This is not an anti government rant, far from it inasmuch as I believe in the need for coherent governance. This is a rant about justice for all, both up and down. This is about treating others as we expect them to treat us. I saw a great commercial on TV the other day for Discover credit cards where they show how they (supposedly) treat you as you would treat yourself. Maybe the governments of the world — at least the democratic ones — can take heed from this advice and do the same.
Four days people!!!