I been hearing a lot of reports about the "fiscal cliff" that is supposed to get here in a week or so. Apparently our income taxes are going to increase "automatically". Now, I know a little bit about things that happen automatically. I use some nail guns at work, and when you shoot a nail out, another one automatically moves into place. I've noticed when I get a Clark Bar out of the candy machine another one automatically takes its place.
I've also written a few pay checks in my life. It was a matter of figuring out how many hours somebody worked, and how much they were making per hour, and then subtracting a percentage for some taxes, and picking a number off of a chart for other taxes. Which chart you used was based on whether or not the person was married or not, and how may exemptions they wanted to claim, and what county they lived in. Whenever a tax rate changed, the government would send out some new charts, and a note about the new percentage to use when figuring how much tax to withhold and send in.
There was never anything automatic about it. I imagine most people have computers to do payroll now, that automatically figure how much tax to take out of someones pay check, but I don't imagine they will automatically change percentages or amounts on January 2nd. I suspect some one will have to go in and reprogram the computers for the new numbers. And I also suspect that if nobody reprogrammed the computers, they would just keep on figuring the taxes like they did on December 31st.
But, I'm also pretty sure that if the government says it wants more money, just about every company will automatically start withholding more from their employees, and every tax preparer will start figuring from the new charts. It seems like we automatically agree whenever the government says it wants more money.
I wonder if we will ever get to the point that we automatically say no.