As American as Taxes

You’ve got to feel sorry for Matt Murphy.

The college student had a layover in San Francisco, so he bought tickets to a Giants game.

He hustled his way back from the food stands just in time to see Barry Bonds break the all-time home run record… and catch the ball that Bonds launched into the seats to the right of center field.

Sounds like he fell right into guy heaven.

He should be laying back in a recliner somewhere eating pork rinds and flipping through the sports channels just reveling in how great it is to be a sports fan in this day and age.

But get this.

Even if he doesn’t put the ball up for sale, the Internal Revenue Service has put out the word that he’s going to have to pay for his lucky catch.
They’ll base it on the best estimation of the bucks Bond’s blast would bring at auction.

If the estimates rise through the years (which, let’s face it, induction into the Hall of Fame is really inevitable), he faces capital gains taxes as well.

Talk about your tough luck.

Let’s just say this kid grew up on the old American ideals of baseball and apple pie, playing sandlot and dreaming of the big leagues. Say he wants to put a piece of history on his mantle and just stare at it for years to come.

He wants to pass it down to his kids and their kids and so on and so on.

Can’t do it.

They’re talking a half a million for that thing right now; more if Bonds makes it through the Hall of Fame vote without the steroids biting him in the butt.

OK, so I’m all for everyone paying their fair share.

If he sells the thing, and the government gets a cut, all the better for the rest of us, right?

But an income tax bill that haunts you for the rest of your life all because you wanted to keep a souvenir?

What’s next?

Should I tell the IRS about the “Catch Me If You Can” DVD I scored at a Mets’ game four years ago?

It was probably worth a good $17 the day it came out, might be down to the $5.50 bin at Wal-Mart these days though. The security sticker’s been sliced open. It’s even been watched a few times.

You think I’m kidding, don’t you?

I just don’t get it.

They’ll charge a college kid enough to clean out his dorm room, but they’re handing out deductions like Skittles to the fat cats on Wall Street (taste the rainbow).

And don’t get me started on the tax exempts here in Sullivan County… I’ll start sounding like County Treasurer Ira Cohen.

You don’t want to get him started either.

There’s enough fodder to fill the pages of this paper for the rest of the summer.

Give us a break, Uncle Sam.

It’s well deserved by the church and the synagogue, the pastor’s house and the mosque parking lot, the homeless shelter and the folks at the American Cancer Society.

So spread a little love to the nation’s favorite pastime, and get back to work on those tax-exempts.

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