January 31, 2007

This Week's Lesson: Don't Blog Emotional Reactions

by PG

I'm contemplating taking down the post I wrote a few weeks ago, titled "Disturbing Tax Fact of the Day," in which I said that I found the existence of IRS rules about how to claim dead, stillborn and kidnapped children as dependents to be "creepy" and concluded, "If my spouse asked me whether we still could claim a dead or kidnapped child for that year, he would be filing as single the next year." One person who talked to me in person about the post thought it was dumb, because of course the IRS has to promulgate a rule one way or the other about how to deal with children who are not residing in one's home at the time one files a return, so there's no reason to be even briefly troubled by the existence of regulations. People who find the post through Google get angry with me for my reaction, accusing me of being insensitive to the death of babies in vitro or shortly after birth.

I had thought that the problem with the post actually was the opposite -- I find the tragedy of a lost child, whether dead, stillborn or kidnapped, to be so overwhelming that thinking about the tax consequences seems absurd. If I am insensitive to anything, it is the financial situation of those for whom a $3300 dependent exemption and $1000 child tax credit makes a huge difference. The privilege I'm flashing is economic, not emotional, because I am thinking like someone who can afford to be oversensitive and "Oh my God, how can you even talk about taxes?!" rather than someone for whom being able to claim a child will make the difference between debt and solvency after funeral expenses that included the purchase of a $3000 headstone.

In over four years of blogging, I don't think I've ever removed a post before, although I've had a couple that generated angry responses. Inasmuch as the above-linked post might have value, it would be for people for whom the information would be useful, but if it just upsets them, then I might as well delete it.

January 31, 2007 12:26 AM | TrackBack
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