Hot, tired, and wanting a relaxing lunch at my favorite Italian scratch restaurant, I ducked the South Florida raindrops and went inside. There was my favorite waiter, so I felt this was going to be a great respite. Wow, was I wrong! The young Italian American and I are friends; we go way back, to the first few months I moved down here and bought my home from this hard working, sincere young man. So we could and did talk freely in between his serving other customers in the busy place.
He told me his tale of woe at the hands of the IRS that made me so mad that I still recoil many hours later. “They took over my bank account,” he said. His car payment was going to bounce if his sister hadn’t helped him out. He was about to lose his only means of transportation. He had a large student loan debt plus other debts that were giving him a lot of grief. But the worst blow of all was the $100,000 fine that the IRS told him he owed them, or else. The “or else” boiled down to this predatory agency–the very agency that now controls our lives, our finances, our health care, and our access to our doctors and hospitals–just attacking this young man’s banking rights and his finances to live and survive on!
This terrible agency now has this young man in its clutches; he said he was able to get them to lower the amount they say he owes them, but these out-of-control thugs grabbed at the one thing they could to control him well into his middle and later years.
He told me he has a two year associate’s degree from a local area college, and he wants to finish out his four year degree; but so far, he can’t. “I already have 140 credit hours,” he told me.
As a retired English professor, I well recall working on admissions day at an Illinois college. I saw many minority students come in, sign up, and then perhaps show up for enough classes to get passed on to the next semester. I remember one young black male who didn’t even know how to fill out his pink form to list his class hours, times, and locations. “Fill it out,” he said to me in a confusing way. I eventually realized he was asking me to fill it out for him! He was coming to college with so inadequate of a background he couldn’t fill out his course forms! Another young man, this time white, asked me to lie about his being in class because he didn’t want to lose his car. What he meant was, I think, he had used his college grants to buy a new car; and if I could just lie and say he was in class when he wasn’t, he could keep the freebies flowing.
Another older black woman came into my classroom dressed in such finery that I still remember her today. She had on a butter soft expensive leather jacket and slacks I admired. Her red outfit was perfectly coordinated and just spoke loudly to all that here was money walking. She, too, was on financial aid.
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This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Informing And Equipping Americans Who Love Freedom