Monday, July 17, 2006

Blackmail anyone?

I have never written an article in response to an “advice column.”  Personally, I question the validity of writing a letter to someone to ask that person(s) to make a decision for the writer.  Not only that, it seems to me that the person giving the advice is relying upon only one view point in relation to the issue.  The writer may be leaving out pertinent and important information.  The writer may be skewing the information either deliberately or unintentionally.  I’m sure there are also other reasons not to rely upon an advice columnist to make one’s decisions.

The following is the complete letter written and the complete response published in the Peoria Journal Star on July 17, 2006, page C4.  It is from “Annie’s Mailbox.”  The two women who now supposedly write the column worked for Ann Landers according to the explanation of why “Annie’s Mailbox” is now a featured advice column.

Dear Annie: My daughter gave my wife three scratch-off lottery tickets for Mother’s Day.  One was a $10,000 winner.  My wife promptly gave my daughter $2,000 of her winnings.  

My daughter went home and told her husband.  She then called my wife and insisted she should have gotten half the winnings.  My wife explained to her that it was a gift, but my daughter hung up the phone.

Now we probably will never see our grandsons again.  I told my wife that I wish she never would have won that money.  What is your opinion?—A Reader.”

Dear Reader:  Yes, your daughter is wrong.  The tickets were a gift, and the winnings belong to your wife.  It was generous, as well as appropriate, for her to give $2,000 to your greedy and ungrateful daughter.  However, that doesn’t solve your problem.  If your daughter insists on holding the grandchildren for an additional $3,000 ransom, we say grit your teeth and pay it.  Your wife is still up $5,000, and there will be peace in the family.”

What!!!  Are these so called advisors insane???  That is an absolutely terrible and incorrect answer based upon the information given.  First of all, these two obviously don’t know the tax laws.  The wife will not necessarily be up $5,000.  If they are required to pay federal income tax, the $10,000 will be taxed as any other income unless they also have $10,000 of gambling losses.  Since most states also have an income tax system, they may also have to pay state income tax on it.  Furthermore, if they are collecting social security, that $10,000 is also used to determine if their social security is taxed and to what extent.  

I don’t gamble myself.  However, I have tax clients who do.  In Arizona, the State of Arizona withholds a percent of lottery winnings when it involves a $10,000 payout.  The wife may have never received the full $10,000 to begin with.  If they owe some taxes on that $10,000, they will never have possession of the full $10,000.  

However, taxes are not the major problem with this ridiculous answer.  If the daughter is holding the grandchildren ransom over $3,000, this family has deeper problems than the issue of the $3,000.  A daughter or son should not use their children as a weapon against their parents!!!    

Furthermore, no one should give in to blackmail!!!  Period!!!  Giving in to blackmail means you are almost guaranteeing that you will be blackmailed again and again until you either get tired of it and say “no more” or until you die always giving in to the blackmail.  Successful blackmail will only lead to more attempts to blackmail.  Anyone who has done it once successfully will not hesitate to try it again.  Success breeds another attempt!!!  Giving in to blackmail will not bring peace to the family.  It will breed future strife and either capitulation or another blackmail attempt.  

Are these advisors serious???  Should Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar either resign because of their incompetence or be fired for the same???        

    

3 Comments:

Blogger kevin said...

Do you take medication for your mental illness? If not, maybe you should.

3:59 AM  
Blogger Christian Gunslinger said...

No. But, thanks for the advice. Do you write an advice column?

4:59 AM  
Blogger kevin said...

NO

10:16 PM  

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