By Nick Hoobin


HR5125TC infographic by Nick Hoobin

“I would like to thank you again for calling Copper Tax Preparation, Barbara. My name is Judy and I’ll be assisting you. My associate said you were having some difficulty locating a tax credit using the home and business edition of our software. Is that correct?”

“Yes. The credit is just not there.”

“Can you tell me the name of the tax credit you were looking for?”

“The plastic bag usage tax credit.”

“Say that again?”

“The plastic bag usage tax credit.”

“I’m sorry I don’t have any record of that particular credit.”

“I know. That’s why I’m calling. Copper Tax Preparation needs to add the plastic bag usage tax credit. Get your legal team on it.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, but I do not have any record of that tax credit. I have our legal team’s research queue up, and it doesn’t mention a plastic bag credit.”

“That’s a plastic bag usage credit. All of my competitors are using it. It’s time that I got in on that free money action.”

“I can add it to the legal team’s research queue. Can you explain to me the nature of the credit?”

“Like I said, it’s a plastic bag usage credit. All of my competitors are using it. Free money if you use plastic bags instead of paper bags.”

“That doesn’t seem right, can you elaborate on where you heard about it?”

“Well, Judy, in order to understand where I heard of it, we first have to examine the rise to power of my district’s congressman Ben Buzzard.”

“I don’t see how that’s relevant—”

“Oh, Judy, it’s all relevant. You see when Mr. Buzzard was a boy he was teased on the playground by this wicked group of kids. Kids can be really mean, and this group was by far the worst in the grade. They would tease Ben relentlessly and the bystanders would stand around and laugh at the spectacle.”

“And you know this how, Barbara?”

“Because I was one of those bystanders who would laugh at Ben.”

“Well that doesn’t sound very nice.”

“Like I said, kids can be very mean. But come on it was hilarious. Plus, by playing along we didn’t become targets. It was a win-win for everyone.”

“That doesn’t sound like a win-win—”

“That doesn’t matter, Judy, what does matter is that the leader of the bullies was a boy named Gary Smithson. You getting this Judy?”

“Yes, but I don’t see how that’s relevant to our conversation.”

“I’m getting to that part. For a support staff member, you’re not very patient. Now, being the leader made Gary the meanest of the mean. He would make these hilarious—mean, but hilarious—buzzard sounds at Ben. The group would corner Ben, and Gary would start with this ‘bawk, bawk, bawk’ sound that sounded exactly like a buzzard. It was very cruel to make fun of a kid because of his silly name. It’s not like he could change it.”

“That sounds more like a chicken than a buzzard.”

“Judy, have you ever heard a buzzard in real life?”

“No, not that I can recall.”

“Well, I have. Those ‘bawk, bawks’ sounded exactly like a buzzard. It was hilarious.”


[Report No. 405H–19P]

To provide a refundable tax credit to promote growth in the plastics and oil industry.

Sec. 66tc. Refundable tax credit for plastic and oil producers.

( a ) In General.—Subpart R of part IX of sub-chapter W of chapter 23 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 is amended by inserting after section 40U the following new section:

“Sec. 40v. Plastics and Oil Production.

“( a ) In General.—In the case of any entity, there shall be allowed as a credit against the tax imposed by this subtitle for the taxable year the sum of the monthly credit amounts with respect to such taxpayer for calendar months during such taxable year.

“( b ) Monthly Credit Amounts.—

“( c ) In General.—The monthly credit amount with respect to any taxpayer for any calendar month is the greater of—

“( d ) All taxable income liability for this entity for this month.

“I still don’t see how this is relevant to the credit.”

“It’s all relevant. Now Ben Buzzard got so sick and tired of being laughed at, that he swore he’d get his revenge. He said that one day he’d be in a position of power and that he’d use his influence to get back at everyone. ‘Just you wait until I rule the world,’ he would say. And that, Judy, is why Ben Buzzard decided to go into politics.”

“So he became a politician because you laughed at him when he was a vulnerable child?”

“That’s irrelevant to this conversation, Judy. Now that we’ve examined Ben’s childhood, we now have to look at the life of Gary.”

“Can we please not, Barb?”

“Why, Judy, we must! I promise that it’s relevant to the issue at hand.”


“Gary Smithson, after growing out of being a bully—bullying is a phase after all—was put under a lot of pressure to follow in his father’s footsteps. Gary wanted none of that, but his father would not let up. But, it’s no surprise, really, being named Smithson—that’s son of a smith—that he was being forced into the family business. He kind of had it coming.”

“You’re making fun of people’s names again.”


“Nothing. Is that why he became a bully? Because he was being forced to live according to his father’s ideals?”

“No! Aren’t you listening? Bullying is a phase. This happened years after that. No, he didn’t become a bully, he became something much worse. Want to take a guess, Judy, at what Gary Smithson became?”

“I don’t know, a smith?”

“A smith!? He didn’t become a smith! There’s no smiths anymore, that’s what factories are for. Really a smith.”

“I know a smith—”

“A lobbyist. That’s what Gary Smithson became, that was the family business. Lobbying. Follow along Judy. Lobbyist. Do you know what industry Gary ended up representing?”

“The metal industry?”

“No! Get over the blacksmithing angle. That’s not a thing. I don’t feel like you’re on the same page as me, Judy. The plastics and oil industry. Gary became a lobbyist for the plastics and oil industry.”

“Oh, is that how this relates to the plastic bag usage tax credit, Barb? You’re friends with Gary and he told you about it?”

“No. It’s nothing like that. To explain how I heard of the credit, we have to go back to Mr. Buzzard and examine his political career.”


“You’re supposed to be helpful Judy, you’re support staff, after all. I promise there’s a payoff. Now Mr. Buzzard entered politics at a hugely divided time, in a district with fierce competition both inside and outside the party. In order to get ahead, he needed a strong platform, a cause that could get the voters to turn out.”

“Did he get his revenge by campaigning to end bullying in schools?”

“No, Judy! Bullying is a phase, bullying was in his childhood, it doesn’t affect his adult life. Bullies are a kid’s worry, not an adult’s. No, it was a hilarious—and cruel—twist of fate that the help Mr. Buzzard needed was from a lobbyist.”

“Let me guess, that lobbyist was Gary Smithson.”

“Gary Smithson is correct! You were finally paying attention for once. Mr. Buzzard, while being bankrolled by his childhood nemesis, campaigned on a platform to end regulation for the oil and plastics production industry. Save plastic, save jobs. With the money and influence from a lobbyist, Mr. Buzzard was able to win himself a seat in congress. Ruling the world? Ha! He can’t even get elected without buying the support of others. He’ll always be that Ben that got laughed at on the playground.”

HR5125TC tagline by Nick Hoobin
Plastic production created 100 jobs last year. Save plastic. Save Jobs. Pad for by Ben Buzzard for Senate.

“Are we at the part about the tax credit yet?”

“Yes. I said there would be payoff. As part of Ben’s campaign he promised to enact a tax credit that benefits companies, like mine, that use plastic bags instead of paper. The tax credit that your software is failing to list.”

“As I’ve said before, we have no record of that credit, and it’s not on the legal team’s queue. I’m confident that the tax credit does not exist. How specifically did you hear about it?”

“He told me about it.”

“Who told you?”

“Congressman Ben Buzzard. He called me last week and notified me of its existence. He was nice enough to let me know that all my competitors were utilizing it.”

“It sounds like he was lying to you. Why would he call you and let you know about this credit?”

“It’s like I said before, we’ve known each other since childhood. I even voted for him.”

“But, why would he tell you about this tax credit that doesn’t exist? Is there something you’re not telling me Barb? You mentioned before that you used to laugh at him.”

“Oh, I did more than that. You see, Gary Smithson had to switch schools a couple years later. To have to make new friends, I do not envy him.”

“He got kicked out for bullying?”

“Bullying, no! I thought I had you there for a moment, Judy. But I lost you again, what happened? I keep telling you no one cares about bullying. I don’t know what type of school you went to, but no one cares about bullying. Gary had to move because of his father’s lobbying position. They had to move to DC. It was after that I stepped up my game.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“I saw an opening in the market and I capitalized on the opportunity. I am a businesswoman after all. With the main bully out of the picture, there was a power vacuum, and I filled it.”

“Barb, you’re a bully?”

“No, I’m not a bully now! That was a phase. Sure, I was the main bully for a few years, but that’s in the past. I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of another’s ridicule, so I decided that I would be the top tormentor. And the proven success was targeting Ben Buzzard. So I continued going ‘bawk, bawk, bawk’ like a buzzard at him every time I saw him. And the bystanders continued to laugh.”

“That still sounds like a chicken.”

“No, it’s a buzzard. I know. I’ve heard one in the wild. We went through this.”

“Barb, have you ever considered that Mr. Buzzard is getting his revenge on you? That he called you to tell you about this fake tax credit so you’d make a fool of yourself like you are right now?”

“No, bullying is a thing of the past. We’ve moved on. I voted for him. I don’t think you and I are seeing eye to eye, Judy. I think I’m going to have to leave a negative review for you. You haven’t been very helpful.”

“You’re going to leave me a bad review because you’re a bully?”

Was a bully.”

“No, you are a bully. You laughed at this guy instead of helping him, then continued to be mean to him when he finally caught a break. Now you’re threatening me with a negative review because he’s exacting petty revenge on you. I don’t have time for this, you’re making my day even worse.”

“Your day is bad? I’m the one with the ruined bottom line because you won’t add a tax credit to your software.”

“No, Barb, you listen to me. You made me sit through your stories, so listen to me talk about how my day is going.”

“It better be entertaining, Judy.”

“I woke up to my phone ringing—it was my mother.”

“Not your mother! Mothers are the worst.”

“My mother told me that her body isn’t responding to her chemo and that her future isn’t looking too bright. They’ll have to try different, less effective methods that are still in trial. Treatments with even worse side effects than the chemo.”

“Cancer, Judy? You decided to bring cancer into the mix to make me feel bad? That’s a pretty mean move. I didn’t bring cancer into my story. Maybe a heads up next time so I can mentally prepare.”

“I’m not going to respond to that. Next I find a note under my door, it’s from the property manager. They’re going to renovate all of the bathrooms in the apartments, and now I need to find somewhere to live for a week. I would stay with my best friend, but she just had a baby. Now I have to find some money to afford a nice hotel. The reimbursement only covers a bedbug-ridden motel. I get paid minimum wage here, Barb. I can’t afford a nice hotel!”

“Well you could always stay with your parents they’ll—”

“What part of cancer do you not get? I can’t stay with them.”

“You’re bringing up that cancer thing again, let’s keep cancer out of it. It’s not fair to me, I can’t do anything about the cancer situation. Is that it? Is that why your day’s bad?”

“Next someone rides me almost the entire drive to work. When I got to a busy intersection a car decides to run the red light. I have to slam on my breaks, and the person riding me rear ends me! Now I was late for work and my car’s wrecked.”

“It sounds to me, Judy, like you should have left for work earlier. You shouldn’t have had that call with your mother.”

“Why are you so mean? When I finally get into work I find out management is now upping our customer satisfaction rating requirements. I have to work even harder to keep my job. I can’t afford to lose it!”

“If your staff wasn’t so unhelpful, then maybe they wouldn’t have had to increase the rating requirement.”

“No, Barb, it’s probably due to all of the time that’s wasted trying to help crazies like you. I’m going to have to stay late today to get in my minimum requests because of how long this call has taken.”

“Judy, it sounds like you’re blaming me for your bad day, when it seems like all of your problems are with medicine, your apartment complex, road rage, and management. I’m not involved in any of those things so you should keep your personal life out of it.”

“I should keep my personal life out of it? You’re the one that described how you bullied a congressman as a child and then he pranked called you because he holds a grudge.”

“Yes, but my stories are relevant to my support request. It’s your job to help me with my tax preparation. It sounds like you won’t help me because of your personal problems. You should deal with those before dealing with customers.”

“I can’t help you with your problem. You were misinformed.”

“So you’re not going to add the plastic bag usage tax credit to Copper Tax Preparation?”


“Ok. So I’m going to have to leave a negative review then, Judy. It’s because I’m a small business owner, isn’t it. You’d help the large companies that spend a fortune on tax preparation. That’s unfair!”

“I can’t take this any more. I can’t stand talking to a mean person like you. I’m hanging up! Have a crappy day, Barbara.”

“That wasn’t nice, look who’s the bully now.”

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Buy Needs More Fire 3.