Thursday, October 15, 2009

Does This Make You HAPPY?

Cat Nap 2

Congressman Thaddeus McCotter (R. Michigan) has introduced a bill that would allow a tax deduction of up to $3500 for - ready? - pet care. (Note that you're still on the hook for your own care, or your kids'.) It's called the HAPPY act, Humanity and Pets Partnered through the Years.

The rationale is that pets improve their humans' health by reducing stress and improving mood, especially useful in bad times like these. And sometimes they certainly do. It is comforting to cuddle a furball when you're feeling down. Gotta give 'em that. Other times, though, they're shredding your furniture or depositing any of a wide variety of messy presents on the carpet. In my experience, the effect on stress is kind of a wash.

Still, we really do love our fur children. It is a tragedy that so many unemployed workers are having to give up their animals to shelters. I would be devastated to abandon our beloved Gatsby here, but I can certainly understand the financial pressure. We've spent hundreds in vet bills this year alone, thousands over his lifetime, and now the guy needs a special diet that I suspect is made of ground-up gold.

The bill might enable more of us to keep our pets. That would definitely be a win for us, our companion creatures, our overcrowded shelters, and the pet care industry.

But really, here's the thing: We are bankrupt. America is so far in debt that we will never, ever get out and we are still hemorrhaging money. The Treasury is collecting less and less from our paychecks, and more and more from selling IOUs to other countries. Is now the time for new tax deductions for pet care?

I'm not so sure.


Sallyacious said...

I would starve before I put my girls in a shelter. I can't imagine letting them go. They would never understand, and they're all old ladies and I'm one of the only constants in their lives. I couldn't abandon them.

I love the idea of deducting pet health care, especially considering how much we've spent on our geriatrics (and terminally ill young cats) in the last 12 months. However, I'm with you. I don't think additional tax breaks are a good idea right now. For anybody.

I do know that the next cat we get is getting insured. Because they start out cheap or free, but they get expensive fairly quickly.

MyMaracas said...

I agree about keeping my baby out of the shelter at all costs, and I certainly would welcome a tax break on his bills. But yeah... how can we afford it?

Daryl said...

How can we afford any of the bail outs?

I would prefer to see the healthcare reform bill pass with a public option but I bet if this came up for a vote it would pass

LOVE that photo ... is that your guy?

MyMaracas said...

Daryl, me too. It's terribly frustrating that healthcare is so difficult to get here.

And yep - that's my guy Gatsby.

Gel said...

Oh my, I do love animals, but reality overtakes that emotion when reading your post about a tax deduction for pet care. >Jaw drops open

Anonymous said...

We love our cat and dogs. They get better care than I do. But come on animals before people.
Im older an I think I got the best years out of this world. You have a good day. Keep warm and dry
Bye Bye Ed

Martha (Menagerie) said...

The photo makes me very happy! :-)

I don't know what to think about everything going on in our world and our economy. It's a disaster and only seems to be getting worse and worse!

sarayutouched said...

the answer is no, but we the people, don't seem to matter. sadly.
your picture does make me happy tho.

Sean said...

Not sure I agree with the tax... however, it cant be argued that they do make us happy..!

Hey Harriet said...

The photo at least makes me happy!

I'm not sure what to make of all this. My (limited) understanding of the healthcare system in America is that it's rather screwed up, so I'm not sure this should be a priority. If there was plenty of money in supply, then yeah for sure. I love animals as much as anyone.

Carletta said...

Gatsby's portrait makes me smile!
The bill - not at his stage of the game with everything else we need to fix.