Wake up with REM: Rube Goldberg edition

Income taxes are like Rube Goldberg machines: a movement by one element will impact another in surprising ways. Income goes up, some limitations go down; check this box, now we’re getting a refund. Yet somehow, by line #63 (Total Tax), we arrive at an answer the taxpayer and the IRS can both agree on (we hope). With that in mind, The REM Cycle presents tax news with a liberal sprinkling of Goldbergian facts and videos to get you through this final week of tax season. Hang in there, folks!

The IRS’s overall audit rate continues to plummet, with less than 1% of individual and partnership returns being audited. Does this situation mean more people and companies will cheat on their taxes? The answer? “It’s complicated.” [Forbes]

Debt among older Americans is rising fast. In 2017, retired workers received an average of $1,404 per month in Social Security benefits—but this amount can be reduced due to student loans. Mortgage and credit card debt only compound the problem. What to do? [CNBC]

The TCJA’s expensing and income tax changes may become permanent. Will it affect you? Will it even come up for a vote? [TaxFoundation.org]

Books to inspire financial well-being. Focusing on your well-being is an important part of life. Get a good night’s rest. Eat a healthy breakfast. Go for a jog, practice some yoga, forego that yummy cheeseburger in favor of a salad — all with the goal of being our best possible self. Extend that focus to your financial health with this list of recommended books. [New York Times]


Damian Kulash, lead singer of OK Go, talks about the insane amount of math involved in creating their video for “The One Moment.” (See the video he’s discussing here.)

This video is part of www.OKGoSandbox.org


Like a Rube Goldberg machine, federal tax swings down, state income tax pops up. Here’s why. [Politico]

13 ingenious facts about Rube Goldberg. Goldberg was likely the only Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist with a degree in engineering, a rap sheet for refereeing a street fight in Harlem, and a “Three Stooges” screenplay under his belt. [Mental Floss]


His inexhaustible reservoir of elaborate contraptions that mutated simple tasks into madcap feats of ingenuity made Rube Goldberg rich and famous. But he was also an all-around cartoon man and artist. (New York Times)


ICYMI: A behind the scenes look at the design and building of the Goldberg apparatus for OK Go’s music video for “This Too Shall Pass.” [Pehr Hovey]

The Wake-Up Call is The REM Cycle’s biweekly compilation of newsworthy articles pertaining to taxation, accounting, and life in general. Got a hot tip? Email us at REMCycle@rem-co.com.