## Tuesday, November 29, 2011

### Subtraction Is NOT My Favorite Operation

Operation is a word with multiple meanings. It implies that a surgeon is going to cut away at you, or in the math world, it means making changes to a set of numbers or other sorts of manipulation of math objects.

More technically, we could say, an operation is taking one or more input values and combining them in different ways. These combinations include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and exponentiation. You can combine logical statements as well as numbers, such as IF A happens, THEN B happens too, or IF C is TRUE, then D is FALSE.

In this case I am complaining about SUBTRACTION. Why?

It's the time of year when those of us fortunate enough to have jobs look forward to our year-end paychecks. We start to worry about owing "the man"  (Federal and State) more money than we have had withheld. We think about contributions we might make to churches or charities.

We might even have to subtract extra amounts from our paychecks to cover our exposure!

Here are the potential additions on our paychecks:
Base Salary (Rate x Hours)
Bonus
Pro Rata or Overtime
Workers Comp Pay
Vacation Time
Family Leave or Bereavement

Here are the actual subtractions!
401k withholding
Medical Reimbursement / Cafeteria Plan
Medical Insurance
Life Insurance
Federal Income Tax
Federal Medicare
Federal Social Security
California Income Tax
California Disability
Employee Association Dues
Community Association Donation

Take a look at your own pay stub to see all the things that come out.

Now I know that these are not all taxes, and I am not complaining about the rate of tax I am paying. Some of the deductions even reduce our taxable income, thus saving money.

But when the NET amount on this particular paycheck is less than 26% of the GROSS amount, I get mad at the math operation known as subtraction!

But my anger dissipated when I found this distracting sentence on my wife's employer website:

Our school district takes out payroll deductions on a tenthly basis. Any tax required to be paid on a twelfthly basis is "caught up" on the October payroll each year.

Try saying twelfthly a few times! Seven consonants, two vowels. Too much tongue!