Tuesday musings, tax day (NOT), and dimmer switches

Bill Maurer
Tuesday Apr 14 17:34:29 PDT 2020
    Dear all,

    Yesterday and today were kind of funny days. You know what I did
    yesterday? I filed my taxes! Yes, I realize we have been granted an
    extension until July 15. It just felt good to (a) think about something
    else for a while, and (b) stick to the traditional deadline of this
    yearly ritual.
    At mid-day, I recorded an interview with a team doing a new NPR podcast
    about money for kids. And guess what they asked me about? Taxes! I
    was not prepared for this. They asked, how would I explain taxes to
    teenagers? I thought about it for a second but then I remembered Oliver
    Wendell Holmes's, "Taxes are what we pay for civilized society," which
    adorns the facade of the IRS building in Washington, DC.
    It's hard not to think about public financing and the functioning of
    society in the current pandemic. Or to reflect on what infusions of
    additional money may be necessary as we think about the response needed
    to deal with the economic consequences. Of course, as public employees,
    we all play an important role here--in continuing to fulfill our duties
    and in embodying the expenditures necessary to ensure a civilized future.
    I've also been participating in School and campus conversations about
    the university's finances, and what it is going to take to meet the new
    economic reality we have rapidly found ourselves in. I'm not going to
    beat around the bush: we all have some tough months ahead. Our students
    and their families do, too. They're looking at lost jobs and livelihoods,
    and for many, the maze that has made applying for relief unnecessarily
    complicated (courtesy of UCI Law's Mehrsa Baradaran).
    For the university, it's going to mean difficult choices as we honor our
    mission to teach, research, and serve the community. For those of us who
    were here for 2008-09, we've been through tough times before, and we know
    we can get through this, together, which I hope gives everyone else some
    comfort. For the state, it will mean a staged opening-up. Governor Newsom
    used the apt metaphor of the re-boot being like a dimmer switch--getting
    it just right to shine some light, without exposing people to additional
    risk, as we go back and forth between more and less restrictive measures
    for our daily activities and for the wider economy.
    But at least we're talking about a re-boot! And shine some light--that's
    what the UC is all about! I'll appreciate everyone's flexibility and
    creativity as we start to imagine the future we will build together.
    Please, please continue to observe social distancing and the other state
    and community guidelines. They're working. Stay at home and stay safe!