I wrote a gigantic check to the IRS yesterday, after filing an extension in April. While it’s scary and depressing to watch my checking account fully deplete, it feels good to be doing the right thing. I’m a registered Democrat after all, and it’d be hypocritical to promote higher taxes without paying my fair share. Also, it was stressful earlier this year to lack sufficient income verification as a self-employed individual, which caused a massive delay in health insurance approval.
Most of the stripper bloggers I know actively promote paying your taxes for the same reasons I am, but I’ve had plenty of co-workers, not to mention club owners, blatantly dodge taxes. Strip clubs are notorious for organized crime and money laundering and evidence is undeniable in New York City, where I’ve worked at several clubs in the hub of Italian and Russian mobsters.
I once saw two of the Russian drivers who tote girls back and forth between clubs and Coney Island counting massive stacks of cash in front of customers before it got busy. It was hard to ignore, and glaring evidence that the $60 per girl they charge the strippers for transportation is not nearly the kind of money a thinly-veiled organized criminal is after; there’s more to the picture. Some kind of arrangement between them and the Italian owners, but I don’t dare stick my nose in that business (for a naive, romantic version of interacting with mobsters who loiter at strip clubs, see Ivy League stripper, a mediocre memoir by a Brown student moonlighting at Providence’s Foxy Lady. It’s 99 cents on Kindle)
While strippers are predominantly left in the dark about the back office activities of managers and random suited up dealers and mobsters that frequent the venues, there’s plenty of tax evading evidence between them in the locker room. I won’t get high and mighty, because I fully admit the IRS doesn’t know about every cent I’ve made; I deposit most of my cash and keep a small fraction for incidentals. But I can’t help tsk tsk-ing the girls who have no credit history, no bank account, no income, and no desire to establish the on paper credentials needed for loans, apartment applications and any income-based service such as sliding scale health care centers. Some girls simply deal with the cons of being off the grid. Others blatantly collect welfare and food stamps while concealing their earnings of up to $800+ per night or multiple thousands per week. That, I take issue with.
Anyway, that’s my two cents, since taxes have been at the forefront of my mind so far this week and I’ve been neglecting the blog. I’m going back to my New Orleans strip club very soon after spending the summer a tad underemployed with occasional private stripping gigs and lots of reading, writing and setting up my long term career goals. I’m about to turn 29 and I have to admit it kinda shows.