Ken Johnson
Grand Junction Free Press Opinion Columnist

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February 7, 2013
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JOHNSON: Still learning lessons at my age

It is SO frustrating to think you caught the politicians in a big scam, and then find out it was just more internet entertainment.

Let me share a short tale.

First, we all want to believe the stuff we see on the internet, especially if it agrees with our own view anyway. It seems so real, and is so well-documented, how can it be fake?

Well, Yours Truly has finally seen the light, thanks to coaching by one Bryan Johnson.

It seems I got an email forwarded by a friend. It was about a Cabela's receipt out of Texas, with a new tax on it: a Medical (Device) Excise Tax. The claim, well documented with links to the IRS regulations, was that those sneaky Democrats who forced Obamacare on us had put the Medical Device Excise Tax on things like fishing rods, bows and arrows, tires and gas guzzlers.

Cabela's in Texas had listed the new Obamacare tax on customer's receipts. (See picture of actual receipt.)

I asked a dozen friends to help me check it out. Bryan spelled it out in terms even I could understand. His message is for all of us:

"Fake. It came from the internet, and is fake until proven true. I'll bet anyone $100 this is fake, without knowing more about it.

"You have to remember that the internet is the biggest source of lies, fakes and trickery that we have ever invented.

"Merely because it's on the internet does not mean it's true. And, the smart path is to assume that you are being tricked, someone is trying to manipulate you, or someone is reaching for your wallet."

On a different note, there is a sport-fishing gear tax which was started in 1941. 1941! Holy mackerel!

This excise tax on the sport-fishing industry funds the Sport-Fish Restoration Program, not the government directly.

Back to the Cabela's receipt: The receipts themselves were real, which is a bit of surprise in that they weren't just Photoshopped. It turns out the receipt generated was a mistake due to new point-of-sale software on Cabela's computer.

The Medical Device Excise tax, which went into effect Jan. 1, is a new tax, but it has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Cabela's business. The tax imposes a 2.3% levy on the sale of certain medical devices, such as MRIs and X-ray machines. According to the IRS, there are many retail exemptions to the tax such as eyeglasses, contact lenses and hearing aids, to name a few.

Is there anything that Cabela's sells that would be considered medical equipment by a sane person?

The only thing real in the entire story is the receipt. The lesson is: Do your research.

Ken is founder of the Grand Junction Free Press and former owner/publisher of The Daily Sentinel. He spends his time between the Grand Valley and California.

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The Post Independent Updated Feb 7, 2013 02:50PM Published Feb 7, 2013 02:49PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.