Unemployment waits and tax rates

Posted: February 8, 2010 by datechguy in personal
Tags: ,

It has been proven axiomatic that when tax rates are too high you can increase revenue by dropping tax rates thus producing more economic activity and because of it more overall tax revenue. This is the basis for many conservative arguments on taxation.

For tax rates there is a “sweet spot”. That is the point where both raising taxes decreases revenue (due to less taxable activity). and lowering taxes decreases revenue (because the drop can’t stimulate more taxable activity). If a taxes’ goal is revenue based, your goal is to find that sweet spot and keep your tax rate there.

Going to the unemployment office in Massachusetts apparently works under the same principle. The Office starts servicing customers at 8:30 a.m. but the doors of the office are unlocked as soon as the first employee shows up (Usually around 7:30-7:40 a.m.) If you want to avoid a 2 hour + wait you need to get there as soon as possible so you need to turn up before the “official” opening time of 8:30 a.m.

On the other hand if you end up showing up an hour before the place opens and wait an hour to be seen, you are still waiting 2 hours. The trick seems to be to find that “sweet spot” where you show up early enough to be seen to get ahead of the massive crowd that comes after opening while not spending the same amount of time waiting before they open as you would after.

Today I showed up at 8:05 a.m., it is the earliest I ever came and was totally surprised to be #11. Ten people already there ahead of me taking numbers. At precisely 8:30 the people who have taken numbers are invited 2 at a time in order to sign in to the relevant list to be seen by someone.

Apparently between 8:00 & 8:05 is the “sweet spot” or pretty close. I was seen in just under 90 minutes. I was early enough to get a good parking space and beat the crowd but late enough to still do part of my normal morning routine.

I was told that my benefits for the next 3 weeks (and last week) will turn up as a lump in about two weeks and I should ignore the phone message concerning benefits as the computers haven’t been updated yet.

My bills tend to fall due between the end of the previous month and the 15th of the month. I always pay them 10 business days early for mailed bills and at least 2 days early for in person bills. (Whenever possible I always pay in person. You are not a number in that case.) I tend to pay them between the 20th and the 31st. Due to sheer luck the “lump day” falls just as I will be starting to pay. This means with the wife’s pay I can handle the early bills and will still have something left to pay the late ones.

If it turns out that they are late, then I have to go to my reserve but that reserve is not large these days.

I’ve not reached the panic point but it is never far away and I’m better off than many.

  1. Peg says:


    How I wish that our government would start implementing more business-friendly policies. Would be nice if you needed to show up early at a new job – instead of the unemployment office!