The Hippie CPA

The Hippy CPAYou may ask yourself—if you have virtually no clients and nothing to do or have just been fired for being a loser at a public accounting firm or have just smoked a joint and experienced a profound metaphysical rush—how a former hippie could have found the light, converted, and become a CPA?  The term “hippie CPA” is oxymoronic, if not contradictory, in nature.

Yes, I confess…I was there at Woodstock, saw and heard Jimmy Hendrix play the star spangled banner to 300,000 fans on orange sunshine at sunrise; campaigned for Eugene McCarthy for President during the Vietnam war and obtained the most signatures in Connecticut for him to be placed on the ballot qualifying me to meet him in New York; then worked for Bobby Kennedy and met Ethel at the Kennedy Compound after his death; talked to Abbie Hoffman at an anti-war rally and stole his book; participated in SDS’s takeover of the administration building at the University of Connecticut and by doing such received an “A” grade in Social Organization from a tenured professor subsequently dismissed from the University for being a campus radical….I was there on the left fringes of society attempting to usher in the Great Society, where peace, justice, equal opportunity, and love were to prevail.  Yes, I opposed the corporate state of our country, where 5% of our populace owns 95% of our country’s wealth, where Big Brother multinational corporations control our lives, outsourcing all jobs to distant countries and laying us off at will, leaving us penniless and unable to pay our mortgages and destined to become itinerants as in the Grapes of Wrath….I saw all of this 40 years ago and then forgot and abandoned all of these causes because I needed a job, so I became a CPA, an enemy and traitor to the Great Cause, selling out my former brothers and sisters for 30 pieces of silver….

It’s perhaps unfortunate that too many of us abandoned our youthful ideals out of mercenary needs.  If we had remained united, fighting for all of the causes of the Great Society, opposing the mammoth multinationals, big brother corporations, from controlling our government and our lives, perhaps this recent economic collapse of our country—that was foreseen and predicted by so many Nostradamuses so many years ago—could have been avoided.  How many of you in Accounting Land were there at Woodstock, at the Lincoln Memorial’s peace rally, at Martin Luther’s “I had a dream” speech?  How many of you remember that fleeting moment when we believed our country could have escaped this fate that has now landed on us with the crushing weight of Plymouth Rock, leaving our country broke and broken?  How many of you were there yearning for a better America, where there were good-paying jobs, homes not in foreclosure, universal healthcare, pensions, the provision of better lives for our children, a cleaner environment, an educated populace, equal opportunity for all (including all sexes, races, creeds, sexual preferences, and age groups), the time to appreciate and enjoy our fleeting lives, and world peace?  A country of understanding, tolerance, and loving kindness.  We had a dream and then squandered it, unlike our parents, the greater generation, who defeated Nazism and Fascism during World War II and spawned the middle class from the depths of the Great Depression.   We failed miserably.

We chanted the litany of Madison Avenue, buy on credit beyond our means, we need every nonsense product now at any cost…buy, buy, buy…consume, consume, consume.  Over a lifetime we’ve collected so much junk that we have now run out of landfills to dispose of all of it.  We have become a country of repossessed houses, abandoned factories, unemployed workers, business shells of outsourced businesses, landfills, and junk.  We have squandered all of our resources and have violated every creed of the conservationists.  We are now wasting our most valuable natural resource:  the human resource, unemploying and underemploying our labor force.  We have failed miserably.

As a nation, our national debt spiraled from $250 billion after World War II to $12 trillion.  We create wars for the multinational defense industries—that industrial military complex that President Eisenhower warned us about—to profit by.  $300 billion here this year; $300 billion there next year.  Tuitions have skyrocketed, children can no longer afford higher education, the dream of an educated populace has been forgotten and forfeited.

The angels are our accountants in heavenI believe angels are the accountants in heaven, debiting and crediting the actions of our everyday lives.  They have posted every transaction, recording it faithfully, shaking their heads in disbelief at our performance, recording all of the penalties and fines we have so justly incurred.  We have undone all that our parents had accomplished:  a home for every family; an education for every child; available jobs, livable wages, financial security.  So really, in all honesty, when it’s all done and over with, when our cardiac arrest train inevitably does arrive as suddenly and scary as the third, grim reaper spirit in “A Christmas Carol”, should we then be surprised to learn that we have received anything but a failing grade for the contribution to humanity of our entire life’s work?

Mea culpa.

This article is provided for informational purposes and is not intended to be construed as legal, accounting, or other professional advice.  For further information, please consult appropriate professional advice from your attorney and certified public accountant. 

Have a tax or an accounting question?  Please feel free to submit it to William Brighenti, Certified Public Accountant, Hartford CPA Accountants.  For information and assistance on any tax and accounting issue, please visit our website:  Accountants CPA Hartford.

About William Brighenti

William Brighenti is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified QuickBooks ProAdvisor, and Certified Business Valuation Analyst. Bill began his career in public accounting in 1979. Since then he has worked at various public accounting firms throughout Connecticut. Bill received a Master of Science in Professional Accounting degree from the University of Hartford, after attending the University of Connecticut and Central Connecticut State University for his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees. He subsequently attended Purdue University for doctoral studies in Accounting and Quantitative Methods in Business. Bill has instructed graduate and undergraduate courses in Accounting, Auditing, and other subjects at the University of Hartford, Central Connecticut State University, Hartford State Technical College, and Purdue University. He also taught GMAT and CPA Exam Review Classes at the Stanley H. Kaplan Educational Center and at Person-Wolinsky, and is certified to teach trade-related subjects at Connecticut Vocational Technical Schools. His articles on tax and accounting have been published in several professional journals throughout the country as well as on several accounting websites. William was born and raised in New Britain, Connecticut, and served on the City's Board of Finance and Taxation as well as its City Plan Commission. In addition to the blog, Accounting and Taxes Simplified, Bill writes a blog, "The Barefoot Accountant", for the Accounting Web, a Sift Media publication.
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