by a Thousand Little Cuts….
times, supposedly, there was a punishment called death by
a thousand cuts, designed to make the process as long and
as painful as possible. In modern times, the state does what amounts
to the same thing to our finances and thus, to our financial
security via a tower of taxes and fees on everything we do
and everything we (supposedly) own.
instance the annual registration fees we (most of us)
are forced to pay every single year in return for the privilege
of having yet another scrap of government-issued paper in
our glovebox (and maybe another ugly little sticker to put on the
license plate that we also had to pay for, separately). Here in
Virginia as in many other states, the Graspers recently upped the
ante to almost $50 a year per vehicle, in perpetuity. By itself
and assuming youve only got one car sending
the Graspers another $50 may not seem like a very big deal. But,
You were forced
to pay tax on the car when you first purchased it. In Virginia,
the tax on the purchase itself is 3 percent. So, if you bought a
modestly priced used car lets say you spent $15,000
on it the Graspers will expect you to hand over $450. The
hit on a brand-new $32,000 car something along the lines
of a new Mustang GT would be almost $1,000. (And if that
new car gets less than the government-decreed minimum MPGs, there
will be a line-item gas guzzler tax added to the purchase
price of the car. This additional tax can be $1,000 or more piled
on top of everything else.)
Even this would
be not so bad, though if thats where it ended.
But as we all know, thats where it starts.
Next up, title
fees. Another piece of paper another Fee (which is just another
way of saying another tax).
At least this
is a one-time hit.
Now the registration
and tags. This is the gift that keeps on giving. Every year, forever.
To keep the
registration up to date which is necessary, if you wish to
reduce the risk of being Tazered by a buzz-cut thug it will
cost you (in Virginia) about $50 per year, as mentioned above. Since
most of us keep at least one car most of our adult lives, this will
amount to a considerable sum over several decades of vehicle ownership.
Lets say 30 years. Times 50. Thats $1,500. Per vehicle.
Double that if you have two. A typical two-car family will
thus pay another $3,000 (probably more since the taxes oops,
fees will certainly rise again over the years)
to the Graspers in return for a slip of paper and a little sticker
for their cars license plates.
Such a deal!
Oh, and then
theres the annual (in Virginia and many other states) mandatory
state safety inspection. Time to stand and deliver
again. Another $20 out the window.
forget your emissions tax/test. Not everywhere (yet)
and not annually (so far). But in most areas, another trickle of
revenue for the Graspers that eventually feeds into a mighty Mississippi
of confiscated wealth.
were not done yet.
probably want to drive that car, right? Pay up! Every time
you fill up.
tax on gasoline is, on average, 40-50 cents. Even with the massive
uptick in fuel prices, regular unleaded would still be around $2.00
per gallon even now if it werent for the taxes. A driver
pays about $6 in taxes each time he fills up his average 15 gallon
tank. Another couple hundred bucks each year gone
to the Graspers.
on the mandatory insurance most states force every car owner to
At the very
least assuming an absolutely unblemished record
(almost impossible given the ubiquity of radar traps and the growing
list of manufactured offenses), no claims filed against
you and every allowance allowed there goes another couple
hundred out the window . Per vehicle (even though you can only drive
one vehicle at a time) each year, every year. Ive written
about the cost
of car insurance several times before. Over a driving lifetime,
the total amount can add up to tens of thousands of dollars.
forget property taxes.
You may not
have this one (yet) but we do here in the Peoples Republic
of Virginia. Its a biggie and like the registration
tax its another way the Graspers pick your pockets every year
if you own a motor vehicle. The tax is based on the average retail
value, so even if you own a decrepit old beater thats worth
four or five thousand dollars, you ll still be hit with a
property tax bill of over $100 a year. Owners of later-model, higher-value
vehicles pay several times that.
year. Forever. Or, as long as you own the thing.
I count eight
separate taxes on cars (ownership and use), at least. Is this not
startling? Even the IRS only comes around with its hand out (the
other on its gun, of course) once a year. But if you own a car
and for most of us, owning a car is an essential youll
to open your wallet or purse multiple times each year, every year,
for as long you can afford to own it. Which may not
be very long. Which may be the underlying goal behind all these
the masses anathema to the element that controls things.
If you can move around freely, easily, cheaply youre
less under their thumb.
us via the debt of a thousand cuts is a very clever (because very
subtle) method of stripping us of our liberty. Broke people struggling
to earn another dollar so they can hand it over to the Graspers
in return for being allowed to work (and the means to work) in order
to earn another dollar to give to the Graspers have little time
to consider the loss of their liberties or the growing power
of the Graspers. Fish learn to adapt to ever-increasing concentrations
of sewage in the water. People come to accept paying endless taxes
to the Graspers. It becomes routine, the way things are.
But that doesnt
make them right.
with permission from EricPetersAutos.com.
[send him mail] is an
automotive columnist and author of Automotive
Atrocities and Road Hogs (2011). Visit his
© 2011 Eric Peters
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