Death by 1000 Government Cuts
by Eric Peters
In Medieval 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.
Consider for 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 you’ve only got one car – sending the Graspers another $50 may not seem like a very big deal. But, consider:
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 – let’s 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 that’s where it ended. But as we all know, that’s 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.