Business? Or Big Government?
bad and many blame Big Business, such as Big Banks and Big
Oil, as theyre styled, for turning the screws on average people.
Ive got no big love for either. The fact is they are interested
in money your money. Thats what they do. Are you shocked?
But heres the thing: If youre careful with your money
and apply common sense, you can avoid being indebted to entities
such as Big Banks and even Big Oil. Because for the most part*
their exactions are voluntary.
You do not
for example, have to buy a $500,000 McMansion on a zero down
five-year ARM that requires 40 percent of your take home pay to
stay ahead of. No Bankster put a gun to anyones head to buy
more home than they could comfortably afford. People freely
chose to do so, banking (ahem) that the increase in value would
counterbalance the high carrying costs. Well, they lost that bet.
But whose fault is it?
No law says
you must purchase a $40,000 car that broadsides you every month
with a $600 payment. You can choose to drive a more affordable vehicle,
perhaps one bought outright, with cash.
a catch: Even if you live within your means, modestly, in a home
you can afford and drive a car you can afford governments
exactions are inescapable.
anecdote: My wife and I moved from high-cost Northern Virginia
not far from DC backin 2004 to rural SW Virginia in part to lower
our cost of living in anticipation of the now-current economic problems
besetting the country. We sold our place and bought a new, less
expensive place, which enabled us to really buy the new place
outright so that we have no mortgage.
us have ever bought a new car in our lives. Both our vehicles were
bought used with cash.
These two common-sense
actions massively reduced the amount of money we need to get by.
And no loan officer or debt collector plagues us.
The taxes on
our modest place out in the country have risen by some 30 percent
in five years (even as the market value of our house has dropped)
and now the county has passed a new massive increase
in the odious personal property tax on motor vehicles. The new tax
rate will amount to an $800 annual fee levied on a vehicle with
a market value of $25,000.
While we do
not have high-dollar cars, we do have several cars (two older trucks
and a couple of older motorcycles). The highest-dollar one we own
is worth maybe $7,500. But we still end up with a beefy bill from
the county for about $500 every year. To pay for the children
who arent our children, because we dont
have any chiefly because we feel we cant afford any.
But because other people who cant afford kids do have them,
we and others like us get the bill. To pay for the local education
(read: government indoctrination) system. The combined hit every
year the personal property tax on the vehicles and the real
estate tax on our house and land amounts to around $2,000.
I understand that may not be huge by some standards, but its
still a lot of money for us and over time, its a lot
of money, period. In just ten years time, the local
wealth redistributors will have stolen and yes, thats
the right word $20,000 from us. For the privilege of owning
things we already paid for (and paid taxes on at the time of purchase)
with money that has also already been taxed.
It is a sum
we can do nothing to reduce, other than by becoming homeless and
divesting ourselves of our vehicles.
So, which is
the more rapacious, relentless enemy of economic security? Of liberty?
The businesses offering products or services were free
to decline if we do the math and calculate we cant comfortably
afford the cost? Or the inescapable clutching claws of government
multiple levels of it that constantly filches through
financial reform and recriminations directed against
Big Business, how about changing the law so that a mans house,
once paid for, is his. Period. No more rent payments in perpetuity
to the county the annual property tax that makes ownership
a farce. And how about a rising against this noxious business of
taxing personal property, so that we can truly own nothing except
perhaps the clothes were wearing and whatever small items
we can carry in our hands?
We pay tax
on the money we earn before it even reaches our hands. At least
twice, for most of us (federal and state taxes). Then we are taxed
every time we spend whatevers left to us. And then we are
taxed again endlessly for the privilege of
owning the property we bought with that already twice-taxed
to get their heads straight. It is not Big Business that is the
enemy. No matter how strong-arm its practices may appear to be,
they rarely if ever, involve the threat of men in costumes with
badges and guns showing up to compel your participation.
Only the government
can do that. And for now, it is only government that is inescapable.
include the for-profit business cartels, such as car insurance and
(lately) heaf-cayuh providers that have secured a mandate
forcing people to buy their product or service.
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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