Hands in Our Pockets » Eric Peters Autos

Most of us would probably be ok, money-wise . . . if the government weren’t constantly taking so much of our money. Even when you try to live frugally, government makes life almost impossibly expensive. I’ll give you an example, True Story-style.

Almost exactly ten years ago, I bought a used 1998 pick-up truck for $7,200. The truck was paid off the day I bought it (in cash) but government has me paying on it to this very day. I’ll be paying the government for the temporary and conditional use of this vehicle – none of us ever gets to own anything –  literally forever.

Well, until the truck falls apart – or I do. Whichever occurs first.

The sum is not small.

First, there’s the Temporary and Conditional Use Tax – aka, the personal property tax. I am required to pay this tax once every year, else my temporary and conditional use privileges will be rescinded. “My” truck will right quickly revert to its real owner – the government. In exactly the same way that the house you think you own will revert to its real owner – the government – if you decline to pay the Temporary and Conditional Use Tax – aka the real estate tax.

Anyhow. The tax on my truck is based on its “book value” – a largely arbitrary number issued by the National Automobile Dealer Association – very much of a piece with the way real estate assessors arbitrarily decree the home you think you own to be worth “x” dollars, for purposes of the Temporary and Conditional Use Tax on that.

I tried to limit the damage – what I “owe” – by purchasing a used vehicle; one that – at the time of purchase – was under five figures. Even so, the Temporary and Conditional Use Tax is still about $100 annually, even today.

People who buy a new vehicle really get stomped. The Temporary and Conditional Use Tax on a new/recent model vehicle with a “book value” of $30,000 or so is typically several hundred annually . . . for years.

I only got scalped – so far – for about $1,500.

If that were the end of it, it might not be so bad. But – as anyone who owns (allegedly) a vehicle knows – it’s far from the end of it.

Next up, Annual Conditional Possession Tax – aka, vehicle registration.

Ever look into the etymology of register?  It derives from reg – as in king. As in: The King’s Stuff. Not your stuff. The king will allow you to possess whatever it is for a period of time – provided you pay for the privilege. You therefore are required – forced, never forget – to hand over a certain sum every year in order to conditionally (and temporarily) possess the vehicle. If you do not, in many areas, the government claims legal authority to simply take the vehicle. Even if it is not driven. Even if it is in your (ahem) privately owned parking spot or garage.

So much for private – and property, for that matter…

Read the rest of this article on these tithes at gunpoint

at Hands in Our Pockets

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