Posted on Mon 07/07/2014 by


By T. L. Jenkins   ~

It can’t be argued an automobile is a convenience and a privilege. It’s an absolute necessity to make a living in today’s society. Public transportation is not an option unless one lives and works in a large city. The people living out on a rural route somewhere would be out of luck without an auto.

But even if it could be argued a car is a mere convenience or luxury, both rich and poor are entitled to a convenience or luxury. Why should the poor have to pay more for the same convenience / luxury–and in this case, an absolute necessity-than the rich? The poor pay more of a percentage of their paycheck than the rich all across government. This doesn’t refer to the recent and on-going squabble of the political parties about “raising taxes on the rich” so they “pay their fair share” It refers more to a more reasonable and equitable way taxes could be imposed on rich and poor alike. Currently the “poor” don’t even know they suffer “death by a thousand cuts” when they pay taxes on a daily basis.

Two men–both buy a car. An identical economy car. One makes $200,000 a year and the other makes $20,000 (for an easy math example) . The first buys the car because he wants to, and the second buys the same model because that’s all he can afford. The model in question cost $20,000. Each pays the identical sales tax of 6%, which comes to: $1,200. Each pays, to register the vehicle: An excise tax of $600 and a registration “fee” (tax) of $200. Each has paid the identical amount for the identical model car. Each has paid $2,000 for the privilege of purchasing this auto. The man who makes $200,000 a year has paid  1% (one %) of his income and barely notices the missing $2,000, while the man who makes $20,000 has paid 10% (ten %) of his annual salary and struggles to even come up with the $2,000, and more than likely has to finance even that (to pay an even larger % of his annual income on interest charges to borrow the $2,000 he has to pay in taxes) The state has priced him out of ever having something better–more than likely he’ll settle for some old clunker so the state doesn’t beat him up every time he wants to register his car.

Both men have 5 children. Each man takes his children to the State Park. Each pays $5 each for Mom and Dad, and $3 each for their 5 children. Each then has paid $25 dollars for admittance for their family to the state park. (although the numbers cited here may not be exact, the idea should be clear) The man making $200,000 can afford to take his family to the park every weekend of the summer, while the man who makes $20,000 is hard pressed to take his family even once and is priced out by the State of taking his family to a park that is supposed to belong to all the citizens of the state. Ditto National parks.

Each man has to travel the turnpike every day to get to work and back home. It costs each $2.00 per day for a total of $10.00 per week and $500 annually. It cost the man making 200g .25%  of his income and he doesn’t even know the $ is missing. The man making 20g pays 2.5% of his earnings and $500 is a lot of $ to that man….The state has priced him out of using the turnpike at will for a roadway that’s supposed to have equal access for all citizens…..That is : “Sure, you have equal access–if you can PAY!”

Each uses 20 gallons of fuel per week to get to work and back. The tax alone on that fuel comes to $20 per week, for a total of $1,000 annually. Not a strain on the first man’s budget, (.5%) (one half of one %) he uses another 20 gallons a week for recreation. The second man struggles to come up with gas money (5% of his income) (five whole %) to even get back and forth to work and has no extra money to be driving around to get to a place of recreation. The state (and Feds) has priced him out of that as well. (The excise and sales tax on gasoline is often referred to as a “use tax” when in fact all citizens use the highways–even if they are shut-ins. Shut-ins get their food, clothing, building materials for the home they live in, and virtually everything they need and use from sources that use the highways.)

WMC_Berryman_political_cartoon_on_income_tax_vs_sales_tax_(3_June_1933)All other sales taxes and fees such as hunting and fishing licenses, driver’s licenses, building permits are just as equally a burden on the second man, and barely at all (if at all) on the first man. Hunting and fishing licenses are also referred to as  “use taxes or fees” when in fact, all citizens of the state are entitled to use the woods and waters of the state and benefit from the services of game wardens, game management, water quality experts, forest management, etc. Drivers licenses do not in fact need to be “renewed” every so often–once you are licensed to drive–you are licensed to drive and  it’s merely another means to collect taxes on those who can least afford them. As is the renewal of car registrations annually. Once the car is registered–it’s registered.

Another burden on those least able to afford it, and yet another means purely to collect taxes. The DMV could be done away with–or at least reduced by 90% (If an auto was registered just once–it would save an additional 9 trips to DMV to “re-register”) (Considering the average car on the road may get to be 10 years old.  As a matter of fact, if all tax collecting methods were eliminated except one–tax payers would save the money to pay for those agencies that collect those taxes. People wouldn’t have to give up a days pay to go down to register their autos and wouldn’t have to give up two or three more days pay to register it.

Part of that money collected at DMV goes to pay to operate DMV. Ditto the other tax collecting agencies. Although it’s true much of that can now be accomplished via the internet, that still leaves the person who can’t afford a computer, not to mention the expense of connecting it. One more example of the “little guy” taking it on the chin by having to trek down to the DMV and giving up lost wages for the privilege of forking over even more tax money.

The only fair tax is an income tax where every wage earner is taxed  the same % of their income. The very lowest on the scale paying barely none with the % rising slightly for those making “excessive incomes.” Granted, income taxes would rise for all, but not to the level people currently pay in all other taxes and fees in a hundred other different places, because the cost of government would decrease with the elimination or drastic reduction of the various tax collecting agencies.

The overall tax burden would decrease for all but would increase for those most  able to pay, because they would have to take up the slack left by the void the current low wage earners pay in “fees” etc.  Best of all, the legislature could not razzle-dazzle the populace by claiming they did not vote to raise taxes while firmly keeping their tongue in their cheek, knowing full well they voted to eliminate some tax deduction or other (e.g. the deduction people used to take on the interest of credit cards, etc.) or raise some “fee” or other. Such as the “fee” to “renew” your drivers license or any other license you may have to renew periodically.

It’s very disheartening to hear an elected individual brag how he or she didn’t vote to raise taxes, knowing full well voters hear “income taxes”, and knowing full well they voted to raise license fees of all kinds (drivers, hunting, contractors licenses e.g.—you name it, tolls, auto registrations—taxes all), voting to eliminate various tax exemptions, or the privilege enjoyed by those over 70 or the disabled to receive a complimentary hunting license. All insidious ways to raise taxes….by calling them “fees” or “deductions” or “exemptions.”

All the people of the State–and country for that matter–should have to pay taxes in only one place, not in a hundred different places, so those slick politicians couldn’t come in under the radar with their political razzle dazzle with the repeal or reduction of benefits, tax exemptions,  tax credits or tax refunds; or extending an expiring tax or fee increase, all the while claiming they didn‘t vote to raise “taxes” Call them what they are–TAXES. Even sales taxes unfairly target the little guy as given in the example of the auto above. The man making 20g’s scrimps and saves to buy a computer, toys, clothes and school supplies for his children for Christmas and gets hit over the head with another $200 in taxes. Even the privilege of taking his family out to eat to a good restaurant–or even a fast food joint taps the man for taxes–much more of a burden for him than the other guy.

Perhaps a consensus could be reached to eliminate all but one form of revenue for a state, but if not, at least force the state to call all sources of revenue “taxes”, dispensing with the terms “fees” etc.

On a state level that would be easier because states have voter initiatives. On a Federal level…well, that pony rides a little different and it would be harder to get the politicians out of the feed trough.