If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet.
"Taxman" by The Beatles
With April 15 looming like the big, bad wolf waiting to chomp down on your wallet, I thought it appropriate to ask the following question when it comes to taxes:
Where the @#$! does it end?
States and the feds are in need of some serious cash. Their solution is to raise taxes on people who are barely getting by, many of whom don't even have jobs.
What we have here, of course, is typical government incompetence and greed. In one sense, governments are no different than people and businesses. They spend, spend, spend during the good times, and then when things go bad, they have to cut, cut, cut or find new revenue, the difference being companies can't put you in jail for failure to pay their price increases. If a business jacks its rates up, you simply make the choice not to do business with it.
Governments, on the other hand, can send agents to your house if you decide you don't like the new tax on, say, the air you breathe.
And government has gotten ever more creative over the years in its attempt to take more of your money. Some of its favorite tactics are tacking on fees to bills you already pay your phone and cable bill, for example and of course consumption and sin taxes. The more you smoke or drink, the more it costs you.
Some of the latest examples:
The obesity tax, a tax added to soft drinks. Government gets to do two things it likes to do: Take more of your money and legislate your behavior at the same time.
The tanning tax, a surcharge added on to the fees paid to lie in a tanning bed. I presume government did this only because it could not figure out how to tax the sun.
The insurance tax. This one is pure genius. Under the new health care law, if your insurance is too good, they charge you a tax. Conversely, if you don't have any insurance at all they charge you a penalty. I guess the key is to have mediocre insurance, which is what most people already have.
The list goes on from exorbitant hikes on cigarettes and liquor to local governments raising property taxes on homes that are worth half of what they used to be.
It all makes me wonder when The Beatles' song is going to come true. In fact, we can't be far from having to change some of the lyrics from "be thankful I don't take it all" to "it's best we just take it all." Then we'll be singing another Beatles tune.
"You know I need money, that's what I want."
E-mail Nate McCullough at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Fridays.