Taxed to Death in America

Good news: you have two extra days until you have to write that check to the U.S. Treasury. Sell your campaign button collection, that ought to do it.

Here’s her book:

How Do I Tax Thee?: A Field Guide to the Great American Rip-Off

An excerpt from the editorial:

We all know the government taxes our pay: federal, state, and local taxes are withheld by employers, as are social security payments. But what about the many other ways the government drains money from our wallets? Have you studied your cell phone bill? Customers in New York State pay an average of 24.36% in federal, state and local taxes on their wireless bills. They’re also charged for obscure services they didn’t ask for and don’t understand like a universal service fund fee, an FCC compliance fee, a line service fee, and an emergency services fee. These aren’t taxes, strictly speaking. The government imposes these administrative and regulatory costs, and your wireless provider passes them along to you. But the effect is exactly the same.

What about your cable bill? Your power bill? Your water bill? The cost of a gallon of gas, a cab ride, a hotel stay and a movie ticket are all inflated by hidden fees. How much of what you pay at the pump, the box office, or the airport is really an indirect tax?

Good to see a libertarian from her generation. There’s hope.

By the way, look at New York City’s tax on a pack of smokes (in 2014. No doubt it’s gone up since then):

Thanks to New York’s laughably high cigarette taxes ($4.35 state plus another $1.60 in the city) and higher prices generally, a pack of smokes in New York City costs $14 or more.

That creates a powerful incentive to smuggle smokes in from states such as Virginia, where you can buy a pack for a third of that price. Fill a Ford Econoline van with a few hundred cartons and you can make a nice five-figure profit in a weekend. Some people do.

[“Some people” had better be careful they don’t run afoul of the crime syndicates who run tractor-trailer loads of un-taxed cigarettes up interstate 95 all the time. And the tobacco traffic increases mightily each time New York gets desperate for another tax hit. — D]

The robust cigarette smuggling irritates officials in New York, because they miss out on a lot of tax revenue. The trade irritates officials in Virginia for the same reason, because smugglers buy wholesale to avoid the retail sales tax.

There’s an easy fix for all of this: Cut New York’s cigarette taxes. (Virginia could hike its own tax, but then Virginia didn’t create this problem—New York did.) Yet cutting the cigarette tax would deprive New York of revenue, and we mustn’t have that, oh no. Besides, it would send the wrong signal. New York wishes to make people stop smoking, and punitive taxes are the way to do that without outright banning tobacco, which would be too obviously narrow-minded.

That whole post is interesting since it describes the garbage wars between New York and Virginia.

Yep, we take Yankee trash all the time. The future Baron visited The City a few years ago and one of the amazing sights (to him) was the huge numbers of green garbage bags piled everywhere – I think it was in The Village. His uncle used to say that we could take care of all the nuclear waste in the country by simply leaving it in green trash bags in random places around New York City. I thought this was funny until I found out those bags would end up here.

24 thoughts on “Taxed to Death in America

  1. Prior to 1942 everyone wrote out checks to the IRS to pay the income tax. You saw what you were paying. In 1942 mandatory withholding on wages started. We were given the excuse that this was necessary to aid the war effort. (A war that the let-Europe-fight-its-own-battles-minded public did not want, but a war that FDR and his global-minded elite very much did want so that a League of Nations/UN, with the USA in it this time, would result.)

    Week-by-week money was taken from the paycheck; the taking wasn’t as painful as writing a check. It was all manipulation.

    Still is.

    • The best part is that the Feds and states charge you interest if you’re not sending their tax money in every week.

      Just found out the hard way because our idiot payroll people failed to update my W-4 when I returned from overseas last year.

      Apparently in Third World America you now need to QUADRUPLE check that idiot paper pushers are doing their basic job functions correctly.

    • When you have roughly half of the population paying no income tax in a welfare state, then you absolutely need these types of hidden taxes to make up the revenue shortfall. I would expect these things to increase in the future and not decrease.

  2. This anti tobacco crusade: In New Zealand a little politician introduced legislation to ban cigarettes by some future date in the interests of the health of ‘her people’ and in the meantime to increase each year the cost per packet beyond the scope of what poor people can pay so – we now have ‘her people’ holding up shopkeepers so they can steal cigarettes. They may no longer smoke but they get a criminal record instead! Meanwhile the production and sale of serious drugs in this country has gone through the roof and is causing serious social distress. How can we stop this cry the hypocrites who are making a good living running around the country interfering in people’s lives – knowing full well that putting the price down is the answer.
    This little country used to make millions of dollars annually through tobacco taxes, but now everything that can be taxed is squeezed and the only good thing about it is that the no smoking brigade are paying through the nose as well.
    Dr Doll, the weirdo who got $10 million from Dow Chemicals for finding the connection between luing cancer and smoking probably knew full lung cancer was caused by diesel particulates, but money has a much greater attraction than does the truth.
    If smoking causes lung cancer, how is it that a lifelong heavy smoker can donate his lungs for transplant no questions asked?

    • There is smoking and smoking. The oldest woman, French who lived to 123 or something, smoked till 113 years of age. but she didn’t smoke two packs a day, but rather one or two a day…

      I believe that when ‘9 out of 10 doctors recommended Marlboros’ – they were not joking or lying. Tobbaco is THE peace pipe stuff, excellent for nerves and cure for neurons. That is why it is highly addictive!

      And since it is highly addictive, the mafia, I mean the government, will always corner the market. Alcohol, drugs, gambling, oil, tobbaco…

      • My mother died four years ago at 88. Many a time when I called to visit she could be found sitting on the back-door step, a cup of strong tea in one hand, a fag (her name for a cigarette) in the other – my dad, still alive, preferred her not to smoke in the house.

  3. My advice, buy land, set up container home, get solar panels, wind gens, drill borehole, live for Free!

    Use bitcoin, paypal, become a juggler, or street musician, shoe shiner,

    Get OUT! Of the prison planet system.

    And live u life in sunshine

    • You’ll still have the problem of transportation and real estate taxes…unless you live in Florida, where the borehole will turn into a sinkhole and take your container home with it. And you’ll have to get local permission for wind generators; they’ll be taxed.

      The jobs you mention are all urban, which means you’re stuck on the prison planet.

      Do you live by your own remedies, sir? How is the shoeshine business out in the middle of nowhere on your cheap land? All our musicians play for free out here in their spare time while keeping their day jobs.

      • Well lady, u got wrong again!

        I live fine by this way, im musician, i play classical solo guitar in public places, i live mountain, i hav solar 3kw system, battery storage, and 200 meters borehole, with solar pump system, solar heated hot water tank panel, custom designed container home, i do solar elect cooking, im 80% self sufficient, i just need some money for fuel, food, repairs.

        Im southern europe, sun shines everyday all year round.

        U can be almost self sufficient, if u invest in the type of set up i did. I advise anyone who has savings, get out the prison planet system now!!!

    • Bitcoin, paypal, are they not dependent on a global telecom infrastructure?

      I tell you a secret: Globally speaking, telecomunications are an Army Business.

      Solars are expensive, yet comparatively cheap because they are made by Chinese slaves.

      So much for living free…

      • NSA has black rooms that intercept all comms installed on every major backbone in the US. All traffic is then relayed for permanent storage at the Utah Data Center.

  4. You noticed the “Salt” (state and local tax) under the magnifying glass, but what you didn’t see was the pepper tax. How else would the IRS be able to ‘spice’ up your life?
    BTW, in old Rome salt was taxed as it was the Roman soldier’s pay. That’s where you get ‘salary’ and not being worth his ‘salt’ (incompetent).

    • interesting…

      I live on an ancient ‘salt route’ between Salzburg and Danmark. All who traveled this way would carry dried salty fishes and salt and that is how they would pay for their trip.

      I guess back whe wild life was plentiful, Salt was really important.

  5. New York doesn’t want folks to quit smoking because they’d lose that tax revenue. They claim the high tax on smokes is because they want everybody to quit and be healthy, but the truth is they raised those taxes to get more revenue, knowing only the smokers would be feeling the pinch. If the smokers all suddenly quit, New York would be hurting for more tax revenue, and would have to go after everybody to get it.

  6. I like the idea of cities being forced to deal with their own trash, rather than being able to bribe local officials in rural country to take their garbage.

    Here in Tennessee, we have a separation of smoking in establishments. Restaurants by law don’t allow smoking, and card people only for alcohol. Bars allow smoking, but are off limits to the underage crowd. That’s our version of the antitobacco law.

    • Tough on people who just want a drink, but can’t stand (or are allergic to) tobacco smoke. I speak as a smoker for 50+ years who gives up regularly!

    • Trash is big business. Here in the UK we buy trashy plastic goods from China and then, after a few days, when they fall apart, we pay the Chinese to collect them as trash which they reconstitute into trashy plastic goods which we buy…

  7. What Reagan said about government programs also applies to “temporary taxes.” “There is nothing more permanent than a temporary tax.”

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