We’ve become accustomed to paying taxes.
Take income taxes: It’s often said that if people were allowed to keep their entire paycheck, and at the end of the year had to write one massive check (or, I suppose, two, if they live in a state which also levies an income tax)—there’d be a revolution tomorrow.
But the same phenomenon applies to sales tax, as I’ve been experiencing lately. For the past few years, as my shopping has shifted to perhaps 95% online, I’ve not only gotten accustomed to not paying sales tax, I also usually make an effort to avoid it. For instance, on Amazon, there’s a link on the item page that says something like “12 new & used starting at $X”. Click the link, and it brings up a listing of all sellers of that item, with the sales price, shipping, and sales tax itemized. If I can stay within range of the price I like, I’ll select the seller that doesn’t collect sales tax, simply on principle. I’d rather send a couple extra dollars to the seller via a voluntary transaction than pay a few dollars to an irrelevant third party, via force and under threat of violence.
As a result, there have been several incidents in the past few months wherein I was actually shopping at a local establishment, and forgot about the 8.5% NV sales tax until I was charged at the register, and at first I was surprised, then outraged. I literally had completely forgotten about it! WTF? And when you’re buying a big-ticket item, say a couple hundred dollars, it makes a huge difference in what you have to shell out for it. In one case, at Costco, I actually told them that they had charged me the wrong price, it was listed on the shelf for $199, not $216. Oh—there’s $17 in sales tax…grrrr
But now it’s happening to me online, too; yesterday, I ordered a book on Amazon for $29.97, so basically $30, and I was excited about it, and was pretty busy yesterday, so ended up forgetting to go through the process of securing one that was offered without sales tax. This morning, I got an email saying it had been shipped—but my account was charged $32.41 instead of $29.97….what?
Sure enough, I was assessed $2.44 sales tax. Annoying as hell, and even slightly outraging. But see what’s happened? Since I’ve gotten unaccustomed to paying it, I’ve begun to really notice when I do.
And that’s how they get away with all these outrageous taxes; we’ve simply become accustomed to paying them.
Of course, the list goes on and on: higher and higher consumer prices for everything, as the cost of taxes and regulations and mandates and permits and licenses on businesses all get passed on to consumers; property taxes that get folded into the mortgage process; and let’s not forget the 95% devaluation of our currency via the “hidden tax” of the Fed’s printing presses, while the Fed and Washington keep the difference. As in the income tax example, if the government went into everyone’s bank account one day and seized 95% if their money, leaving them only a nickel on the dollar, there’d be a revolution tomorrow.
But no. People quietly pay, and struggle to do without, while the state and its agents enrich and empower themselves at our expense, at the loss of our rights & liberties, and the destruction of the economy; but whenever I bring it up, point it out—people look at me like I’m crazy.
Perhaps I am…perhaps I am.