Ok, here it is:
I haven’t renewed the cattle tags for some of my vehicles in several years now. I mean “renewing” the annual registration. That is to say, I have stopped paying the annual tributum the state demands of me in order to maintain my “privilege” to operate these vehicles on the roads I have already paid for.
I figure once is enough.
Especially since it’s many times more than once.
Each time I buy gas, I – like you – pay taxes, highly regressive (50 something cents in taxes on a gallon of fuel that costs $2 or so – tax inclusive – amounts to loan sharkery) which is my weekly contribution toward the costs of building/maintaining the roads.
I’ve also – like most of you – paid the state title and sales taxes as well as personal property taxes in perpetuity – using whatever funds are left to me after paying federal and state income taxes. Plus the might-as-well-be-taxes (because mandatory and enforced at gunpoint, like taxes) extortion payments I have to make to the insurance mafia. Notwithstanding I’ve never filed a claim in almost 30 years of driving, nor had one filed against me.
There is also the once a year “safety” inspection – $15 per and at least an hour of my time shaken down.
Especially given the vehicles at issue are not even weekly drivers. Some sit for months before I get time to take them out. And they are all motorcycles, which impart trivial (if any) wear and tear on the roads. If I were tromping around in a Kenworth or even a 3500 dualie, I might feel some moral chagrin about dodging the annual registration fees.
But I don’t…. so I don’t.
The state has become a shake-down artiste – nothing more.
So, I decided to just … stop.
Paying, that is.
Also, wasting my time.
None of my bikes have been “safety” inspected in years. I know they are “safe.” I do not need a make-work state “safety” inspector to tell me so. Much less pay him to tell me so. I am very motivated to make sure my bikes are safe to ride. I am also motivated to avoid gratuitous wastage of my money and my time. And having some guy tell me – for a fee – that my tires are fine, brakes ok and lights all working (things I already know) strikes me as a gratuitous wastage of both.
The cattle tags (registration stickers) are somewhat less gratuitous since they don’t waste my time and there is no dog-and-pony show to get them. But I tire of the transaction. Of being told I must send the state money every year, forever, to “renew” my (so to speak) ear tags, in order to be allowed to roam the feed lot.
It is offensive on a moral level. When did we (how did we) come to accept being herded like this? Literally. Note that the little stickers are color-coded and change each year. Take a drive out to the country and have a look at the Jerseys or the Gurnseys.
The four-legged cattle, at least, do not have to pay for their tags.
I’ve got four bikes. If I am a good milch cow, I am expected to send in about $30 for each ear tag, so $120 every year. It does not sound exorbitant until you compound it. I’ve had these bikes for 20 years. That’s $2,400 pissed down the drain, given over (under duress) for absolutely nothing of value to me – which is (my general rule) the only reason for parting with money voluntarily.
When you add to this the taxes paid with each purchase of gasoline, each purchase of parts (sales taxes), the taxes already paid for the privilege of a scrap of paper issued by the state affirming your ownership (conditional) of the bike as well as the perpetual property taxes paid each year in order to maintain the fiction of ownership… I figure I’ve more than paid my “fair share.”
It has already saved me a sum equivalent to what I spend on fuel (and fuel taxes) each year and that is a nice offset. But it is more than a purely economic calculation. I have had enough.
Perhaps you have, too.
This kind of thing is a form of passive defiance that – unlike not filing a 1040 – can be done with little in the way of big risk. The very worst that can happen to you is having a Hero (i.e., an armed government worker) notice the cattle tags are past-due and harass you for it. You may be forced to “stand and deliver” (i.e., pay the back fees) but there is no threat of seizing your assets much less dragooning you off to a cage.
And bikes have small plates – and a very small profile. It is (in my experience) very easy to go unnoticed, especially if you stay alert and notice Heroes before they notice you. When I see one, I casually – and legally – maneuver so as to not present my backside (and plate) to his view (or Automated Plate Reader). So far, this has worked well for me.
Psychologically as well as financially.
Feed ’em fish heads.
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