Property taxes make it hard to own property. Impossible, actually – which is exactly the point of property taxes.
They aren’t merely a means of mulcting us, as other taxes (such as the income tax) are. Property taxes are the means of assuring that we never truly own anything by making us pay for the thing in perpetuity.
The true owners of the thing in question being those who collect this rent in perpetuity.
But don’t take my word for it. Read about it. In The Communist Manifesto. Here.
You can stop paying income taxes and not go to prison. Just stop earning income. But you can’t stop paying property taxes – without being homeless, at any rate – and so are forced to continue earning income in order to pay both income and property taxes. In order to keep you working, you see. So that you are never at ease; never secure.
Property taxes are also enormously regressive – ironic, given their “progressive” genesis.
I just received the annual property tax bill for my 16-year-old truck. Another $100 must be sent to its true owners. This may not seem especially onerous until you consider that it’s $100 every year, ongoing – and was more when the truck was newer, the tax being based on its retail value.
At one point, it was several hundred dollars each year.
It’s “only” $100 now – because the retail value of my truck has declined to about $3,000 (according to the mulcters and true owners of my vehicle, who decree its value as well as how much they’re going to mulct me for).
But, consider (and leave aside for the moment the moral obnoxiousness, as such, of perpetual taxes on property) … that $100 times ten – encompassing the past ten years of mulcting. I am deliberately low-balling the total amount mulcted, in order to strengthen my objection and increase the outrage I am hoping to conjure.
$100 every year for ten years is $1,000; my truck is now worth about $3,000. I have paid one-third the current retail value of my truck in taxes – in return for the privilege of not having government thugs come to my house (which they also own, even though I paid the mortgage off years ago) and take possession of it.
Put another way, I am taxed at about the same rate on my 16-year-old truck as someone in the highest income tax bracket is taxed on their income. It doesn’t get much more regressive than that – unless you want to talk about the regressive taxes applied to motor fuels, which are more than a third of the cost of each gallon of fuel.
Note the pattern.
And keep in mind that the mulcting never stops – even as the value of the vehicle drops. If I own the truck long enough, they will have fleeced me of half its value, probably.
Taxes this extortionate are more than merely taxes. They are tools. Negative incentives. Designed to make owning things burdensome by making it onerously expensive.
These taxes – along with mulcting by the insurance mafia – tamp down interest in owning vehicles, especially multiple vehicles.
The funds ripped from my hide as punishment for owning an old truck (well, attempting to maintain the fiction of ownership) and a house, too, no doubt prompt old Karl to smile – wherever his loathsome bones are mouldering. One thousand bucks – lowballed – on the truck, so far.
Over say 30 years, it will amount to nearly $100,000 – and that’s assuming the “landlord” does not raise the “rent” over the next couple of decades … which is as likely as a baby brontosaurus showing up on my porch looking for some grub.
And what I pay in “rent” on my paid-for house – about $1,800 annually for the privilege of being allowed to occupy the home I paid for but which the government in fact owns – is a pittance compared with what many others pay. My sister, for instance. She lives (god help her) in California and so pays in excess of $10,000 every year to the state in order to avoid the government sending armed thugs to evict her from their property.
But for me, it’s only $31,000.
I sometimes think about what I might have done with that money. Assuming a very modest 5 percent return – if I had the money rather than the government – I would now have almost $50,000.
I could easily live on $50,000 for the next several years. Or set aside the money in a just-in-case fund for any health issues that come up.
Or – hell – get my Trans-Am repainted.
Instead, I pay the government, the true owner of all my things.
And yours, too.
. . .
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