Reader Question: The Fiction of Ownership?

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Here’s the latest reader question, along with my reply!

Jon writes: An interesting column on Coonman in your state. The amount of info tracking is getting ridiculous. I’m not looking forward to the mileage tax. As far as registration fees go, here in Maine we get killed on what they call “excise tax,” the annual property tax required to register one’s vehicle. Two years ago I bought a sweet new 2018 F150; sticker was $51,000 but the dealer was willing to let it go for about $44,000. When it came time to register it (after paying 5.5 percent sales tax) I went to my town office and had to write a check for nearly $1,200. This was based on the sticker price (window sticker) not the actual price I paid.  I asked her if  the town sends this revenue to the state capital and she said no.

So it goes to public education, town public works, etc.

Fast forward twelve months. The vehicle has 20k miles on it and it is time to renew for another year. The lady at the counter presents me with an invoice for the same amount as the prior year, $1,200. I called her on it and said “that’s what I paid last year.” She said “oopsie,” ripped it up and made a new one for “only” $900.  To think how many old or otherwise lackadaisical  people get ripped off at that window. This week I had to register it again and this year the fee was “only” $700. I think Maine uses a depreciation scale so that for very old cars, the lowest the registration fee will go is about $125. So that’s the story from Maine. Not a pretty one. We have one of the oldest populations of all 50 states and one of the weakest economies. The only thing I know of that is cheap around these parts is auto insurance and I’m not sure why that is. Oh, and lobster, that’s pretty inexpensive too.

My reply: So, let’s see. Over just the past three years, you have been forced to pay $2,800 in order to be allowed to continue entertaining the fiction that the vehicle you bought is actually yours.  It’s enraging, isn’t it? Even though the amount exacted each year decreases, it never ends. Which is why you will never own that truck, no matter how many years elapse.

It’s an affront that ought to have people in the streets. Bad enough that we’re forced to pay taxes on what we earn. But we can’t even keep what we buy with what’s left over. All we’re allowed to do is borrow it – the government being the real owner.

Is it any wonder people are less and less interested in pretending to own cars? It’s the same with homes, too. I have paid at least $30k in extortion styled “property taxes” on my home during the past 15 years. If I live here for another 30 years, I will have paid in taxes almost what I paid for the house – and even then, it doesn’t end.

These taxes are an obsidian dagger aimed at the heart of liberty precisely because they turn every person into a debt serf. A man who does not own property isn’t a free man. A man who is legally prohibited from ever owning property is a serf.

. . .

Got a question about cars, Libertarian politics – or anything else? Click on the “ask Eric” link and send ’em in!

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  1. “A man who does not own property isn’t a free man. A man who is legally prohibited from ever owning property is a serf.”

    You are mining gold, Eric. I hope you don’t mind me stealing this nugget.

    In Liberty & The Prince of Peace


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