One of the reasons why I dislike taxes is because I frequently don’t feel like I’m getting my money’s worth. Let me highlight a short story of absurdity to illustrate a point.
There’s been a loose manhole a half block away from my house which has persistently gotten noisier over the years. What once was a dull thud turned into a CLACK CLACK as each car passed over.
The journey to fix the noisy manhole began on June 3 when I first called in to report the problem.
“Would you like to leave a name and number sir?” asked the operator.
“Sure, please just have someone fix the manhole, thx!” I responded.
One month later, still CLACK CLACK. “Howdy m’aam, I’m calling back regarding the noisy manhole.”
“Ah yes, we have a record that you called a month ago. The ticket is open and we’re getting someone to work on it.” said the operator.
Little did I know the process to fix the manhole would make my 100 day mortgage refinance seem like Usain Bolt winning a 100 meter dash!
Two months after my second call, the manhole still clanked. I decided to put a weekly reminder in my calendar to call in. I also enlisted a friendly neighbor to call in when she could.
After calling in for 15 weeks in a row under my name to no avail, I decided to call in under various names to hopefully elevate the situation. Fred, Barry, Joe, Steve, Rick, Peter, Allen, Bobby, Mitch, John, Brad, Guy, Pearce, Nathaniel, Robby, Symba, Hulk, Skeletor, Dr. Spock, Thor, She-Ra, Zeus, and Obama all called in to tell the city the manhole was loud and annoying.
Calling the City was part of a weekly routine before lunch, when I got home, or whenever I heard the sound. Does the manhole have to cave in and cause a 10 car accident before the City finally decides to do something? It was absolutely ridiculous to have to call for so long.
After 48 phone calls over a course of 18 months, the city finally fixed the damn manhole! Hallelujah! What an awesome Christmas present! Am I crazy for being so persistent? Maybe. But crap, I pay tens of thousands of dollars in state income taxes and property taxes a year. At least fix a noisy manhole within a reasonable amount of time. Sure, if I paid no taxes or maybe less than $10,000 in State taxes a year, take 18 months. But if you plan to tax me $50,000+ (doesn’t include Federal) in State and property taxes a year, throw me a bone!
So what did they actually end up doing? They simply tarred over the thing one evening. The tar is already coming off after one month because they didn’t barricade the manhole long enough for the tar to dry. Sweet. Guess we’ll have to go through another 1.5 year cycle soon.
Don’t give up and let the City and State take advantage by taxing you and doing nothing in return. Make them work for our money! All levels of government are incredibly inefficient. There is no doubt that a private company would fix the manhole within a month if not a week. If you persevere until a point of ridiculousness, you will be victorious. The City is hoping most people quit calling, quit writing, quit protesting. Don’t ever quit.
My little manhole story is an example of how much inefficiency there is at all levels of government. The only way we can correct our budget deficit is to either starve the beast, or make sure everybody, not just a minority pays more taxes so we all feel the pain together. Once we all feel the pain, we can collectively work together to reduce government spending, government waste, and government inefficiency for a brighter future.
Let’s all hold hands and jump off the fiscal cliff together! Just don’t forget to make some savvy financial moves before you do.
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Updated for 2021 and beyond.