Mar 11, 2004 11:00 am
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Looking at the Small Picture
Trade deficits, Social Security's looming bankruptcy, federal budgets...it is natural for people to focus on the"big (federal) picture" and not on the multitudinous ways in which local, county, and state bureaucracies are going to nickel and dime you into destitution in the coming months. They have to. City Halls are facing the same sort of fiscal crunch as every other level of government and they have only you to fleece on a most personal level to make up any shortfall. And I'm not talking about the higher"sin" taxes that are being slapped on everything from cigarettes to hunting licenses. Look for the more subtle"taxes." The methods local officials can and will devise to part you with from every thin dime are almost limitlessly inventive. In Indiana, for example, one town is beginning to bill non-residents for police time consumed in traffic accident on highways within a dozen+ miles of the town. Philadelphia has also applied its Yankee know-how. Among other measures, the city is proposing to charge people"to rent DVDs at the library and apply for city jobs." Next year, it may well cost $35 to fill out an employment form. (What the heck...anything that discourages people from becoming podlike civil servants has an upside.) Author's message: don't be so distracted by the federal mega-grabs that you become oblivious to the small-time nickel-and-diming that bleeds your wallet every bit as much.
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