In the garage under my office building, I often park near one of those late model, SUV-like Cadillacs. It’s red and shiny and sports a set of Gadsden flag Virginia vanity plates, whose text conveys the driver’s desire to pay less tax. And because we probably work in the same building and we’re all people of good will at this gigantic nonprofit, I’m not going to be too big a jerk about it (like post a photo of the actual car), but insert the word “TAX” in the sample plate below and let your imagination run wild.
I’m also going to go out on a limb and presume that, because this model Cadillac starts at around $37,000 (or about $10K more than the median income of an individual in the U.S.), the driver of this particular vehicle occupies one of our higher tax brackets. Let’s be generous and say he or she is in the top 10% of taxpayers, or anyone with an annual income over $100,000. Maybe the driver doesn’t think paying an extra 3% on earnings above $89K is just. Or maybe this guy or gal is in that bittersweet spot of making more than $100,000 but less than $117,000, when Social Security tax is no longer deducted from your check, which is an irritating place to be once you realize that this actually happens*.
Whatever. The point is, this Virginia driver feels that the tax burden is so high, that they will spend an extra $20 a year to let everyone in the garage and on the roads** all around Washington know how intolerable it is. That’s a bold choice from among the more than 200 specialty plates offered by the state — plates that range from scenic and historic local interest to university and sports affiliations to the wistful longings for a simpler time:
I see a lot of these Tea Party plates on my commute. They’re not always on luxury vehicles and they’re not always personalized, but they’re pretty much always on cars driven by white people. Just saying. Since I don’t see them much when I drive north, I wondered where else you can get such a plate.
Now I know:
I, too, live in Virginia (for family not political reasons), and my tax complaints are not about how much I pay, but rather about the kinds of things I’m paying for: executions, for instance. Virginia is the third highest enforcer of the death penalty; numbers one and two also happen to be places you can get Gadsden flag plates (see map above). My taxes help pay for the salaries and health benefits of legislators who don’t believe in 1) government-funded health care (except their own, apparently); 2) reproductive freedom; or 3) equal rights for gay people.***
And that is why my shiny blue Honda’s vanity plates approximate an oath in Yiddish made popular by Mad Magazine, for which I happily pay an extra $10 annually. Also which, now that I think of it, would be much funnier on a Gadsden flag.
* It does. Remember that the next time you see conservative pundits on TV whining about tyranny and consider that they’ve stopped having Social Security deducted from their paychecks sometime around April.
** Paid for with taxes
*** also, 4) evolution