Wednesday, May 11, 2011

One More Example of How We're the Most Taxed Nation on Earth

I have written a great deal in the past on taxation, for instance Taxation and Morality. I have also suggested that people generally underestimate - vastly - how much tax they actually pay. This is because they focus on personal income tax rates to the exclusion of everything else - property taxes, sales taxes, state & local taxes, licenses, fees, etc., etc. The political/bureaucratic class is very efficient at spreading and hiding the pain so you're never completely aware of just how much you're sending their way.

A great example was handed to me just yesterday across the counter at the Enterprise Car Rental office at Denver International. I had rented a Jeep Grand Cherokee for two days for the all-time awesome rate of $7.43 a day. When I got the bill, it came to $98.50! Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis!?

Let's break it down:

Basic charge                           $14.86 (7.43 x 2)
Collision Damage Waiver          29.98
Accident Insurance                   10.00
Supplemental Liability               23.90
Road Safety Program Fee           4.00
Facility Use Fee                         3.20
Concession Recoup Fee              5.42
Sales Tax                                  7.14

Total                                        98.50

The bottom four items are taxes, plain and simple (the Denver Airport is a public facility). They total $19.76, which is more than the rental cost!

The other biggie was insurance, totaling a whopping $63.88. Yes, it's optional, but it really isn't. I would argue this is, at least in part, a tax as well. It is an artificially high number because of our completely screwed up tort system, a situation which exists solely because trial lawyers are huge political contributors. Your money goes to the plaintiffs bar, and then a chunk is forwarded to their buddies in the Beltway. From where I sit, I'm getting taxed, only this is even worse since with normal taxes there's at least a (small) chance that the money goes to something useful. Here, it goes into the campaign kitties of politicians that I uniformly detest.

(As an aside, no one should interpret this as a swipe at Enterprise, a company that has uniformly excellent service.)

1 comment:

  1. Keep in mind that those insurance charges, for most rental companies, go straight to their bottom line. They insure themselves and they rip us a new one every time. Apparently with enterprise, the insurance charges are somewhat arbitrary and looking at your bill, I can assure you they made more from the insurance than the car rental fee.