Taxes are so taxing
Simply put, one way or another, we pay taxes on almost anything and everything we do. Consider the “tax trail” on a few common daily items:
Gasoline – The taxes on a gallon of gas start as soon as the oil comes out of the well. In the United States, companies pay a royalty of 12.5% on oil taken from onshore Federal lands, and that is an addition to so-called “bonus bids” that are paid upfront. If that oil travels through a pipeline to reach a refinery, there’s more taxation there. Although excise tax is collected at different times and at different levels, the federal tax on gasoline amounts to a little over $0.18 per gallon, with states tacking on more tax (ranging from $0.07 to $0.30 per gallon depending upon the state). And then many states tack on their regular sales tax every time you buy gasoline.
Tobacco – The tax trail for tobacco is similar in some respects to that of gasoline. Like gasoline, governments at all levels see tobacco as a honeypot for guilt-free taxation. As a result, the federal government charges an excise tax of $1.01 for each pack, while state taxes range from $0.17 (in Missouri) to $4.35 (in New York). Additionally there can be city taxes, which sits at $1.50 per pack in New York City. Along the way, of course, are the regular taxes that go into business – taxes on employee wages, taxes on property, taxes on income, taxes on diesel fuel and vehicles, and so on.
Bread – Way back in 1975, Ronald Reagan commented that there were 151 taxes that went into the price of a loaf of bread, and that those taxes made up more than half of the cost. That quote is still true in spirit if not in detail. Farmers may be eligible for subsidies, but they pay property taxes and income taxes. The trucker who takes the grain to market pays taxes for his license, his rig and his fuel. The grain elevator has property, employment, income and sales taxes. The miller, the bakery, the store and every other link in the chain has its own taxes as well, whether they are assessed on property, sales, income, wages, fuel or what have you.
The Bottom Line – Of course, it is juvenile to ignore the fact that taxes are necessary and governments need funds to pay for a wide variety of goods and services. However, taxes certainly are in fact almost anywhere or everywhere you care to look.