One day last week I had the good fortune to try out Portland's new parking meters (Meters turn parking spots into bonanza, March 4).
Here's my story:
I arrive close to my destination on this rainy weekday and turn the corner feeling lucky to find the first space available. I park, lock my car and walk half a block to the pay station, only to find that I'm in a 15-minute space. I plan on being at my meeting for about 45 minutes. A truck had blocked my view of the station from where I parked, so I had no way of knowing.
Now soaking wet, I walk back to my car to look for another space. Feeling a little wiser, I'm careful to pass empty spaces so I can make sure I see the meter first. This causes me to miss two spaces with one-hour meters while circling the block.
Now 10 minutes late for my meeting, almost dry again and about a dollar's worth of gas lighter, I pass a three-hour meter and find an empty spot at the end of the block. I walk in the rain to the station, read the instructions (thinking how much easier the instructions on my tax return were) and put in my credit card because I can't figure out how to use cash. I push the wrong button and pay for a full three hours, when I only want 45 minutes, and take my sticker. I see why the city's parking revenue is up.
Now back at the car, resembling a drowned rat, I unlock the door and try to figure out why the sticky portion is on the wrong side of the ticket Ñ more bad instructions. The inside of my car is getting soaked, so I shut the door and walk to the car behind me to see how it's done. Now I get it.Ê
Walking to the meeting that I am now 25 minutes late for I wonder, what will I do with the soon-to-be litter now attached to my window?
Pay your taxes,
and get back to work
Enough. I've had it. For the letter writer who says, 'No more taxes will be forthcoming' (Insight, March 7), and for the whole miserly rightist sect that worships currency as an idol: It's. Not. Your. Money.
You don't own it. You use it. It's a utility, legal tender. The U.S. Treasury makes it and prints ink on paper, and so the Treasury owns it.
There are user fees when you use it, and they are called taxes. You want representation? Pay them: taxation, representation.
You don't have to pay taxes. You can go your entire life Ñ food, clothing, shelter, the whole bit Ñ without ever touching filthy lucre, as generations did for millennia before a national treasury was invented.
What you own is your labor. You make it. No one can take it away from you, even by force. Labor in love and love your labor, and you are immortal. Today we call it 'barter,' but it's simply 'trade,' as old as the hills.
Otherwise, if you prefer going along with the efficiency and convenience of accepting currency for your labor and sometime later relinquishing that currency to someone else for the product of their labor É and a Treasury mint and a government that licenses it and civil law and law enforcement and justice and public order, and freedoms, rights and responsibilities Ñ the whole civilization package you sign on for Ñ then pipe down and get back to your work.
Pay your taxes ÑÊrender unto civil authorities that which is civil authorities' Ñ and shut up. The rest of us are trying to live in peace.
Voice your vote for someone else if you don't like today's administrators and currency rates. Marvelous invention, democracy. It's your birthright to vote, if you choose.