Keeping What is Yours
For more commentary, please visit WendyMcElroy.com
It has been a while since I rang the alarm bell on how deeply and how often government-on-all-levels will be reaching into your pocket in coming months.Governments everywhere are desperate for cash; they are willing to be as brutal and innnovative as necessary to pry that last dime out of your resisting fingers. Fortunately, there are some steps you can take to protect your hard-earned money from those who are all too willing to take food off your table in order to gorge themselves.
Governments will not let common sense or decency come between them and your money. Frank Hughes discovered this when he"flouted new nationwide laws [in the UK] which force companies to declare industrial waste." Of course, declaring waste is accompanied by the need for an expensive license. Hughes filled in the form, truthfully declaring that his company produced no industrial waste. An official showed up for a surprise inspection. He found nothing. Then, Hughes made a mistake. He explains,
“It [the inspection] got me a bit riled. Then I remembered that my wife had made me cheese sandwiches that day so I produced the cling film and said, ‘the only waste here comes from my sarnie wrappers’. “But he jumped on that saying, ‘Well that’s waste!’ He also asked if we drank tea and when I said ‘yes’ he told me that tea bags were also classed as waste.It was laughable really, I thought he was joking. We take the wrappers and bags back home with us at night. “But he said we should pay for a licence and save them up for a week and then call them for collection. I showed him the door and he said we’d be getting a £300 fine.”
It is not clear whether Hughes will be similarly fined for the used teabags from his customary cuppa...no, I'm not kidding, I'm serious. To rectify his egregious behavior, Hughes must not only get a license and pay the fine, he must also"pay a company to come out every week to take away a bag of food wrapping." He asks"How much will they charge for that £50? £100? It’s madness."
Nope. It is government.
Your greatest protection is privacy. Hughes should never have volunteered the presence of any waste. (By saying this, I do not mean to say"he had it coming!" Far from it. But Hughes foolishly contributed to his own victimization both by taunting the inspector and by providing unnecessary information.) Tell no one outside of a small, trusted circle about your income, possessions, investments, etc.. If disclosure is an inescapable legal requirement (e.g. for car insurance), then disclose as little as possible and demand to know the privacy policies of those with whom you deal. Governments can gather almost any data they.want from whomever they want it but making their job as difficult as possible means they are likely to target easier prey. Remember: there is no such thing as an innocent question/conversation when it comes to your wealth. Your benevolent next-door-neighbor may be nothing but pleased that you received a raise in salary...but what of his wife and of the several dozen people with whom she gossips? If you feel awkward about being rude to those who ask nosey questions, then lie...but lie in the proper direction. Don't brag. Downplay.comments powered by Disqus
- Five Things You Need to Know to be a Better Digital Preservationist
- Book on Losing British Generals Wins American History Prize
- Stanford scholar explores civil rights revolution's positive impact on the South's economy
- Harvard Historian Nancy Koehn on Amazon's Tentacular Reach
- Q&A with historian and author Nick Turse