The Cost Of Vanity

Nobody likes paying taxes, except for maybe rich leftist morons who view their sacrifice as all part of the greater good in perpetuating some Marxist utopia, but all sane folks feel they are pretty much tapped out. This is not good news for city/state municipalities who find themselves on the wrong end of their VISA bill, what to do? Since no emails from East Anglia have turned up casting suspicion on that whole blood/turnip quandary, more creative thinking is needed. One area that has garnered some attention of late is the ability to get folks to pay for special treatment, what can the state provide that would separate them from the usual riff raff and make them all warm and fuzzy inside? Bingo, vanity license plates:

To boost state coffers, Texas sold a Dallas doctor a “PORSCHE” for $7,500.

Then it sold him “AMERICA” for $3,000.

Both were license plates, sold at auction. “I will get my American citizenship next month, so it means a lot to me,” says Salman Waheed, an intensive-care physician. He also wanted “FERRARI,” but dropped out when bidding for that one went too high—eventually netting $15,000, the top price paid.

After years of selling vanity plates as a modest sideline—charging as little as $5—states think there’s more money to be made in whatever drives people to buy them. Facing budget crunches, states are raising surcharges or proposing annual fee hikes for custom plates.

Paying extra for the privilege of making a statement is not new. California figured this out years ago, they offer several variations of this theme, from not only different backgrounds but a personalized message on that background. Fees for these plates run anywhere up to a hundred bucks.

I have owned a personalized license plate now for about 20 years (the same plate), and every year I pay my extra fees for the privilege. But now I’m getting nervous, if this auction stuff catches on and it becomes necessary to bid on holding on to this plate, I’m going to be pissed.

Other countries have already mined this vein, with big results. A businessman in Abu Dhabi bought a license plate with “1” at an auction for $14.3 million in 2008. Last year, in England, a retired businessman bought “1 RH”—his initials—for about $400,000. Hong Kong sold a plate that read “STORAGE” for $12,000.

Just like foreigners, ruining a good thing by going to extremes. I think a C note is about the limit to my magnanimity towards the state, any higher and I will go back to being a member of the great unwashed.

Finding something original and personal to you now is all but impossible, and trying to sneak something dirty by the DMV Nazi’s, good luck with that.

Anybody out there have vanity plates? Do you think this is a clever idea in generating income(auctioning off each plate to the highest bidder), and what is the ceiling price for you walking away from something that you have had forever?

Comments are closed.

  1. Miguelito

    charging as little as $5

    WTH is it only $5? I just checked and in CA it’s anywhere from $38 to $98 (depending on the personalized plate you pick) and yearly renewal is from $30-$78 for those.

    This reminds me of my cousin back east complaining that she had to pay a whopping $380 to register their 4 cars in NH (they’d just moved there from MA). She shut up pretty quick when I pointed out that my 1 car in CA is about that much.

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  2. InaneGoldfish

    RVOEVOM, OHIOFSR, my two favorites well that and 3MTA3 but in all seriousness, keeping it under 120 a year is about my limit (at $10/mo)

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  3. CM

    We have them in NZ (I guess there really are everywhere these days). Apparently ‘richleftistmoron’ has too many letters…..

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  4. AlexInCT

    Nobody likes paying taxes, except for maybe rich leftist morons who view their sacrifice as all part of the greater good in perpetuating some Marxist utopia, but all sane folks feel they are pretty much tapped out.

    Can you point me to one of these rich leftist morons that pay a lot of taxes? Cause I think they are as real as Santa Clause. Look at Hollywood for an example. They all support the tax and spenders, in a big way, but their actions speak louder than words. These rich fat cats film in Canada and have accountants up the wazoo for a reason. Leftists also tend to be the ones that, erm, forgot to pay their taxes, with alarming frequency.

    What we really have here Rich is people that think other people need to pay a lot more in taxes so their ideological beliefs can remain validated. They give it a lot of lip service, but they seriously don’t mean it to apply to them at all, and they put in an inordinate amount of effort to avoid paying taxes. It’s not just taxes either. There is a certain subject I am not talking about where we see a lot of the same behavior where they tell everyone else how much they need to sacrifice, while they are living like emperors.

    We are tapped out. Taking more of other people’s money isn’t going to make things better, it will make things worse.

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  5. Kimpost

    Gates? Buffet? I know both have devoted time and resources promoting higher taxes.

    I know, they have accountants helping them with their tax reports, but I fail to see how that would negate their sincerity.

    Perhaps you’re asking a bit too much, Alex?

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  6. richtaylor365 *

    Can you point me to one of these rich leftist morons that pay a lot of taxes?

    Sure, for 2010 Obama paid $453,770 in federal taxes, Biden paid $379,178. For calender year 2009 Obama paid $855,323 federal taxes on $2,656,902 on income (book sales where good that year).

    And , although I think they are wrong headed, I don’t think it is hypocritical for the liberal rich to want “the rich, including themselves” to pay higher taxes, all the awhile mitigating their tax bill with loopholes and deductions. Their philosophy is that the rich should pay a higher percentage, assuaging their guilt and fortifying big government with their tax dollars, but will still afford themselves of deductions since everyone else is doing it. As long as they pay their taxes, fair is fair with whatever legal means they can use to lessen that bill.

    This is why I would prefer either a flat tax or a simplified 3 level graduated tax system, removing ALL tax deductions for everyone (and I mean everything from home interest deduction, child credits, charitable giving, the whole shebang) this would be the fairest system of all, whatever income you make, you pay tax on exactly that level of income, no muss no fuss.

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  7. richtaylor365 *

    Buffet is a senile old fool, who takes great pride in his tax bill , another example I should have pointed out to Alex. Although I have great admiration for both Buffet and Gates for their charitable foundational work, I think it is beyond smarmy to pigeonhole other folks well off, spot light them, and arm twist them into doing the same thing. What people do with their money is their business, if they find it worthier to leave a legacy to their kids, fine, if you want to give it to charity, fine to, but don’t get all sanctimonious on me what you do with your spare billions of cash lying around.

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  8. CM

    I totally agree the tax systems should be simplified, and deductions should be significantly reduced or done away with.

    People (rich or otherwise) can legitimately believe that the tax system should be structured so that the wealthier pay an even greater share than the poor. It doesn’t have to be about “assuaging their guilt” (although, sure, for some it might be).

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