The Chinese government once seriously contemplated replacing the names of its citizens with identifying numbers, offering a perfect sense of where individuals rank in that society.
We’re nowhere near that in this country, but it’s hard not to notice that government is increasingly dominating our lives, edging closer and closer to affecting our every move. Everywhere we turn there’s a new tax, hassle or fee — with New York leading the way, as always.
Liberal politicians here appear shocked by the ferocious pushback they’re getting over the planned $9 to $23 congestion-pricing tax on vehicles traveling south of 60th Street in Manhattan. They shouldn’t be.
Congestion pricing, which would hit low- and middle-income families hardest, is just the latest cash grab by progressive politicians who view the working public as an ATM for their sociological experiments.
They don’t care that New Yorkers are already the most heavily taxed people in America; they want your money, and they’re going to get it one way or another: through the income tax, sales tax, gas tax, phone tax, cable tax, rent tax, mortgage-recording tax — every fee imaginable — and, now, of all things, license-plate readers.
Who doesn’t wince driving over a bridge in New York? (How much is it now?!) What driver isn’t looking for those creepy speed and traffic cameras at every intersection?
And trust me on this one: If congestion pricing goes through in the city, expect to see it duplicated all across the state in just a few years if Democrats stay in power. Remember when red-light cameras were just an experiment?
New York’s voracious appetite for revenue — i.e., money we earn — was already legendary; now it’s on steroids. Our state budget has grown by nearly $50 billion in the past two years alone, to a staggering $220 billion, and now Gov. Kathy Hochul is crying poverty again, despite having just received tens of billions of dollars in federal bailouts.
To give you an idea of how out of whack we are, Texas and Florida, each with substantially larger populations than ours, spend about half what we do each year, and neither has an income tax. Is it any wonder why so many former New Yorkers are now Texans and Floridians?
What little money the government leaves us after taxes is being chewed up by President Joe Biden’s and Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s inflationary policies, which have decimated the power of the dollar at gas pumps and grocery stores. To add insult to injury, woke progressives — including my opponent for Congress, Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney — just passed the curiously named Inflation Reduction Act, which will raise taxes on middle-class New Yorkers, add 87,000 new IRS auditors to squeeze every last dime out of us and do virtually nothing to tame inflation.
How’s that for another kick in the shins?
Now Maloney and company are trumpeting Biden’s $10,000 student-loan-forgiveness edict that will force people who couldn’t afford to go to college themselves to pay for other people’s higher education. Where will they go next?
Maloney, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and the candidates he promotes — including self-avowed socialists like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar — go on TV all the time to tell us that the upcoming midterm elections are about anything but inflation and taxes.
New Yorkers know better than any other Americans how out of touch they are in expecting us to believe that.
November’s elections will be a clear referendum on the unbearable cost of living the Democrats in Washington and Albany have given us — on top of out-of-control increases in crime.
We’re not numbers, and we’re not ATM machines. We’re people in need of relief.
Assemblyman Mike Lawler is the Republican candidate in New York’s 17th Congressional District.