When I was kid growing up in Duluth during the Great Depression, the City attempted to enrich its coffers by charging 10 cents for parking at the city zoo. To handle collections they hired someone, paying him $90 per month. People kept coming to the zoo, but many parked on the streets outside to avoid the parking fee.. The City quickly realized that the revenues collected were not enough to pay the cost of collecting them and the project was abandoned.
Some 40+ years later, I was sitting in the lobby of a hotel in Cologne waiting for a ride to our subsidiary office there. I read an article that complained that 40 or 50 different taxes in Germany were raising insufficient funds to pay for the mere collection of them. . I mentioned this to our local controller as he drove me to the office. . I was immediately subjected to a lecture about the fact these unproductive government workers had families to support and accordingly the tax was justified. . My comment that we didn’t pay buggy makers to keep building product once the market dried up fell on deaf ears.
In the same Cologne office, one of the women working there complained to me about the high taxes in Germany. She was particularly upset because she was charged an extra fee for driving an American automobile. Later she bragged to me that she received a small disability check from the government each month. I asked her what her disability was and she told me that she had had a hysterectomy before the age of 40. I asked her if she could not see a connection of such a payout with the high taxes imposed.
At another time in my life, I was getting a haircut and I told the barber that I had read about efforts underway to develop a grass that would grow to 3 inches and stop. Such grass would be in great demand for reducing the maintenance of plantings around freeways. I jokingly suggested that it would be nice if one could take a pill that caused his hair to stop growing at a certain height and thereby eliminate haircuts. The barber got so angry (“wife and kids to support” etc) that I had to ask him nicely to put down the razor as I explained that I knew of no such studies underway and if I heard of one I certainly would not support it.
I don’t make these things up – I just report them.