I live in Westchester County, New York.
It’s expensive as hell to live here with the taxes, parking permit fees, registration fees, licenses, unconstitutional tickets derived from illegal police check points, and every other way the state finds way to nickle and dime regular citizens. The town I live in has gone heavily into debt, the state is going bankrupt, and I just read that the pension funds for New York City workers will be dry in nine years. Increasingly, the only relationship we have with our local, state, and federal government is when bureaucrats cook up new ways to slap us with fines and fees. All for public safety of course.
Public servants around here remind me of Iraqis and Afghanis who would chase after our assault vehicles yelling, “Money! Money!” or “Gimmie, Gimmie,” which was one phrase even the youngest child in those countries could speak in English. We have a government that asks us for more and more. More taxes while proposing austerity measures. Profits are privatized, losses are socialized. That really is the current model of governance. Communism for the bottom and fascism for the top.
Recently, I got swept up in one of those illegal checkpoints on my way home from college. They seem to be popping up everywhere and nearly impossible, or at least very inconvenient to avoid. In Iraq terrorists used to run illegal checkpoints. They did this to control and intimidate the local populace, but also to shake them down for money. The same is happening here in New York, the difference being that the theft is legalized here.
I told the judge that these check points are completely illegal and a violation of the fourth amendment. He looked like he’d been slapped in the face. Needless to say his message to me was, shut up and pay. Afterwords, the prosecutor, the chief of police, and the judge himself stood around giggling about their favorite sports teams. The simulation of justice is grand. I also had to pay a $85 surcharge, that is NY state’s cut from what a lawyer told me later. The state gives towns funding, probably to pay for the police officer’s overtime, to run these checkpoints…a bailout, or stimulus so to speak for a state that bankrupted itself.
Having lived around the country, and in fact around the world, I’ve come back home to find that we really do live in something resembling a police state. You might find that an exaggeration but when police have the sole purpose of finding minor crimes to ticket people for rather than serving and protecting, I’d say we are pretty close.
More and more people are “opting out”, leaving the country for good. I was recently told about a few Brazilians working here in NY illegally for a number of years, cleaning houses and that sort of thing. Because of our failing economy, they both went back home.
They can make more money in Brazil.