The Washington Post

HAMBURG Some years ago, I received a terror threat. If I did not apologize publicly and profusely for a column that blasted the Iranian regime, I would be killed by Friday, Sept. 13 — what an auspicious date! So I sent for the security experts, and this is what they told me: Your front and back doors are worthless; get armored ones. Order bulletproof windows. Build a safe room. Install panic buttons. Get rid of that silly chicken-wire fence and put in a steel and concrete one. Don’t use the driveway; try to vary your access routes (which, I think, meant sneaking home through the neighbors’ gardens). Pretty soon, we were talking six-figure costs and contemplating emigration to Iceland.

The appointed day of my demise came and went. (Real terrorists don’t write letters; they just kill you.) But the moral of this story will remain etched in my mind: When security is at stake, there is no limit to fear or fortification.

Fear, in other words, is a tax, and al-Qaeda and its ilk have done better at extracting it from Americans than the Internal Revenue Service. Think about the extra half-hour millions of airline passengers waste standing in security lines; the annual cost in lost work-hours runs into the billions. Add to that the freight delays at borders, ports and airports, the cost of checking money transfers as well as goods in transit, the wages for beefed-up security forces around the world. And that doesn’t even attempt to put a price tag on the compression of civil liberties or the loss of human dignity from being groped in full public view by Transportation Security Administration personnel at the airport or from having to walk barefoot through the metal detector, holding up your beltless pants. This global transaction tax represents the most significant victory of Terror International to date.

The new fear tax falls most heavily on the United States. Last November, the Commerce Department reported a 17 percent decline in overseas travel to the United States between 9/11 and 2006. (There are no firm figures for 2007 yet, but there seems to have been an uptick.) That slump has cost the country $94 billion in lost tourist spending, nearly 200,000 jobs and $16 billion in forgone tax revenue — and all while the dollar has kept dropping.

3 Responses to “Fear Is a Tax, and We’re Eagerly Paying It”
  1. Eddie B.No Gravatar says:

    Get ready for the deluge of “world taxes”. This is really becoming frightening. Makes you wants to head for the hills and never pay another penny in taxes fer sure.

  2. MatthewNo Gravatar says:

    Been there done that Eddie B. No payed taxes this year or last year! We’re having the feds pay us from now on. And as far as our sales tax goes, we pay only half to the State than we should, the other half goes towards our health care expenses, food and child care. If we were to pay what we should in taxes, we would be doing without and struggling while our tax money goes to legal and illegal families survival, and that doesn’t make a bit of sense to me especially when our own government has completely left us Americans on our own.

    Next quarter I’ll be taking half of the sales tax money to buy a couple of guns to arm my wife and children with because they’ll need them. As far as we are concerned, we are being taxed without representation and at that our taxes are going to aid and abbett illegal aliens by way of social services, schooling, health care etc etc. There are laws against aiding and abetting illegal aliens and we are doing our part by withholding our share of the taxes that go to fund the illegals. If there is even one illegal alien out there benefiting from a slight portion of our taxes then we are justified in not wanting to be an accomplice in a federal crime.

  3. joNo Gravatar says:

    Fear, in other words, is a tax, and al-Qaeda and its ilk have done better at extracting it from Americans than the Internal Revenue

    sorry, but al-Qaeda ain’t the rapist in this scene. we are all being raped amd sodomized by those who are suppose to look out for our good. if someone is going to b*t*ch about it then don’t be a wuss. point the finger at the real purpetrators or just don’t say nuthin!

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