TV with strings attached

A TV tax? How un-American: If you think the IRS can get a little nasty, let us introduce you to Great Britain’s TV Licensing agency, responsible for collecting the $274 annual tax on anybody who owns a TV. If the thought of paying a tax to watch TV troubles you, consider this: Would you rather pony up $274 or watch another Rick Steves marathon during the next PBS pledge drive?

Swallow your coffee before reading this: The country’s five biggest oil companies say the high price of gas is not their fault. Sure, $123 billion in profits sounds like a lot, but they’ve got investors to pay, and new wells to drill. And, geez, do you know what it costs to fill a limo’s gas tank these days?

Yeah, we have a good idea: The message apparently has gotten through to the American motorist. Sales of trucks and SUVs are down severely. Hummer sales are off 29 percent, Ford Expedition sales are down 34 percent and sales of Nissan’s Armada fell 43 percent. If gas prices continue to climb, we suggest the oil companies take some of that $123 billion and invest in an electric car company.

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