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The Unintended Consequences of Sticking It to the Man

Almost a decade ago, Sprint picked up on the zeitgeist of the time with an ad featuring some nameless master of industry in his glass office, and Dr. Evil chair. His assistant asks about the new Sprint phone on the desk. The phone was nothing special, even for the time. But the CEO waxes poetic about the freedom and value he gets through the service.

He ends his little tirade by saying that it is his way of sticking it to the man. The assistant points out that he is the man, and that he would be sticking it to himself. Looking a bit bemused, the CEO replies, “Maybe.”

This ad failed to advance Sprint’s fortunes. But it did highlight the fact that our efforts to stick it to the man are often self-impaling, and usually serve only to harm ordinary people in addition to ourselves. Despite our best efforts, the man remains unstuck.

There are real consequences to this type of philosophy. Here are just a few:

Someone Always Gets Hurt

It’s all fun and games until someone gets hurt. From the playground to the boardroom, regardless of whether or not we ever come face to face with the victim, someone always gets hurt. Our actions and inactions matter.

You may decide that the laws regarding texting while driving should apply to everyone but you. Even if you never end up in an accident as a result, your poor driving during that period might cause someone else to have an accident, or create a lot of unnecessary stress.

You might feel like the requirement to have insurance should be a personal choice. Insurance doesn’t just protect you, it protects your passengers. Sticking it to the man means putting people you care about in danger.

One of the unintended consequences of flouting the law in this way is that you will have to carry car insurance with SR22. According to Acceptance Insurance, that is:

…a document proving the responsibility of the policyholder. If you meet certain conditions, you will be required to carry this proof with you whenever you drive until your SR22 status has been removed.

When it comes to driving and sticking it to the man, you are the man. Ouch!

Your Fair Share

However much you pay in taxes, there is a good chance you think it is more than your fair share. Most of the rest of the world would disagree, as we have one of the lowest tax rates in the developed world. Giving yourself an unofficial tax discount means that the next bridge or interstate needed by you, your kids, or community simply does not get built.

It also gives the IRS a chance to come after you with their full might. They have no problem spending a few hundred thousand dollars chasing down a person who cheated them out of a few hundred dollars. If there is one man you don’t want to stick it to, it’s the IRS. According to TheAntiMedia.org, they are more likely to audit a middle class worker than an upper class wage earner.

Why We Can’t Have Nice Things

Everyday, people trip and fall at Walmart, hoping to hit the insurance jackpot. The Coalition Against Insurance Fraud estimates that kind of fraud costs us close to $80B a year. According to Minnesota’s CBS local affiliate, “The FBI says those numbers (excluding health insurance) translate into $400 to $700 in higher premiums for families.”

You not only cost yourself money, you are materially harming the families of every person you know and care about. When you drive irresponsibly, cheat on your taxes, and file fraudulent insurance claims, you are like a bad voodoo practitioner. You are poking the wrong dolls. You end up sticking it to yourself.

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About Becky Wilcox

Becky Wilcox is a freelance writer who has an ear for personal finance, debt, and equities. In her spare time she loves to pursue a healthy lifestyle along with trying new dishes in the kitchen.