Paying the bills

IT’S JANUARY, and that means it’s time to pay the bills.

We have three homes and two cars, and annual bills are due. The bills on the three residences are property taxes mostly, but there’s also an annual bill for water at the Downtown Casita.

The water bills for the Mexico City apartment and the Hacienda are paid monthly, as are the electricity bills.

Lots of bills.

billBut they don’t amount to much compared to what they would be above the Rio Bravo where many of you po’ folks live. My heart goes out to you.

The property tax on the Mexico City place is payable online. A few years ago we had to do it in person, but modernity is arriving. Alas, it has not arrived here on the mountaintop. If there is an online way to pay property taxes for the Hacienda and Downtown Casita, I have not found it yet.

So we go to City Hall and stand in line. We have a new City Hall. For centuries, I imagine, it was in a colonial edifice on the main plaza. It was quite cramped there.

But City Hall recently moved to a spacious, new, three-story building just three blocks away, a huge improvement.

The new City Hall sits in the same block as the post office, so we pay that annual bill at the same time. We rent a mailbox, and it costs 300 pesos, about 16 bucks a year.

Mail service works well here. It’s just pokey.

One thing we do not have is a monthly phone bill. We have neither a land line nor cell contracts. Our two cell phones are pay as you go, and we don’t go far.

The vehicle taxes used to be the biggest headache. It entailed going to an office here and standing in a mob of people trying to reach the counter. It was chaotic and absurd.

But now I get those bills online. I print them and go to the bank and pay a cashier.  This is one example of how Mexican life has improved during my 16 years (today!) here.

If memory serves, when my last wife kicked me out into the street in 1995, the annual property tax on our rather routine, three-bedroom ranch house was over $2,000 a year.

It’s gotta be far more now. Somebody must fund those fat American entitlements and freebies.

For our three places here, the dollar equivalent of the property taxes is $83. That’s eighty-three U.S. bucks.

Interestingly, the total water bills for the three homes total $140. The annual prices are set, not metered.

Until a few years ago, the taxes on the cars were high, but for some reason the car tax was eliminated on most cars in my state, and now we just pay for the window sticker.

The total for the two is $70. The charge is the same for both even though one car is five years older than the other.

These dollar equivalents are helped by the very sweet exchange rate we’ve enjoyed for the past few months.

To sum up, the outlay for the three houses — property tax and water, both set figures — and the car “tax” total $293. Oh, heck, let’s toss in the post office box’s $16, to reach $309.

I might as well mention the light bills. These are monthly charges based on usage, but since the Mexico City place and the Downtown Casita are usually unoccupied, those two bills are often a base charge. The total for the three places is $36.

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LOTS OF BACK PATTING

I enjoy looking at these figures every January. They cause me to pat myself on the back for being so wise as to move over the Rio Bravo these 16 years ago. Best decision ever.

I wonder how many thousands my ex-wife is paying in property tax on the Houston ranch house alone these days.

At age 68, she is involuntarily retired due to the lackluster Obama economy that Weepy Barry brags about.

I’ve told her to sell and move south, but that’s too much for most people to do, especially after a certain age. We get set in our ways even though the sun is shining brighter on the other side of the mountain — the Mexican mountain.

The American mess

IT’S A GREAT time to be a Mexican. The economy is headed uphill. Reforms to correct longstanding problems are gradually taking effect. Democracy is working well since 2000. The government does not attempt to micromanage our personal lives. The infrastructure improves daily. And we have a president who’s handsome.

US flagThen there’s the United States. Its economy still struggles. There are no reforms to correct anything that matters. Democracy, we sadly observe, works poorly with an ignorant electorate. The government wants to micromanage personal lives. The infrastructure degrades daily. And there is a clueless, ineffectual president.

The southern border is a sieve where hordes of people pour illegally into the country with scant impediment. Lots of children lately. Cities and states offer them “sanctuary,” drivers’ licenses and handouts. The nation’s educational curriculum is left-wing and anti-American. Free speech is verboten on university campuses.

Taxes are high, especially on businesses. The money is misused. The ranks of the government-supported “disabled” grow daily as does the illegitimacy rate, especially in urban ghettos. The national debt soars to incredible levels, and nobody does anything about it in either party. Capitalism (i.e. liberty) is sneered at.

As money grows for the faux disabled, money decreases for the military in this increasingly uncertain world.

Traditional families, gender roles and religions are also sneered at. Emotional deviancy, which has crafted its own flags to wave, is celebrated, protected by law and rubbed in the faces of the huge majority.

Children are confused and left on their own.

On the international stage, the clueless, ineffectual president none too subtly favors dangerous religious fanatics whom he does not consider to be such due to his being poorly informed and devoted to left-wing multicultural pipe dreams. And this very perilous presidency favors unlawful, unilateral action to consensus.

mex flagYes, America is a mess.

It’s a great time to be a Mexican.