Time Tax

This concept is completely borrowed from an article by Annie Lowrey in The Atlantic. She talks about the time tax that people have to pay in the US to navigate the bureaucracy.

Any tax we pay is really a payment to the Govt or authorities for the services they provide, whether it is infrastructure or keeping us safe (defence) or managing our lives. Those who earn more, by and large pay more than the poor, who even if not taxed on income, still pay indirect taxes like the GST, which are universal.

Time tax is different. It is the tax we pay for the inability of the Govt to provide us the services we are supposedly entitled to, because of the monetary tax we pay,

E.g if I am stuck in traffic because of potholes on the roads or because the road is flooded, in turn because the authorities have not been able to fulfill their responsibilities to give us good roads, and I land up wasting time, that is a time tax I am paying…giving my time to the Govt and authorities in addition to paying monetary tax…a double whammy.

The value of the time tax varies. If time is not important in your life, then it may not matter. You may have so much of it, that to give some away because of the incompetence of our authorities may not mean much to you. On the other hand, if you try and make every minute count, then every second wasted because of someone else’s incompetence or idiocy is a tax you pay with your time.

Can we think of other examples?

1. Dealing with customer service in most instances is also a time tax, where over and above what you have paid for the service, you pay with your time.

2. Waiting for people. If you have to wait for someone who is late, that is a tax in time you pay for your friendship or for the outcome if that is a business meeting. If the other person is late because of the time tax they have had to pay, let’s say because the roads were clogged, then that becomes an indirect time tax that you also land up paying.

Can you think of other examples of time tax? If so, leave them in the Comments.

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