DMVs are obsolete and should be free

The government has enough of our money

November 5, 2021

So I recently had to get my driver's license renewed and under normal circumstances that would mean that I'd have to schedule an appointment with the DMV then go there at my appointed time so that I could stand in line for fifteen minutes to get given a number that I'd wait to have called for a half hour before being able to talk to someone for five minutes then having to wait in line for another fifteen minutes so that I can have my picture taken with a five year old camera then probably having to wait another ten minutes somewhere just to be able to sign a piece of paper that would stand in for a normal drivers license card for a few weeks while waiting for them to finally get around to using the machine that prints new cards that is most definitely just in a back room somewhere and not all that hard to use.

But, due to the events of 2020, we no longer live under normal circumstances which caused the government to finally realize that the internet exists and I was able to get my license renewed online. Of course the system is not perfect, I have no idea why they can only have the systems for that open during working hours on business days rather than 24/7 like literally every website run by people with a brain is, and I also don't understand why they don't trust us to take our own picture when the advent of social media has caused half the population to think that they are a professional photographer, but they are taking baby steps into the 21st century and we should appreciate that. There are very few reasons why somebody should need to physically go into a DMV these days and I'm glad they've figured it out, but there is something a bit less obvious, but much more important that should be changed about our relationship with our local department of motor vehicles.

The DMV should be free

Inside the envelope that my new license came in was a sheet of paper that gave a bit of instruction about the new license, most of what was on there was obvious to anyone who has a brain but there was one statement on there that made less and less sense to me the more I thought about it, it read, "Review the information on your new card. If there are any errors, please visit your local DMV office. Fees may apply to any changes." (emphasis added)

I found this statement to be quite strange, the standard practice for literally every company who wants to keep its customers is that if they mess something up they will correct the mistakes with no charge to the customer, but the DMV wants you to pay for their mistakes here (of course if the mistake is yours this wouldn't apply but it is pretty hard for someone to mess up their own license). If the DMV were a business nobody would chose to do business with them because this is not how you keep customers. The DMV isn't a business with customers to serve, it is a government agency with citizens to protect, but with practices like this the better description would be a government agency with subjects to rule over. I don't call myself a libertarian and you definitely shouldn't have to be one to realize that the abuse that we've tolerated agencies like the DMV have put us under should be unacceptable and we should be urging our elected officials to have the agencies which they have control over to treat us with respect.

But my thought process didn't end there because I soon realized that taxes were a thing that we're all forced to pay and if the DMV were to mess up my license but correct the problem without charging me any extra I'd still be paying it because the money used to correct the problem would come from taxes anyways, or in other words still out of my pocket. We shouldn't have to pay extra to the DMV when they mess up because we fund them anyways, but if we take that thought even further we realize that we should never have to pay the DMV for anything. The DMV should be free. As long as taxes exist there should be no government service that we have to pay for, the government's incompetence towards how it manages the money it takes from us should have no relation to how much of our money it feels the right to take from us.