Re: Paying for Document
$26 might not be all unreasonable. It seems like a lot for someone to "answer a letter" but then again even 30? years ago the cost of a somple business letter or invoice was also figured around $5, based on the paper, the stamp, the envelope, the worker, the chair and desk and utilities around them...the whole picture as opposed to the incremental price of sending out the paper. And with the same magic of numbers, somehow the USCG figures the actual hourly cost of putting up a Hercules C-130 at over $18,000 per hour. Which is within pocket change of the cost they show for some of their largest (~300 feet OAL) cutters. Same price per hour?? The magic of numbers.
Sure, something has to pay for the services but everyone gets some kind of special deal from the government. My tax dollars pay for USDA research on how to grow corn and breed hogs, or not grow peanuts. And I pay for bridges to nowhere. And subsidize airport terminal rents and the Congressional cafeteria for all I know. If boaters "get back" a service that not everyone needs, that's OK, the Fed gets something out of it too. Remember that one purpose of the documentaiton system is to give the fed a convenient list of available vessels that can be commandeered in time of war. Yes, it is not all about recreation or commerce, this is a government function with "national security" functions as well.
And there must be something (diesel fuel excise taxes?) that we're all paying "as boaters" that should be covering some expenses too.
Let the DoD pay me for filling out the paperwork.(VBG)