Like DEQ, Multnomah County Animal Services has this expiring tag system, a TTL stamp after which you're branded "out of compliance." And so we got a Final Notice regarding our Sarah Angel (a postcard via USPO), by this time past due for her license renewal. We'd need to renew immediately, or a Notice of Infraction for Keeping an Unlicensed Animal would be issued, per Multnomah County Code 13:101.
I took this notice pretty seriously (I'm quite loyal to Sarah, as she is to me), plus was happy to discover that parts of this process have already been computerized. I paid my fee over the web, then phoned the vet to request proof of the necessary vaccinations be faxed to HQS. That's a lot what the expiring tag system is really about: seeing to the ongoing provision of healthcare for all the pets in our County -- ditto for motorvehicles and DEQ's tagging system.
All this reminds me of comments at Wanderers this morning, about how Corporations used to get expiring tags (licenses to do business), before being granted these "in perpetuity" privileges. Giant corporations needn't run an obstacle course every few years, to prove continued fitness, because "who does government think it is, to judge us?"
But then ordinary citizens get judged. Sarah Angel might have gone to jail. It's really quite the double standard.
According to Thom Hartmann's research, Corporations jumped on an elevator called "The Fourteenth Amendment" after the USA Civil War. This constitutional amendment was designed to elevate black people, restoring their "fully human" status, after the long "slavery is God's Will" interlude. But the railroads saw a loophole: if we're elevating the not-yet-fully-human to human these days (in terms of legal rights), why not hitch a ride on the bandwagon?
To make a long story short, thanks to some creative rule changes, what had been considered "artificial persons" in earlier days, were now not only "persons" in the eyes of the law, but quasi-immortal beings as well (no TTL stamps -- like vampires, likewise soulless).
I haven't had time to cross-check all of Hartmann's references (Grunch of Giants was one of them), but given how devilishly clever the white man is, at getting around his own laws sometimes, I'm quite willing to believe him. Sounds just like what a clever private railroad would to, if wanting more power against a USA public executive branch: become a giant on paper, a limited liability behemoth, a bully with nothing to lose (because the real human stakeholders stay quietly invisible, jerking the strings).