We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Some of that hourly rate, particularly in auto repairs and gun repairs undoubtedly is inflated by liability insurance caused by cash trolling lawyers. Then a lawyer comes along and sees the high rates and decides HIS rates are too low in comparison. Heh.
Those repair rates also have to include costs to compensate for keeping highly specialized tools on hand. That said, I think auto repair rates are ridiculous. Last year, someone tried to sucker my wife into forking over $300+ to change the wires and plugs in our minivan. I nearly gagged upon hearing it, but sure enough that was the going rate for parts and labor. (Yes, of course I did the work myself -- THREE HUNDRED DOLLARS?!?!?)