Posted by: anniewilson | September 22, 2009

Taxing every single guilty pleasure

It seems as though, sooner or later, everything that I enjoy becomes illegal, expensive or just plain stupid. Of course, some things that I like have always been that way. For example, in my lifetime marijuana has always been illegal, travel has always been expensive and getting married has always been stupid. Avoiding stuff that has ALWAYS been illegal, expensive or stupid is bad enough…it’s REALLY tough to deal with stuff that suddenly BECOMES illegal, expensive or stupid after you’ve grown up.

(By the way, I didn’t leave out morally corrupt behavior, politically incorrect actions or calling the President a “liar” from the floor of congress…I just lump all of those things under “stupid”. Stupid covers an amazingly large percentage of fun human exploits.)

As a child sitting in the back seat of the family Ford Country Squire wood paneled 8 cylinder station wagon, I remember my father telling the gas attendant to put in “Two dollars regular, please.” It was Dad’s usual request so that two bucks must have bought enough gas to propel that huge Brady-mobile for quite some time. Today it won’t get the most gas-efficient of cars around a city block with the AC on. Gone, along with the gas attendants, are the days when two bucks worth of gas would get you anywhere. They’re both a thing of the past.

My grandfather had a weekly ritual that included an after-church ride in his Cadillac. Those Sunday rides were like Forrest Gump’s box of chocolates…you never knew where you might end up. I inherited my grandfather’s prodigious appreciation of enjoyable automobile rides but none of his 2 millions bucks so I can’t afford superfluous road trips. My charabanc undertakings have devolved from pleasurable rides down the interstate blasting Bruce Springsteen AND the AC to creeping along slowly with the rest of the Atlanta commuters listening to Captain Herb Emory tell us about the jack-knifed truck full of cows that’s causing the delay du jour as he circles above in WSB-TV’s Skycopter.

It seems as though the government would like to curb certain activities that we enjoy, if not ALL of them. If there are laws against certain things that we want to do, and we have the money to fund the illegal activity in which we’d like to engage, chances are pretty good that we will go ahead and participate in that illegal and expensive enterprise, whether it’s stupid or not. So, what does our leech of a government do next? Why…they tax the behavior of course. Citizens will still suffer the ill effect of the behaviors, but at least the government gets it’s share of the revenue so that they can afford to have more meetings to discuss what behavior they want to tax next.

Pope Leo X’s parsimonious extravagance elicited the taxation of prostitution, an income tax of sorts. Peter the Great counted upon the vainglorious coxcombry of the average “turn of the century Russian” when he charged his subjects who chose to grow a beard. By the way, that was the turn of the 18th century.

I’m pretty sure that this particular levy applied only to Russian MEN but there was a lot of vodka at the time and they didn’t have all of the fancy diagnostic stuff like the tests that doctors performed on that hermaphrodite tennis player. By the other way…the vodka was NOT taxed.

Sin taxes in America have NEVER been very popular with the average law abiding sinner. Alexander Hamilton tried it and he fomented the Whisky Rebellion. The feds had to be sent in to squash the Pennsylvania settlers.

More recently, cigarettes have been taxed badly and all we have to show for it is a bunch of mega-poor lung cancer patients with no/poor health insurance. If the extra tax dollars went to care for them, it would make some sense but that’s not what the government does with cigarette tax revenue.

Recently the government floated the idea of a sin tax on soda pop. I don’t know what they planned on doing with THAT money. After the soda tax was shot down by people all over the country, I thought that I had heard the last of the soda tax.

I was wrong.

On the Sunday edition of Fox and Friends, I was listening to Allison Camerota who ordinarily appears to have a great head on her shoulders. But she really got to me when I heard her agree to the soda tax. I was STRENUOUSLY disappointed in Alison so I tweeted Clayton Morris the following tweet:

“I never miss weekend Friends, but now I might as well watch NBC if Allison is so liberal. She and her soda tax blew it-see ya.”

Morris responded to me with this tweet:

“She’s fair and balanced. That tax doesn’t make her liberal. This show would be boring is one viewpoint was voiced.”

Of course he’s right and I don’t listen to Fox to hear people parrot my own opinions. But a tax on a bottle of soda? That’s simply Arkansas-ish. What silly vice would be taxed next and how does the government know what’s good for us as compared to what’s bad for us? I can’t keep up, they keep changing the health value of everything. Margarine alone has me totally baffled. One decade it’s better for you than butter and the next year it’s not. I LOVE butter so I’m going to stick with it…until they sin tax it out of my price range. Even cigarettes had their supporters in the medical field at one time:

Obviously cigarettes aren’t the best example but consider things like butter. When I was a kid, it was reported that butter was bad for us so we were told to eat margarine instead. Today we’re being told that butter is the healthier choice. It the 50’s we were told that breakfast didn’t get much healthier than steak and eggs. The 70’s found doctors instructing us to avoid such high cholesterol meals. Currently, steak is back on a healthy menu along with other low-carb foods. And who would have thought that wine, in moderation, would be a benefit to cardiac patients!

It’s difficult enough to keep up with the current thinking on the one food or another but some would have us take TODAY’S standards and use them to increase the government’s bank account.

Sunday morning, my favorite morning show, Fox and Friends Weekend Edition was on the telly and as I was listening to my 3 favorite anchors, I overheard one of them say that a sin tax should be applied to a bottle of soda. I don’t like soda myself but I can imagine that something I DO like will be added to the list of taxed foodstuff next.

Here are a few ideas:

How about a special tax on McDonald’s to help pay for high cholesterol related disease?

A “baked goods” tax on the local bakery can help the obese.

Men with impotence might benefit from a special tax on reruns of the Rosanne show.

We could start taxing KY Jelly to pay for AIDS research.

A special tax on Twinkies could pay for diabetes research.

A condom tax can be used to pay for research on stretch marks.

Sin taxes are a slippery slope and I’d like to think that my foxy friends would consider that concept before they endorse sin taxes for things like soda pop. Consider the fact that, as healthy as fruit is, fruit juice is loaded with high levels of fructose. There is a school of thought that turns a health “thumb down” at beverages such as orange juice and apple juice. Should we apply a tax to them as well?

How do we decide which things will have special taxes and which will not? Who makes those decisions and at whom do we complain if science suddenly finds an ingredient in Pepsi that cures cancer?

You know, I’m with Pope Leo and the State of California, tax the hookers and the weed.

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Responses

  1. think I got you beat — my dad used to buy a dollar’s worth, back when it was 19 cents a gallon

  2. LOL, yep, you do. BUT…my dad has us both beat. He and his friends used to gather 25 cents so they’d have enough gas to cruise Jersey for the evening.


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