Taxing Sin

Making people pay for the right to do what they should have the right to do anyway is getting to be big business for government.

The other day a friend of mine, who rolls his own cigarettes, said, "you’re supposed to be a news guy, what’s the biggest thing the government did this year to hurt the poor man?"

I couldn’t tell him, he had to take out his little bag of cheap shag tobacco, "they raised the tax on tobacco again!"

The increase hurt most those who can least afford it. The tax on pouch tobacco, known as "roll yer own" went from $1.09 to $24.78 a pound.

Cigarettes also enjoyed a federal tax increase, from .31 per pack to 1.01. With California’s .87 cents a pack tax, that raises the average pack of cigarettes to $5.50. California is considering raising the tobacco tax another $1.05 a pack.

This is known as a "sin" tax. Most of the money is funneled to a cause only the evil could object to, like "keeping kids from smoking" and "making smokers pay for the costs of cancer care." It doesn’t matter what we do to the people we tax, see, because we’re discouraging something BAD and spending our ill gotten gains on something GOOD!

A similar rationale is likely to get marijuana legalized and taxed in California within the next 5 years.

If people support such fines on the rights of free people to live as they wish, why not a "fat tax"?

I’ll propose that fat and high fructose corn syrup be taxed very heavily. Fatty food and food that makes you fat is responsible for a terrific number of deaths each year. Maybe if every time a kid bought a twinkie they had to pay $24.78 in taxes for the right to eat it, diabetes rates might decrease.

For that matter, watching too much TV is bad for you, too. A healthy tax on every kid show might keep kids from squandering their youth in front of a television. It would be good for adults, too. Everybody ought to pay a tax on every person murdered during prime time programming. Maybe if everyone who watched one of the "murder based shows" paid a healthy sin tax for the right to watch people get blown away we could afford decent public television.


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