Friday, September 18, 2009

TWINKIE TAX

In that corner, you got your “seven deadly sins”. This is a list of bad stuff people do, thought by many to be listed in the Bible, but it isn’t. The list was actually compiled by Pope Gregory, sometime around 600 AD. Nonetheless, it has become part of Christian doctrine and, well, that’s all that really matters, isn’t it?

Over here, you’ve got a government, with lots of expenses, that needs to figure out ways to get “we the people” to give them more of the money that they actually print for us to use. Seems like they could just print some for themselves, but they don’t, so we just have to deal with the situation as we find it.

They get their money by taxing the people earning it. You get some, and then you take a little off the top…OK, quite a bit off the top…and send it to Uncle Sam. They take that and, after a good chunk going to administration costs, provide military protection, police, fire departments, road construction, and all kinds of good things that we need to function as a civilization. While many will argue that tax rates are too high, it is generally agreed that the concept of taxation is about the best way anybody can think of for a government to provide essential services to its populace. So, with that said, tax is not necessarily a bad thing.

“Sin Taxes” have been around for just about as long as taxes themselves. Sometimes the government decides that too many people are doing something they really shouldn’t be doing, but, rather than making that activity illegal, they put a tax on it. If that many people are participating, it must be fun. Why stop them, when you could just profit from it? Alcohol comes to mind. They tried to outlaw that once, but the people wouldn’t stand for it. So they came up with a better plan – heavy taxes. They even did the same thing with marijuana in the 1930’s and, more recently, with cigarettes. What more perfect vehicle for collecting tax revenue than addictive or habit-forming substances? Made to order for any cash-strapped bureaucracy.

Cigarettes have always been bad for people. But it has been only in the past decade or so that huge numbers of anti-smoking groups and citizenry have stepped up and made smoking truly socially unacceptable. Uncle Sam sees the polls, and grabs the opportunity to raise taxes on smokes, knowing he won’t get too much resistance from the people. It worked beautifully. Smokers keep smoking – albeit standing out in the rain, away from the decent folk – and those government coffers keep ringing it up.

Apparently, and as had been predicted by many of us not long ago, the cigarette tax increase worked so well that now they’re looking for other handy ways to raise revenue. Yard sales are just so much trouble. Enter now that list of “Seven Deadly Sins”.

Let’s take it from the top.

“Pride”. Well, Pope Gregory must have been having a bad day when he came up with that one. We encourage pride in our society. Dress nice. Mow your yard. Wash your car. Americans aren’t going to sit still for taxes on pride. Skip this one.

Greed”. The people with all the money, and thereby, all of the power, are obviously convinced that they already pay way too much in taxes. Just ask them. So, while this is a good sin to tax according to most of the people, it probably won’t happen.

Envy”. Seriously? How can you put a tax on envy?

Wrath”. We have penalties for wrath – imprisonment. They don’t pay those guys much for making license plates. Not much of a tax base there.

"Lust”.“ Here’s an idea. But it may be a little hard to enforce, requiring participants to be on the honor system. Maybe it could be extrapolated to include pornography, which seems to have some correlation to lust. The 2006 pornography revenue in the U.S. alone was over $13 billion. That’s more than the revenue of ABC, CBS, and NBC combined. Let’s put this one on the “later” list.

“Gluttony”. Yes! Here you go! With all the concern about health care costs, and all the stats pointing to diet as the main reason Americans are a bunch of fat, out-of-shape couch potatoes, this sin is the number one candidate to collect the big bucks that will bail out Uncle Sam, pay off China, and make us all live long enough to see that “lust” tax imposed on down the road. So, what do we start with? Soda pop! Everybody drinks soda pop! It’s a no-brainer. Next, French Fries. Because, no matter what you order at that drive-thru, you’re going to get fries with it. Potatoes are bad. Potatoes are evil. It was potatoes that brought down Dan Quayle, if you’ll recall. The best thing about this category is that it is virtually endless. Think of the possibilities. Donuts, Twinkies, pork ribs, bacon, cheese, everything in a Grand Slam breakfast. By the time we get through taxing everything in the gluttony category, lust will probably be obsolete anyway. And people can’t argue with it. After all, it is one of the seven deadly sins. It’s in the Bible! The next thing you know, jack-booted storm troopers will be kicking down our doors, scaring our kids and ransacking our houses, looking for that stash of goodies we’re brave enough to bring out only late at night, after Colbert goes off. Patriots, one & all, we’ll declare at that moment, “You can have my twinkie when you pry it from my cold, dead lips!” And that, friends, is what they will do, because once Pandora’s box is opened, it cannot be shut.

“Sloth”. What the heck is “sloth”, anyway? Who cares? We’ve already collected enough off tater tots to render it inconsequential. Go ahead and do all the sloth you want. It’ll never cost you a dime in taxes. And, if it ain’t taxes, you won’t mind spending it.
The door is opening. Last call. Drink up, grab your twinkies, and run.

© 2009, Rick Baber
http://www.rickbaber.com

3 comments:

anon101 said...

it is good that they tax the things that make people fat or sick. something has to be done and it is better than taxing all of us for the sins of others.

charliesarealriot said...

Right you are Anon101. Like, we wouldn't want them taxing us morally superior people who live right and drive Escalades and wear real blood diamonds and furs - long as we don't drink or eat donuts. Cops excluded of course.

SugarBritches said...

Totally off topic, but fucking A! Big Daddy Rick! I found you.

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