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Archive for April 3rd, 2009

Everybody Must Get Taxed

Sin tax is a euphemism for a sumptuary tax: a tax specifically levied on certain generally socially-proscribed goods – usually alcohol and tobacco. But alcohol and tobacco are not the only “sinful” items to be taxed. 

Leo X, the last non-priest to be elected Pope, sold indulgences and taxed prostitutes to support his lavish lifestyle, reportedly telling his brother “Since God has given us the papacy, let us enjoy it.”  Peter I of Russia taxed beards, and King George III taxed tea. We all know how that went over.

These days, governments at every level are trying to make up budget shortfalls by increasing taxes. Tobacco and alcohol taxes are being raised, and few can argue against a tax on something that is harmful. How about taxing fast food and soft drinks? Like alcohol and tobacco, both contribute to health problems. But since these sumptuary taxes are meant to raise money without costing politicians votes, there is little chance such a tax will be implemented. There are, however, other things that can be taxed, and I have a suggestion.

I propose a new tax I call the “Player Player” tax, or the “Lothario Levy.” This is a tax on extramarital sex. A set amount is paid for each – instance – of extra-marital sex. If both participants are single, only one must pay. But if either is married, both pay an equal amount. Here we promote both premarital abstinence and family values at the same time. Who is going to argue against that? 

Imagine the conversation around the water cooler Monday morning. Bob brags to the guys “I took that new secretary from the steno pool to Vegas for the weekend. You should see the bill we ran up!” Well, with the “Player Player” tax in place, he can now put his money where his mouth is and show proof of his virility. I just wonder if there would be more lies told or fewer with this tax in effect.

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