Friday, May 14, 2010

Sense about sin taxes

Big Brother is after another part of your life, this time smoking. South Carolina’s General Assembly finally succumbed to second hand smug inhalation and voted to override Governor Sanford’s veto of the cigarette tax increase. The smug proponents of this bill tell us that it will save lives and bring in money. They quietly tell us that people with class do not smoke anyway. It is symbolic of the mushy logic of today’s smug elite.

Think about it. People who weigh 300 pounds plus and polish off a half gallon of ice cream a night sit and demand that “smokers pay their fair share” of health costs. Even worse are the fit smug elitists. They sit around filled with hidden judgment for their fellow human beings because they basically won the genetic lottery. They think that people who are not like them have something wrong with their character, so taxing “those people” is okay. The government elitists know better how to run people’s lives and are always happy to have people pay them for the privilege of hearing how they should live. The religious elitists think that is God’s Will to make “sinners” pay a “sin” tax.

We the people are told that the cigarette tax will save lives by getting people to stop smoking. Perhaps stopping smoking extends some people’s lives. But, here is something you can bank on. You and I, our neighbors, our relatives, our friends, we are going to die. It might come from smoking, drinking, eating, just living, walking in front a bus, being it an accident, being struck by lightning, or being hit over the head with a golf club, whatever the cause, the end of physical life comes. It is the height of elitist arrogance to believe that a tax can change that significantly. Besides, where would the revenue come from for government to spend if people really stopped smoking?

The second point being made by those who pushed for the cigarette tax is that it will keep children from starting the habit of smoking. The law forbidding minors to buy cigarettes has not worked, so again, is it really logical to believe that a tax can do that in a significant manner?

Further, smoking cigarettes is not what ails our youth. Most rational people love the children in their lives, so what VUI is about to say is going to be difficult to face. Studies show that when compared to young people around the world, our youth are, as a group, ignorant and lazy. More children are either virtually ignored by their parents or catered to by their parents. More children experiment with sex at an earlier age, have access to pornography and violence via the internet and mobile phones, and are on prescription drugs for behavior than ever before.
Our culture has created this great myth about tobacco use and character in people. There are people who actually say things like, “Well, Junior couldn’t break 700 on the SAT, but it’s okay the doctor is trying to get his meds right now that Junior is dealing with his sexuality and his violent tendencies. But, thank God my boy has never touched a cigarette.”

It seems that is the culture we live in now. We have activists and elected officials who melodramatically throw studies at us created to enhance their points on how the rest of us live. So, tax the “sin” of cigarette smoking. Fair enough. Let’s balance the budget with new sin taxes.

First, let’s have a fornication and adultery tax. Adultery is illegal in South Carolina, so let’s tax it. Members of the General Assembly must pay double since they are to be examples to the rest of us on how to live. Sex chat would be taxed as well. Lying about an affair would constitute tax evasion. Second, let’s tax sugar. Sugar is a killer. No one under 18 should be allowed to consume it. No more dreaded sugar highs and the low character that comes with them. Third, and this one hits VUI in the gut, let’s have a fat tax. Let’s tax a dollar a pound over a certain weight. Again, members of the General Assembly should pay double.

That brings us to the alcohol tax. The revenue made from this simple tax could run the state budget by itself. Under the VUI plan, only the alcohol sold in the Columbia metro area during the session of the General Assembly would be taxed. With some of the things this year’s General Assembly came up with, rest assured the state would be floating in money.

Some might think VUI’s sin tax suggestions are funny. But, watch out, we are betting the fat tax will be next. Big Brother Bobby and his cohorts want to take care of you and save you from you.

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