Smoking part 3. Sin City here I come.

So far we have talked about world population, smoking and death rate, how Greenland has no discernable population and how balconies are not meant for smoke breaks. So, moving on, today we will talk about the sin tax. The definition of sin tax, according to
A tax levied on products considered vices.
Wikipedia, on the other hand, says the following:
Sin tax is a euphemism for a tax specifically levied on certain generally socially-proscribed goods - usually alcohol and tobacco. Sin taxes are often enacted for special projects - American cities and counties have used them to pay for stadiums - when increasing income or property taxes would be politically unviable.
Either way, what we discover here is that there is a negative connotation to sin taxes. And there should be. Sin taxes can be applied to anything. Every state taxes things that "may potentially hurt people." Basically I have learned thought my intensive research for this article that sin taxes were created by the purtians to help control sin using fines and prohibitions. Sin taxes can tax just about anything: tabacco, alcohol, pop, food, gentlemen's clubs, entertainment such as movies and sports, and pornography. It's a travesty folks, I know. Either way, the whole point of applying a sin tax is to raise revenue quickly in a manner that people can't really complain about. I don't think that any politician is going to be reelected if his/her campaign statement is "I oppose a sin tax on pornography!" versus the politician who's statement is "Let's tax the hell out of pornography!" I think that the first politician will lose just because the people who would support him are too lazy to vote. It's a sad, sad world. Oh, and all of the uptight Americans who wear granny panties and can't mind their own business. If you don't like it, don't do it. Don't try to tell me what I can do. I am an American. I should have that choice! But, wait, we are off topic. So, anyway. About smoking. Yeah. And the sin taxes. What good can sin taxes do? In Oklahoma City the sex industry is being taxed and the proceeds are going to "support domestic violence and sexual abuse programs with a portion set aside to help self-employed Oklahomans buy health insurance" and that "the tax's proceeds to domestic violence and sexual abuse programs would actually result in a net decrease in state spending on such programs by 100-thousand dollars a year". So, where is this extra money each year going that they are saving? To the schools perhaps? Probably not. Anyway, it's not so easy to find out where this money is going. Most programs are set up to allocate the money back in to a program that would stop it from making money, such as the one we saw above in Oklahoma City. Others fund things that would make the public happy, very similar to bribing a small child, such as stadiums or other entertainment. For example, the new Browns Stadium in Cleveland, OH. See, in this way, even though a sin tax is never a welcome thing, especially to those who are being taxed, politicians try to sweeten the deal with a nice little reward. Honestly, I always thought that the money was being returned to the public school systems, but if it is, I have found no evidence. I wonder if people even realize what a sin tax is or why it is there. My assumption is: NO. Because the public is ignorant and they like it like that. Take a look at the following poll: Retardspeople are dumb Now, where was the choice for "let's not sin tax anything". And now they are bringing fast food into it. If America is being sin taxed on it's foundations, what is next? Sin taxing drinking water and taking a poo? But, I do want to help you understand about the website that is taking these polls. To sum it up, here is this week's poll: "Should the families of the children killed by accidental overdose accept Methodist Hospital's offer of restitution? Yes or No" So that's the kind of crap stand that they run. On your right, an idea to tax entertainment in general. Are you having a good time in your own home on that awesome wii you just bought? Not without a 10% tax hike you aren't. The good people of Reno, you should just lie. They are going to keep taxing you if you say it's okay. "Well, yeah, sure, I don't mind payin' an extra 10% to go and see naked mud wrasslin. As long as it's not for homos, that is." Silly, silly Renoians. Oh, and apparently the Scots have no idea of what a sin tax is or they wouldn't think the best idea is to tax necessities: ah, duh? Ah, hell, let's just let the government add a sin tax to everything we buy, maybe then we will get a pretty red fire truck and a new marina just like in Sim City! I am not saying that a government can run off of no tax money. I am just saying that labeling something a sin tax and charging twice as much for it is wrong. And that the public doesn't care enough to fight back for things that they enjoy; that is wrong. I mean, yeah, you get a pretty stadium or a nice program that trys to stop kids from doing drugs, but are you willing to continue to be taxed on all of your entertainment and, if you're Scottish, your food and essentials?

  1. My problem with the sin tax is it is a recessive tax on the poor basically. Last time I check rich people weren’t buying a carton of camels and a tweleve pack of bud at the gas station. Why should the poor have to pay for a stadium? They can’t even get seats with the high ticket prices. But all those francy rich boys get the box seats with free food. Unfair I say!

    D Wallz
    September 27th, 2006 at 11:16 am
  2. I think you’ve missed the point completely on sin taxes. It’s not just charging people money for everything they enjoy. For example, most people enjoy spending time with their families. A $0.30/hour family time tax would never happen, and if it did no one would call it a sin tax.

    Further, sin taxes are not just about getting the majority to vote for a tax on something that just minority of people enjoy (although this is part of the reason why they are popular). A tiny minority of the population enjoys giving blood on a regular basis, but a tax on giving blood would also not be considered a sin tax. A tax on delicious healthy apples would never be called a sin tax either.

    Even in a capitalist society, the government is constantly interfering with the free market through tarriffs, subsidies, health inspections, etc. Individuals and companies do at least as much distortion by externalizing costs they rightfully should bear. A factory that dumps mercury in a river rather than paying for proper disposal is simple externalizing that cost to everyone who lives down river. Anti-dumping laws don’t destort the market, they enforce it.

    A sin tax is appropriate when a society decides (by voting or through elected representatives) that certain things externalize too much cost to the society. Smoking is perhaps the best example – even though you don’t smoke, smokers will cost you money. Your taxes will support their statistcally poor health, years of productivity are lost to shorter life spans, etc. A sin tax can be appropriate because it can help reduce the costly behavior and help fix the imbalance created by externalized costs.

    In the past, the Puritans may have based their idea of harm to society on their particular interpretaion of the Bible. In modern times, we tend to base our ideas on scientific evidence, economic modelling, and a generous sprinkling of voter ignorance and apathy. I would rather try to work on strengthining the science or lessening the ignorance than throw out the concept altogether and allow firms to make money by quietly passing costs to individuals, the government, or society as a whole.

    Not all sin taxes are perfect, of course. Taxing cigarettes to build a stadium might help reduce costly behavior, but it doesn’t shift the cost directly to cover how it was externalized. Using the tax money for public health might be better, but then again the stadium might be carrot required to get the tax passed.

    September 27th, 2006 at 11:52 pm
  3. “Sin taxes can be applied to anything. Every state taxes things that “may potentially hurt people.� ……�Either way, the whole point of applying a sin tax is to raise revenue quickly in a manner that people can’t really complain about.�

    The State does this not primarily to raise funds quickly, rather to discourage the public of consuming a specific product like alcohol, cigarette, pornography, gambling….those which the government believe could be harmful or have harmful effects to an individual.

    The problem here is that because people still continue to use these products and services with harmful effects, the government, under sin taxes finds itself relying on it as a continuous source of funds. The government too, should well know the distinction between pure family recreation and vice.

    Adney Joe

    February 16th, 2007 at 9:27 pm

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