Monday, December 14, 2009

Taxing Sin

Our state government wants to finance its operation by taxing smokers, drinkers and gamblers. But not all of them, of course.

If you want to puff on a cigarette that weighs a few grams and puts out a couple of minutes of pollution, you will pay multiple taxes. And stand outside in the cold, to boot.

If you want to dump tons of mercury, sulfur dioxide, carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the air 24 hours a day, no problem. You might even get tax writeoffs. And overweight trucks just got a present from Governor Quinn, a raise in the speed limit! Whoohoo! Now they can kill more people directly by crushing them to death, as well as through diesel fumes.

If you want to drink alcohol and get polluted, you're going to pay heavy taxes. If you want to use community water, and dump it all polluted into the river, go right ahead. Well, EPA may give you a slap on the wrist, if someone complains, and they follow up and they find you guilty. But don't worry, you can appeal.

If you want to play the lotto, so our kids will win too!, you're going to pay. If you plan to finance your retirement with your winnings, you will be ridiculed.

If you want to gamble with other people's money, including other people's retirement funds, go right ahead. No taxes on Wall Street gambling, except for capital gains, which are half of taxes on money earned by actual labor.

The poor, who have lost earned income in the last 30 years, because wages have fallen (in real buying power), while the rich have gotten a much higher proportion of the increase in productivity, are being taxed at a higher rate than the rich. This is fundamentally wrong.

And our vices are being taxed at a higher rate than theirs.

We might like to smoke, drink and gamble, but they are destroying the planet, mining, overfishing, clearcutting, burning and blowing up vast portions of the Earth's mantle. Our ecosystem.

Which sin is worse?


Anonymous said...

Funny they don't want to legalize drugs and tax them...unless of course they are the shadow drug industry themselves.

wagelaborer said...

Why, yes, indeed.

Not only do the CIA and others in the shadow government make extra money through the drug trade, some say that the banks would be further in debt without the drug money being laundered through them.