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Tax Viagra

March 27, 2012

As we all know, the US health care reform law got its day in court today. Scalia and Roberts noted that the health care overhaul law would make people get insurance for things they may not need, such as heart transplants (only vice presidents need those) or pregnancy services (only alien beings need those, not true Humans). “You can’t say that everybody is going to participate in substance abuse services,” Roberts said.

After all, there are millions of illnesses out there. Why should I get insured for the one you’re going to get sick on. Remember, this is the age of “personal medicine.” Read my genes, then write my prescription.

The justices reviewing the case managed to come up with every possible comparison. Why not make us eat broccoli? Or purchase a cell phone? Or even (gasp) get vaccinated?

And the crowning Orwellian argument–that the health insurance mandate is somehow bad for young people. When in fact, the new law has managed to insure 25 million young adults.

If the new health mandate is a “tax,” I’d like to propose some additional new taxes.

1. Tax Viagra. If True Humans are going to have their fun, they need to pay society for all the pregnancy and daycare services of the alien beings they impregnate.

2. Tax failure to vaccinate. If people refuse to get their kids vaccinated, they need to pay society the costs of coping with the next epidemic.

3. Tax science-evading homeschoolers. If people are going to teach their kids bogus science, they need to pay the cost of the global disasters that will result.

What kind of behavior would you like to tax?

7 Comments
  1. March 28, 2012 11:56 am

    I like it but won’t parents have to pay extra for each kid? And what about OB/GYN related–doesn’t that only apply to women–(men have nothing to do with pregnancy, do we?) And shouldn’t elected officials’ health care costs include costs for all the people who want to retain their freedom from mandated health insurance? Don’t they represent these people? How about taxes on corporations for the difference in salaries that they enjoy by hiring Third-World factory workers instead of American factory workers? Shouldn’t Banks be taxed on the profits they make by nickle-and-diming their most financially vulnerable customers? Are these silly ideas? Maybe for non-smokers–but my tobacco purchases are taxed at about 250% of the product’s actual cost. So I’m already being taxed through this paradigm–I’m expected to pay extra because I’m running the health risks of a smoker. Or are we smokers just being hyper-taxed as a way to let us know how thoroughly society disapproves of our prodigal behavior?

  2. March 28, 2012 1:28 pm

    I’ll take the contrarian view and point out a couple of problems here. One is that, when you tax something bad to fund something good, the funding for the good stuff disappears when the bad stuff declines. One can see that in California politics, where a decline in hunting (which is not, in itself, a bad thing) has meant a precipitous decline in money for conservation, which has led (in part) to a massive increase in poaching and illegal activities on wildlands. Good idea to tax hunters? Maybe it was, 50 years ago. Now most people watch nature on TV, and the wildlands are no longer being protected in reality.

    The other problem I’m seeing is increasing obfuscation. Environmental Impact Statements were created on a basic, common-sense idea: figure out the damage a project will cause, and figure out whether you can fix it. If not, then someone needs to determine whether the damage caused is worth the benefit gained. If it is fixable, then figure out a budget and a process for fixing it, before you build the project. That’s logic a child could understand. What we have now, though, is endless obfuscation, both from project proponents and from the bureaucracies overseeing them, throughout the EIS process. The problem is that none of them want to be seen to be damaging The Environment (that capitalized symbol, not the reality), and as a result, we’re seeing more and more undocumented damage done.

    That’s the other problem with taxing: it creates endless incentives for cheating and lying, coupled with expensive enforcement. Imagine the joy if every parent was forced to get the (expensive) tests to prove that their children all had the antibodies in their blood that they were supposed to have? Is it worth it to escape the tax? Only if the tax is quite high.

    Speaking as someone who’s had measles, thanks to an idiot pediatrician telling my mother that I only needed one vaccination, not two, my personal preference is to see some of these diseases make a comeback, and hopefully, a temporary one. There’s something about a mother having to explain to her crippled child that it was totally unnecessary that drives home the lesson of vaccination better than any tax ever will. It’s cruel, yes, but we’re in an era where we’ve got this lethal delusion that we can make stupid decisions and buy and lie our way out of the consequences. To me, this delusion is even more dangerous than the reality it avoids. We need reality to teach us some lessons. Not the false protection of more taxes.

    • March 28, 2012 3:56 pm

      Perhaps an even bigger problem with the way taxes are accounted for is that the tax monies are fungible. Taxes collected on cigarettes for “non-smoking education”, for example, can be diverted to other purposes.

  3. March 28, 2012 4:06 pm

    The problem I see with your tax suggestions is that they are clearly “tit for tat”. Now I think what the Supremes are debating is the extent of Federal power. If the insurance mandate were state enforced, then it would not be an issue. Note that the federal healthcare reform is very similar to Romney’s Massachusetts’ H/C reform. In a mobile nation, it seems very inefficient to have a huge patchwork of different H/C laws instead of a national one, like Medicare. But this is where ideology, “original intent of the framers”, lobbyists etc, etc. get in the way of rational discussion.

  4. March 29, 2012 8:03 pm

    Let’s not miss the fundamental issue above, which may lead to a decision as infamous as Dred Scott. Some of the highest judicial minds in the Free World argue that society has no duty to support the health care of pregnant people. These same justices would forbid people to terminate pregnancy, even when caused by assault.

    Is this the highest judicial(political) logic our “free” country can produce? Castro must be laughing.

    • March 30, 2012 11:56 am

      Actually, universal health care appears to be perfectly constitutional. Getting republicans on board by forcing people to buy health care may not be, and I’m thinking that Republicans have no trouble proposing unconstitutional laws, and then occasionally striking them down as political needs demand. Goes to show that attaining power for the sake of attaining power is one of the most counter-productive careers on the planet.

      As I noted above, we’re in dire need of a dose of reality. Especially in Washington.

      Speaking of reality, the Republicans are holding their convention in Tampa Bay, Florida, in late August. Want to start a betting pool on whether they get hammered by a hurricane? Granted, the Democrats aren’t that much better (Charlotte, NC), but at least they’re away from the coast.

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