The Sin Tax

There aren’t very many positive things that can be said about the current recession. But we may end up healthier and with fewer vices as government tries to generate revenue. We should all be concerned that every level of government is also pleading poverty. These losses are significant because government is our social and economic safety net, and also an employer. The country needs to make sure the coffers aren’t bone dry. The federal government, which can arguably just print money, is lugging around a multi-trillion dollar deficit.

The usual sources of government revenue are taxes imposed by elected legislators. In America, we are already taxed on a variety of things, but there still isn’t enough money. Local governments are experiencing a downturn in property and real estate transfer taxes, which threatens the level of services and personnel. States haven’t fared any better. New York and California are struggling with the extremely large projected budget shortfalls over the next year or two.

It’s time to drop your bad habits, because you’ll literally pay for your sins,

I have the answer—the creation of several sin taxes. If you enjoy it and it’s even remotely unhealthy, they it should be taxed. Chocolate—taxed. Reality television—taxed. Social networking—taxed. You see where I am headed with this concept. Sorry, you can work out the spiritual issues on your own, this is about government revenue.

Alcoholic beverages are taxed and we happily pay the tax. But we quickly draw the line to protect the remainder of our sins and keep them accessible. In my proposal, it’s time to drop your bad habits, because you’ll literally pay for your sins if you don’t. Earlier this year, the federal government increased the tax on tobacco products by 146%. The idea of taxing junk food has floated around in New York for years now. “Medical marijuana” is legal in California, but conservative estimates say that billions of dollars would be generated by taxing medical marijuana.

I think it’s a win-win proposition! We get to keep our vices, but we just would have to pay. It’ll be fun as we do our part to finance government. Since most of these things and activities aren’t good for you, it might be difficult. I think we can do it. It’s simply an adjustment to the new taxes on our same old sins.

kimberly s. jones

Kimberly S. Jones, Esq. is an attorney and policy advocate. She can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @PunditOnPoint. "Like" Pundit On Point on Facebook