We are moving into an era of “Boutique Taxes” as I call them. A better term is probably “Behavioral Taxes”. This is not a new idea but it is quickly picking up popularity. The idea started as “sin tax” and it was gladly put on alcohol, tobacco and gambling. Conservative America didn’t fight them because it was a tax on “sin”. The “sinners” didn’t object because they enjoyed their sin so much they didn’t care if it was taxed. They admitted it was wrong and in some kind of weird thinking “they deserved the tax”.
Our governments are always looking for a new income stream to fund burgeoning budgets. Instead of blanket taxes that make everyone mad they are turning to these focused taxes. Here are a couple of examples:
Gasoline tax: a penny here and a penny there and no one is supposed to notice. The money is supposed to go to road improvement but does it really?
Marijuana tax: can’t beat them….join them and tax it. I mean really….who is going to object to this tax? No one.
Soda tax: https://www.buzzfeed.com/venessawong/its-not-rocket-science?utm_term=.egqN7EQ8WW#.cmzMB4ePkk. I believe this will take off like the space shuttle. Add a little more fuel and this will be everywhere by 2018. I don’t care about the other sin taxes but this one will hurt me when it comes to my neighborhood. Or….will it help me to stop a nasty habit?
Our governments have got on to something. They can raise taxes and be socially correct. They can punish people for non accepted behavior and even make changes in said behaviors. How many have stopped smoking because of the cost and attention? Will the same happen with sugar? On the other hand they can legalize illegal behavior, control it and earn income from it. Sounds great doesn’t it?
Let’s take this concept to a broader scope (because you know the government will). What if they tax divorce? How about abortions? (oh, yes that could be another blog coming!) Salt? Obesity? What if they take it farther – taxing churches that have certain views? Bibles? TV? Twinkies? Ice Cream? Is this an over stretch of our governing bodies or are they right in being the big brother and taxing “bad” behavior? Should they be permitted to legalize behavior in the name of tax and control? How about prostitution? Gambling is already out of the box and will never go back. Our states even promote it with their lotteries.
If a small potato chip bag goes from $1 to $2 because of a salt and oil tax will you stop eating them? Will a poor person stop? We’ll see.