Sin Taxes and the New Social Contract

Originally posted June 5, 2009

In our post-constitutional era, we have recently discovered that the US government has an obligation, as part of it’s social contract, to provide every American with the best healthcare federal dollars can buy. The only problem is that we are out of federal dollars (as of about a month ago) and are currently paying for everything with those red I.O.U. notes from the game “Life”.

So we have to fix this. We have to figure out how to pay for healthcare for everyone in a way that doesn’t cause all of our doctors to move to Singapore and flood our hospitals with everyone from a sneezing child to an 80 year old who thinks they should get new knees that will last longer than they will to people who smoked too much and now are paying the price to people who actually deserve healthcare.

Fortunately, we have Barack Obama and his crack team of Government experts who have prepared three solutions that, combined, should do the trick.

Solution number one: raise taxes on the rich. We knew this was coming, and it won’t be too long before the extra trillion dollars Obama threw at the economy will give us just enough of a bubble boost that no one will mind when we go after our favorite demographic to tax.

Solution number two: online medical records. Oh, I know, that doesn’t sound threatening. In fact, helping medical offices maintain better and more transferable records is a good thing. I guess what bothers me is the whole Daschle idea of a central government record storage computer that “guides” doctors in what procedures our government will pay for and what ones the doc has to do pro bono. But on the upside, at least that 80 year old won’t get the expensive knee replacements so she can enjoy the last 10 years of her life. Plus, if things get too expensive we can just tell all the smokers that all bets are off.

Solution number three: tax everyone else, i.e. social behavior modification. This isn’t a new idea. Turns out, few people object when you raise taxes on socially objectionable things such as alcohol, cigarettes, and Bambi killing gasoline. In fact, probably the only reason they don’t tax prostitution is because of the number of high ranking government officials who indulge in it.

Now, when we all pay for everyone else’s healthcare, suddenly alot more things get added to the socially unacceptable list. For example, why should I, an only slightly overweight individual who works out about once a week and doesn’t eat too terribly, pay for the healthcare of someone who eats twinkies every day, rides around on one of those electric wheelchairs, and watches way too much tv? Well, you can’t tax wheelchairs or tv, but you can tax the twinkies. Oh, and you can give me a tax break for riding my bicycle to work (don’t laugh, it’s already on the books).

Yes, Obama is considering a soda and sugary juices tax. And this is only the beginning. It won’t be long before we realize that the money from cigarette tax, soda tax, and alcohol tax aren’t enough, especially when people start drinking diet sodas instead (which are exempt). So how about we tax desserts? How about we tax other undesirables? Let’s make drugs legal so that we can tax them. What? We can’t tax plan B even if it encourages unhealthy sex practices? Oh yeah, that is protected by the pro-abortion lobbyists. I wonder if Coke and Pepsi will have to hire a lobbying team now.

So when this passes and you have to pay an extra quarter for a can of Coke, just think of it this way. It’s Obama’s little way of telling you he doesn’t approve of the choice you are making. I bet Al Gore is drooling right now. We could save the planet if only we taxed bad choices enough. What is a bad choice? Whatever the current party in power thinks it is.

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