Sin taxes are often justified by claiming that the item/behavior taxes costs the taxpayer money. By applying a tax, the government claims it can pay for the public services that the behavior produces a need for as well as increasing the cost of the behavior thereby discouraging continuation. The most obvious example is the cigarette tax. Increased prices supposedly incentivize smokers to quit or at least temper their addiction, while revenues from the tax can pay for health services.
But what is more harmful and costs more taxpayer dollars than cigarettes, beer, and gambling combined? Out of control government spending! Sure, people without insurance
How many billions in bailout money have we spent in the last few months to bail out the blessed and chosen industries–$500 billion? More? Only to have those companies fail anyway? Now senate is talking about increasing the federal excise tax on beverages (covering beer, wine, and soft drinks) in order to pay for the proposed $1.5 trillion increase in health care costs for those without insurance.
While there are certainly better ways to get the uninsured insured than simply having the government dole out money, if that’s the way they want to play it, there’s a more morally acceptable way to get the cash in my mind—cut entire government programs. Hell, they could pay for the entire increase in health care costs (and then some) by simply doing away with the Drug Enforcement Agency’s $3 trillion budget.
But no, the logic (using the term loosely) our legislators seem to be basing their decisions on is that people are more accepting of tax increases than of cutting programs. The real “sinners” aren’t brewers, drinkers, or pub owners so why should they be punished? The real sinners are legislators that haven’t courage enough to stop promising services, stop spending, and stop increasing their already corpulent budgets. You can send this generic protest letter to your Senator.
Maybe if we started taxing senators every time they suggested a new social program or tax increase we’d able to pay for everyones’ medical care three times over.