When taxes run afoul, we all lose


The city of Seattle, following in the footsteps of Chicago, has enacted a “gun violence tax” and had that measure upheld by a state judge as within the city’s means.

According to the reports out of the state of Washington, the measure is intended to help educate about gun usage and violence to offset the cost of treating those who are injured or killed every year in King County.

Is that the true purpose or is there something else at work that goes deeper than the intended scope of the tax measure?

In essence this imposed tax — an extra $25 per firearm sold within city limits and an extra 2-4 cents per round based on the type of ammunition — is an attempt to legislate morals, which unfortunately seems to be a trend. There is a ground swell of support for enacting laws that force a certain morality or code of conduct on others when those persons do not voluntarily change their behavior or fall in line.

And when you consider it in its entirety it is actually a genius decision by the officials in Seattle and opens the doors to solve all sorts of problems, including the lack of much needed revenue by municipalities all over the United States. Need a new project complete? Throw in a tax on lost golf ball retrieval and generate the funds. It’s all legal, according to at least one judge so that must mean it’s OK.

With ours being a nation founded on fairness, let’s spread the love and solve the deficit and all our social ills at once. Here is a list of taxes that could be implemented to require citizens to behave and live according to whoever it is that decides these things:

All snack cakes — ho-hos, Twinkies, desserts, candy bars, doughnuts, etc. — should be subject to a morbid obesity tax of $1 per package with extra penalties for trans-fats and calories on value size packaging. Buffet restaurants would be responsible for paying an extra sales tax as the volume consumed might not be regulated. Obesity and its related health issues cost this nation billions and kill indiscriminately.

Coffee, whether off the shelf or served by a barista, should be subject to heart disease taxes as caffeine is detrimental to the ticker. This should be a hefty one because if you can afford a $6 cup of coffee, a tax should be no problem. Soft drinks could fall into this category and the obesity tax, a double whammy and double revenue.

Mandatory serving sizes, those tiny little portions suggested by experts, should be the mandatory packaging size. When a customer wants a larger portion, an extra tax could be levied plus all sorts of handling fees and licensing.

All alcohol, whether single serving or by volume, should be taxed. We could attach a DUI and Felony DUI tax.

Tobacco, which is already taxed, could be assessed taxes for each illness associated with its use, driving the product to a price point that makes it unaffordable.

All of these taxes could lead to a property tax for safe zones in our cities. Imagine, if you have your permit or tax receipt in hand, you can step in the box and practice your 1st Amendment rights.

Yes, these seem a little ludicrous, but in reality is it more ludicrous than taxing an entire group for the actions of few? More ludicrous than the mayor of New York City declaring how big that Big Gulp can be?

The legislation of morality has gone so well before — reference Prohibition — it would seem to be a slam dunk, right? But is it really a solution — or revenue stream — that will save lives or diminish the behavior of those who do not value human life? Probably not.

Morals are taught, as is any sense of decorum when it comes to personal behavior. To believe legislating morals in any way will be successful is both arrogant and ill-informed. Historically, legislating morality has been disastrous and to make the assumption otherwise is pomposity at its worst, especially when any person basically states “I know better than you, now do as you are told.”

A “gun violence tax” is just another Band-aid on a gaping wound consisting of an insurmountable gorge between common sense and meaningful dialog.

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