Pole taxes and sin taxes: Revenue generators or too much Government intervention?

With a struggling economy the typical sources of income for the government, start-up fees, new property taxes, application fees, and similar fees and taxes are very limited.  The government is forced to consider new income sources and thus has led to the introduction of a "sin tax."

It started with cigarettes, but governments from around the world have started to implement various forms of the "sin tax."  Basically, the sin tax comes into play with something that society deems as harmful or damaging to your health or well-being.  Gambling has even been considered in the same category.

Texas, Georgia, and Pennsylvania have considered "pole taxes" for the purchase of pornography and the use of strip clubs and escort services.

Recently, I have had discussions on whether or not the government, through entitlement programs, should be able to control the way people spend.  Specifically, does the government have the ability to say what types of food you can and cannot buy if you are on food stamps?

In my opinion, this falls into the same category.  If implemented, the government would say to us, "Your purchase of that soda is unhealthy and therefore you should pay a higher tax percentage for that purchase."

For the most people within the middle class or upper class, their behavior choices whether food or gambling, doesn't affect the rest of their friends, families, or neighbors.  However, it does become an interesting debate when you consider that taxes pays for food stamps, Medicare, and other programs typically geared towards lower economic classes.

Essentially the argument is that the food stamps that are paid for by the taxpayers are the same taxpayers that will pay for the medical bills for the poor food choices made with the food stamps.

Beyond the junk food at grocery stores, some are advocating that food stamps should be accepted at fast food restaurants as well.

The opposing side of this debate is simple; the government shouldn't be involved in the personal spending, eating, or entertainment habits.  If one decides to use their food stamps to buy pizza, hang out watching pornography while drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette that is their own decision and no one should have anything to say, or tax, about it.  Get your government out of my house!

What do you think? As a taxpayer, should you have a say in how the recipients of your taxes use your money?  Or should the government mind their own business and figure out a better way to increase revenue outside of a "sin tax?"

 

David Rocci

 

Disclaimer: Every effort has been taken to provide the most accurate and honest analysis of the tax information provided in this blog. Please use your discretion before making any decisions based on the information provided. This blog is not intended to be a substitute for seeking professional tax advice based on your individual needs.

 

Posted To: Tax Rants by David Rocci By: David Rocci On: Monday, October 17, 2011
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