Archive for the ‘‘Sin’ Taxes’ Category

The Nanny Tax Rap

May 7, 2009

This blog is dedicated to the proposition that all taxes are equally annoying and that politicians will tax anything and everything. The Tax Foundation captured that premise perfectly in a clever video featuring Uncle Sam. It’s called the “Nanny Tax Rap.”

The punchline at the end is the best. Uncle Sam sings, “Well, I save you from yourself, better keep those payments current. Raising taxes on this stuff — well, it works as a deterrent.” And the taxpayer answers: “So if paying taxes on something creates a deterrent, wouldn’t the same principle apply to taxing income?” Uncle Sam then stammers and bolts from the room.

The only thing missing in the video is a cameo by Aunt Virginia.

[Cross-posted at my main blog, The Enlightened Redneck]


Tax Hiker Of The Year

December 17, 2008

New York Gov. David Paterson wins the award for this laundry list of items he has proposed taxing:

  • — Downloaded music — the “iPod tax”
  • — Cable and satellite television
  • — Movie tickets
  • — Taxi rides
  • — Massages
  • — Tobacco and alcohol

And that’s just a sampling of the 80-plus new fees and taxes on his list. Paterson also is the brains behind the call for an “obesity tax” on soda. Yet another reason to be thankful that I live in Virginia.

Tax Bites By The Numbers

November 13, 2008

The Americans for Tax Reform Foundation has created an enlightening chart that estimates how much more money Americans must pay for certain goods and services because of taxes. Some of the taxes — the kind I have tracked here — appear on consumers’ bills, but many others are hidden.

Here’s the rundown from ATR:

  • Cigarettes: 81.3 percent more
  • Distilled spirits: 79.6 percent
  • Car rentals: 60.6 percent
  • Beer: 56.2 percent
  • Domestic airfare: 55 percent (much more for international, based on reports from a friend who travels abroad frequently)
  • Landline phones: 51.8 percent
  • Gasoline: 51.2 percent
  • Hotel stays: 50 percent
  • Cell phones: 46.4 percent
  • Cable television: 46.3 percent
  • Firearms: 45.6 percent
  • Restaurant meals: 44.8 percent
  • Soda: 37.6 percent

I don’t drink or smoke, so I’m not personally affected by the “sin taxes.” And while I own a couple of hunting guns, I haven’t bought a new one in almost 20 years, so firearms taxes aren’t likely to rob me of more cash. But I have been hit by every one of the other taxes on the list more than once this year.

I keep a copy of ATR’s chart in my office at work as a stark reminder of how intrusive the government is in my life and my wallet. You should print a copy, too, at

A Rush Of New Taxes For Limbaugh

July 3, 2008

Jealous liberal journalists who long to be richer than Rush Limbaugh have been falling all over themselves to criticize their conservative nemesis and the undisputed champion of talk radio the past couple of days.

Why? Because he just negotiated a contract renewal with Premiere Radio Networks, a subsidiary of Clear Channel Radio, that reportedly will net him $400 million over eight years, including a nine-figure signing bonus.

Why that’s a problem is beyond me. If Premiere didn’t think Limbaugh was worth it based on past performance, the company wouldn’t have made the deal. It’s the free market at work, and every liberal who is whining about the deal would take all that money and then some if offered it for doing their jobs.

Besides, every liberal should be celebrating the rush of taxes that will flow into government coffers thanks to Limbaugh.

The numbers are staggering any way you look at it. I asked Peter Sepp, vice president for policy and communications at the National Taxpayers Union, to guesstimate Limbaugh’s tax bite from his new contract. With the obvious caveat that “there are a whole lot of variables both in the structure of his compensation package and the strategies he employs that would affect the actual tax burden,” Sepp predicted that Limbaugh will pay anywhere from one-third to 40 percent of his compensation to the government in taxes.

I’ll do the math for you: That’s $132 million to $160 million in taxes! And Sepp said the bite would be far worse if Limbaugh lived somewhere other than Florida, which has no state income tax and light business taxes. If he lived in California, the Golden Treasury State, he would have added up to 10 percent more ($40 million) to the tax tab.

That’s not counting all of the sales, property, gas and other taxes Limbaugh will be paying every time he spends a million dimes. And his penchant for cigars and other “sins” means he’ll be on the hook for even more.

Here’s the way all the liberals in the media and government should be looking at Limbaugh’s contract: He’s a one-man economic stimulus machine. Just imagine how many more pork projects will be funded over the next eight years because Rush Limbaugh got a hefty raise.

A Century Of Tax Mischief

May 5, 2008

My Dad forwarded to me an e-mail that included this gem about all of the taxes conceived in the minds of politicians over the past century (the impact of several of them on just our family has been chronicled on this blog):

Accounts receivable tax
Building permit tax
CDL license tax
Cigarette tax
Corporate income tax
Dog license tax
Federal income tax
Federal unemployment tax
Fishing license tax
Food license tax
Fuel permit tax
Gasoline tax
Hunting license tax
Inheritance tax
Inventory tax
IRS interest charges (tax on top of tax)
IRS penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor tax
Luxury tax
Marriage license tax
Medicare tax
Property tax
Real-estate tax
Service charge taxes
Social Security tax
Road usage tax (truckers)
Sales taxes
Recreational vehicle tax
School tax
State income tax
State unemployment tax
Telephone taxes
— Federal excise
— Universal service fee
— Federal, state and local surcharges
— Minimum-usage surcharge
— Taxes on recurring and non-recurring phone charges
— State and local phone taxes
— Telephone-usage charge tax
Utility tax
Vehicle registration tax
Vehicle sales tax
Watercraft registration tax
Well permit tax
Workers compensation tax

The kicker to the e-mail: “Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, and our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids. What happened? Can you spell ‘politicians?'”

Dying Of Tax Thirst

May 1, 2008

You can’t even get a drink these days without the government seeing it as another opportunity to collect taxes.

First, there is the news out of California about a Democratic assemblyman pushing a plan to tax beer at the rate of 1,500 percent. I’m a lifelong tee-totaller so this kind of tax wouldn’t affect me even if some looney lawmaker in my home state of Virginia made the idea his own, but 1,500 percent? That’s insane!

It also has college Republicans riled up in California. They confronted the lawmaker about his idea and posted video of the encounter on YouTube.

Across the country in Maine, there is a more outrageous plan to tax soda because it’s bad for you. Under a bill that the governor of the state just signed, two liters of carbonated consumption will cost Mainers an extra 22 cents.

As the Tax Foundation notes in its blog, this kind of tax is an outgrowth of the “sin tax” movement that began with the assault on tobacco — yet another reason to hate all sin taxes.

You Say ‘User Fee,’ I Say ‘Tax’

March 13, 2008

Florida may raise its cigarette tax by $1 a pack, but supporters of the proposal don’t want to call it a tax. They embracing that old pro-tax standy phrase, “user fee.”

Here’s what Sarasota Herald-Tribune columnist Tom Lyons had to say about that nonsense: “Well, the term ‘user fee’ has been stretched before, but this would be an atomic wedgie. User fees are charged when the government provides someone a product or service that others don’t get. The government isn’t providing cigarettes, and lots of non-smokers do things that increase their use of medical services.”

Paying For The Privilege Of Potholes

February 18, 2008

Reader Brian e-mails:

I was wondering if you were familiar with or know of those who have been burnt by the privilege of titling and licensing a car in West Virginia. When coming into WV from another state, you are required to pay 5 percent of the market value of your car in order to pay the licensing fees that allow you the honor of navigating the most treacherous roads in America.

When [my wife] Debra purchased her first car in Pennsylvania, not knowing the law in WV, she paid the sales tax for PA. Two weeks later when she moved to WV and went to get WV tags for her car, she was welcomed with a $500 privilege tax. Another fine example of money for nothing!

Yep, that sounds like something the bureaucrats in my home state would do.

I’ll bet it’s their attempt at collecting “use taxes,” those nasty penalties imposed on people (but rarely collected) who shop for tobacco and other goods across state borders because taxes are lower. That’s why so many brick-and-mortar store owners hate the Internet these days.

A ‘Crack Tax’ In New York?

February 18, 2008

Democrats have never met a product or service, legal or illegal, that they didn’t want to tax. Add illegal drugs to the list.

New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer has proposed a “crack tax” that “would apply to cocaine, heroin and marijuana, and could be paid with pre-bought “tax stamps” affixed to the bags of dope. Ed Morrissey, a blog friend of mine who writes at Captain’s Quarters, rhetorically shoots the idea down more eloquently than I could hope to muster:

If he thinks that creating a new tax regime and enforcement mechanism on illegal drugs will bring in more money than it costs, then Spitzer must really be smoking something tax-free at the moment.

All Taxpayers Have Sinned

February 5, 2008

Smoking killed my grandmother 15 years ago and more recently has wreaked havoc on the health of two of her children, my aunt and uncle.

With that family history, you might think I would support efforts like those in Kentucky to impose huge “sin” taxes on tobacco. But you would be wrong.

Sure, I’d rather have the government tax tobacco than, say, chocolate because watching my grandmother slowly die of emphysema during my youth scared me away from tobacco, while I consume far more chocolate than anyone should. But “sin” taxes just give the government a taste for revenue that is as addictive as the drugs they are targeting.

That means one thing: When the sin taxes achieve their desired goal — changing people’s behavior — the revenues will plummet and the bureaucrats will start looking for new ways to feed their tax addiction.

Guard your wallets. They’ll be trying to cleanse you of your sins next.