Monday, December 21, 2009

Taxation beyond the pale...

If you are like me, you prefer to take your roadtrips via the scenic route. Rather than the sterile sameness of the Interstate, you get the infinite variety of small towns. The larger ones have stately courthouses, '50s relic gas stations, cute old churches; the eye candy of Americana. The very smallest have one thing in common: Somewhere in the rough geographical center of the wide spot in the road, where the speed limit drops from 55 to 35 with shocking abruptness, is an old house or shanty or double-wide or re-purposed service station with a sign proclaiming "VIDEO RENTAL/TANNING".

What business could have a lower overhead? No special training required, minimal licensing hassles, hardly any overhead beyond the power bill... Just plug in your mail-order tanning bed and wait for the eager Miss Pork Rind Festival candidates to line up on your doorstep.

The Senate this past week stripped their health-care reform legislation of its much-derided 5% cosmetic surgery tax (the dreaded "Botax"; maybe they were reluctant to let Nancy Pelosi shoulder so much of the burden,) and added a 10% national tax on "tanning services". Now, as you may have guessed from my opening paragraphs, to call the tanning industry "wildly unregulated" would be wildly understated. In fact, terming the agglomeration of tanning beds in double wides and the backs of laundromats an "industry" is stretching the term until it makes dangerous creaking and groaning noises.

How is this National Tanning Tax going to be administered? How is it going to be collected? Are we going to get a new branch of the IRS? No doubt there will be special National Tanning Tax enforcement agents, with guns. And their own SWAT team. I can't wait to see the shoulder patches; maybe they'll have a bust of George Hamilton in profile.

"Martha, quick! The revenuers! Hide the tanning bed under the Christmas tree box!"

Further, any numbers they generated from this are pure fiction. They have no idea how many tanning salons there are, how much they charge, what kind of profits they bring in... To say "This National Tanning Tax will generate $X squillion dollars for our health care plan," has less basis in fact than one of those History Channel specials on the love lives of Nazi alien ghosts. How'd they come up with these numbers? Count the number of tanned-looking people in the Senate chamber, figure that as a percentage of the American people, and then multiply by how much John Kerry paid the last time he needed a booster? They could have come up with numbers every bit as realistic by taking some dice and shooting craps in the cloakroom (which would be a more productive and dignified, to say nothing of less intrusive, use of their time.)

19 comments:

Nathan said...

I love the sound of snark in the morning.

Tam said...

The National Tanning Tax would totally be worth it if they assigned enforcement to the BATFET.

If I have to live in a dystopian future, I want it to at least be darkly comical; more Terry Gilliam than George Orwell.

OA said...

I can't figure out why Pelosi is more than willing to have her face butchered but not have something done about her earlobes that wobble back and forth like the arm flaps formerly found on Mama Cass every time she speaks. It's like having a built in lie detector. Then again, maybe that's why she's been hiding them behind her broom straw as of late...

Jay G said...

Hey, they gotta pay that $871 billion tab somehow...

Anonymous said...

Just wait until they impose the $0.10 per reader per day blog tax.
You have to understand their reasoning. Since all money is printed by the government, all money rightfully belongs to the government. Any they allow you to keep is their gift to you and, out of gratitude, you should keep re-electing them.

Anonymous said...

You haven't seen anything yet. Be interesting to see how many doctors retire, hospitals close and how high health insurance premiums rise in the next few years.

Robert said...

I'm waiting for the Individual Carbon Dioxide Emission Tax.

staghounds said...

"Could have" and "would be" imply that they didn't and don't. For all we know they did, and I would be surprised if from time to time they don't.

Stuart the Viking said...

First they came for the beach bunnies, and I did not speak out—because I am translucent;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

s

Rabbit said...

In the future, we are all Archibald "Harry" Tuttle.

Some of us are simply already well on our way.

Regards,
Rabbit.

theirritablearchitect said...

"...If I have to live in a dystopian future, I want it to at least be darkly comical; more Terry Gilliam than George Orwell."

I dunno, Brazil was pretty scary, albeit wrapped in funny.

Anonymous said...

Which just goes to show that politician's wives need face-lifts more than tans.

tim said...

John Boehner must be beside himself.

FWIW, I love Gilliam's Brazil.

Davidwhitewolf said...

Umm, most of the "tanning" places I've encountered have the obligatory tanning bed or two, but make most of their money off of, er, other services usually paid for in cash. So this is probably a fairly smart method to tax prostitution in a roundabout manner.

Moriarty said...

Pfft.

Being that somewhere around 50% of the US is vitamin D deficient, look for tanning beds to be relabeled as "medical devices."

Tanning will then proceed "under medical supervision" (let's not get started on how little that means) and the writeoffs will commence.

Damn these people are stupid.

Divemedic said...

The perfect government agency, with the perfect acronym:

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, Explosives, and Color Enhancing Salons (BATFECES)wins the government acronym contest.

Matthew said...

Divemedic for the win.

Of course, being of Irish extraction, and thus among the class of citizens (Melanistically Challenged persons) who require the precision and control of tanning booths for relatively safe tanning/Vitamin D production, I view this as a direct blow to my equal rights.

Moriarty said...

Matthew,

Forget equal rights. If this passes, have your doctor write a letter and open a case with the Department Health and Human Services under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

One of the few remaining pleasures left in medicine is watching bureaucrats wet themselves when confronted by their own kind.

Brad K. said...

Moriarty,

Don't forget the unions. In addition to depicting tanning beds as medical appliances, ObamaCare will require genuine, register, union labor to operate said tanning bed "safely". Just like all medical devices will be union-operated.

And then wait to see how quick union medical device operators, ambulance drivers, registered nurses, and physicians will be to serve someone that is not a union member. The first question may still be "Do you have insurance", but the next will be "Did you bring your union card? Oh. Well, you could wait in the non-union line over there, but you might just as well take a number and WAIT UNTIL HELL FREEZES OVER."

It is going to be really rich, when the Senate version of ObamaCare and the House version reach the reconciliation committee - and half the bribes get dropped, and most of the objectionable stuff gets stuck back in.