Information icon.svg At All things in moderation, we are currently voting on restrictions on the use of LLMs (chatbots) in RationalWiki. Reminder: you need to have at least 75 edits and to have been registered for at least three months to be eligible to vote.

Forum:Taxing addictions

From RationalWiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Originally from Conservapedia Talk:What is going on at CP#Taxing Addictions

Branched off SpinyNorman's comment:

he actually made a good point about how messed up it is for a government to tax addicts for the stuff they're addicted to.

In my opinion, a country which has a single-payer health care system has every right to tax those who are an additional, preventable burden to the system. Smokers cost more to treat, as they tend to get sick more frequently. Their additional burden could be prevented by quitting smoking.

Discuss? – Nick Heer 03:02, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I don't think smokers cost much more, because they die so much younger. I do think that they are far less productive. I also challenge the notion that addictive substances have inelastic demand. The demand for Crystalmeth falls quite a bit when prices rise and purity falls below 50%. --Opcn (talk) 03:09, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Haha... as far as smokes, I figure 80 to 90% of the cost of my camels is taxes that were exacted indirectly by the states who sued claiming medicare costs. So my theory is that if I contract any respiratory ailment, I have already paid for my care due to targeted taxation. Also, tax saturated fats. The tough thing with smokers dying younger, is if they do, they do so very expensively. But of course, they then lighten the burden on social security... ħumanUser talk:Human 03:20, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Obese people have far more medical problems than smokers, I have read, so keep lighting up those camels, Huw and so will I. How about a tax on citizens who exceed medically approved norms, Nick Heer? Shouldn't they be taxed extra, or perhaps forced to diet so as not to become a burden on society? --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 04:32, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Been busy, didn't check RW. I think a tax on overly sweet, processed goods (I think we both know what I'm talking about) would compensate. Note that this isn't a tax to change behaviour. I hate those kinds of taxes. For those who casually purchase a bottle of Coke or a bag of marshmallows occasionally, a $0.15 tax wouldn't deter them. It probably wouldn't deter those who purchase habitually. But it would recoup some of the extra costs associated with people who eat crappy food all the time and expect others to fund that. – Nick Heer 15:29, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
"Cigarette Smoking Man, aka, Terry Koeckritz Pondering What To Do With Those Who Want Higher Cig Taxes"
I knew it - this is you, isn't it TK? Junggai (talk) 07:35, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I say just kill them, since they're all ugly anyway. And we all know cigarette smoking is sexy, so it improves everyone's life. Just standing slightly near a smoker, or at least, a "proud" smoker, makes one look twice as cool. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:03, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Being Obese is not always a person's choice. There are some cases where diet and healthy living will not help, or will only help marginally. Smoking, drinking, ect are choices. They are completely different things. --ScottA (talk) 04:55, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
The people who are obese due to unavoidable factors are few and far between. Its primarily an issue of impulse control, same thing with not smoking or drinking. --Opcn (talk) 05:42, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
My point is that such people exist, everyone has a different body type and some people might be more healthy at a higher weight than if they tried to slim down to too low of a safe weight to avoid taxes. And if you are willing to say that people should be punished, or have to pay extra, for an unavoidable circumstance or for staying in a place that is healthy for them, then we will have to disagree. I don't think that people should be punished for things that they cannot avoid. Smoking, or drinking, is 100% under the every person's control. If they have poor impulse control then they should seek help to moderate themselves. Now I am not saying that obesity is completely out of a person's control but you cannot make a blanket statement that all people at X weight and above get taxed more because its a personal choice, because that statement is not always true. Now you could say that people who go outside of their own personal "healthy zone" should be taxed more since that can be a personal choice to some extent. However I think you will find finding that out for each person would cost more than would be gained in the taxing.--ScottA (talk) 07:04, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
How many people are we talking about here? I'd say 5000 would be a very generous estimate. So yes that's 5000 people, who we can find with a few tests, out of several million obese people. A fraction of a percentage. I used to think that everyone has a healthy weight, but after reading some of the actual research on the subject (not just reports but journal articles) I have decided that that is bullshit. Happier yes, healthier no. --Opcn (talk) 09:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Thin edge of the wedge. We all have behaviours that put us at some increased level of risk, so gradually the line will be extended and pretty soon everyone will be paying extra, and then it will start all over again. "Oh, you smoke, jog, ride a push bike, have carpet in your house and use aluminium cookware, so extra tax for you. You over there, you don't smoke, but you drink red wine, use glue to make model aeroplanes, have two cats in the house and use flyspray, so extra tax for you." Rinse and repeat. — Unsigned, by: / talk / contribs

Or, we could just tax ourselves in a progressive manner (Marx's best idea), provide health care for all, and also preventative car and most important - education about health choices. ħumanUser talk:Human 07:00, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I could do with one of them preventative cars to get to work.  Lily Inspirate me. 08:15, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Lily uses my typo to make me laugh out loud. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:05, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
There will always be a thousand wedges, just because an idea can be pushed too par doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. --Opcn (talk) 07:05, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Slippery slope. --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 07:31, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Slippery slope, Slippery slope, Slippery Slope--ScottA (talk) 07:51, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Many obese people claim that their overeating is caused by "glandular problems". This is perfectly correct. What they often omit to say is that it is the salivary glands which are the problem.  Lily Inspirate me. 08:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

I think what would be more effective than taxing would be to throttle care. If you are a fatty then no you don't get those knee replacements paid for you have to pay yourself. Smoker? Well sorry no new lungs or coronary bypass on the taxpayer dime, now you can pay your self. (possibly pay a percentage based on number of years smoking, so they have an incentive to quit). No livers for alcoholics or heroine users with Hep C, and no viagra for rapists. It would save a bundle on social security too. --Opcn (talk) 09:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
As I said before, I am, as a smoker, paying for my future health care via taxes already in place. taxes plus the "tobacco settlement", that many states have already cashed out to cover short term deficits. But I am paying. ħumanUser talk:Human 09:11, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
To Terry Koeckritz and all the other "thin end of the wedge" sayers. If taxing tobacco is the thin end of the wedge then it's a very narrow wedge. Tobacco has been taxed for my entire lifetime (56 years) and, whilst the level has risen as smoking is seen more and more as an addiction to be fought, it hasn't led to myriad other taxes on addictions. Jack Hughes (talk) 09:57, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Jack, I think it was Huw who brought up the very valid point first; we have already been paying for years. Prohibition, here in the States should have taught us one thing, if nothing else; you cannot tax or ban things people want into submission. Already all over the Tri-State area of New York people have been smuggling cigarettes for decades, at a loss of tens of millions of dollars yearly and a bigger profit margin for the real Mob. How about the U.S. take all the so-called "foreign aid" and "loans" we give away yearly to first-world countries, and put it into a fund for medical care? As for other taxes being implemented, are you talking about the United States? If you are, take a look at stats for the number of new taxes and fees added in only the last ten years! --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 10:57, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
"Take a look at stats for the number of new taxes and fees added in only the last ten years" Now I wonder who might have introduced the majority of those new taxes? It couldn't have been a Republican administration by any chance?  Lily Inspirate me. 13:18, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Lovely Lilly, try reading the U.S. Constitution. Congress is the only body who can add taxes or spend money. I think Gingrich and Company departed D.C. long ago! In fact there isn't a dimes worth of difference between Republicans and Democrats (and ten points for anyone who can source that phrase). Both parties claim to want a balanced budget and no new taxes. When was the last time either happened? --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 13:27, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

No, I'm a Brit where it is shown that each tax hike has a corresponding drop in the number of smokers. Anecdotally I stopped smoking when they went over £5 (around $7.50) per pack. As for "new" taxes - there will always be death and taxation as those in power balance the need to pay for the services the public demand against the reluctance of the public to pay for it. As for the U.S putting funds into medical care, surely you are against socialised medicine - you're stance against Obamacare positions you thus. Jack Hughes (talk) 11:16, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Yes, I am against "socialized medicine", and the so-called "Obamacare" is merely an entry point, a foot in the door as it were, for that. Medical care for the poor, the truly needy must have reform, Jack. But there were a helluva number of Democrats, liberal ones, forced into voting for it by their leaders who think (privately) the bill positively reeks. --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 11:28, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
So, Terry Koeckritz, you would abolish those bastions of socialised medicine Medicare, Medicaid and the VA? Jack Hughes (talk) 13:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
Now Jack, that would be, at this point highly impractical, wouldn't it? When you got lemons, old boy, make lemonade! --TK/MyTalkRW User #45 13:14, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
I really doubt that the tax on the cigarettes that goes to paying for medical care even begins to cover it once you consider the taxes lost to lower productivity. --Opcn (talk) 21:37, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

No smoke without tax[edit]

As others have pointed out legal drugs like tobacco, alcohol and caffeine are already taxed. I'm not sure about alcohol and caffeine but it's pretty well established that smokers offset their healthcare bills by both paying more taxes and dying before they get the full value of their retirement pay. Consequently:

  • Should governments encourage smoking so as to reduce costs?
  • Should governments legalise more drugs so they can tax them?--BobSpring is sprung! 11:38, 25 March 2010 (UTC)
But by being away from work more than others they are wasting the money spent on their public schooling. That is certainly immoral. --Swedmann (talk) 12:21, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

One thing that I've not seen mentioned directly (though I confess I've just skimmed this) is that there are two different purposes for taxation and tax policy.

  • To raise revenue
  • To discourage or encourage certain behaviors

For instance,

  • Owning your own home is good, so you can deduct the interest on your mortgage.
    • Other debt is discouraged, though, so your credit card and car loan interest is not deductible.
  • Keeping families together is good, so there's a per child tax credit, but child support payments aren't deductible.
  • Saving for retirement is good, so the portion of your salary you put into your 401K every year is not taxed.
  • Smoking is bad, so the government tries to discourage it by taxing the hell out of it.
    • That's especially true because the government wants to discourage teenagers from starting smoking, and teenagers don't have a lot of cash.

MDB (talk) 14:01, 25 March 2010 (UTC)

Taxing Abortions[edit]

This idea would send most of the CPer's into a "Norman coordinate" puppy-dog bout of cognitive dissonance. Simply tax each aborted fetus, say, $1000. Since the woman whose fetus it is is responsible for its legal obligations she'd have to fork up the dough or be forced to carry the little bastard to term. 00:43, 26 March 2010 (UTC) CЯacke®

P.S. Please do not flame the poster as he is seriously mentally disturbed as the result of a botched (though tax-free) abortion.

Truly an interesting idea. I know it's clichéd to mention it, but what about rape? She didn't elect to be born with two x chromosomes, she didn't elect to have that baby either. Why should she suffer the pain of childbirth to avoid a $1000 tax? That's a flaw I can see. – Nick Heer 03:23, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
Just make the rapist pay the tax. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:02, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The only one? ħumanUser talk:Human 07:55, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
She was asking for it, moving her legs when she walked ... Oh, I have to pay attention to reality you say ... hmm ... well in that case how about the economically disadvantaged who are trying to feed the kids they have? --Opcn (talk) 10:03, 26 March 2010 (UTC)
In CP land the poor only had themselves to blame. It's social security scroungers who drag down the middle classes by being such a drain on the national budget. Now, with the new Obamacare the funds that should be directed towards keeping granny alive will be directed towards giving abortions for feckless sluts who should know better. Jack Hughes (talk) 10:46, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

A Bit Of Realpolitik[edit]

The long and short of the reason why the UK government taxes tobacco is that it's a soft target. They can bump up taxes well beyond the rate of inflation citing "health issues" and "it's for the good of the people" and thereby get extra revenue without the political fallout. Ditto with cider in this year's budget. They can sell it to the Daily Mail crowd as a clamp down on the Diamond White binge drinkers whilst raking in another bunch of cash. Jack Hughes (talk) 12:00, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Also, smokers are too small of a minority to leverage any political power, and a reviled minority at that. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:03, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
The only "concentrated power" involved in the issue are the growers and cig companies, and they have reacted by 1. diversifying and 2. selling cigarettes to the third world. ħumanUser talk:Human 00:04, 27 March 2010 (UTC)
I never thought about the cider thing like that... A very easy target to add the tax on to. Although it has made me wonder about a "Charver Party" that would levy high taxes on fine wines and real ale while giving out White Lightning on welfare... Scarlet A.pngpathetic 00:14, 27 March 2010 (UTC)

Cigarette tax increases the deficit[edit]

It's official. CBO says increased longevity as a result of the war on cigarettes adds to the deficit with greater Social Security Old Age benefit payments. nobsJesus loves you and I love you, but nobody else does. 04:05, 5 April 2014 (UTC)