Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taxes and more taxes

Got a lot to write about, Senate headed towards passing their version of health reform. More on that later, though. First off, I have decided to start using typical capitalization. I realize it's a lot easier to read than the all lower-case version. Sorry e.e. cummings, you were an inspiration but it did not last.

I have never been a huge fan of lifestyle taxes--you know, additional taxes on cigarettes, alcohol, soft drinks (proposed). In case you missed it, included in the Senate bill is a 10% tax on tanning salons. You heard that right, tanning salons. The government is delusional enough to believe this will bring in $2.7 billion dollars over the next 10 years to help pay for reform. This information is in today's Wall Street Journal. Originally, there was supposed to be a 5% "Botax" on cosmetic procedures which would have brought in an estimated $5.8 billion. Not surprisingly, the AMA and AAD (Dermatology group) opposed this idea and somehow, they decided to tax tanning salons instead. Even before the article, I thought it would hurt many of the small businesses that operate these salons, many which are already failing without the tax. Pun intended, let's face it, an additional 5% tax on cosmetic procedures isn't going to ruin any dermatologist or patient seeking said procedures. Nevertheless, that's why you need a strong lobby in D.C. and apparently the tanning industry's isn't.

What gets me even more ("what grinds my gears" in the words of Peter Griffin) is the condescending attitude of people like Dr. David Pariser, president of the AAD. I guess feeling a little smug at his victory on Capitol Hill, his justification for the tax is because "Indoor tanning is a practice which is a known carcinogen." Are you kidding me? Newsflash, Dr. Pariser: the sun is a known carcinogen. Do you propose additional federal taxes for swimming pools, beaches and any business with outdoor exposure? Furthermore, sticking needles into and cutting or freezing body parts is also a known hazard, increasing risks of infection, bleeding and other problems.

This doesn't even cover Obama's pledge not to increase taxes a single cent on anyone making less than $250,000. That's why he's a smart man. I guess he means no tax increase on anything that actually shows up on a federal tax form but if you increase taxes on every other area of life, that's okay. But of course, as I've mentioned before, the "fee" proposed for not having health insurance really is a tax anyway, collected by the IRS.