Taxing bad behavior

Discussion in 'Politics' started by alan1, Jul 8, 2012.

  1. alan1
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    alan1 USMB Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Taxing bad behavior

    It is common knowledge that the government can reduce “bad” behavior by taxing or penalizing it.
    Tobacco and alcohol use are the perfect examples. Every time the tax rates increase on tobacco products, some people quit using tobacco. It happens with alcohol also. Some people quit or reduce consumption because they can’t afford it anymore. Some because they just don’t want to pay the increased taxes.

    A few years, the city of Chicago instituted a 5 cent tax on bottled water. They said they needed the tax money because all those empty bottles were getting into landfills. I guess they sort of forgot about their recycling programs. The sales of bottled water dropped, and Chicago didn’t get the revenue stream they anticipated and wrote into their budget.

    By the way, the reason I know this about Chicago’s bottled water tax is because I am the IT person for a fortune 100 retailer that had to develop the reporting so that our company could collect and pay the tax to the city. Our sales of water have dropped dramatically since the tax was introduced.

    Part of the health care bill calls for a tax on so-called “Cadillac” health care plans. Just like tobacco, alcohol and water, this will price some people out of the market. Instead, they will settle for a sub-prime health care plan. The government won’t get it’s anticipated revenue stream, and some person will end up not getting the type of medical care they really wanted to and was willing to pay for.

    Another part of the health care bill calls for taxing manufacturers of medical equipment. I am willing to bet, those costs will be passed on and some doctor or hospital will just buy less medical equipment. The anticipated taxes won’t be realized, and the medical services that could have been provided with that equipment won’t be available.

    Anybody with a lick of common sense knows that unfairly taxing something reduces a person’s propensity to engage in that behavior. Putting special taxes on medical related goods and services isn’t going to improve medical care any more that putting special taxes on tobacco increases the sale of tobacco products.
    I'm not sure why the government thinks medical care is bad behavior.
     
  2. Greenbeard
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    Greenbeard Gold Member

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    The "anticipated revenue stream" here is folks with employer-sponsored coverage substituting taxable wages for (arguably) overinsurance. Eliminate the tax benefits of piling up ever more expensive high actuarial value plans, and a great many folks with those plans will just prefer cash and more reasonably priced plans.

    A higher tax revenue, slower health expenditure growth double whammy.
     
  3. The Rabbi
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    The Rabbi Diamond Member

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    The tax on medical equipment is even worse. It is not a tax on income but on revenue. Start up companies spend a couple of years just trying to break even while they get their product into the market. This will kill more than a few of them.
    Obamacare takes the best medical system in the world, in terms of how it responds when people actually get sick, and turns it into a 3rd world hell hole.
    Now we need some change.
     
  4. The Rabbi
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    The Rabbi Diamond Member

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    Of course unions are exempt from all this.
     
  5. Greenbeard
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    Greenbeard Gold Member

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    Some myths never die.
     
  6. alan1
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    alan1 USMB Mod Staff Member Supporting Member

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    Kinda like the congresscritters plan?
    Oh wait, their insurance plan is special, exempt, and you and I pay for it.
     
  7. Mr.Nick
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    Mr.Nick VIP Member

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  8. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Diamond Member

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    The problem with taxing bad behavior is that it invariably leads to being broke.

    In California they raised the taxes on cigarettes and projected the revenue from that tax, then spent it. When fewer people smoked, the taxes were raised because the fewer smokers, the less revenue and it was all spent anyway. With the raise in taxes, the projections were revised without considering that all the funds from the prior projected revenue were spent, and the new projections were spent before they were received.

    With true comeuppance, California proposed a massive tax hike of a dollar a pack in taxes on top of all the taxes aready being received. The projected revenue was spent on the creation of an entirely new bureaucracy to deal with the increased revenue. The new government agency would need $125 million dollars a year just to administer the funds expected from the tax increase. It didn't pass. Californias got wise and put an end to it. The projected revenue from the dollar a tax increase has already been spent. They better find it from someplace.
     
  9. Mr.Nick
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    Mr.Nick VIP Member

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    What it leads to is government regulating businesses, industries and products by controlling consumption by the consumer.... It gives government control over peoples lives, industry - hence economy.....

    That was the entire purpose of Obamacare in the first place. That and progressives believe the government should be in control of every US citizens life....

    They want a nanny nation and they got it with Obamacare....
     
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  10. Katzndogz
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    Katzndogz Diamond Member

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    Not that many doctors are going to participate in the obamacare program anyway. Some are closing their offices and others are going to either concierge or direct pay.

    When a doctor goes to concierge service, you pay the doctor every month, and when you need his services you don't pay, it's covered under your monthly payment.
     

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