Conservative Tax Hikes
Obama lauds Marxism and higher tax rates on the rich. Lesser leftist luminaries, like Congresswoman Rosa DeLaura of Connecticut, have suggested slapping a federal tax on high-sugar soda drinks. Democrats railed against the presumed excessive compensation of corporate executives and threatened to tax away all income above a certain level. The left has no problem imposing taxes, even highly regressive taxes, in order to implement what they believe is best for society.
If the object of the federal tax system is not to maximize revenue while encouraging as much productive activity as possible, then conservatives throw away a valuable weapon when we allow the left to use the tax code to achieve its purposes while ignoring our own purposes. In fact, if conservatives simply threatened to tax politically unpopular leftist behavior, that might well be enough to get the left to accept the premise that federal tax law should not be used to punish behavior.
The Supreme Court has determined that abortion is a right, but so is drinking an extra-large soda or smoking a cigar. Abortion, though legal, is not popular, and polls have consistently shown that more Americans think that abortion is immoral than moral. Taxing patients for abortions might not be a popular tax, but what about taxing abortionists? Impose a transaction tax per abortion which is high enough so that few, if any, doctors could make money murdering unborn babies.
If abortion is unpopular, pornography is extraordinarily unpopular with Americans. The Supreme Court has made it very difficult -- indeed, almost impossible -- to ban pornography, but nothing would prevent a 200% federal sales tax on all films, magazines, or other published materials which involve nudity and appeals to prurient interests. Draining the profit from pornography would make it much less common in society.
Taxes per transactions could also be imposed upon body-piercing, out-of-wedlock births, acts of prostitution, and countless other socially corrosive activities which may be legal (or at least not a federal offense, as in the case of prostitution) but which the rest of society pays for and which ought to be just as subject to taxes intended to discourage bad behavior as taxes on gasoline, cigarettes, and alcohol.
Other income tax surcharges could help balance the budget by asking certain classes of people with high incomes to pay more as their income is higher -- the sort of professions which are constantly lauded as noble, like education. Why not tax 90% of all income above $200,000 per year made by anyone associated with any public school or any university which receives any federal funds, directly or indirectly? We all know that these selfless servants of educating America are not in this racket business for the money. The left has already helped us to define the "rich," so why not use Obama's definition of $200,000 per year as "rich"? We could extent this surcharge to other rackets philanthropic operations and the employees of those foundations. Surely the good work these folks do is reward enough.
This confiscatory tax surcharge should also be assessed against anyone working for a labor union (and be sure to tax all the fringe benefits as well) and making more than $200,000 per year. It is a fact that public employee unions have negotiated absurd benefit packages, and some employees can work a few years to qualify for these benefits, so why not develop an "excess pension tax" for public employees whose combined pension income exceeds $200,000 per year?
The left has no problem identifying certain parts of the private economy as bad -- like oil company executives -- so why shouldn't we exercise that same prerogative? Hollywood and television do great harm to America, so why not impose special income tax surcharges on anyone making more than $1 million per year from this sort of work? If an air-headed starlet or a boorish fellow like Charlie Sheen cannot survive with "only" $1 million per year, then let him persuade America that his contribution is greater than, say, a pharmaceutical company that produces a new drug that fights cancer or heart disease.
These federal taxes would not, of course, balance the budget or even produce a huge amount of revenue, but that is not the point of the left's plans to raise federal taxes. Instead, the left identifies social villains and proposes using the federal tax code to discourage certain types of behavior (like being hardworking and productive). The best way for conservatives to get the left to abandon this perverse social engineering of legal activity through excessive taxation is to propose soaking Americans who do things which we believe are destroying the fabric of society.