The Watering Hole, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Sin Tax Syntax

Is it over, yet?

The good ol’ U.S.of A. has long had sin taxes – taxes on things that are “bad” for you like cigarettes and alcohol.

But in a new twist to an old theme, Republicans are now saying we should not have to pay for things we morally disapprove. Things like abortion or birth control.

Well…ok. I’m “pro-life” insofar as I don’t believe in waging war for regime change, or the death penalty. So, my taxes should not pay for wars, nor killing people. Right?

Should we allow each individual tax payer the right to pick and choose what his or her taxes pay for, based on their individual moral beliefs?

If a small segment of our population can block taxes from paying for abortions and womens’ health care based on their moral beliefs, what other programs can we defund, based on your moral beliefs?


169 thoughts on “The Watering Hole, Wednesday, March 21, 2012 Sin Tax Syntax

  1. Remember that your taxes pay for elections. What better way to saving federal and state expenses than eliminate the vote? This is the ultimate path being followed by the GOP.

  2. Seems we can use tax money to control population through contraception, the way the left prefers, or we can reduce population through war, the way the Reich prefers…

    • Frankly a gross box of rubber johnnies will stop a hell of lot more Jihadis than a fleet of drones will…..

  3. If taxes can be levied to discourage behavior our Society doesn’t like, then why are the millions made by hedge fund managers taxed at such a low rate? The entire point of taxing investments at a lower rate was because it was felt that inflation would eat away at the value of a long term investments. You might double your money over twenty years, but if you then had to pay the same tax rate as you do on “ordinary income”, you would lose money due to inflation. So, the compromise was that investments would be taxed at a lower rate. The problem is that hedge fund managers don’t make their millions from long term investments. So, to discourage quick turnarounds, I propose we tax money earned from short term stock investments (not certificates of deposit) held for short periods at close to 100%, and lower the rate the longer you hold that investment. If you hold a stock investment for less than, say, a month (you gotta start somewhere), then you should be taxed at 97.5% of the profits from that investment. Yes, that would discourage people from making such short term investments, but that’s the point. If you hold it for two-four months, the rate drops to 92.5%. Four-eight months, it drops to 85%. And so on. I haven’t worked out all the math yet, but the idea is to discourage short term investments that earn millions of dollars, practically tax-free (by the standards of working people who sweat for their money.)

  4. I WOULD impose taxation of religious institutions or their property holdings..
    They have been getting a free ride for way too long.
    Scientific institutes have to pay taxes but claiming to be the representative of a sky fairy makes you exempt?

  5. BnF, you forgot the crucial part of the right-wing position. Their interests are WAY more important than a liberals interests. They are the masters of “do as I say, not as I do.”

  6. Aha, very interesting move. Just the southern leg of the pipeline.

    I started looking hard at this again on Monday – wrote some posts on it on the Sunday thread.

    This move will alleviate a serious structural problem in the US pipeline network. It will do nothing significant to alleviate oil/gas prices and nothing to create long term jobs (a few thousand short-term – about a year of work).

    It’s the northern leg of the Keystone that counts. Read this:

    Washington Post is really solid on this one – I have done a bunch more reading back in some industry studies and such.

    My conclusion – Obama is doing this for politics, the market would have figured it out eventually with or without the pipeline, north or south. And the Koch Brothers get jack sh*t out of the decision 🙂

  7. Ezra Klein questions Paul Ryan’s budget math:

    “He’s saying that in 2050, spending on defense, on food stamps, on infrastructure, on education, on research and development, on the federal workforce, and everything other non-entitlement program combined will be less than four percentage points of GDP. Consider that defense spending has never fallen below three percentage points of GDP, and Mitt Romney has promised to keep it above four percentage points of GDP. Ryan has not outlined a realistic goal.”

    Kevin Drum concurs:

    “This is not a serious plan. I don’t care how serious Paul Ryan sounds, or how many numbers he spouts, or how many charts he buries us under. It’s not serious.”

      • I was going to say that Paul Ryan appears to be a brilliant con man more than anything else. He’s convinced everyone he’s the smart guy in the room, earnest, honest and thoughtful. His shtick works because most people (especially conservatives and the Press) won’t consider doing the digging and the math that makes his “budget plans” laughable.

        And conservatives are complete suckers for the magic twanger approach to problems. Remember, they were hysterical that President Obama didn’t wave his magic wand (and, no, I’m not talking about their obsessions with his johnson) and instantly fix the Gulf oil spill. ‘Cause that’s what a real American president woulda done.

  8. Rick Perry shoots self in foot by cutting Women’s Health care programs….Women posting comments to his facebook page like this:

    “Since you know so much about my healthcare, I was wondering if you could tell me how to handle my period since it is very heavy 4 days out of every month. What is the best product so I can have a productive day during these times or do you think I should just stay at home and call in sick or better yet quite my job since I can’t make my own decisions maybe I shouldn’t be working. What is your medical position on this issue?’’

    • Kansas’ “Squinty” Brownback got the same Facebook treatment. His minions finally disabled the comments and only posted those by the Guv himself.

  9. From a story on TP’s main page, this text is actually about to be signed into law in Tennessee:
    ” The teaching of some scientific subjects, including, but not limited to, biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy . . . The state board of education, public elementary and secondary school governing authorities, directors of schools, school system administrators, and public elementary and secondary school principals and administrators shall endeavor to assist teachers to find effective ways to present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies. ”


    • I read that two different ways –

      1. Your class is full of half-ignorant Bible freaks who are going to spew their Jesus-stuff all over, drop to the ground frothing and speaking in tongues and disrupt your lesson – here’s how to deal with them and teach the science to the rest of the class.
      2. Jesus says all these scientific subjects are contrary to the Bible and so we’ll tell you how to get more Jesus in the Science classroom to combat this spawn of the Devil and his henchmen on Earth Al Gore and Richard Dawkins.

      It’s TN isn’t it? So it’s #2 isn’t it? 😦

      • It has to be 2. While controversies there may be, they are by no stretch scientific controversies.
        If anyone manages to get religion back in schools I plan to force them to teach religious controversies. Was Paul gay? Transubstantiation? There’s a million of them and folk have been killing each other over them for a very long time.

    • Sounds like the Scopes era all over again…

      Scopes Trial – Day 7 – UMKC School of Law

      Q— Now, Mr. Bryan, have you ever pondered what would have happened
      to the earth if it had stood still?
      Q–You have not?
      A— No; the God I believe in could have taken care of that,
      Mr. Darrow.
      Q— I see. Have you ever pondered what would naturally happen
      to the earth if it stood still suddenly?
      A— No.
      Q–Don’t you know it would have been converted into molten mass
      of matter?
      A–You testify to that when you get on the stand, I will give
      you a chance.
      Q–Don’t you believe it?
      A–I would want to hear expert testimony on that.
      Q–You have never investigated that subject?
      A–I don’t think I have ever had the question asked.
      Q–Or ever thought of it?
      A–I have been too busy on thinks that I thought were of more
      importance than that.
      Q–You believe the story of the flood to be a literal interpretation?
      A–Yes, sir.
      Q–When was that Flood?
      A--I would not attempt to fix the date. The date is fixed, as
      suggested this morning.
      Q–About 4004 B.C.?
      A–That has been the estimate of a man that is accepted today.
      I would not say it is accurate.
      Q–That estimate is printed in the Bible?
      A–Everybody knows, at least, I think most of the people know,
      that was the estimate given.
      Q–But what do you think that the Bible, itself says? Don’t
      you know how it was arrived at?
      A–I never made a calculation.
      Q–A calculation from what?
      A–I could not say.
      Q–From the generations of man?
      A–I would not want to say that.
      Q–What do you think?
      A–I do not think about things I don’t think about.
      Q–Do you think about things you do think about?
      A–Well, sometimes.
      (Laughter in the courtyard.)

      • Calling George Clooney – how about a movie dude? Amruka loves them a courtroom drama, and they like monkeys too ….

    • I think that every legislator in Tennessee should give back every cell phone that they own, every computer, every small appliance, refuse to use electricity because every single one of these items came about only from the study of the observable world and from the origins of a scientist’s mind.

  10. Robert VerBruggen, who defends Florida’s much-criticized self-defense laws, sides against Zimmerman:

    “[His] actions went well beyond defending himself and others from physical threats, and into the territory of vigilantism — and they should be illegal. Zimmerman sought out this confrontation, and as a result a young man is dead — a young man who was unarmed, who was not carrying drugs, and who very well may have done nothing more than defend himself against a stranger who followed him on the street.”

  11. I’m a bit late to the party but I have some really strong moral objections to federal tax policy. I’ll skip the obvious objection to our tax dollars funding a Crusade in the Mideast and subsidies to the energy industry.

    I’m really sick and tired of churches being tax exempt. I have no problem with them getting a break on charitable contributions that actually go to charity but, if they can own vast tracts of land and their preachers can drive Bentlies and they regularly host and endorse Reich-wing politicians, they should be taxed like any other business. And, just to give the Catholic church special consideration, if they can afford hundreds of millions in legal fees and hush money, they can pay taxes at the highest imaginable rate.

    Perhaps my biggest moral objection to public monies benefiting churches is the subsidies for parochial schools. I am outraged beyond polite conversation when I think that tax dollars are being used to make children stupider and more bigoted.

    • ” I am outraged beyond polite conversation when I think that tax dollars are being used to make children stupider and more bigoted”

      I hate to break this to you, then, but that happens in a lot of public schools, too.

  12. Since I haven’t been around much, here’s an update.

    With our unprecedented early spring weather I’ve been super busy. Flying, crashing, and fixing the plane, chasing birds, relearning how to ride a bike, and girl watching have been taking up most of my time. I also found out that I do, indeed, have gout and I gained more winter weight than I had thought so I’ve been making some lifestyle changes. Oddly enough; the day that I went to the doctor I missed the bus coming home and decided to walk the three miles. Since then my foot hasn’t hurt a bit. Hopefully this means that I’ll be able to avoid any long term debilitation.

    It’s becoming an interesting exercise in changing my mindset. For most of my life I’ve actually struggled to keep weight on. At 6’1″, the only time I had ever hit 170 was when i had a cast from toe to hip for 9 weeks. I’ve been feeling really good over the last couple years at 190-200. I guess that 206 was a little too much of a good thing.

    The part that pisses me off is that I just perfected my recipe for BBQ ribs and I have to cut down on shrimp. I can still do the ribs a couple times a month if I substitute a salad and veggies for my usual baked potato but it sounds like shrimp really contribute to high uric acid which causes gout symptoms. Sigh… I found a really good source for good cheap shrimp and now it looks like I should avoid them until I get my uric acid under control.

    Now? I’m going to go and chase birds with my bike.

  13. I insist that all my tax$$ go toward large stone tablets, celebrating the ominous majesty of Crom, gloomy god of Cimmeria…

  14. In reference to the shooter in France I read in a report he was probably one of the escaped prisoners from Kandahar Prison. They only lost 600 of them.

  15. What good news!

    A Federal Communications Commission (FCC) decision issued Monday (PDF) will clear the runway for hundreds of new community radio stations that broadcast on low-power FM signals, bringing progressive, community voices to urban areas that have for decades only known what’s being broadcast by major corporations and America’s political right.

    In other words, the dismantling of Rush Limbaugh was just the beginning, and the whole FM dial is next.

  16. What in the bloody hell am I as the mother of a brown mentally challenged large teenager supposed to do or say to keep my son safe? Never let him out of the house?

    • Sadly you can let him be about your property but if it involves anything beyond these days, keep a shotgun handy. I know, it sucks

  17. I did something today that I hadn’t done in over 30 years. I climbed a tree! No, I’m not entering a second childhood (I’ve staunchly resisted ever leaving my first one.) but there was an adorable black kitten who wouldn’t make the last little jump after I coaxed it most of the way down by “meowing” and making soothing noises.

    I don’t intend to climb another tree for at least another 30 years. First, the damned cat jumped onto my head and then launched itself off of my shoulder and ran off without displaying the slightest gratitude. Then I looked down. I finally understand why cats cling to trees and meow for help! It doesn’t seem like that long ago that I would jump the last 5 feet from a deer stand without a thought but, apparently, age does something to one’s perception of height.

    No great harm was done. A few scratches that will soon heal. But, the next time I see a kitten in a tree I’ll track down one of the local kids and give him a boost!

    • OK now will we be seeing a video clip of this event? Personally I would like to see the cat landing on your head then flying off. And the look on your face.

    • “I don’t intend to climb another tree for at least another 30 years. First, the damned cat jumped onto my head and then launched itself off of my shoulder and ran off without displaying the slightest gratitude.”

      What’s really funny here is that you’re actually surprised and outraged by any part of it.

      Very cat-like, actually.

    • I don’t know if it would infringe on someone’s trademark but, at the risk of repeating myself, I suggest: “Bizzey Bags” (as in busy). Especially the ones with the more garish color schemes.

      It has it all. Gratuitous use of the letter “Z”, description of function (Our bags keep you Bizzey.), and a reference to the busy colors.

        • It’s a description, not a judgement. I like garish. I always make a point to use fluorescent green and/or blaze orange on my model airplanes and fishing lures.

            • Indeed. I am a firm believer that anything one might need to find at a glance should be garish. I’m a “fashion disaster”. Many years ago I restricted my wardrobe to jeans, black T-shirts, flannel over-shirts, and white unmentionables. That way, when it’s time to collect my laundry, I can easily distinguish the clothes from anything else that might be lying on the floor.

              The same rule applies to model airplanes and fishing lures. I have found that orange and blue creates a great contrast against any-colored sky and I figure that fish in the murky depths will be able to see the same colors. Red and black, with chartreuse trim, makes for a very visible plane as well but red tends to blend into clouds.

  18. I feel like the camel in the pic on this thread. The lies from the GOPers are beginning to take a toll on my sanity. I’m snapping at people who don’t deserve my attitude. I’m glued to my monitor that apparently is attached to the innertubes. I’m losing control of my personal space that has allowed an opening for the most vile creatures to slime through my eyeballs, and ear canals. I’ve been possessed. Exorcism stat. the…

  19. I can perform an exorcism – albeit not a Catholic one.

    Pull the plug ought to refer to the intertubes (except, of course, for The Zoo!).

  20. Santorum suggests that re-electing Obama would be better than a Romney presidency | The Ticket – Yahoo! News

    Rick Santorum suggested Thursday that re-electing President Barack Obama would be better than electing Republican rival Mitt Romney, a statement that is arguably his toughest criticism of Romney to date.
    “You win by giving people a choice. You win by giving people the opportunity to see a different vision for our country, not someone who’s just going to be a little different than the person in there,” Santorum told supporters in San Antonio. “If you’re going to be a little different, we might as well stay with what we have instead of taking a risk with what may be the Etch A Sketch candidate of the future.”

    • There was a segment of The Young Turks that, apparently a listener was listening close enough and tweeted that he’d heard something everyone else seemed to have missed. Cenk played it several times and, indeed, Mr. Zimmerman said, “damn coons”. Mr. Zimmerman had been known to have a violent streak and had made racist remarks in the past.. Still, the police did no toxicology tests on Mr. Zimmerman, did not question him at the scene nor did they do any more investigation than to see a young black man with a bullet in him.

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