A rather Machiavellian yet effective means of increasing revenue by government entities is to discover what people desire or like to do, and tax it.
Michael Faraday was once asked by William Gladstone about the practical value of electricity. His response was, "One day, sir, you may tax it."
Since our Federal and state governments seem to have perennial cash flow problems coupled with increased desires to spend money, maybe they can offset it by creative taxes. And some of these should be especially easy to pass in legislatures if it affects only a small set of the population.
Sort of divide and conquer. Not a bad approach.
Anyway, here's some ideas:
1. A tax on do-rags. Now I don't know what possesses otherwise grown men to affect the appearance of pirates, but they might adopt tricornered hats instead if this tax went through.
2. A tax on oversized beverages. Michael Bloomfield got it wrong: the best way to regulate it is to tax it.
3. A tax on giving babies unusual names. They actually do that in Sweden already.
4. A tax on excessive copulation. Okay, I know: how's the government going to know? Well, do copulation tax reporting on the honor system; and have full public disclosure of taxes paid. Hmmm . . . . some guys (and gals) might go for bragging rights.
5. Some states should consider levying a tax on unconventional plant containers, such as old automobile tires, toilets, and garbage pails.
6. How about a tax on bikini waxes? [No! They're expensive enough as it is.]
7. Lengthy graduation speeches and sermons should be subject to taxation. Now that would be a popular levy!
8. New ground could be broken by taxation of Christmas decorations: those that persist into February, those that are musical, those with lewd elfs, and so forth.
Okay, how about some real ones?
1. Chicago taxes soda bought in a bottle at a rate of 3%, but taxes soda from fountains at a rate of 9%.
2. In Tennessee, there is a tax on all litigation. The amount varies case-by-case but it can be as low as $1 for a parking violation case. The tax tends to discourage frivolous lawsuits.
3. Minnesota has a special tax on fur.
4. In Kansas, tethered hot air balloon rides, on the other hand, are considered to be an amusement ride and therefore are subject to sales tax.
5. Japan imposed a tax on whiskey which is based on the percentage of alcohol by volume, so Japanese whiskey manufacturers began diluting their product with water to avoid the tax. European whiskey manufacturers were prohibited from doing so; therefore, Japanese whiskey had an advantage in Japan.
6. Texas lawmakers imposed a $5 tax on establishments that host live nude shows and also allow alcohol consumption on their premises. Since strip clubs are the businesses that are affected by it, the tax was nicknamed the "pole tax".
7. Many cities and states levy a "jock tax" on any income earned by entertainers and athletes while working in that city. Therefore, athletes have to pay taxes on a portion of their income in any place they play. Would they still be taxed if they went commando?
8. Pennsylvania, and New Jersey exempts pumpkins from a sales tax but only if they will be eaten and not carved.
9. Tennessee requires drug dealers to anonymously pay taxes on any illegal substances they sold.
10. Although marijuana is illegal on a federal level and in most states, many states impose taxes on the sale of marijuana.
11. Arkansas imposes a 6% sales tax on body piercings and pet grooming.
12. In Chicago, candy that is prepared with flour is taxed as food at 1%, while candy that is prepared without flour is taxed as candy at 6.25%.
13. In Florida, a sales tax holiday was created that included items like fanny packs, bowling shoes, school supplies, vests, and seemingly randomly assembled list of other items.
14. Diapers may get taxed in Connecticut, but it Depends. Diapers for infants are; but adult diapers aren't.
15. Alabama levies a 10 cents tax on playing cards.
16. In Colorado, you pay a tax on paper cup lids, but not the cups themselves. Lids are considered "nonessential food packaging."
17. At one time, England taxed houses according to the number of windows they had. This was an indirect way of soaking the rich, who presumably could afford more windows.
18. Durham, NC has a $10 tax on neutered or spayed pets. If they're not, it bumps up to $75. Sorry, Rover.
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