I realize this topic has likely been beaten to death here but I’m gonna toss it out there anyways. Up here in Canada the idea of tax-breaks for enviro-friendly decisions/products is gaining some serious steam, not sure what the opinion is down in America land…but how does it not follow that people aren’t screaming for tax-relief or differential taxation for the severely obese or smokers??[/quote]
Smokers are already heavily taxed on every pack they buy.
Severely obese persons aren’t that numerous. A lot of people are fat, without being obese, much less “severely” or “morbidly.”
Taxing behaviors doesn’t sound like a good idea to me. Once you start, where do you stop? Do you tax skiers because they might hit a tree and require treatment? Cyclists? You could miss a rack while squatting and end up with a back injury, should we tax gym membership or have differential taxation for weightlifter?
The other issue is verification. While your salary and other financials are relatively easy to verify for the government tax people; checking whether or not someone is a smoker or obese requires door-to-door verification. A lot of people could simply lie on their declaration to avoid paying the tax. The added cost of insuring sufficient compliance would probably offset any gain from the added tax.
You could write your representative. Punching people in the face is seldom used in modern society, unless one wishes to experience for himself the local police services and jail facilities. Just so you know.
Instead of trying to solve every problem with taxes, why not lobby for better education? I’m sure kids would probably fare better with a few less art classes and a few more lessons on nutrition, exercise, how to balance a budget, etc. Or keep the art classes and add a few hours of school per week.
As cigarettes show, even with heavy taxes, some people will still choose to indulge in the frowned upon behavior. The best bet is to make sure they make that decision with all the facts available to them.
Democracy’s a bitch. I hear Cuba might be more to your liking.