Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinions, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.
We begin this week’s installment by answering the musical question:
“Who are you?”
‘Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
If you drive a car, I’ll tax the street
If you try to sit, I’ll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I’ll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I’ll tax your feet’
Cause I’m the taxman, yeah, I’m the taxman
Folks entrusted with tax and spending power all too often abuse their authority by going too far.
Got a budget and/or policy problem? The solution is simple. Go to the taxpayers. Over and over and over again.
One particular tax gives the tax and spenders great comfort because the rationale followed makes them feel noble and righteous by assisting humankind.
When the coronavirus first hit America one year ago so-called sin taxes became quite popular with revenue-hungry politicians. Why? Frightened people taken hostage in their homes drank and ate more. They didn’t stop smoking, vaping, or buying marijuana. They did drive less and incomes went down as jobs either went away or were curtailed, so there went that incoming tax money.
Stateline reported last June as state after state enacted liquor and tobacco tax hikes:
While not a huge portion of state tax revenue, sin taxes are a relative bright spot in a dark revenue picture. And some states are considering increasing those levies to make up some of the lost pandemic revenue.
Taxes on those items often are more politically palatable because they generally affect a smaller portion of the population and the purchases are seen more as a choice than a necessity.
“It’s just easier politically to increase taxes on 12% of the population than on 80% of the population,” said Ulrik Boesen, senior policy analyst at the Tax Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes lower, broader-based taxes.
For people that can and will tax the daylights out of you these sin taxes have the same effect as Pavlov’s dog. How enticing are measures that dig deeper into your wallets? From Forbes.com last month:
Experts note that states have raised taxes on tobacco products 111 times between 2000 and 2015. In 2014, states collected over $32 billion in sin taxes, which can cover everything from tobacco and alcohol to gambling. In 2016, 11 states were able to raise over $1 billion each from sin taxes. Pennsylvania led the way with $2.7 billion in sin tax revenues, while New York ($2.65 billion) and Texas ($2.51 billion) rounded out the top three.
What’s happening now? Well, the people fixated on stealing more of your money refuse to stop at alcohol and tobacco. In their crosshairs….
They will tell you it’s for your own good.
I would remind you that taxation is theft.
CULINARY NO-NO BONUSES
Baseball is back, but possibly without…