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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sin taxes and government's investment in sin

We all agree on one level that "sin" taxes are a good thing, because we believe that these "sin" taxes are a deterrent to buying products that fall under these "sin" tax laws. Usually, smoking related products such as cigarettes, and alcohol are "sin" taxed. Of course, we all believe that people will think twice about buying such products because of these extra taxes on them.

I am not sure that this is indeed the case! From my experience, many of these "sin" users simply cut somewhere else in their budgets in order to keep purchasing their "sin" delights!

Have you ever thought of the fact that when government taxes something, it for all intents and purposes invests in what they tax? Further, once they have taxed something, they need more and more people to buy the product they have taxed. In the end, it really is sin that is being taxed, and profited from. This means that if the government actually takes in more taxes in this way (becoming an investment for them), why would they do anything to inform people of the dangers of smoking and consuming alcohol? In fact, does it not make sense that government finds itself in an ethical quandary? The thing that they need to warn people against is the very thing that they have an investment in.

Let's take it a step further. In South Africa, there are discussions within government whether prostitution should be legalized. Once legalized, it can be taxed for revenue.

It is quite simple to understand that government can increase tax income in several ways. Two of them are the easiest: higher taxes and taxing more people. Higher taxes will kill our economy, as we are already taxed to death. So, what would be the logical next step? Taxing more people! Naturally, a government with no God to guide it morally and ethically will think of prostitutes as just another class of workers. So, legalize their "work" and tax them too!

So, here is the ethical dilemma. The government has an investment in taxing the people. As a result, they need more people to work in order to take in more taxes. The question is this: Once prostitution is legalized, will the ANC-led, South African government put in a concerted effort to make more opportunities available for girls to enter the workforce as whores ladies of the night, or for men to visit these women to make use of their "services?"

You see, it is not just enough to say that these "sin" taxes would bring in more revenue for the country. Once these sins are taxed, government becomes invested in them, and then to maintain their gains on taxes, will have to promote these sins!

Whether it is legalized prostitution, or perhaps legalized drug use, it comes down to the same ethics. Once these sins are legalized, they will have to be taxed, and once taxed, the government has an investment in the continuation of said sins.

Is this the future you envisage for your children?

Are you willing to accept a country where the government has investments in the promotion of sin? NO! Then do something about it!

1 comment :

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