Bruce Watson: Taxing the Seven Deadly Sins
LEVERETT — Although taxes are lower than they have been in 50 years, Congress refuses to consider a tax hike, even on Croesus and his companions on Wall Street. So we limp on, red ink rising, with historically low taxes and historically loud screeching about taxes.
I think it’s time we put our taxes where our sins are. We have a few so-called “sin taxes” — on cigarettes and alcohol. But it’s not a sin to smoke — yet. And after even thinking about Congress, we all need a drink or two. No, I’m talking about raising revenues by taxing the sins people just can’t help committing. Where to begin? Why not start with the Seven Deadly Sins?
SCHEDULE W — WRATH TAX
1. List all incidents in 2012 when you a) exploded; b) cursed a family member; c) sent a flaming e-mail; d) just plain lost it.
2. DEDUCTIONS — List all instances when your wrath was directed at the federal government, cable TV, your HMO or cellphone provider
3. Subtract Column 2 from Column 1.
4. Add the number of assault weapons you own.
5. Multiply by $1,000.
6. ENTER your Wrath Tax for 2012.
SCHEDULE GL — GLUTTONY TAX
1. List all your binges, chow downs, pork outs and other instances of full-scale face-stuffing in 2012.
2. List your total 2012 expenditures on pork rinds, Cinnabons and all fast foods containing the words Double, Bacon, X-tra, Cheese, Value Menu or Big Gulp.
3. Multiply by your waist size
4. Add $3,000 for just being such a glutton.
5. ENTER your Gluttony tax for 2012.
SCHEDULE P — PRIDE TAX
1. Write a 500-word essay on just how great you think you are and how the world owes you a living.
2. Enter the number of times your essay used the words I, me, mine, excellent, I built that or the name of an Ivy League college.
3. Enter the number of diplomas, awards, certificates of merit and photos of you grinning beside a famous person that are displayed in your home.
4. Multiply by the size of your ego.
5. ENTER your Pride Tax for 2012.
SCHEDULE S — SLOTH TAX
1. Enter the number of couches, La-Z-Boys, recliners, futons and hammocks you own.
2. Enter the number of touch-screen devices you own.
3. Get a life and enter it HERE.
4. Subtract your new life from the above, then try to get off your ass this year and we’ll call it even.
SCHEDULE E — ENVY TAX
1. Enter the number of supermarket tabloids and celebrity magazines you purchased in 2012.
2. Multiply by the number of hours you spent watching “American Idol,” “Dancing With the Stars” or other reality competitions.
3. Subtract the estimated value of your home from that of your neighbor’s home and enter on Line 4.
4. Paint your face green.
5. ENTER your Envy Tax for 2012.
SCHEDULE L – LUST TAX
1. Enter the hours you spent watching sexually explicit movies in 2012.
Now double that to be honest.
2. Enter the number of times you read “Fifty Shades of Grey” in 2012.
Now double that to be honest.
3. Enter the number of Victoria’s Secret catalogs you own.
C’mon, be honest.
4. Move on to GREED TAX and just watch it, buster!
SCHEDULE GR — GREED TAX
1. ENTER the amount you invested in hedge funds in 2012.
2. Multiply by $1,000.
3. If you run an HMO or pharmaceutical company, check here ___ and add $10,000.
4. If you own rental property, enter any rent increases you imposed above cost-of-living adjustments.
5. Hey, Greedhead, how does it feel to be paying ________ for your 2012 GREED TAX?
Alas, don’t expect to see any new taxes on Wrath, Gluttony, Sloth, Pride, Envy, Lust and Greed. Congress deserves a little fun, too.
Bruce Watson’s column appears twice a month. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.