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Banking on sin: States profit as taxes rise on vice
One manâ€™s sin is another manâ€™s revenue base, at least when it comes to Uncle Samâ€™s tax coffers.
Federal and state governments annually rake in $96 billion in revenue fed by Americansâ€™ appetites for easy money, nicotine and booze, according to an analysis by The Washington Times. Take away the taxmanâ€™s take on gambling, drinking and smoking, and many jurisdictions would be in serious financial straits.
All told, the gambling, tobacco and alcohol industries individually pay $24.9 billion, $44.3 billion and $27 billion, respectively, in annual state and federal taxes, a figure set to rise as cash-strapped government officials seek new money sources in a struggling economy, according to the most recently available data....
I find it ironic that gambling, drinking, & smoking are considered "sins" by legislators & many Christians, even though it takes considerable casuistry to show that Scripture categorically forbids them, as opposed to prostitution, adultery, theft, disrespect for parents, perjury, etc., which are "no brainers."
I suspect taxes on "sins" are levied because said recreations are just disreputable enough, & visible enough, that they make convenient targets for revenue-hungry legislators & religious enthusiasts who want to make society as "clean" as their congregations.
Now I have to wonder: indebtedness doesn't bother many Christians, even though Scriptural warnings about it are no less clear than for drunkenness. So why not tax borrowing as a "sin" too? It might've avoided the recent Wall St. crisis.
Many churches, I might add, sponsor lotteries. The trumpet makes an uncertain sound...
Jim Lincoln wrote: I have no problem with the states taxing sin, I do have a problem with the states encouraging sin, as the lottery, which is effectively a tax on the poor. But, this could be ignored if the states weren't allowed to encourage a vice.
The lottery tax is voluntary. No one has to pay it.
I have no problem with the states taxing sin, I do have a problem with the states encouraging sin, as the lottery, which is effectively a tax on the poor. But, this could be ignored if the states weren't allowed to encourage a vice.