Banking on sin: States profit as taxes rise on vice
One manâs sin is another manâs revenue base, at least when it comes to Uncle Samâs 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 taxmanâs 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.