Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Taxation As Behavior Modification

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that most of what Congress seems to be doing lately seems to have some rather shady undertones to it? Maybe I am completely wrong here (something that I have grown used to with shocking regularity), but most of the recently instituted or recently changed regulation and taxation seems little more than a thinly disguised effort at government behavior modification?
  • Gasoline taxes go up and we drive a bit less.
  • Property taxes go up and we move into a smaller house or to a place where the taxes are less (or of course we get foreclosed on, and lose the house) .
  • Business taxes go up and we lay off people or move the business to a more business-friendly environment.
  • Tobacco taxes go up and we either quit or cut down on smoking (except for me of course).
  • City and state income taxes go up and we reduce our lifestyles or move to a place where taxes are less.
  • Federal taxes go up and we reduce ... well, pretty much everything that we do.
And if you think that the government hasn't noticed how effective that this modus operandi is, you're kidding yourself. Members of Congress may not be the brightest bulbs on the tree, but they are master manipulators. (This may in fact, be the greatest understatement ever made in the history of Just Blowing Smoke.)  

Consider the taxes our various levels of government are considering, or have already passed in some areas around the country to perform such modification:
  • Banning or taxation on the use of trans fats in the cooking process of foods
  • Taxing carbonated drinks with sugar in them (and for those that think that this will mean only soda pop and therefore pass them by, consider that most energy drinks contain sugar).
  • Taxes on purchase of goods and services on the Internet.
  • The massive taxes on energy that will come if the Cap & Trade legislation manages to get through the Senate, something which affect every aspect of our lives and every action that we take.
  • And last but not least, the taxes on that are being considered on employer supplied health benefits as the first step down a path to socialized medicine. Medicine that will in turn be rationed by government bureaucrats who will judge our need on how well we follow all of these new government guidelines

I find it funny that as we continue to congratulate ourselves as the "Land of the Free", we allow such restrictions on our freedom from our elected leaders. Oh sure, we tell ourselves that this is not what's actually going on, that we in fact change our behavior on our own and not at the impetus of government, or that such behavior modification is not the intended goal of such legislation; and yet it continues. 

Even when we recognize that we have been hoodwinked we allow it to continue without real complaint. Even when the government recognizes that they have in fact taxed a behavior all but out of existence, the process continues and sometimes even accelerates. Even when we do raise our voices in complaint, we fail to sustain such dissension, choosing rather to become a more complacent, more compliant, and a more manipulated population. 


Winky Twinky said...

I just don't understand it, Tim... Seems like it's getting worse. Like we're all a bunch of mind-numbed zombies, blindlessly following the pied piper (aka satan in the form of a US President).. *I'm* not a follower, but it's quite astounding how many right here in Toledo who have apparently been bought and sold.. scary... WHAT will it take to make people wake up??? I have no idea...

Hooda Thunkit (Dave Zawodny) said...

Maybe someone should familiarize this Satan with the work of a gentleman named Pavlov...

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