July 25, 2016

Partly sunny

No government tax, please, on this stupid idea

Here’s a stupid idea.

No, really. Hear me out.

There’s something counterintuitive about the way taxes hit people who put their time and money to good use. For instance: Get a job, pay taxes on your salary. Drive to work, pay taxes on fuel. Own a home, pay taxes on your property. Purchase a new shirt, pay sales tax. On and on.

And yet, everywhere you look, governments say they need more money. What is there left to tax?

Stupidity. That’s the answer to all of our problems.

Think of the vast reservoir of cash out there waiting to be tapped. A Stupid Tax would be the fairest tax ever devised because it only hits people with money to throw around on silly things.

For example: A Stupid Tax on people who drive too fast. It’s usually unnecessary, costs more in fuel, is hard on vehicles, risks traffic tickets and endangers others. In other words, it’s stupid, right? Set up a car’s computer so it keeps track of how many times the driver exceeds 65 mph and collect a Stupid Tax from him every year when he renews his license tags.

Beautiful, isn’t it?

Why do we have to pay so many taxes on behaviors government should want to encourage?
Instead, we should tax everything that is deemed unnecessary and annoying by … well … me.
See where this could go? Everywhere! That’s the brilliance of the Stupid Tax.

There could be a Stupid Tax on droopy pants. You got money to drop, so to speak, on a pair of pants that don’t even fit you? You got money to pay the Stupid Tax.

Celebrity “news” would be subject to a hefty Stupid Tax. Every TV network, radio station, newspaper, magazine and tabloid would have to pay a premium every time they run a story about Britney Spears, Ashton Kutcher, Paris Hilton, Nicole Richie or Michael Jackson.

A Stupid Tax on loud vehicles. The higher the decibel level, the higher the tax. A Stupid Tax on ridiculously large SUVs — the more they weigh, the more you pay.

Developers: For every big tree you cut down to be replaced later by a spindly little tree after all the houses are built, a Stupid Tax. Every time you name a street after what you destroyed to put in the development — Fox Trot Trail or Green Meadow Drive or Songbird Avenue — you pay the Stupid Tax.

You know those black, plywood cutouts that are supposed to look like a man smoking a pipe while reclining against a tree? Stupid Tax.

For every cable channel you pay for but never watch, pay a Stupid Tax. Every teenage boy who leaves his car sound system thumping when he shuts off the car to get gas pays a Stupid Tax.
That guy who wears a cell phone on his ear and carries on an inane conversation in a loud voice while he’s shopping at the grocery? Stupid Tax on him at the checkout.

Every year, legislators everywhere introduce dozens of bills declaring “Dry Pot Roast Prevention Month” or naming 8½-by-11 as The Official Paper Size of the State. Go ahead, do it. Make yourselves happy, but you’ll pay a Stupid Tax on every unnecessary bill. Out of your campaign fund, of course.

E-mail forwards. Got a picture of fuzzy kittens with little thought bubbles above their heads saying cute things? A side-splitting joke? Inspirational quotation? Incontrovertible evidence that Barack Obama is a Muslim? That Dick Cheney is a cyborg programmed by Rush Limbaugh? Go ahead and forward it to everyone in your address book … and pay a Stupid Tax on each one you send.

Every time a political commentator says, “at the end of the day,” or improperly uses the term “begs the question,” hit them with a Stupid Tax, too.

Every time someone over the age of 30 addresses another person as “Dude!” they pay a Stupid Tax. A Double Stupid Tax if the other person is a woman.

Get caught in the crowd at a major sporting event talking on your cell phone and waving at the camera, Stupid Tax.

Let’s face it: Most resources are limited. There’s only one thing the world has an endless supply of: Stupidity. It’s time we harness the greatest renewable resource of all. If it’s a stupid idea, let’s tax it.

Except this one, of course.

Contact John Gladden at gladden@ohio.net.