Hereâ€™s a stupid idea.
No, really. Hear me out.
Thereâ€™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. Thatâ€™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. Itâ€™s usually unnecessary, costs more in fuel, is hard on vehicles, risks traffic tickets and endangers others. In other words, itâ€™s stupid, right? Set up a carâ€™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, isnâ€™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 â€¦ well â€¦ me.
See where this could go? Everywhere! Thatâ€™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 donâ€™t even fit you? You got money to pay the Stupid Tax.
Celebrity â€œnewsâ€ 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 â€” 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 â€” Fox Trot Trail or Green Meadow Drive or Songbird Avenue â€” 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 heâ€™s shopping at the grocery? Stupid Tax on him at the checkout.
Every year, legislators everywhere introduce dozens of bills declaring â€œDry Pot Roast Prevention Monthâ€ or naming 8Â½-by-11 as The Official Paper Size of the State. Go ahead, do it. Make yourselves happy, but youâ€™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 â€¦ and pay a Stupid Tax on each one you send.
Every time a political commentator says, â€œat the end of the day,â€ or improperly uses the term â€œbegs the question,â€ hit them with a Stupid Tax, too.
Every time someone over the age of 30 addresses another person as â€œDude!â€ 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.
Letâ€™s face it: Most resources are limited. Thereâ€™s only one thing the world has an endless supply of: Stupidity. Itâ€™s time we harness the greatest renewable resource of all. If itâ€™s a stupid idea, letâ€™s tax it.
Except this one, of course.
Contact John Gladden at firstname.lastname@example.org.