Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Revenue Sources

Dear Mr. President,

In these times of economic crisis, when the government needs every kopeck it can raise, it has occurred to me that the following suggestions might be helpful.

  1. End the “War on Drugs.” Our experience with Prohibition teaches us that this simple step ill save money currently spent, mostly futilely, on interdiction. In addition, legalization would drive down prices, undercutting the drug cartels that cause such troubles in Mexico and other Latin American nations. Finally, legal sales can be taxed – as with alcohol.

  2. Windfall profit taxes for additional sales of goods and services resulting from awards, such as Academy Awards, New York Times Bestseller status, the Pulitzer Prize, or an author's election to office or other public disgrace.

  3. Strict registration and licensing of celebrities who wish to become “activists.” Licensing fees for these lobbyists would be a flat percentage of their annual gross incomes.

  4. Lift the current ban on offshore oil drilling. This step would reduce the cost of energy and encourage production, creating jobs. In addition, with consumers now conditioned to higher fuel prices, a surcharge to fund socially responsible research into alternative energy, would pass unnoticed.

  5. An illegitimacy tax. While procreation may be a natural right, creating a burden on society is not. In addition, modern DNA tests remove uncertainty regarding paternity. Parents should therefore be directly responsible for the cost of public benefits to protect and rear their offspring. Parents who cannot afford to pay these assessments should be required to work off their obligations.

  6. An appointment to office tax, being a percentage of the total sum an appointee contributed directly or through surrogates, to secure the election of the appointer. As a corollary, appointees who are not current in their taxes would be assessed a surcharge equal to 200% of their tax deficiency. Payment in full being due before appointee is permitted to take office.

  7. A celebrity tax, payable by entertainers, sports figures, political pundits and others who derive their income not from production of goods or services having practical utility but from their own notoriety. An additional surcharge could be levied upon those “famous for merely being famous.”

  8. Registration and licensing of print and broadcast journalists. While print and broadcast journalists exercise a public trust, events over the last decade – witnesses various deceptions perpetrated by or on the New York Times and CBS Evening News – reveal that these organizations cannot be allowed to police themselves. Oversight is clearly necessary to ensure the accuracy and integrity of all reporting. Neither is there any reason that these organization should not contribute handsomely to the public fisc in return for the opportunities they enjoy.

  9. An entertainment tax. While rest and recreation are, of course, necessary to the well being of individuals, in these times of national crisis such as these they must be pursued in moderation. To that end, taxes may be imposed on such items as motion pictures, televisions, condoms, DVDs, home theaters, video games and works of fiction (including the writings of any holder of or candidate for political office).

  10. A leisure tax. Given the current crisis, unproductive members of society are a luxury we cannot afford. Thus all able-bodied men and women not otherwise gainfully employed should be put to work at socially productive tasks. Given the millions we spend each year on public education and training, no one should complain that they have not been given opportunity to acquire the skills needed for their preferred employment. As Captain John Smith taught during a similar time of national peril “He who does not work, neither shall he eat.”


Publius Cornelius Scipio Africanus Major

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