If we must tax things because of externalities, why aren’t we taxing sex?
If individual choices and behaviors should be taxed if they add to health care costs (a proposition [Kevin] Drum sees as so self-evident that Republicans are Neanderthals for opposing the idea), then why isn’t anyone suggesting a tax on sex? I can’t think of any discretionary behavior that has more implications for health care costs than sex. There’s contraception, abortion, STD’s, pre-natal care, birth, and at least 18 years of juvenile health care with no taxes being paid. Not to mention a new future Medicare recipient who, by current law, will pay in far less to the system than he or she will take out.
Then again, the most influential person of the second half of the 20th century might have been Hugh Hefner, since he (1) advised guys that casual sex was okay and (2) irritated enough women to help trigger a countermovement which demands that everything men get, women get, only more so. Copulation is the new national religion, and woe betide he (or, for that matter, she) who seeks to separate its churches from the State.
If we must have a new tax, let it be a tax on bullshit. The take from the 2014 mid-term campaign ads alone would pay off half the national debt.