The Spectacle Blog

The Tan Tax and Government Power

By on 3.30.10 | 11:02AM

One of the more outlandish provisions of the health care legislation is the 10 percent tax on indoor tanning. When it was introduced into the Senate health care bill in December, it injected a bit of humor into the political and policy debate. But to a segment of small businesses across the country, it's no laughing matter.

A local news station in Seattle has spoken to Mark Willard of a salon called Desert Sun Tanning. "Families, you know, these are people that have invested their life savings into these businesses and that's how they make their living," he said. "Unfortunately, now, that tax is going to be passed onto them...It could be very detrimental to their business, and certainly our customers that are going to bear the brunt of this tax."

Another station in Indiana finds Fun Tan, which employs "a total of 40 people and the owner says they will likely have to let some people go from the salon."

Dan Skwarcan, the owner, said, "“It’s huge. Think about the total revenue and having to write a check for ten percent of everything you make and give it to the federal government. That is tough.. plus on top of all of the taxes we are already paying today.” 

People might dismiss stories like this that are being replicated throughout the country because a tax on indoor tanning only affects a relatively small segment of the population. Yet the point is that this is a perfect example of the arbitrary nature of government power. Indoor tanning has absolutely nothing to do with health care. But in December, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was scrambling to find ways to raise revenue to pay for a massive new government entitlement. An earlier tax on cosmetic surgery was dropped under protest from the Botox Lobby. And poof, just like that, families who depend on indoor tanning for their livelihood are forced to pony up for the greater good. Liberals always like to portray themselves as more compassionate. But remember, liberal compassion is rooted in a willingness to take other people's money and have government spend it for them.  

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