The Taxing of the Screw - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
The Taxing of the Screw

So it’s come to this.

They want to tax sex.

You read that right. Sex. They want to tax sex. With a delicious irony that speaks only to the utter financial desperation bequeathed by modern American liberalism, there is a move rising in Nevada, the state that has given America Senator Harry Reid, to tax sex.

Are they crazy? No, “we’re desperate,” said the Reid ally proposing the tax.

No wonder Harry’s latest poll numbers are flaccid. A May survey for the Las Vegas Review Journal said half of Nevadans had an unfavorable view of the Senate Majority Leader, with 45% saying they would vote against him in 2010. With Reid’s party now wanting to tax sex, one suspects his polls will not be erected any time soon.

Between the federal and various state governments having targeted, among other things, soda, beer, poker playing, tires, tobacco, SUVs, fast food and marijuana (in California, if legalized but of course), in Nevada it’s now come down to taxing time with Barbarella, Brandy, Bunny, Goldie and Hortense.

Accuracy and thoroughness being a necessity here, a sacrifice was made with a trip to a few Nevada brothels. Virtually, but of course. What an interesting world it is. A world where one can quite legally and very physically (if you’re actually there) hop on in to the Cottontail Ranch or just slip into the Cherry Patch if one is done doing the Dovetail. You thought Angelina Jolie was a star? Wait until you spend some quality time with Barbarella, Brandy, Bunny, Goldie and Hortense.

How much would the sex tax be, you ask?

Reid’s fellow Nevada Democrat, State Senator Bob Coffin, the aptly named chairman of the State Senate’s Taxation Committee who represents Las Vegas, thinks it would take $5 bucks a pop…um, per act… to stiffen the finances of Harry Reid’s home state. If you are visiting from, say, Sweden, where they have a 25% tax on condoms, a night of Bunny hopping could start to mount up.

Yet State Senator Coffin’s new definition of a head tax is an interesting proposition. Obamacare advocates are insistently hectoring that X behavior is not only bad for us, it adds gazillions to health care costs. Which is why whatever X is — they want to tax it. For our own good, don’t you know. This is why New York’s Governor David Paterson wants a soda tax, for example. Something Dr. Thomas Frieden, the new Obama head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enthusiastically supports. Frieden, by the way, is the guy who got trans fat banned when he was New York City’s Health Commissioner.

Says Paterson, illustrating the liberal mind precisely: “The surgeon general estimates that obesity was associated with 112,000 deaths in the United States every year. Here in New York State, we spend almost $6.1 billion on health care related to adult obesity — the second-highest level of spending in the nation.”

Paterson is disturbed X behavior (soda drinking in this case) causes bad result Y (obesity in the Paterson example) and therefore needs to be taxed because X behavior causes death. Ergo this dreadful behavior of drinking sodas in New York is costing his state $6.1 billion in health care costs. Thus the best policy is an obesity tax — make every New Yorker pay through the nose every time they quench their thirst with a Coke or a Pepsi. A tax like the obesity tax results in the best of both worlds in the liberal mind: more revenue for more programs, lower health care costs and, most importantly, more control over you.

Which is why liberals in Washington and around the country have targeted everything from fast food to SUVs, intent on wading into your private life to save you if not the planet.

So. OK. We get it. Let’s fantasize with this bit of Obama-esque mind set, shall we?

Hide the kids, let the dog out, lock the door. Let’s talk sex and taxes.

Isn’t it time to tax people with AIDS? Isn’t it time to tax abortions?

To stay on the straight up and narrow, we turn to Dr. Frieden’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (which is to say the US government) for an AIDS definition and some facts, quoting the CDC.

What Causes AIDS? “AIDS is caused by infection with a virus called human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, infected pregnant women can pass HIV to their babies during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Some of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.”

AIDS and Men Who Have Sex with Men: “The term men who have sex with men (MSM) refers to all men who have sex with other men, regardless of how they identify themselves (gay, bisexual, or heterosexual). In the United States, HIV and AIDS have had a tremendous impact on MSM.”

How Many American Men Who have Sex with Men Have AIDS? “AIDS has been diagnosed for more than half a million MSM. Over 300,000 MSM with AIDS have died since the beginning of the epidemic.”

How Many Men Engage in This Behavior? “MSM made up more than two thirds (68%) of all men living with HIV in 2005, even though only about 5% to 7% of men in the United States reported having sex with other men.”

How Widespread is this in the African-American Community? “In a 2005 study of 5 large US cities, 46% of African American MSM were HIV-positive.”

How Widespread is this in the Hispanic-Latino Community? “Hispanics/Latinos comprise 15% of the US population, but accounted for 17% of all new HIV infections occurring in the United States in 2006.”

What About Women? “HIV and AIDS were originally thought to affect mostly gay men. However, women have always been affected too. And even though more men than women have HIV, women are catching up. In fact, if new HIV infections continue at their current rate worldwide, women with HIV may soon outnumber men with HIV.”

And last but not least, the favorite question posed by all ObamaCare enthusiasts.

How Much Does HIV/AIDS Cost? Says the CDC: “The Federal Government alone, through the Ryan White CARE Act, Medicaid, and Medicare and other care programs, spent $11.7 billion on HIV-related medical care in 2005. CDC estimates that the aver age cost of lifetime treatment for HIV infection is $210,000. If 40,000 people are newly infected with HIV in one year, the additional cost to society for their lifetime HIV-related medical care may be as high as $8.4 billion.”

To sum up using the liberal logic: getting HIV/AIDS is one heck of an expensive proposition for the health care system. And what is the answer to dealing with behavior that costs us all so much money in health care?

All together now: we…tax it! Be it soda in New York or sex in Nevada, the answer is tax, tax, tax and tax again.

This case having been effectively drilled into us (so to speak) in the Obamacare health care fantasy, isn’t it time to ask: why aren’t we taxing sexual behavior that winds up costing Americans billions? The CDC has been helpful enough to tell us that a single person who contracts HIV/AIDS will need a “lifetime treatment” costing $210,000. If, says Uncle Sam, 40,000 people are newly infected every year, that’s an additional $8.4 billion in costs.

Got it. So how do we do this? How do we tax people who contract AIDS? Not to mention those who walk in with this or that sexually transmitted disease (STD)?

Every time a newly infected person is diagnosed by a doctor or hospital or clinic, their information is immediately reported to the IRS. If we’re all socialists now and Obamacare is going to keep a gimlet eye on our death spirals then, as State Senator Coffin has correctly deduced out there in Nevada, what you do with your sex life can’t be allowed to escape the tax man either. Just as hospitals and doctors who treat gun shot wounds are required to report the fact to police, and car accidents are filed with the appropriate insurance company, we just require all new HIV/AIDS patients and those with STD’s to be turned in to the IRS.

Interestingly, the scent of erotic taxation has titillated Indiana Republican Congressman Steve Buyer, who has fantasized aloud about taxing unprotected sex.

As reported here, Buyer streaked this thought through a health care hearing of the Energy and Commerce Committee: “Someone who smokes, drinks, participates in bad conduct and behavior, unprotected sex, maybe bad things happen to them, maybe they should pay higher premiums,” Buyer said. “That is a radical thought, isn’t it?”

Well, its radical only if HIV/AIDS whether incurred by unprotected sex or drug use is suddenly not thought of as behavior, be it good, bad, indifferent or simply mind blowing. Taking a page from the liberal playbook, just think of gay sex as a revenue raiser, in the end, funded by a head tax

Once we begin collecting revenues from MSM’s that the CDC reports are “more than two thirds (68%) of all men living with HIV in 2005” we can’t turn from that other problem resulting from unprotected sex: abortion. What’s fair is fair. You don’t want to screw around with sexual equality.

The CDC reports that there were over 820,000 abortions in the U.S. in 2005, the last year for which it lists complete statistics. Other sources put the figure at over a million. Obviously, the need for an abortion results from unprotected heterosexual sex, whether deliberate or accidental. Why it happened is as irrelevant in the world of Obamacare as why you felt the need for a cold Coke on a hot day. You drank the soda, you had the sex. You risked getting fat and adding to America’s health care costs, you risked getting pregnant, and in both cases health care resources that could have gone elsewhere were used to deal with your mistake.

Sorry. But in the world of Obamacare you have to pay the piper — or the state of New York or the state of Nevada or the IRS or some government official somewhere.

According to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute the average cost of a surgical abortion in 2001 at ten weeks was $468, with women on average paying $372. A medical abortion, again using 2001 statistics, cost on average $487. A 10% surcharge would be just the incentive to, as former President Clinton urged, keep abortion “safe, legal and rare” — not to mention reduce health care costs for the rest of us by bringing in needed revenue.

When someone shows up to be appropriately attended to at an abortion clinic, a tax filing based on the cost of the abortion is signed by the patient and the attending physician, then goes straight to the IRS. As the President himself says, the substance of this is above our pay grade. But money is money, and actions have health care consequences, as we are reminded repeatedly. So baby out, dollar in.

Think of it: Roe v. Wade, the backbone of America’s economic recovery.

Just imagine all the possibilities here. IRS Form SCRU-U2 would become must-reading, based as it would be on the old best seller The Joy of Sex. Page 53 of the book is a 5% tax, while page 116 of the book is a 10% surcharge. Barney Frank will stand up for an entire series of tax credits based on another book altogether.

But the bottom line (sorry) is that your freedom and personal privacy as we once knew it are slip-sliding away.

Soda today, sex tomorrow. With apologies to Shakespeare, after the taming of the shrew comes the taxing of the screw.

Here’s hoping you understand the need for protection.

Jeffrey Lord
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Jeffrey Lord, a contributing editor to The American Spectator, is a former aide to Ronald Reagan and Jack Kemp. An author and former CNN commentator, he writes from Pennsylvania at His new book, Swamp Wars: Donald Trump and The New American Populism vs. The Old Order, is now out from Bombardier Books.
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