Tax me for I have Sinned…

Saint Homobonus' (died 1197) attributes includ...

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I’d like to ramble a bit about Sin Tax … if for no other reason then simply because rambling about Sin Tax at least makes me feel a little bit better about having to fork my money over to the government.

“sin taxes” are basically excise duties on tobacco and alcohol products.  Some economists even go so far as to define it as a useful and predictable source of revenue for the fiscus; somewhere for the national treasury to recover revenue; their fallback option.

Now I have to explain something – many laws and some taxes are there for our own protection. Apparently governments worldwide view themselves as our ‘big brothers’ and impose laws intent on protecting us from ourselves.  A classic example was the law against suicide … god forbid you got it wrong cause then you were REALLY going to want to kill yourself.  Sometimes when the governments try to enforce particularly dim-witted laws they tend to backfire – in the 40s for instance a ban on liquor actually made the liquor industry boom.  I reckon most of them learnt their lesson from that and are now trying to remove this and other vices via going for our pockets.  What are we anyway – catholic?

What annoys me most of all is that when the government can’t make their tax sheets balance up they simply go – “Oh I know!  Why don’t we push up the Sin Tax some more?  We’re so clever!”  Someone should be reminding them that if they piss us off enough who knows – maybe eventually we will all find alternate sins and they’ll be left without their little convenient hole plugger.

As a lot of people simply do have to cut down on smoking and drinking because they can’t afford to ‘pay for their sins’ the government’s revenue stream decreases and in order to make up for that they simply push the tax a little bit further.  This action is of course fuelled by the war the Health Minister waged on the consumption of tobacco and alcohol.  At least someone is winning here.

Since I have to pay for these supposed sins I have to ask… shouldn’t people be charged sin tax for actual sins?  Say for upsizing their meals?  Gluttony is a sin after all.  Chocolate is one of the most sinful things of all (barring loads of slutty sex) … so shouldn’t we be paying sin tax on chocolate?  The possibilities are endless.  How about strippers?  You can’t tell me it’s not sinful for married men to be staring lustfully at naked women prancing around in their thongs whilst shaking their tits around.  The taxman should be standing at the entrance of the strip club with his big ol’ money bag saying “that’ll be R50 cover and R200 Sin Tax please.”  What about condoms and contraceptives?  But no, because unlike us poor Sin Tax payers some stupid promiscuous people would simply save the money by ceasing to use preventative measures.

Back to economists though… I just loved how last year after the announcement of increased Sin Tax Chris Adlam reckoned that – “No-one is even going to notice”.   Errr.  WRONG.  I noticed.  I’m pretty damn sure every other person who has to be crippled financially to buy a pack of smokes or a beer has noticed.  Oh but wait – we’re no-one right?  Our rights don’t count cause WE are the sinners.  Not the strippers or the cokeheads or the murderers.  Got it.

Brace yourselves people, I have no doubt that since the country’s finances are as usual a shambles us “sinners” will have to deal with yet another massive addition to the Sin Tax (and by addition I mean ass raping).

Perhaps it is time we started following the example of our ancestors via making our own tobacco and brewing our own alcoholic beverages.  In which case I’d have to warn you other sinners out there… better stock up on those supplies cause they’re probably coming after you next.




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