Let’s Tax Stupid!
This week’s post is dedicated to Roadrunner, one of my most avid readers.
We’ve heard a lot this election season about how voting should be a basic right. I disagree. Health care should be a basic right, but voting carries with it a degree of civic responsibility, and shouldn’t be given away like candy. It should be earned. If you want to drive a car, you have to prove that you know what the hell you’re doing, by passing both a written and driving exam. If you let just anybody vote, you end up with what we have now. So let’s have a simple civics exam for prospective voters. You should have to know who your U.S. Senators are, who your House Representative is, what legislative districts you belong to, the three branches of government. You should be able to locate America on a map of the United States. If you don’t know these things, not only shouldn’t you have the right to vote, you should also pay a stupidity tax. I’m not talking about the developmentally disabled, or those with brain injuries, or any of that. Look around you at the supermarket, at the post office, wherever you go. You see them everywhere, shambling along with a glazed expression of their faces, barely conscious. Not many of them will be invited to join Mensa.
Since corporations and the rich aren’t paying their fair share of taxes, we need to find new and creative ways to raise revenue — a stupidity tax. We could start with the 57 million people who just voted for Mitt Romney. Now a few thousand of these are millionaires, who knew exactly what they were doing. But the rest of them voted against their best interests, in both a financial and social sense. I think $100 is very reasonable, considering the disaster they could have caused. Look — we just raised $5.7 billion already! And just to piss them off, we should turn around and put all of it into entitlement programs, like food stamps and more extensions on unemployment insurance.
My plan calls for each adult citizen to receive a simple exam each January, to be returned by, say, March. This wouldn’t be like the literacy tests given to black voters in the old South; it would have to be multiculturally neutral. If you fail the test, you’ll have to pay a penalty tax, a few hundred dollars; it’s the penalty for being stupid. You would have a chance twice a year to retake the exam. If you pass, the rest of the year’s tax is cancelled. This will not only raise revenues, but it will provide incentive for people to educate themselves, to actually get smarter. People will do just about anything to save money, maybe even this.
There should be fines and penalties for stupidity in general. Just by looking at the Congress and state legislatures, we can deduce that nearly half the population is made up of dumb-asses. The opportunities for revenue enhancement are nearly limitless. Of course stupid ideas are exempt, as is stupid speech; both are constitutionally protected. Heck, if you penalized stupid speech, Glenn Beck would be bankrupt in a week, and so would Fox (alleged) News. Instead, we would adopt the Forrest Gump option — stupid is as stupid does. The penalty would be commensurate not only with the nature of the offense and the degree of danger to the public, it would have to be fair to the offender’s financial situation. So let’s say you get a fine for texting while driving, which is illegal. On top of that fine you’d add the stupidity fine as well, because that’s a really stupid thing to do. Remember that young lady who fell into a New York City manhole while texting, a couple years ago? Stupid. Pay the fine. And there are countless other people who, rather than concentrating on their driving, are applying makeup, shaving, reading maps, and who knows what else.
Just about all the reality shows on television, as well as their audiences, are liable for fines and penalties. When you get ratings by behaving badly on TV, the biggest fines should go to those who developed the shows in the first place.
That brings us to politics, and what a gold mine awaits us there. Idiots talking about “legitimate rape,” or a pregnancy from a rape being “a gift from God,” would be subject to massive fines. But there are greater violations than this. President Obama, typical of his personal style, insisted on trying to work with a recalcitrant Congress that had vowed from day one to block everything he tried to do. No matter how many times they slapped him down, he never gave up trying to work with them. That’ll be a one million dollar fine, Mr. President, or $250,000 a year for the four years you kept NOT getting the message.
Then there’s Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. After two years of the Republicans breaking all records for abusing the filibuster rule, he had a chance to get rid of that rule, or severely limit it. The first day of a new Congress, the Senate can put in new rules. They cannot be filibustered, but need only a majority to pass. But what did Harry do when the new Congress opened? He accepted Senate Minority Leader McConnell’s promise that oh, they won’t do that anymore. This of course was followed by two more years of filibusters on every bill the Democrats tried to put on the floor. My God, Harry, how could you have been so stupid? That should be a million dollar fine, too, but I don’t know how Harry is set, financially. He can pay installments.
Yessir, this tax and penalty plan is going to pump billions into the economy. I know I’ll be paying my share of fines (I could probably get one just for writing this). And it will have the added benefit of deterring people from committing stupid acts, thus making us a more intelligent country. Eventually, though, the revenue will dry up as people get smarter, but by then, not only will we have paid off the national debt, we’ll also have an educated, informed electorate. What a deal! Then, when whackadoodles like Michelle Bachman or Rick Santorum speak, the people will just shake their heads sadly, and turn away. Now all we have to do is get it through that stupid Congress.