Are Vice Taxes Ethical?

The government has always been keen to pry into the personal affairs of citizens in order to make a buck. The most intrusive way they get away with this is by implementing taxes on certain things condemned as sins or vices; in the form of a Vice Tax. By implementing a vice tax you might be hindering a small business’ chance to grow by requiring extraordinary licenses and regulations. It also impedes in the personal liberties we have as human beings by telling us what we should and should not use. Here are some examples of what the government taxes us on:

Tobacco Tax

While I am not advocating the habit of smoking, many people who choose to partake in this activity have been persecuted to the fullest extent without being completely ostracized from society. First it was banning smoking on planes, then banning it in restaurants, then in bars, and now in some cities you can’t even smoke on the sidewalk or in parks. Add these smoking restrictions on top of heaps of taxes which might deter people from picking up the habit and encourage quitting, but make it unfair for people who just want a pack or a cigar to go with a night out. While I do not enjoy the smell of smoke on my clothes, I can live with it and don’t believe in the suppression of anyone’s right to put whatever they want into their body.

Alcohol Tax

While the dangers of alcohol can not be argued, most people enjoy drinking in moderation as a way to stay social and take the edge off of a long day. While most know how to use the substance properly, there are some who choose to get into cars and make bar owners look for new business insurance quotes because of the impending lawsuits. But should the business be punished for the actions of one irresponsible patron?

Fat Tax

The newest foray into the vice tax system is the fat tax. With rising obesity rates, heart disease, and cancer; the fat tax might seem like a viable option for saving the country money on health care costs. By taxing foods that might not be the best for us, the government is making a decision to tell us what we should and shouldn’t eat. Resources would be better spent on education about nutrition and exercise instead of the banning of certain things.

While some of these taxes may seem like good ideas at the time; they could lead to a slippery slope of taxing everything. For those of us who practice moderation and responsibility Vice Taxes seem like a kick to the teeth.