A Commentary on the Modern World


Taxes, Tanning, and Abortion
February 19, 2011, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I have a friend who works in a tanning salon, and they have made me aware of how the tanning tax is effecting their business and the health of those who use tanning beds.  Recently, the Obama administration spoke of a need to tax tanning beds to discourage people from using them so people would be  forced financially to be more healthy.    So they taxed tanning beds to try and keep people from tanning because it is bad for their health.

Now as I was sitting in this tanning salon yesterday waiting for my friend to get off, a conversation began to stir about how high the price of tanning was now. The 10% tax on tanning forced the owners to drop their prices on all their tanning beds because the increase was so significant. So, first and foremost, this tax is killing this small business owner’s profits. When the owner raised her prices to try and make up for all the lost revenue, their were two important negative responses.  The first thing that happened is that many people could no longer afford to have tan memberships, which is the only guaranteed source of income for the tanning bed.  The second thing that happened is of greater importance to this post: people started tanning in the tanning beds that were more destructive to their health.

So basically this tax is killing their business but more importantly it is provoking many to use more dangerous tanning beds.  The price of the safest tanning beds were pushed up much farther than before, and the price of the worst tanning beds was now equivalent to the price of the safest before the tax.  Hence, the worst beds after the tax were now the most economical but not the most healthy choice.  Since the tax, use of those particular beds have went up because of how cheap they are.

Thus, the tax on tanning beds to encourage health is actually causing a great number of people to do something even less healthy.

Then I remembered the debate about abortion, and that famed line that “while we do not desire for anyone to get an abortion, we must pragmatically acknowledge that if we do not have legal abortions, women who want abortions will subject themselves to very unhealthy methods to get an abortion.” Thus, they argue, for the sake of better health, the government should not forbid abortions. Effectively, they acknowledge how unhealthy abortion is for the mother but in the hopes of having a more healthy abortion, the government should not do anything to forbid it.  They are saying it would be wrong for the government to forbid abortion because women would then receive less healthy abortions. Why, then, would it not be equally wrong for the government to discourage tanning with a tax if that tax resulted with people seeking out less-healthy methods of tanning?

While this might seem trivial, there is absolute proof that this is what is happening. People are buying the tanning beds they can afford, which are tanning beds that aren’t near as safe as modern beds that are more expensive.  If the government should protect abortion because forbidding it might be destructive to some who would choose to continue getting an abortion, how can the government discourage tanning with a tax when there is proof that it is more destructive to those who cannot afford the more expensive – safer- beds but choose to continue tanning.

They say, “We cannot discourage something to all that would provoke a few to do something worse.”  But they tax the people proving that when money is involved, they don’t really mind.

In the modern world, an agenda is often more important than consistency or being faithful to an ideal. No one should seek to hurt themselves or others for something as vain as the color of their skin, yet there is something to be noted.  The difference in tanning and abortion is that tanning in moderation, or even once, will not immediately digress and destroy the health of a life but having an abortion, even once, can be shown to cause immediate long term decreases in mental, emotional, and  physical health of the mother, let alone the child.

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