On July 1st, just a few short days ago, one of the first repercussions of the ObamaCare passage has come to fruition. A 10% tax on tanning is now in effect as a means to “raise money to provide health care” to the uninsured. This makes perfect economic sense because we know the best way to help stimulate during a recession is by raising taxes and jacking up the cost of goods to drive away an already struggling customer base. Or maybe not.
However, as with all government programs, there is always a double-edged sword and numerous other nuances which need to be explored.
Story from the WaPo:
One of the less publicized measures in the new health-care law, the tax imposes a 10 percent surcharge on the use of ultraviolet indoor tanning beds.
Supporters — including the Obama administration, congressional Democrats and dermatologists — have argued that the tax will raise an estimated $2.7 billion toward the cost of expanding health coverage to the uninsured, while discouraging a practice that increases the risk of skin cancer by as much as threefold in frequent users, according to scientific research.
Make sure you read that bold section and understand it fully. There are diametrically opposed fields of thought coming from the government when it comes to this tanning tax.
First, the 10% tax on tanning is supposed to raise $2.7 billion (I don’t believe that) toward the ObamaCare bill.
Second, the 10% tax on tanning is supposed to discourage the use of tanning.
Please tell me how this is supposed to fit together? How can you expect to raise money off a service you are trying to discourage people from using? You can call this hypocrisy, sure, just like cigarette taxes where state and federal governments make billions all while discoursing people from smoking. If this tanning tax discourages people from tanning then the $2.7 billion number goes out the window with the rest of the cooked math used by the Obama administration to sell ObamaCare to congress.
The truth in the matter is really that this has nothing to do with discouraging people from tanning and everything to do with thieving more funds from the private sector to fund a program already on track to go bankrupt.
More from the story:
But outraged tanning salon owners worry that the levy could deal a death blow to an industry already reeling from the recession.
“In 26 years of business this is the worst I’ve seen it,” said Scott Shortnacy, owner of the Arlington Solar Planet as well as six other branches in the Washington area. “Normally for people who tan, it’s a part of their lifestyle. They keep doing it even in a recession. But everybody has been looking for ways to cut back on those areas. … Our sales are down 20 to 30 percent.”
According to the Indoor Tanning Association, an industry trade group, most of the nation’s 19,000 tanning salons are small businesses owned and staffed by women. Shortnacy said all but two of his several dozen employees are women. With business so slow, he opted against hiring the 10 to 15 seasonal workers he normally adds during the spring high season.
Even the Arlington salon, Shortnacy’s most successful location because of its proximity to sun-deprived Pentagon workers and Northern Virginia mall shoppers, is suffering. Appointments have dropped from 300 per day to about 160.
So you have an already struggling industry due to the recession and yet now we have a new layer of federal taxes on each transaction for tanning. The Obama administration couldn’t be more incompetent in terms of what helps grow and stimulate the economy if it tried.
President Obama does not care about small business nor does he have any intention of actually stimulating the economy with the private sector. This tanning tax, among other things, simple helps to illustrate that since it will be another burden on an already struggling industry.
See our new page devoted to exposing new ObamaCare taxes which start in 2011.