Friday, May 20, 2011

Can You Tax Stupidity?

A couple of stories caught my eye recently. 

First, a so-called "fat tax" was proposed by a (until now) obscure Illinois state representative named Shane Cultra, a state representative from Onarga, IL. 

In Cultra's world, the parents of fat kids are to be punished, and he proposed taking away the state income tax deduction for the parents of baby mu mu.    "I think you need to look at a bill to take the tax deduction away for their child if he's obese, Cultra said."

Cultra tried to distance himself from the comments by suggesting they were in jest, yet video of his comments suggests he was dead serious.

Here's the thing.  Few would dispute our country has an obesity problem, and certainly youngsters developing good habits is important.  But obesity has many causes, and how exactly would you enforce the law?   Would H&R Block have scales handy to weigh in kids before signing a tax return?  Would schools need to set up "chocolate detectors" in the entrances? 

I was overweight as a kid.  My Mom used to order me toughskins jeans from the Sears catalog.  Husky size, code language for big boned, or overweight, or fat.  

Or obese.  We are a bit more enlightened today.  I grew, so in my case I was just undertall, not overweight. 

Perhaps Representative Cultra should chair a committee to develop new punitive methods for dealing with bad parents.  How about losing your tax deduction if jumping Jimmy has a tantrum on an airplane, or if little Laura scores poorly on a standardized test? 

Seems to me the pork crisis is in government, not our children.  I wouldn't vote Cultra for dog catcher.

And, of course, we have Arnold "The Sperminator" Schwarzenegger, who revealed that he has a ten year old "love child" shortly after news that he and wife Maria Shriver had separated.

Then things went tawdry with word that Shriver gave birth to her and Schwantzenegger's third child a week after the "love child," giving new meaning to his film "True Lies."

All of this is sad, particularly for the children involved.  At the same time, Shriver grew up in a family of Lotharios, and Maria knew she wasn't marrying Robert Young. 

"Ahnult" never hid from his behavior, acknowledging during his initial run for California governor that he had "behaved badly." 

In political terms it's a cliche.  See man run.   See man win.  See man be pig. 

And in Arnold's case, see man reveal affair and child only after leaving office.  As Saturday Night Live's "church lady" says, "How conveeeeeeeeeeeeenient."

I'm skeptical that Maria didn't know, given that the woman worked in their home for 20 years.  Besides, wouldn't it be hard to miss a toddler with a spray-on tan, thong and an Austrian accent?

Come to think of it, why not take away their state tax deduction for stupidity? 

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