The Ultimate Sin Tax

Read this, then come back:  Brothels Ask to Be Taxed, but Official Sees a Catch – NYTimes.com.

Several years ago, when I was living in Lansing, Michigan in a quaint apartment near the intersection of Kalamazoo and Pennsylvania, the LSJ came out with an article, front pager even, that said something about “the oldest profession” and the problems it was creating for dear, quiet Kalamazoo St (or was it Ave?).

It seems quite ironic to me, all these wars we are fighting.  We believe that we are free, yet we have Wars on Poverty, Wars on Drugs, Wars on Terrorists, Wars on Bad Schools, the list goes on.  When do we take a look at the accounting and see if our efforts, physical and monetary, are adding up?  When do we see how the balance sheet really balances?  Are we putting more money into a system and yielding fewer results as the years go on?  When the War on Drugs started, what were the major drugs of the day: LCD, marijuana, heroin?  What do we have today?  I think we have a longer list.  Today, we also have cocaine, meth, crystal meth (are they the same thing?), pot laced with bad stuff, date-rape drugs, etc.  So, we’ve emptied all this money into defeating a problem that is actually defeating us.

I think the same could be said of prostitution.  The LSJ recognized it, many of us recognize it, it’s the oldest profession.  That means, about the time we humans were created our desire for extramarital affairs rose too.  I know this will irk many a Christian (and probably other religious folk too), but let’s think about this for a minute.  We live in a state where we have a Freedom of Religion.  If you’re Christian, we’re taught to “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  That means that as Christians we abide by our code and pay our taxes to Caesar, and while we are on this earth we abide by both laws.  Winding our American beliefs into that, it also means that we should let the atheists do their thing, while we Christians do our thing and the Muslims do their thing and the Puritans do their thing.  It is our job as Christians to show people with our actions the right path as we understand it.  But, should we do that in the legislator?  I think to a point, yes, but regarding things like prostitution, the oldest profession in the world, we should concede defeat and tax it.

Most of Nevada does that.  The article states as long as a county is under a certain population, 400,000 residents, prostitution has been legal since 1971.  This excludes Las Vegas, our famed sin city.  The more conservative legislature of Nevada refuses a hearing to Nevada’s Brothel Association, who wants to create a larger tax base on Brothels.  The leader, Flint, states it would be an insurance policy, and others speculate it would open the door for legalizing prostitution throughout the rest of Nevada.  And this makes the more conservative legislature balk at the idea.

I wonder, should we be jumping at the idea of any possible increase in tax revenue, even if it makes our morals shrivel?  The War on Prostitution, though, is a war we are likely going to lose.  So, again, why not concede defeat, tax it, regulate it, and put some of those taxes to good use.  We already have lotteries where we tax the poor to pay for the schools, why not do the same here?