5.21.2008

An Alternative to Chopping California Education

Rather than shoot our future by cutting funding for education in California (again) I would prefer to see the Governator do something progressive, thoughtful and inspired.

I don't expect inspiration from him because I tend to think he's a colossal meatheaded douchebag who can't even speak for himself, he has to quote his lame movie lines.

But I can still hope.

Anyway, my idea is the sin tax. Taxing non-essential "sin" items like alcohol and cigarettes. Raising the cost of these items actually does several things. One, it will generate an enormous amount of revenue. Two, it will encourage some to quit smoking. Three, those smokers who quit will be healthier over the long run and will reduce the load on the healthcare system proportionately.

Is a sin tax the perfect solution? No, not at all. But we don't live in a perfect world, we live in reality where something's got to give or the whole shithouse is going to come down on us. And shorting education is about the worst solution I can think of (save perhaps closing all the prisons and letting the convicts run free).

And why not other progressive ideas? Like legalizing marijuana and taxing it? There's no doubt that a substantial percentage of Californians smoke pot regularly. It aids an untaxed black market economy that could represent a rather large revenue stream. Also, decriminalizing pot would ease an enormous and unnecessary load on our prison system since putting a dope smoker in prison will likely just convert him from a "lipstick" crook into a full-on thug via the penal education system.

I don't have any idea how the whole thing could shake out but I do know that taxing sin items has multiple positive aspects to it (and some negatives to be sure). Far more positive than shorting education and producing less qualified, less educated and less educatible population which will be more likely to resort to criminal lifestyles as a means of survival.

Tax optional sin items, legalize and tax marijuana for personal use, do not short education, do not close national parks to save piddling amounts of money and actually lead by example instead of relying on pathetic, short sighted and overly optimistic lottery earnings to save us.

Or hey, here's another idea. Make a dollar lottery ticket cost a buck ten and put that extra ten cents towards the shortfall.

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