Don’t pass the gas tax

Published 12:39 am Wednesday, June 24, 2009

They say taxes and death are certain but where do we draw the line on what we tax?

Tea parties have popped up this year protesting the government spending spree and bringing out tax haters in all shapes, forms, colors and political parties. It is the re-enactment of The Boston Tea Party which was all about King George and being taxed without representation. As in the words of humorist, Gerald Barzan, “Taxation with representation ain’t so hot either.”

No one likes taxes, whether they be Democrat or Republican. Liking taxes is similar to saying you enjoy getting a shot. Who enjoys a needle piercing our bottoms? It hurts and it’s embarrassing… just like paying taxes.

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New taxes are being thrown around all the time, but the one on cow pooping or methane emissions by cows and pigs caught my eye as being a bit over the line of what is right. The “Pass the Gas” tax (as I call it) is really the Environmental Protection Agency’s proposal to levy taxes on farm animals to regulate greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act. The cost of such a tax could run $175 per dairy cow and $87.50 per beef cow and $20 for a pig.

What would this do to farmers and cattle ranchers? What would it do to the cost of bacon cheese burgers? True, we would eat less bacon cheeseburgers and thereby save money on healthcare and diet supplements but food is already so expensive. Have you bought a ribeye lately? You can finance it along with your mortgage.

I have a better idea. Why not give cow and pig owners a stimulus check to lower the cost of beef on the market thereby creating a mass consumption of steaks across the nation, ridding the air of cow farts? The air will clear up much better without government involvement because a dead cow cannot pass gas. Citizens, registered voters, will all be full and happy after feasting on BBQ ribs, grilled steaks and juicy cheeseburgers from paradise.

So what else is the EPA thinking about taxing to clean the air? Dog owners and cat owners have animals that “cut the cheese” too and they leave their little piles on sidewalks across America. Do we tax pet owners next?

Why not really bring in the tax revenue and tax children’s emissions as well? I had twins which for the first few weeks meant thirty diapers a day. Not only were their gaseous pollutants in the air but the diapers themselves are still somewhere in the McNeill mountain very much alive since pampers don’t deteriorate for a hundred years or so. The EPA could have made a bundle from my household emissions with a total of four boys, a husband and a small cat.

At least the children are tax deductible whether they pass gas or not.

I can point out an overwhelming source of gaseous emissions that could raise a large amount of revenue. There is a load of crap coming from our capital hill, let’s tax that!

It’s scary to know that cow dung taxes are possible, especially because our family cow farm, which if hit with such a tax bill, would close down forever. How many small time farmers could survive?

We complain about being taxed too much already — not just the income or federal taxes that hit us so hard each April, but those that hit us on a daily basis. Anything we buy comes with sales tax. We use our phone, federal miscellaneous taxes pop up on the bill; we watch cable, another tax fee and we drive cars which have tags which is a tax, and so on and so on! Where does it stop? Or will it?

Now air, water, and bacteria will be next if not already.

Does anyone hear our cry? Does anyone really care? Everyone in Washington, D.C., has their own agenda and if taxing cow gas pays for someone’s pet project then regular folks don’t have a chance of being heard. Sometimes we feel invisible because we are.

I have heard of the Fair Tax Act that would replace all federal income and payroll taxes and would fund our government through national retail sales tax. It sounds good because as a consumption tax you pay taxes only when you buy something. So, if you are broke, you don’t pay taxes. If you are rich enough to buy luxury items, then you pay more for them. The fairness comes from your own control of how much you spend countering how much you pay in taxes.

I can see two really good things from the Fair Tax: the end of the IRS and that crafty folks can’t get around paying taxes with fancy accounting and hidden ploys. The problem with this tax is that it sounds too good and too simple which means it can’t work. We like complicated in America.

Such is the joke about the man who needed a heart transplant and is offered a young, healthy person’s heart or the heart of an older man who worked for the IRS. He picked the agent’s heart because he knew it had not been used.

Look around you, what else is the tax man coming for? Is blood enough payment?

Jay Leno who just left the Tonight Show summed taxes up with this quote, “Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what’s called a red flag. That’s something the IRS always looks for. For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes. That’s a red flag.”

With this economy, with government spending at an all time high, watch your change in your jars at home because the tax man is a coming… and you might want to rethink selling the family cow for magic beans.

Tracy Williams is a guest columnist and can be reached at her website: