Determined to make poorer Oklahomans fund state government, the Lege added a $1 sin tax to every pack of cigarettes purchased. That’s better than the $1.50 tax that had been proposed, but it still leaves non-smokers as free-loaders. Since the new tax amounts to five cents per cigarette, my drive for basic fairness suggests that we add a five cent fair-share tax per every 12 ounces of ice cream or soda pop sold. Cigarettes and sugar are the leading contributors to poor health in Oklahoma. If partakers of one are to be discouraged from their deleterious behavior, fairness and logic say the others should be similarly encouraged toward healthier lifestyles.
Fairness and logic are rare commodities in protect-our-donor deliberations at 21st and Lincoln. So, our lawmakers targeted another group of sinners to fund state government by increasing state gambling options. Thus, the solution to state financing seems to reside in finding “sins” to tax so we fine folks can skip our fair share of the governmental tab.
OK. How about a dollar per pill state tax on pills designed to eradicate erectile dysfunction? Here’s a drug-induced stimulant to encourage sexual activity – always frowned on by the holier-than-thou crowd – and unnatural sex acts, if you will, since the natural course of events is the aforementioned dysfunction. Sounds like sketchy behavior to me.
The Mayo Clinic lists 16 physical causes for ED though it ignores the obvious condition that many are tied to the general bodily debilitations of aging. And, those pills aim only at a symptom, not the root cause, treatment or cure of the underlying condition. Such a tax could serve the same “discouragement” factor often cited by the tax-the-smokers crowd. Higher cigarette costs are supposed to discourage risky behavior in teens. Again – to be fair – logic says we should be just as vigilant in discouraging risky behavior for those in my age group. Healthline cites a “dangerous drop in blood pressure” as a side effect of the anti-ED drugs along with nasal congestion, headaches, vision and hearing problems and upset stomachs. And, most of the incessant TV ads for anti-ED pills consists in dire warnings connected with their usage.
And, we haven’t even addressed the sociological implications of the promiscuous behavior being encouraged.
Anti-ED drugs are not to be confused with Oklahoma’s anti-Ed drudges who consider educational institutions monetary loss centers, whose decimation leaves more money in their donors’ pockets and creates an uneducated populace susceptible to their scams. Prominent on this list are GOP governor candidates Todd Lamb, the invisible Lt. Governor; Tulsa lawyer Gary Richardson and Tulsa businessman Kevin Stitt, who all said they would have vetoed the minimum plan that Gov. Fallin signed.
Another possible revenue source occurred to me when I saw the picture of the smiling Ada schoolgirl studying from the same book that Blake Shelton used in 1982-83. Blake’s autograph should be worth something. School officials need to check for other sources in old textbooks, such as a Carrie Underwood book from Checotah, a Reba McEntire from Kiowa, or a Garth Brooks from Yukon. Or, looking for some real antiques, maybe we can get some textbooks still in use once toted by Seiling’s Gary England, Laverne’s Jane Jayroe or the McDaniel brothers or Darrel Royal from Hollis or perhaps a Fred Harris text from Walters.
(Gary Edmondson is Stephens County Democratic Party Chair.)