Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Prostitution’ Category

I have a love-hate relationship with tax loopholes.

I’m a big fan of the flat tax, in part because I hate when powerful interest groups use their insider connections to get special treatment. This corrupt process helps explain why the tax code is now a 74,000-page monstrosity.

I want to get rid of all preferences, deductions, credits, deductions, exclusions, and shelters, including one that benefit me such as the home mortgage interest deduction, the charitable contributions deduction, and the state and local tax deduction.

On the other hand, I favor just about anything that lets people keep more of their money. Loopholes are escape hatches that people can use to protect themselves from the grasping claws of the IRS.

The bottom line is that we should only get rid of loopholes if every penny of potential new revenue is used to finance lower tax rates.*

Now that we’ve covered some basics, let’s stop being serious and boring and look at what has to be the strangest tax loophole in the United States.

And it wasn’t even concocted by the crowd in Washington. The award for strangest tax loophole goes to the politicians of Nevada, who decided at some point not to apply the sales tax to prostitution.

Here are some of the details from the New York Daily News.

Nevada Hooker TaxThe tax man may soon be visiting a few Nevada brothels. …Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick (D-North Las Vegas) says the bill would target events and businesses that have either been deemed exempt from state sales taxes or have simply been overlooked. Those operations include brothels, which Nevada lawmakers have been hesitant to tax out of fear that doing so would further legitimize the stigmatized, but legal trade. …George Flint, the director of the Nevada Brothel Association, fears that so-called houses of ill repute could not handle an 8% tax on money spent at brothels, and has proposed a $5 entrance fee instead.

As a libertarian, I suppose I should be impressed. Not only is this “victimless crime” legal, but it isn’t taxed!

But as an observer of politics, I’m completely perplexed. Normally, politicians love to impose “sin taxes” on behaviors that are seen as unseemly. It’s sort of a win-win situation for them. They get to collect more revenue while telling us that it’s for our own good.

This helps explain why there are high taxes on things such as booze, cigarettes, energy, and fast food.

So why have Nevada politicians overlooked (at least up to now) the chance to tax prostitution?

I suppose I could make a joke that they didn’t want to tax the things that they consume, but I’m being serious.

Are the lobbyists for brothels super effective? Well, they probably do have the best holiday parties, but is that why prostitution isn’t taxed?

Beats me. Sounds like a good opportunity for public policy research.

*Another concern is that many politicians don’t understand the difference between a tax loophole such as ethanol and a tax penalty such as double taxation, so their version of tax reform could make bad policies even worse.

P.S. Since this post is about taxes and prostitution, I can’t resist sharing this bit of humor.

P.P.S. Speaking of prostitution, did you know that British taxpayers finance sex trips to Amsterdam?

P.P.P.S. You won’t be surprised to learn that climate-change ideologues claim that global warming causes prostitution.

P.P.P.P.S. You also won’t be surprised to learn that the Germans have figured out very creative ways of taxing prostitution.

Read Full Post »

I thought conservatives were the ones with an unseemly fixation on sex. They’re supposed to be the Puritans who, in the words of Mencken, have a “haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.”

Maybe that’s true in a few cases, but it also appears that some leftists also are bizarrely focused on sex. Only instead of worrying that someone may be having fun, they concoct novel claims that a statist agenda is necessary to stop prostitution.

Just the other day, for instance, some lawmakers actually asserted that “climate change” would force more women to become prostitutes.

Several House Democrats are calling on Congress to recognize that climate change is hurting women more than men, and could even drive poor women to “transactional sex” for survival. …Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and a dozen other Democrats, says the results of climate change include drought and reduced agricultural output. It says these changes can be particularly harmful for women. “[F]ood insecure women with limited socioeconomic resources may be vulnerable to situations such as sex work, transactional sex.

Though these American politicians are behind the times. A Filipino bureaucrat at the United Nations proposed this laughable theory as early as 2009.

While the link between climate change and “transactional sex” is a bit of a stretch, to put it mildly, it’s not the only area where leftists make bizarre and unsubstantiated assertions about stopping prostitution with a statist agenda.

I thought I had dealt with every imaginable silly argument against tax havens, but I didn’t give my leftist friends enough credit. It seems that low-tax jurisdictions somehow facilitate sex slavery.

While battles over government budget deficits dominate the media coverage, tax havens pose a much bigger problem. They facilitate bribery, they enable sex slavery, and they foster terrorism. As Sachs notes, “the havens serve countless purposes, yet not one is for the social good.”

Not surprisingly, there’s not a single piece of evidence to support any of the assertions in this excerpt. We’re just supposed to believe that financial privacy laws enable bad things because of money laundering.

Yet actual real-world evidence – as opposed to ideologically motivated assertions – shows that tax havens are not money-laundering centers. Indeed, they generally have stronger laws against dirty money than “onshore” jurisdictions.

P.S. So why do leftists have this quirky fixation about prostitutes and public policy? Do they go to left-wing conferences and hear stories from Dominique Strauss-Kahn , the infamous former head of the IMF. Or do they get briefings from my one-time debating opponent Elliot Spitzer, who also was disgraced because of “transactional sex”?

Read Full Post »

I don’t know if this is true, but it’s been circulating for so long that there’s probably some fire under all the smoke. Does anybody know if this is for real, or an urban legend?

Read Full Post »

I think Viagra subsidies for sex offenders are an absurd example of government stupidity in America. I’m also amazed that European taxpayers are forced to pay for penile implants for bureaucrats at the European Commission. But I’m almost speechless to learn that British taxpayers are financing hanky-panky with prostitutes in Amsterdam for some disabled citizens. According to the Daily Mail, taxpayers across the pond also are paying for lap dances, though it’s unclear why some beneficiaries get deluxe “full service” trips to foreign countries while others must make do with trips to local strip clubs. I have great sympathy for people who are disabled, and I certainly have no problem with them purchasing sexual services, but I agree with the guy from the Disability Alliance that this is not an appropriate role for government.

A ‘man of 21 with learning disabilities has been granted taxpayers’ money to fly to Amsterdam and have sex with a prostitute. His social worker says sex is a ‘human right’ for the unnamed individual – described as a frustrated virgin. His trip to a brothel in the Dutch capital’s red light district next month is being funded through a £520million scheme introduced by the last government to empower those with disabilities. They are given a personal budget and can choose what services this is spent on. The man’s social worker, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said his client was an ‘angry, frustrated and anxious young man’ who had a need for sex. …The trip emerged in data from Freedom of Information requests which revealed that many councils are using the money from the government’s Putting People First scheme to pay for prostitutes, visits to lap dancing clubs and exotic holidays. …Critics yesterday said the use of taxpayers’ money to fund sex trips abroad as ‘deeply worrying’. In Greater Manchester and Norfolk, social care clients have used their payments for internet dating subscriptions. …Neil Coyle, director of policy at Disability Alliance, said most people with disabilities did not want or expect the state to pay for sexual services. ‘Public bodies don’t exist to find people sexual partners,’ he said.

Read Full Post »

The enviro-nuts must be getting really desperate. A bureaucrats from the Philippines actually is claiming that global warming is causing more prostitution, which is increasing the spread of HIV. I can easily believe that more prostitution is a reciple for more sexually-transmitted diseases, but the assertion that climate change is causing more prostitution is laughably absurd:

Effects of climate change have driven women in communities in coastal areas in poor countries like the Philippines to risk dangerous jobs, and sometimes even into the flesh trade. Suneeta Mukherjee, country representative of the United Nations Food Population Fund (UNFPA), said women in the Philippines are the most vulnerable to the effects of climate change in the country. “Climate change could reduce income from farming and fishing possibly driving some women into sex work and thereby increase HIV infection,” Mukherjee said during the Wednesday launch of the UNFPA annual State of World Population Report in Pasay City.

Read Full Post »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,285 other followers

%d bloggers like this: