January 23, 2011
Mendax News Service
The recent congressional backlash about Obamacare has emboldened the Republicans to pass a repeal of the act in the House, but it is expected to fail in the Senate. One of the biggest complaints is funding the program in a time of austerity for most of the country.
Senator Justin Morrill (R- VT) has proposed funding the program by imposing a tax on air. Morrill says that his proposal is a common sense approach to funding the program and will yield health benefits as well. All the details have not been hammered out, but the initial proposal is to weigh everybody in the country and determine their probable lung capacity. After determining how much air each person is using a tax would be calculated based on usage with an additional fee for the carbon dioxide exhaled. Morrill claims that it only makes sense for people to pay a carbon tax on all the carbon dioxide they exhale, thus contributing to climate change.
Several of Morrill's allies argue that everyone should pay his fair share for the air he uses and the carbon dioxide he dumps into the environment. As presently envisioned, the tax would be based on how much air - measured in standard cubic feet at one atmosphere - each person actually uses, not a one-size-fits-all approach. Athletes would obviously have to pay more than a sedentary person since they use more air.
One trial balloon being floated - real balloons would be exempt since most are filled with helium, not air - is a proposal that every child would have to present a doctor's certificate at the beginning of each school year, estimating the air usage by said child for a year. Adults would fall under a similar requirement for work. Those who don't work would have to present a tax certificate to obtain any benefits. Another proposal being explored is requiring everyone to show a tax stamp every time a purchase of drugs, groceries, gasoline or medical services is made. Supporters of the idea admit that there will be some who slip through the cracks, such as people living under bridges that live off the land, transients and other potential tax-cheats.
Opponents of the idea fret that once enacted, the tax will be increased and therefore seek guarantees that the tax can not be increased for five years. Congressman Neville Milquetoast, chairman of the group Conservative Republicans Against Paternalism, says that the plan is unworkable and won't raise enough revenue to justify the costs of implementation. Supporters counter that too many people have gotten a free ride for too long, using up the country's air and not contributing anything.
Some have raised what many are calling a "Naderite" objection - that being that the tax should be lower in places having poor air quality - but people are highly mobile and it just makes sense for the tax to be uniform, but also variable based on use. Others have tried to claim that it is similar to a capitation tax, forbidden by the constitution, but supporters have pointed out that it is a tax on the air used by the person; not the person himself and have not allowed themselves to be drawn into a debate over constitutional trivia.
Some, on what might be called the "Lunatic Fringe" dismiss the whole idea as unconstitutional, not recognizing the new paradigm we operate under nor that the constitution is a living document with no fixed meaning.