Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The New Oppression

Glenn Beck substitute host Doc Thompson finally understands the pain of racism:
For years I’ve suggested that racism was in decline and yeah, there are some, you know, incidents that still happen with regards to racism, but most of the claims I’ve said for years, well, they’re not really real. But I realize now that I was wrong. For I now too feel the pain of racism. Racism has been dropped at my front door and the front door of all lighter-skinned Americans. The health care bill the president just singed into law includes a 10 percent tax on all indoor tanning sessions starting July 1st, and I say, who uses tanning? Is it dark-skinned people? I don’t think so. I would guess that most tanning sessions are from light-skinned Americans. Why would the President of the United Stats of America — a man who says he understands racism, a man who has been confronted with racism — why would he sign such a racist law? Why would he agree to do that? Well now I feel the pain of racism.

And without tanning, how can the poor White man "pass" as Black, thus gaining access to all the benefits that accrue to dark-skinned persons in our society? It's just a way of locking in privilege, that's what it is!


Ivan Ludmer said...

You know, my first reaction was the same, but it kind of makes me wonder -- could there be a disproportionate impact type claim here? I mean, it's facially neutral, but the tax does disproportionately affect white people. I haven't looked at this stuff since first year con law, but it seems like it might be a fun question to check out.

joe said...

Ha, good luck winning any disparate impact challenge in our courts.

Thomas said...

The plastic surgery tax they took out might wouldn't have worked like this, but the tanning tax is a sin tax; not sure how that legally checks out, but seems like taxing cigarettes to me - the public will end up bearing the cost of the skin/lung cancer, so we tax it.

Tim said...


Actually, people save us money if they smoke. I find it bizarre that otherwise smart people try to argue the converse. (An economist once estimated that smokers save us X cents per pack - I forgot the figure.)

Primarily, smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer, two relatively quick ways to die. And if you die of lung cancer at 60, your treatment is not so expensive that it outweighs the consumption that comes with a further 20 years of life, including geriatric medical costs. And if you live long enough, you're virtually guaranteed to get cancer anyway. It's one way of dying of "old age."

Tim said...

The same logic would seem to apply to tanning, though it's not as surefire a way to get cancer.

It would be interesting to see if sin taxes end up costing the public money, because they discourage a lot of people from dying prematurely. But that might turn out to be an argument *for* sin taxes.

Anonymous said...

I know ,lets tax people who go outside in the sun.We will all get sun meters from the gov.to wear to alarm the gov. of who spends too much time in the sun.These days you can merly get cancer just being alive,as though it seems.TAX,TAX,TAX.This Pres. is a nation divider and everyday it is becoming evident.The poor will be hit the hardest.The people with $ will keep living the way they do no matter how much the Pres. wants to raise the tax.To create bigger gov. you have to create hardships to intervene.

joe said...

I really wonder where commenters like Anonymous come from. I mean, sure you expect them on news sites and big blogs, but I always figured Debate Link was the kind of niche blog that "TAX, TAX, TAX" screamers had neither the intellectual curiosity to peruse nor the commitment to reaching the niche audience.

But maybe David's just hit the big leagues, and all the roughage in the comments that volume of readership entails.

PG said...


Primarily, smoking causes heart disease and lung cancer, two relatively quick ways to die.

Lung cancer is still a relatively quick way to die. Heart disease has not been a quick way to die for the last 20-odd years. My father is a cardiologist; he's keeping many people alive who have heart disease.

If we could guarantee that people who smoke will get lung cancer before they get any other major condition, smoking would save us money, but judging by my dad's patients (admittedly a small sample), that's not how it works. There are many, many smokers whose smoking contributes to heart disease before (if ever) causing lung cancer. And they are on Medicare. And Medicare pays enough out to put three kids through college and graduate school, and fund at least one ridiculous wedding.

Rebecca said...

Anon - I didn't realize it was the poor who were using tanning parlors. Try thinking before your post, the next time.