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LISTEN NOWThe Freedom Files Podcast Episode 54: David BahnsenListen Here


ObamaCare: Burned by the “Tanning Tax”

(Artist: Gary Varvel, The Indianapolis Star, 2010)

In its first nine months, the ObamaCare “tanning bed tax” raised only $54.4 million, barely one-third of the roughly $150 million predicted when the controversial — and costly — health care law was being debated in Congress. 

The “Tanning Tax” is just one of the many new taxes created in ObamaCare. Its failure to meet expectations further erodes the credibility of a law that, according to polls, is opposed by a solid majority of Americans.

While some of the revenue shortfall may have been due to first-year bungling by the Internal Revenue Service bureaucracy, the more likely explanation for the overly optimistic projection is that congressional budget “experts” failed to take into account the basic laws of economics. Taxation fundamentally alters behavior because people respond to incentives. A quarter of salons surveyed have reported a drop in business since the tax began to be collected on July 1, 2010. One possible reason for the relatively meager revenue derived from the tax is that some tanning salons already on the brink of going out of business were pushed over the edge by this tax.

Of course, customers might also be switching to tanning methods that don’t fall under the new tax, such as spray-on tans and tanning lotions. This might please those who advocated the tax in order to lower the use of dangerous tanning beds, but Americans concerned about the debt and deficit have to be worried. ObamaCare will already cost $2.6 trillion over its first ten years of full operation. Overly optimistic revenue projections across the board will only further increase the deficit and drive America deeper into debt. Repealing ObamaCare and its hundreds of disastrous and problematic provisions and programs and replacing it with market-based solutions is the only realistic way -- indeed it's only a first, necessary step -- to turn the tide of federal spending and address the rising costs of health care. 

The farther one digs into the 2,801 page ObamaCare bill, the more problems one finds. If the Democratic congressional leaders who supported this massive law couldn’t properly estimate the effects of a simple, 10% excise tax on indoor tanning services, why should we believe their claims that ObamaCare “won’t cost taxpayers a dime” and repealing it will “increase the deficit”? 

This is yet another reason why we need to make 2012 the last year of ObamaCare. 

Bill Bradley

I think that the 10% tax/penalty on tanning booths will turn out to be just a test balloon for further taxes on any and every activity, product, or food which has ever been linked to an injury or disease and consequently required medical attention. Since they’ve been able to tax cigarettes and tobacco products because of the health care related costs, it’s hard to believe that with these two tax/penalties setting precedence, that they haven’t already set in motion a one or two cent tax on double bacon cheeseburgers and any food over a set percentage of fat and/or sugar. Then why not a 50 cent tax on ski lift tickets? With the additional cost of x-rays, orthopedic surgeries, and physical therapy which come from skiing and snow boarding it would only be “fair”. Or maybe a 2 dollar tax on ladders, or chain saws? Or a buck on bicycles and skateboards? Or maybe 2 dollars on each round of gun ammunition? Or better yet, an annual tax on registered guns, especially assault rifles. How about 100$ per year to own an assault rifle? Then it’s not a 2’nd amendment issue, it’s a HHS risk assessment penalty issue, and now it’s under the purview of the IRS. They could raise billions of dollars, target any industry or product they wanted, and control the behavior of every American. All they have to do is to put one or two cents to start, and after the dust settled, they could begin to edge the fee up to whatever they wanted, especially if they called it a “penalty”, instead of a tax like Pelossi was arguing for, because now, any czar could establish the amount without the need for congressional approval. Anyone thinking that Obamacare was about Obama actually caring about the cost of healthcare is delusional. The health care issue was a total ruse to effectively inject a “virus” into every aspect of our lives and ultimately controlling nearly every aspect of our behavior. This thing is a monstrosity.

Jerome C. Borden

Two things happened. First, there is that pesky law of economics that says taxing an activity tends to reduce it. Second, Nanny-States popped up to protect people from themselves so they won't get cancer in their later years. Just to show Republicans are just as "Nanny" as the rest of them, Utah passed a law forbidding use of tanning beds by people under the age of eighteen (18). Sorry about those tax revenues, Barry.


Honestly...the smarty smarts didnt think about the fact that if people have to pay more for something they would just simply stop buying it?? Geesh! duh!


54.4 million is still a high amount of money collected for a tan. Just saying.
I work for a major health insurance company and I was told via a health survey that I have a high risk of skin-cancer just for spending time outdoors. Big brother is very well.