Last week the Litchfield County Times ran an Op/Ed column entitled The Sin Business Is Not for States. In the electronic version the County Times’ editors dropped “Not for States” from the title. Unlike the dumb columnist they were aware that sin is, in fact, the state’s business.
The column was about state and local governments’ sorry forays in the sin business [gambling, sex and booze] resulting in bankruptcy or, at best, mediocre profits. You can access the article on The Litchfield County Times' Internet web site or at ttp://www.countytimes.com/articles/2011/01/14/opinion/op-ed/doc4d2f27da6483ae531500359.txt.
My advice to governments, both domestic and international, was to leave sin well enough alone and to the private sector. The “pros”, the bookies, bootleggers, pimps, madams and hookers, they know what they’re doing; after all they have been doing it for centuries. It is unseemly for government to engage in booze, gambling and prostitution. These are not proper governmental functions. My unsolicited advice to government was to let them be, but tax the living beejesus out of them.
Europe’s financial “pigs” [Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain] are desperately trying to stave off financial collapse and support a floundering Euro. There are rumors that the Euro is facing its demise. The cost of borrowing to keep governments afloat is soaring, now in the double digits. Soon the “pigs” will have to pay interest rates that American consumers have been coping with for years. Welcome “pigs” to the 19% interest rate on you international Visa and Master Card debt.
The “pigs” are scrambling to find new revenues, restructure debt, cut costs and services and save the Euro as a currency. Retirement age is no longer 60 or 62, we are now talking 70. Even Europe’s non “pigs” are putting safety measures in effect. England has tripled university tuition and sharply reduced welfare benefits. France has instituted draconian pension reforms. Public sector wages have been slashed. Income taxes have risen. Because of this the Euro’s existence is threatened, so they say.
Holland, has sagely taken my advice. They have seen the writing on the wall and have found a new untapped source of revenue: commercial sex. Now do not be alarmed, the canny Dutch are not going to plunge headfirst into the sex business. They will leave sex to the “pros”, as in prostitutes, already toiling in the industry, and to the ladies sitting and trolling for customers in the windows of Amsterdam’s Red Light District [Rosseburt].
No, as a matter of fact, Holland is going to encourage the ladies of the night to do their utmost, to ramp up their efforts, to go the extra mile, or in this case millimeter, with the aid of Viagra to help their country. To become the Rosie the Riveters of the sex industry in this time of dire need. Holland will raise the much needed revenue by enforcing that uniquely New York City solution, the Parking Tax.
For you foreigners and non New Yorkers, let me explain: You drive your car to Manhattan, a congested place and with little if no public parking. Parking is very much like sex, you got to, you need to, and so you must. And when you do, New York City slaps you with an 18.5% tax on top of the exorbitant ransom that those few minutes of parking cost. When you add the sales tax, the income tax paid by the owners and workers in the industry you have huge amount of cash, not to be sneezed at.
That is exactly what Holland is doing. Since legalizing prostitution in 2002 Holland has taxed sex earnings as just plain income. While the sex trade is significant, generating a least $865 million in income according to the Central Bureau of Statistics, it remains substantially untaxed. Following New York’s example there is a 19% sales tax on each sexual transaction. Enforcing the tax on sex will generate millions of dollars in revenues.
The Dutch are ahead of the curve. They are going to permit, then promote, then enhance sex and then tax the beejesus out of it, all to balance the budget. Now if the Greeks, the Portuguese and the rest of Europe would just follow their lead, austerity will be avoided, budget balanced and the Euro saved.