Wednesday, September 2

Tax the stupid

Actually, it makes total sense. If you are stupid enough to do something extremely stupid despite repeated warnings, then you are allowed to be stupid, the government WILL rescue you and will charge you for being stupid.

Governments charge taxes for all sorts of things such as earning money, buying property, flying in airplanes and getting gas. Now the French have come up with a new idea: a tax on being stupid.

This could be a huge windfall if applied generally. The French Foreign Ministry is proposing a very narrow law requiring citizens foolish enough to wander into international danger zones, regardless of public warnings, to pay at least part of the cost of their own rescue.

It’s an excellent concept. Teenagers who miss the last train home are told by their parents to pay the cab fare out of their own pocket money. So why shouldn’t thrill-seeking travellers pick up the tab for such obvious recklessness as sailing into the pirate-infested waters of the Gulf of Aden?

That kind of stupidity is what propelled the French into action. On three occasions since April 2008, French naval forces have had to save their citizens while sailing off the coast of Somalia. In a rescue operation earlier this year, one French hostage died as commandoes stormed his commandeered yacht. Three pirates were killed.

Diverting navy frigates and mounting raids like these cost a lot of money, at a time when France is trying to keep its deficit under control. No wonder Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner aims to spread the burden and share the responsibility.

resources are limited and specially military resources are even more rare and unique. To ask them to go rescue you out of being stupid…, i can see the sense in asking for rescue but why would rest of the taxpayers pay for your stupidity? A similar kind of thinking underlies the concept of asking alcoholic people to go on no alcohol diets before giving them valuable and rare organs. Similarly you hear about situation where medical care is refused to people who are obese. Interesting pragmatism, eh? Trust the French to come up with something like this. While saying that, I am thinking about Army teams which go about climbing Mount Everest. Now, they are public servants, should the Army fund these kinds of activities? Its not as simple as that, but if the individual does want to go do something risky and stupid which might entail the spend of public monies….

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