So, we here at Three Yards are all about supporting higher education through generous donations.
In the news today, we found this:
Illinois Proposes $5 Strip Club 'Skin Tax' abcn.ws/xfsslR—
ABC News (@ABC) February 16, 2012
Say it ain’t so, Land of Lincoln!
The article outlines a plan by an Illinois State Senator to add a $5 “Live Adult Entertainment Facility Tax” to all such venues across the state, with the proceeds going to government-funded sexual abuse programs.
Let that sink in, for a second. It sounds, a little, like the state of Illinois is putting a guilt tax on strip club patrons, because obviously all men who patronize a strip club are rapists, right?
“We’re not saying strip clubs are to be abolished or saying men who go to strip clubs are rapists, but we know strip clubs perpetuate that women’s bodies are for sale.” – Polly Poskin, executive director of the Coalition Against Sexual Assault, an advocacy group, who approached the senator to propose the bill
Owners of clubs across the state and members of the governing body for club owners (Side note: There’s a strip club owner association? Holy fuck! That’s like benefits upon benefits, and should be pursued as a pleasure monopoly) are speaking out against the proposed tax.
Advocates for the tax make the arguments that a) government funding for sexual assault programs has fallen with the current economic crisis, b) men will keep wanting to look at naked breasts even during said recession, and c) apparently the existence of women taking their clothes off for money is some sort of socioeconomic virus that degrades the very fiber of human culture and inter-gender relations. (Side note #2: This case study, from Australia, was written by a woman whose book title is The Industrial Vagina.)
Our (and by our, I mean my) argument is this: Men, and women, who go to strip clubs, in general, expect some sort of cover charge. If you told these patrons “Hey, $5 of your entrance fee is going to go to support victims of sexual abuse and assault, and work to prevent it from happening,” I’m relatively certain most of them would shrug, shill out the dough, and enjoy their $20 beers and difficult-to-explain-to-the-wife pant stains.
However, it’s dangerous because it’s proposed as a tax. Look, folks, it’s an election year. Proposing a new tax is never a good plan. Yes, there are so-called “sin taxes” on cigarettes and alcohol, and people have been paying them for years, but this is different. It’s as if a pack of cigarettes doubled in price, and consumers were told “This money is being collected by the government to pay the Medicare bills for smoking-induced lung cancer treatment.”
Would you keep smoking, at that point? Assuming you didn’t have Medicare, never got lung cancer, and never saw a dime of that money? Even though the proposed use of the money is for a great and worthwhile cause, if there’s anything my years of government service taught me is that no one can completely bungle fiduciary responsibilities like the government. Period. That “$300 toilet seat” joke everyone makes about the military? Completely true. I ordered one.
If your state-funded awareness and prevention programs are running short on funding, gouging $5 a head from horny, lonely middle-aged men with disposable income is not the responsible or correct way to fix it. If the programs are as effective and important as advertised, show us the data that proves it and find the money some other way.
If they’re not, leave it the hell alone.
To end on a lighter note, as we’re not in the business of engendering too much intellectual discourse, there’s this: