Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Roboseyo code of taxes and bonuses

This is one of Rob Ouwehand's personal silly theories: the discount/tax system. It's a fun conversation topic. People's life choices ought to have financial implications: it might lead certain people to correct their behaviour. For example:

1. The stupid tax. People who do stupid things should get a stupid tax. Speeding on the highway is a ticket. Speeding in traffic, on a crowded highway, or being rude to the officer who pulls you over should be subject to a stupid tax at the officer's discretion. The stupid tax is also what you pay for things like forgetting to pay bills on time, not returning library books, etc. -- money you're paying that you shouldn't need to. SUV owners should be paying $20000/year of stupid taxes. Brand name items should have a stupid tax. . . or maybe a sheep tax . . . on them.

2. The smart bonus -- people who do things that make common sense should get the smart bonus -- people who consistently recycle, who put aside money for retirement, who buy used cars instead of new ones, etc., or avoid credit card debt, or write shopping lists to save making extra trips, should get a smart bonus.

3. The nice guy discount -- self explanatory. Just be polite, people. It's not really hard, and it makes everybody feel better. I just got a "nice guy discount" at my dentist, and managed to save a goodly bit of money! Maybe you should even be able to get "nice guy discount" vouchers for volunteering. . . but then it wouldn't be volunteering anymore, really.

4. The rude tax -- this is a big one. Rude people, if they won't care about other people because of pure human dignity, should learn to be polite because it'll hit their pocketbook if they keep pushing to get the empty seat on the bus, arguing with cashiers about prices (they don't set the prices, dumbass!), spitting in the street, and leering at young women wearing skirts.

5. The green bonus -- people who drive hybrid or low output cars, people who use public transportation, who recycle, carpool, use trash cans, conserve water and turn off lights, absolutely deserve a green bonus. SUV owners, people who drive everywhere, who buy over-packaged goods, may even need to pay a green tax. I think fossil fuels should be taxed right through the nose. As should cigarettes.

6. The sheep tax -- see "brand names" in point one. People who pay extra for brand names, people who buy celebrity gossip magazines, people who buy new clothes with each fashion season, who go to "trendy" places just to show that they're hip. Of all the taxes, this is the one that could have the most far-reaching implications, culturally (though the green bonus might be the most important one).

The sheep tax could even extend to counterculture people -- counterculture can be just as herd-ish as pop culture. If you shop at second hand stores because your friends do, if you hate certain singers or movies on principle, rather than because they suck, or get all your music or fashion choices from the "underground/indie" website/zine du jour, if you choose to dislike the Beatles or Shakespeare, for the pure sake of argument -- you're making choices based on other people's opinions, rather than focusing on what actually makes you happy, and that's just silly.

Now that I think of it, really, cigarettes deserve a stupid tax, a green tax, and a rude tax, and maybe even a sheep tax, if you started because your friends do. Can anybody think of anything that deserves to be taxed more than cigarettes and SUVs that never go off-road?

OK, now it's your turn. Post a behaviour that deserves one of these taxes or bonuses -- sound out! When you hit "post comment", I have to check it before it goes up, so you won't see it right away, but don't worry: it's there, waiting for me! Propose another tax or bonus I ought to add.


melissa v. said...

I really think we need a racist pig tax. When I attend baby showers they often have this stupid game where you have a soother on a string around your neck and if you say "baby" or "cute" or some other relevant word, you lose your necklace and the girl with the most necklaces at the end of the shower wins a prize. I always give mine away to the girl next to me without even trying before the game starts; is it really worth a prize to me to have my freedom of speech stifled? Perhaps we should also tax this stupid baby shower game. Anyways, if you catch someone making a racist comment or joke, you take one of their possessions. Anything. Their car, their watch, their shoes, their underpants--whatever you want. Guilt free. And you get to keep it forever.

Anonymous said...

Sheeping and mindless "in vogue" brand purchasing is a de facto stupid tax.

If you're going to charge me $120 for a shirt, you're going to have to justify it with more than a trendy tag in the back or a logo on the chest. I require gold thread, lasers, and or electro-camouflage abilities, or all three.


melissa v. said...

The other behaviour I think should be eradicated is intellectual arrogance. Rob, you know how I abhor this. A pertinent punishment for the arrogance infraction would be a 24 hour suspension into an area of the planet where words are written backwards or with mixed up letters, numbers appear indistinct from each other, and the people around them routinely use words you can't even remember, let alone know the definition of. Kind of like a day in the life of a dyslexic. Subsequent infractions may lead to permanent surgical alterations of sight, sound, or perception.

Anonymous said...

Please who run right out into traffic in front of cars instead of taking the 60 seconds it would take to get to the cross walk (especially if it is night and they are wearing dark clothes because they are so cool) and they should also have a big light attached to their heads that flashes around like a little red police car light so that people drivig can see them before they run out onto the street. (This would be most useful down near hastings and main street where people don't even bother checking the street lights before they start to walk).

Sarah Wiens

melissa v. said...

The Breeding Tax. If you routinely pay the Stupid Tax, you are not allowed to breed. However, if you choose to breed despite restrictions, you will be forced to pay the Breeding Tax, which is double the Stupid Tax (or triple for every additional child thereafter). Plus, each time you earn a Stupid Tax punishment AFTER your children are born, your Stupid Tax is multiplied by the number of children you have. (I had some help on this one from some coworkers, I must say)

Deb said...

How about the Lying Tax. My favourite is when I KNOW they're lying, and they know they're lying, and yet they get really angry when you call them on that (as a teacher I get that a lot..."I wasn't talking"...). Not only does it make them look stupid, it also convinces me they think I'm stupid. Plagiarism would fit within these parameters. The punishment. Force them to watch Liar Liar for 24 hours straight, perhaps a full weekend for repeated offences.
HELPFUL HINT: for those of you who can't tell when people are plagiarizing, a good rule of thumb I learned this week is when a 60% average student uses the word *predicates* properly in a sentence, it's a dead give away.

Anonymous said...

So, a lot of these taxes are actually in place, right? You pay more for brand names. The police officer lets you off with a warning if you're nice instead of rude and not stupid enough to speed too fast or too often. Used cars are a lot less expensive than SUVs. In some places, garbage collection costs, but recycling is free. And who pays for all those extra kids? (Okay, the government helps.)