Thursday, March 04, 2010

Taxation Infection

If you visit San Francisco and eat out in a restaurant, you might find a little extra charge on your bill. From the Chicago Tribune comes this story:

Nothing succeeds in the travel industry like a bad idea. The latest hidden mandatory add-on is a "health" charge added to restaurant bills. As far as I know, this scam cropped up first in San Francisco, but you can count on it to spread.

The rationale for this one is to cover the employers' mandatory contribution to the City's "Healthy San Francisco" health-coverage system. The charge actually is levied on employers, but at least some restaurants are adding a few dollars or percentage points to each customer's bill to cover this charge.

The restaurants' excuse for assessing this charge separately is to let customers know how much they're paying for employees' health coverage. That's the same excuse hotels use when they add "resort" or "housekeeping" fees to unsuspecting guests' room bills. It's the same excuse airlines would use to exclude fuel surcharges from their advertised fares if the Department of Transportation would allow them. And it's sheer nonsense. Employees' health insurance is no less of a cost of doing business than rent, property taxes, food costs, security services and all the other inputs businesses require to operate. To single out health care for a separate surcharge is unwarranted.


I can understand the outrage....to a degree. But let's look at something may not be so apparent to the person who wrote this article.

I have worked in businesses both large and small, over my many years in the workforce. The cost of doing business is the cost of doing business. Whatever cost a business owner or corporation must pay to keep the doors open is part of the overhead, and it always gets passed onto the customer. This includes taxes and fees levied by all levels of government.

In this case, the restaurants in SF are passing this city tax (and it is a tax) to cover the additional cost forced upon them. The only difference is they are not building it into the price of the items on the menu. They are showing it for all to see.

This is why additional taxes on corporations and businesses in a time of recession only creates inflation, which can (and often does) result in more recession. This is why a tax on commerce of any kind, is a tax on the consumer.

Let's look at this in healthcare terms:

Whenever government sticks its nasty snot-dripping noses into our lives, it infects every thing it touches. Whether bacterial or viral, it spreads like wildfire and weakens the system.


7 comments:

Chuck said...

I read this article and I loved the outrage of the author. They seemed to feel that the restaurant should just accept their government mandate to pay for insurance for their employees and shut up. This is a case study of the health care debate today.

There is shock by some (and I believe it is genuine) that businesses and the public at large don't understand that the government is just trying to help us by taking wealth away from some and redistributing it to others who are more deserving.

Reality is that they do not want this to be public, they want to sneak it through. The posting of these costs by the restaurants are clearly grandstanding but are they wrong or should they be mandated?

We require health care entities, auto repair shops, etc to provide itemized bills. Why not everyone? Why shouldn't we see what the costs are?

Anonymous said...

I would say... only in California. But of course we are seeing this course being taken on the Federal level at a speed that rivals light speed! Like Chuck I found the author's outrage humorous as well.

When will it sink in with these people, that the wealth being redistributed will be paid for by all who work and earn a paycheck!

HAM

LASunsett said...

//We require health care entities, auto repair shops, etc to provide itemized bills. Why not everyone? Why shouldn't we see what the costs are?//

I agree, but with limits. I don't need to see how much each hamburger patty costs on a Big Mac. But when it comes to all taxes and fees paid to the government, why not? Why not let the public see what they are paying the corrupt low-life politicians who spend our money like it's their right to do so.

LASunsett said...

//When will it sink in with these people, that the wealth being redistributed will be paid for by all who work and earn a paycheck!//

Every tax increase on any industry, company, or small business translates to higher prices. No politician can prove otherwise and I dare them to come here to PYY and try.

Anonymous said...

If we somehow return to an era when we have less government, less intrusion into the lives of citizens, and if we were to reduce government’s power to tax and spend, to whom would China turn for supplemental “Green Jobs” employment (stimulus) money?

We knew it … you can’t answer the question. Losers.

Tim Geithner
Charlie Rangel

LASunsett said...

//to whom would China turn for supplemental “Green Jobs” employment (stimulus) money?//

France.

Rocket said...

//to whom would China turn for supplemental “Green Jobs” employment (stimulus) money?//

France.

That's right and don't you forget if it was not for France you Americans would all be speaking German! Your collaboration with the Germans during WW2 is disgusting!

I've got it right don't I?

don't I?

PS - Since yesterday's speech by Dear Leader Sarkozy we have gone completely communist as was to be expected as behind each Frenchman is a latent communist! Or maybe I should say Momies breast sucker!

Immigration to Australia has never seemed so good.