One way for the government to control behavior is through taxation as we all know. If you tax something, you get less of it and if you want to encourage more of something you offer tax incentives. We saw that in cigarette smoking where increased taxes had an effect on the number of smokers — while simultaneously increasing criminal activity in smuggling cigarettes from states with lower taxation.
We are constantly surprised when taxation causes unintended consequences. You would certainly think that some of the smartest people in the room could at least make a shot at understanding the implications of encouraging or discouraging an action in a population.
This leads us to the abortion question. If you want fewer abortions, what we should do is tax them.
After all, every abortion is costing the government money in the form of taxes that will never be collected. According to Forbes, the average American pays a lifetime tax bill of $188,520.
Forbes also points out that if you apply an average rate of inflation of 3%, the number would be more like $355,366 which seems like the most reasonable number to use.
Since the baby wouldn’t earn any substantial money until they were 21, we’ll calculate the number of years that a baby would be paying taxes as 78 (expected lifetime) – 21 (when they would have become an adult) = 57. That means someone owes the government $6,234.49 a year for 57 years.
Who is the someone that needs to pay the tax? Of course, it’s two someones. The someone who gets the abortion really better have some means to identify the other someone because otherwise they’re going to be holding the proverbial bag!
“Oh, ah . . . would you mind if I scraped your tongue!”
There are a few other things that need to be dealt with. For instance, abortion providers should be required to collect the 21st birthday tax at the time of service. This gets everyone in the database right from the start. Additionally, an abortion provider who does not collect the tax would face imprisonment. The provider would also be on the hook for $355,366 times the number of people they provided service for.
If either partner is not yet 21 when she has the abortion, that individual may defer the start of payments two through 57 (remember that payment one is due and payable at the time of service) until they are 21. For partners over 21, payments would begin in the next tax year.
If one of the partners dies before making all of the payments, the remaining partner is responsible for making the remaining payments. The remaining partner may sue the deceased partner’s estate for compensation. [NOTE 1] If both are dead, the estate of the last surviving person would be responsible to pay the remaining bill. Should this estate be unable to pay the bill, any children would get the opportunity to yell “winner, winner, chicken dinner!” since debts of the parents cannot be transferred to the children.
Since having an abortion results in a financial obligation on the part of both individuals, both individuals must sign their concurrence for the procedure.
I think that should pretty well do it but there are a few details left to consider:
- An abortion as a result of rape. The rapist owes the tax.
- The Morning After pill. Since there’s no evidence of a pregnancy and, hence, no evidence of an abortion, no tax is owed.
- Abortion to save the life of the mother. Since one individual is going to die, the government is entitled only to the taxes of one individual which in this instance is the taxes paid by the mother over her lifetime.
- Miscarriages. The child would not have survived in any instance so no tax is owed.
Enforcement uses the most potent law enforcement operation at the disposable of the United States government — the Internal Revenue Service. You don’t pay the tax, you go to jail.
So what are the unintended consequences? I can’t happen to think of any! But I’m not the smartest person in the room.
[NOTE 1] I threw that in as a bone to the trial lawyers.